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Norwood Elementary Math in L.A.

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Math in L.A. will promote creativity through the development of investigations for any specific student population.

Math in L.A. - Norwood Street School


Math in L.A. is a template for sustainable in-depth professional development designed to share and deepen teachers' mathematical understanding and strategies. Math in L.A. will promote creativity through the development of investigations for our specific student population. The project's innovation and creativity stem from the belief that this in-service program will be a constant work in progress that is continually evolving. Our problem of practice is to unify any math curriculum using the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Curriculum Focal Points as an umbrella to develop a progression of significant mathematical ideas, models, and strategies. Key questions we explored include how to design and develop a template for mathematical instruction where math is seen as the posing and solving of problems, the searching for patterns, and the construction of big ideas, models, and strategies. Secondly, we explored the best way to implement this template in our classrooms and to present it to our school community and local district. Activities the team engaged in as part of their professional learning include attending Mathematics and the City Summer Institute, attending the 2011 National Council of Teachers of Mathematics conference, applying a coaching and co-teaching model to implement investigations of learning. Through bi-weekly meetings, we continued to explore the best ways to implement the teaching strategies of Mathematics in the City. The outcome of Math in L.A. is to present our design to fellow educators at the local district level.

Team Bio/ Information

Norwood TIIP Team at National Council for Teachers of Mathematics Conference, Indiana,2011Our team, the teacher-initiated action research network, began in 1992. All team members participating in this project have been working collaboratively in the network and at the same school for the majority of that time. We have been investigating, presenting, and publishing research on improved teacher practices and student learning in the fields of literacy and mathematics. This on-going, sustainable network has always been voluntary, met after school on the teachers' own time, and no teacher has received any compensation for taking part in the network. It has been a grassroots effort led by and for teachers in pursuit of best practices that lead to greater student achievement. Our team has also been involved in several school-wide and district leadership and professional development tams such as the California Early Literacy Learning project and Teachers College Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University.

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School Information

Norwood Street School is an inner city public school, located at the intersection of two of the cities busiest freeways, that has students in grade Pre-K to 5.  We now operate on a traditional single-track schedule, after being a year-round school for over 20 years.  The average size of each primary class is 24 students, while the average size of each upper grade class is 30  students.  Our school also had a Resource Specialist Program for students with learning disabilities, 2 classes for children with autism, and 2 Special Day Classes for students with specific learning disabilities. Many of these students are mainstreamed into the general education classrooms.

The community in which the school is located is primarily Latino. Of our 707 students, 97% are Hispanic/Latino, 2.5% are African American, while less than 1% of our students are Filipino, American-Indian, or Asian.  We are a Title I school, with 100% of students receiving free lunch.  Most of our students enter school as English Language Learners. Nearly 84% of our students enter school with limited or no English proficiency.

Norwood St. School is the Central hub of our community. Norwood community families look to us to assist in everything from basic needs to exposure to cultural and educational experiences. A significant number of parents do not have an education beyond sixth grade. Many of the parents look to us to encourage their children to pursue higher education. Parents feel limited in their abilities to assist their children with schoolwork because of language barriers and lack of confidence in their academic experiences.

Click on the following links to explore Norwood Elementary's Math in L.A. project


Student work samples

Classroom video clips

Project data

Inquiry Based Lesson Templates

Other Resources

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UCLA Center X
1320 Moore Hall, Box 951521
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1521
(310) 825-4910