Kiera Bruce, a 6th-grade math teacher at Swann Middle School of Guilford County Schools (NC), has been named the Open Up Resources Teacher of the Month for October 2021. Bruce is being recognized for her outstanding work in her classroom and ongoing support of teachers across the country as a member of the Open Up Resources National Professional Learning Community.Bruce’s work with Open Up Resources 6–8 Math makes her one of the most innovative teachers in the country. The Open Up Resources 6–8 Math curriculum inspires a new way of teaching math by transforming classrooms into hives of activity focusing on discussion, questioning, debate, and the deeper conceptual learning of mathematics that follows.
Aprile Hampton, a colleague at Guilford County Schools, nominated Bruce for her dedication to effective planning, instruction, and supports for her students. Hampton shared, “Ms. Bruce has been making great strides to make sure she is implementing Open Up Resources 6–8 Math with integrity. She understands the underlying goals and objectives of the unit, lesson, and activities. She modifies the lessons to meet the needs of all her learners. She provides multiple entry points for students within the lesson. Ms. Bruce uses her data to drive instruction. She consistently provides students with feedback daily.”
In her application, Bruce celebrated student inquiry and discovery with the Open Up Resources 6–8 Math curriculum. She explained, “My favorite thing about it is that it really helps the students to discover the conceptual understanding of math, and it also gives me the leeway to jump in and help when the students need it. It requires a ton of group work which gives you the opportunity to check in with individual students that are having a hard time and also allows students to learn through teaching each other. When a student has the ability to teach their peer(s), this is when I know that they understand.”
When using these high-quality instructional materials, it is important to anticipate students’ responses in planning for the lessons. Bruce shared some advice, “Make sure that you approach the material as a student! If you approach it as a student it helps you to [anticipate any conceptions] that students may have.”
Open Up Resources is a non-profit on a mission to increase equity in education by making excellent, top-rated curricula freely available to districts. You can learn more at www.openupresources.org.