PCMI 2002 High School Teacher Program

Guidelines for Working Groups

At PCMI 2002 the High School Teacher Program will continue a program of Working Groups including all participants. We hope that this will be one of the highlights of the summer for the HSTP. There will be a lot of opportunity for experimentation, discussion and communication. Here are some expectations that we have for all the groups.


  1. Each working group will create a "product" to share.
  2. The nature of the product will vary from group to group. One possible kind of product would be 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 a journal of experiences of the working group itself with ideas for classroom research, and 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 classrooms during the following year. The group can then discuss the results via the Internet and revise for a final version.

    The ultimate goal is to share the final versions of these "products" publicly on the web as part of PCMI's outreach. One or more persons will in each group will be asked to work with our PCMI@MathForum support in putting information on the web.

  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 leadership provided by a Coordinator, an Assistant Coordinator and possibly some Resource Persons. (See below for the job descriptions.) Some participants 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.

  5. The group will keep a daily journal to be put on the Web for local use.
  6. Each group will be expected to submit a daily journal entry of its work and deliberations. Once the entry is typed on a computer, there will be a simple process for adding it to the PCMI web site. The journals will 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. A record of the process and history of the Working Groups over the 3 weeks will also be very valuable for the future planning of PCMI. 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 share with each other at PCMI.

During the three weeks, each group will have a time to present and share its work with the rest of the HSTP. 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 Roles in the Working Groups


Each group has designated one or two Coordinators. The task of the coordinator is to convene the group and act as seminar leaders, keep the group on task and provide continuity with the help of the Assistant Coordinator and others. This means that the coordinators help the group organize the work, not that they do all the work.

Assistant Coordinator

Each working group has designated as Assistant Coordinator a participant who is a returning PCMI teacher. The Assistant Coordinator will help the Coordinator with the smooth functioning of the group and will act as peer facilitator making sure that tasks are carried out. In addition, the Assistant Coordinator will represent the Working Group on the Program Committee and will be the contact person for the group. The Program committee will meet about once a week to discuss how the program is going and to plan how to use the "flexible" time slots.

Resource Persons

Many groups will also include Resource Persons, who are mathematicians or other PCMI persons who have interest, experience or content knowledge to share with the group. Some Resource Persons will be in residence the whole three weeks; others may be visiting PCMI for shorter periods.

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