1st Edition

Small Steps, Big Changes Eight Essential Practices for Transforming Schools Through Mathematics

By Chris Confer, Marco Ramirez Copyright 2012

    During the past two decades, Chris Confer and Marco Ramirez have worked to deepen and improve mathematics instruction at schools around the country. Wherever they go, they find the raw ingredients for success already present: The potential for positive change lies within each school. Abundance is present in the form of capable children, teachers, coaches, and principals. Potential energy -- what can be -- transforms into kinetic energywhat will beonly when a force is accurately applied to move a school in the right direction. In' Small Steps, Big Changes: Eight Essential Practices for Transforming Schools Through Mathematics, the authors identify eight tested principles that transform what can be an overwhelming process into a set of comprehensible and concrete steps. Each phase of the change process is brought to life through the stories and perspectives of teachers, coaches, and principalsstories that will strike familiar chords for every educator. When teachers make sense of math, students learn to make sense of math, and that can profoundly change the entire culture of a school. In one vivid illustration, the authors tell the story of Pueblo Gardens Elementary School in Tucson, Arizona, where Marco, as principal, and Chris, as instructional coach, worked alongside a group of dedicated teachers. A few years into the change process, Pueblo Gardens -- a school with 96 percent of its students at the poverty level and a high percentage of English language learners -- had 94 percent of students meeting or exceeding state standards in third-grade mathematics. Over time, other grades achieved similarly high scores. And once the test scores rose, they were sustained at high levels.

    Introduction; Chapter 1: Keep the End in Mind; Chapter 2: Understanding the Problem; Chapter 3: The Stance of a Researcher; Chapter 4: The 80/20 Rule; Chapter 5: Patterns of Talk; Chapter 6: Patterns in Content; Chapter 7: Patterns in Instruction; Chapter 8: Intentionality


    Chris Confer has a passion for mathematics, teaching children, and using math to transform schools into successful learning communities. An educator for more than thirty years, Chris provides professional development across the nation through her popular workshops, lesson studies, and conference presentations. In the four books that she has authored on teaching mathematics, and in the articles she has published on math coaching, Chris shares her practical and effective strategies for unleashing the potential of all students. Marco Ramirez is an award-winning educator who has successfully transformed schools using mathematics as the leverage for change. His work with schools is practical and rooted in the classroom. Marco shares his passion and expertise both in the classroom and at the administrative level through the professional development he provides nationally. Marco has taught multiple grade levels—from middle school to primary grades—and won the Milken Educator of the Year award as a principal.

    "Small Steps, Big Changes is a valuable resource for guiding schoolwide math improvement. The text is extremely accessible and engaging reading. A great strength is that the writing provides clear and cogent explanations of big ideas and the reasoning behind the process; real-world examples from different perspectives provide meaning that will resonate with educators at all levels." - Teaching Children Mathematics
    "For a school searching for more success in mathematics, this is a definite read!" - MiddleWeb
    "A strong addition to any educational reference collection" - Midwest Book Review