Announcing: Week-long workshop at PSU Berks

We are happy to announce we will be offering a week-long workshop at Penn State Berks, June 26-30, entitled Math as a Second Language.

This workshop is comparable to the course of the same name that is also being offered at the University Park, Greater Allegheny, and Brandywine campuses at other times during the summer.   Participants receive travel compensation up to $300, lodging at a local hotel if necessary, and an $800 stipend.

Additional details on this and the other Summer 2017 Workshops is available here:  The application for the Berks workshops is available here:

Participants are chosen based on grade band, district need, and position to impact students.   Applicants will be notified of whether they have been selected by May 20.

New: Recommendation system for PMI applicants

To guide our decision-making process, we’re introducing a way for past PMI participants and school leaders to recommend colleagues to participate in the summer PMI workshops.  Note that a recommendation for a colleague is not a guarantee they will get selected to participate this summer, and a recommendation is not required to be selected.

Fill out the form below to recommend a colleague for the Summer PMI Workshops.

Spring 2017 Workshop at Berks Campus

We are welcoming new applications for our Spring 2017 teacher professional development workshop at Penn State Berks campus.

Date: Thursday and Friday, March 9 and 10, 2017
Time: 9:00AM – 4:00PM
Location: Penn State Berks, Room Gaige 121
Topics: The Spectrum of Addition and Subtraction (March 9) and New Perspectives on Multiplication and Division (March 10)
Compensation: 6 hours of Act 48 credits for each day
Cost: Participation is free; lunch and coffee provided
Participants: Current K-6 teachers responsible for math instruction in their classroom, as well as math specialists and school leaders
Workshop Leaders: Dr. Andrew Baxter and Dr. Hartono Tjoe

Please register below.

Update 3/2: Registration for the Berks workshops is now closed.

Follow-up Workshop: 3/30/17

We will be hosting a follow-up workshop for all previous PMI summer workshop participants on Thursday, March 30, 2017 at the University Park campus.  Registration is at the end of this post.

Andrew Baxter and Fran Arbaugh will be running the session.  We will be discussing the following:

  • Impacts that PMI has had on your students and your colleagues.
  • Mathematical discussion on geometry in the elementary grades, and the “wall” in 4th grade.
  • Pedagogy discussion from Principles to Actions.

The workshop will run 10am-3pm, with breakfast provided started at 9am and a working lunch.

If you will be unable to attend in person but would be interested in teleconferencing, contact Andrew (  If there is sufficient interest we can set something up.


The Fall 2016 Berks PMI Workshops

Andrew Baxter and Hartono Tjoe will be presenting three Saturday workshops at Penn State Berks for K-6 teachers and math specialists.  Participation is free, and participants will receive six Act 48 credits and free lunch.

Workshops will be held Saturday October 29, Saturday November 19, and Saturday December 3.  The three workshops are stand-alone, so don’t worry if you can only make one or two.

For more information, or to apply, visit:

Summer 2016 Workshops Concluded

This has been a very exciting summer for PMI!

The summer workshops have now concluded at all three campuses.  A longer post should follow by the end of August that includes quotes from participants, photos from the workshops, and some of the quantitative data.  We worked with 75 teachers from across Pennsylvania

Until the full review, here is a map where each pin represents a school building  with a PMI participant (Thanks, Lisa!).

Each pin represents a school where a PMI participant has taught. By Lisa Krol and  Click for an interactive version.

Each pin represents a school where a PMI participant has taught. By Lisa Krol and Click for an interactive version.

Day 5 of Functions & Algebra (7/29/16)

We started the morning with Andrea and Fran sharing resources. Andrea showed the Google Folder titled PMI 2016 Resources for Participants. Then she showed the NCTM website, and discussed benefits of membership (remember that K-8 institutions get a great deal!!). This segment ended with Andrea and Fran sharing some books (here are the covers):


Andrew and Matt spent a brief time discussing Unit FA-4 on Functions, which are really just a formalization of the Processes from FA-1 with a new notation.  We then dipped into the Fox’s Furniture Store sequence from FA-5, both from the perspective of solving problems and evaluating students work on its mathematical merits.

Next we formed a large circle where Fran led a discussion about the readings on Professionalism from Principles to Actions.

After lunch, the group took the post-test (a necessary evil).  After that wrapped up Andrew and Matt tied up some loose ends and lingering questions: the Chipmunk formula from Wednesday’s homework, a strategy for solving the Milk Problem, and a justification for the “add the digits” trick for recognizing multiples of 9

It has been a fantastic two weeks!  We will be writing a longer post later with a full summary of these workshops and the workshops at Greater Allegheny and Brandywine as well.


Keep up your enthusiasm.  Seek change, and be patient.

Keep the commitment you made to yourself as you progress through the school year.

Don’t shy away from digging for the why of the mathematics you teach.  It all hangs together to form a cohesive whole.  You are welcome to send burning mathematical questions to Andrew.

Look for good candidates to recommend to PMI next summer.

Keep us updated on any revelations or experiences in your classroom that you can attribute to PMI.

Day 4 of Functions & Algebra (7/28/16)

Today we began with a discussion about the symbolic rules that describe the tortoise and hare problem. Fran emphasized that writing symbolic rules can be supported by working through the reasoning in other representations. Andrea shared some data about young children’s misunderstandings of the meaning of the equal sign and practices to avoid. We also watched a video of a young child using relational thinking to solve an open number problem.

We worked on the candle burning problem, which illustrates how a negative rate of change effects a linear relationship. After debriefing, Andrew talked through consequences of linearity.  We ended the morning with analyzing 12 situations to determine whether they could be solved via a linear relationship, a proportion, or neither.

After lunch we wrapped up some of our big pedagogy ideas by reflecting on last night’s messages, generating a list of things that need to happen in order to implement the strategies. We discussed more about the Standards for Mathematical Practice , focusing especially on supporting students to persevere.

We constructed a big iceberg wall together, representing ideas at each grade level that 20160729_104509contribute floating capacity to the concept of linear relationships.


We closed with a debriefing of the 12 situations on “What isn’t a linear relationship?” and highlighted the important features that distinguish them from each other.

See you tomorrow for our last day together!


Pedagogy: Read the section on Professionalism in Principles to Actions (pp. 99- 108).

Math:  None.