Better Together


We’re Better Together

By Brooke Powers, Community Manager

Five years ago, I walked into my first NCTM conference with no Twitter account, blog, or any online presence as a math teacher.  I was inspired that week to start both because all the “cool” teachers at the conference had them, but I had no idea that my online math community would foster my greatest professional learning experience.

I’ve had the opportunity to work with some amazing colleagues in professional learning communities, attended some wonderful conferences, and have had access to the latest educational books, but all of those have paled in comparison to what I have learned from my online peers.  My online teacher community, the MTBoS, is where I have found wonderful teacher-created materials and websites, received feedback on lessons that I knew could be improved upon, and found encouragement when I was in a professional slump. My online PLC has truly shaped who I am as a teacher and contributed greatly to the success of my students.

That is why I am so excited about the opportunity to help build a community around the Open Up Resources 6–8 Math curriculum.  I want to help other teachers have the same experience I had: an authentic and quality PLC experience with teachers from around the country, made even more powerful by the fact that we are using the same excellent materials with our kids.

Recently we surveyed teachers, and we heard loud and clear that they want the ability to share resources, connect about practice, and share and see exemplar video. We’ll be focusing there next year. I also expect that teachers will provide each other support, and serve as cheerleaders for each other, and celebrate success. We can’t wait to get into this work this Fall.

I’ve never seen national community around an excellent curriculum – and I’m inspired by the possibilities. If students have access to a coherent and aligned curriculum and teachers have access to an online PLC community designed to support them, in my mind that can only foster greater success. John Hattie found that collective teacher efficacy has an impact on student achievement of 1.57. What if that collective teacher efficacy was more than just the two or three teachers in the same grade level at your school, but was instead hundreds of teachers gathered around the same curriculum and goals as you?  I have to believe that this will be a catalyst for powerful outcomes.

In thirteen years of teaching, I have never seen teachers connect around a curriculum like I have seen them gather around Open Up Resources 6–8 Math.  I am so excited to be a part of this next chapter, helping turn our kids into mathematicians and thinkers.

If you’re experienced with this curriculum, and you agree this is something worth doing with some of your own time, I hope you’ll consider joining me as one of three 6–8 Math Gurus. I’ll be better with collaborators in this exciting work! You can learn more and apply here.

“Community is much more than belonging to something; it’s about doing something together that makes belonging matter.”  —Brian Solis