PCMI 2001 High School Teacher Program

Guidelines for Working Groups

At PCMI 2001 the High School Teacher Program will inaugurate a systematic program of Working Groups including all participants. We hope that this will be one of the highlights of the summer for the HSTP. Since it is a new program and since each group is different from the others, there will be a lot of opportunity for experimentation, discussion and modification. But here are some expectations that we have for all the groups. We hope there will be a lot of discussion and sharing of ideas to flesh out this skeleton of ideas.


  1. Each working group will produce a "product" to share by publishing on the World Wide Web.
  2. The nature of the product will vary from group to group. One possible kind of product would be one or more sets of teacher materials ready for the classroom. For such materials, we very much want the work from PCMI to be distinguished by the inclusion of substantial background and support material discussing and explaining the math to be taught. However, your imagination may lead you to other ideas. The product might be a comparative study of existing materials or a discussion of multiple approaches to teaching an important topic. It might include teacher in-service materials. The product might include the experiences of the working group itself with ideas for classroom research, lesson study. The group's idea of the product may evolve during the course of its work.

    In most cases, the products should be considered a preliminary draft, since there will be at best limited opportunities for classroom testing at PCMI. We expect that PCMI teachers will try out these products in their classroom during the following year. The group can then discuss the results via the Internet and revise for a final version.

  3. The working group experience should be a valuable collegial experience of active work and professional growth for all its members.
  4. We do not envision the working group as a "course" taught by an instructor, but more as a seminar, in which the members organize themselves and divide up tasks according to interest and background. Each group will have one or more organizers to help keep it on track, and there will also be members with strong content backgrounds who can act as resources. Some members may function as writers; others may present to the group, lead discussions, or build models, or test or critique. But everyone should have an active role. More than one topic may be investigated at a time.

  5. The group will keep a daily journal to be reported to PCMI staff and put on the Web for local use.
  6. We think a record of the process and history of the Working Groups over the 3 weeks will be very valuable for the future planning of PCMI. It will also be valuable for communication among the groups, recollection within the groups, and will in some cases turn out to be part of the product of the group. For this reason, each group will be asked to submit each day a journal page or two to the PCMI staff to be placed on the local web site. The job of journal reporter should probably be rotated among the members of the group so that this job does not become too onerous. Promptness in reporting rather than perfection will be the watchword; the journal entries can always be polished and edited later.

  7. Groups will present to each other at PCMI.

Near the end of the three weeks, each group will have a time to present and share its work to the rest of the HSTP. In addition, other forms of sharing are possible. Groups may choose to work together, meet with each other or with members of other programs at PCMI, such as the Math Education Research Program, the Undergraduate Faculty Program, or the Research Program. The two hours of afternoon time are at the disposal of the groups to use as they choose.

Special Jobs

Organizers and Resource Persons

Each group has designated one or two organizers. The task of the organizers is to convene the group and act as seminar leaders, keep the group on task and provide continuity. This means that the organizers help the group organize the work, not that they do the work. The organizers also will serve as the contact persons for communicating with the group. The PCMI staff has also made sure that in each group there are one or more "resource members" with especially strong experience or content knowledge to share with the group. However, this is not to suggest that other members of the group will not turn out to be equally valuable resources. We expect that all members of the group will have knowledge and talents to share.

Internet Committee Representative

Since the Internet is going to play a large role in publishing our products and also in continuing during the year as a virtual community, we will have a group working during the PCMI on our Internet plans. Rather than make this a separate working group, we would like this to be a committee made up of a representative from each of the working groups. Annie Fetter will organize this committee. Annie will be physically present the first week and virtually present the other two weeks. Art Mabbott will be physically present the whole time and will convene the group on site.

Journal Reporter

Each group needs a reporter to submit a journal entry every day. It may work best to rotate the job around from day to day. The reporter for a day might well be a team of two and not a single person.

Program Committee Representative

In order to get teacher input into how we are using the flexible times in our schedule, we will have a program committee of teachers that meets once a week under the guidance of Carol Hattan. This committee will decide how to allocate this time to teacher presentations, visitors, hands-on activities, etc. Each working group should pick a representative for this committee.