Melissa Nix is an instructional coach for the Live Oak Unified School District (Live Oak, California). She supports 60 teachers across the district from elementary through high school, including the teacher whose classroom is documented in this lesson. The school, Shoreline Middle School, has 55% of its students classified as having been unable to communicate fluently or learn effectively in English (“Ever ELL”), though some of these students may have since attained English proficiency. Thirty percent of the students at the school were classified as ELL at the time of this recording, when Nix had been a teacher for 19 years. More than 50% of the Shoreline students receive free and reduced price lunches.
In this lesson, Melissa works with eighth-grade students to articulate their understanding of what area and perimeter are, how area and perimeter relate to each other and to the dimensions of shapes, and how students can use one or more of these measurements to derive the others. Melissa also asks students to justify their solutions. She aims to support the students in understanding how they can use the model to apply to any multiplication of polynomials, as well as applying the model to working backwards and deriving the factors that constitute a polynomial.
This lesson was adapted from the Engage NY curriculum lesson "Multiplying and Factoring Polynomial Expressions.” Melissa notes that she worked to consider her learners’ needs: “I honestly believe that every lesson can be looked at from a backwards model: at the beginning, we map the lesson backwards to get at, What is your overall learning objective? What are you hoping that the kids are going to walk away with? How am I going to get my students to get through that problem set and get some of the learning that I want them to walk away with? In that last summary bit of my lesson, How am I going to tie it in altogether? I have to think a little bit about where I want them to be, and how I'm going to get them there.”
Melissa also engages in a substantive pre- and post-lesson coaching conversation with colleague Pam Brousseau, a mathematics coach for the Silicon Valley Mathematics Initiative (SVMI).