Toby Blair, an Exceptional Children’s Teacher at Southwest Guilford Middle School of Guilford County Schools (NC), has been named the Open Up Resources 6–8 Math Teacher of the Month for May 2021. Blair is being recognized for his outstanding work in his virtual classroom and ongoing support of teachers across the country as a member of the Open Up Resources National Professional Learning Community.Blair’s work with Open Up Resources 6–8 Math makes him 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.
Kat Stevens, a colleague at Guilford County Schools, nominated Blair for his dedication to his students and his commitment to his own professional growth. Stevens shared, “Toby is one of the most intentional Exceptional Children’s Teachers that I have ever coached. The relationships he builds with his students, even within a virtual learning setting, is inspiring.”
In her nomination, Stevens commended Blair for his work with his students. She went on to say, “Toby ensures that his students, no matter how much unfinished learning they have, receive grade level instruction on a daily basis through the use of the OUR curriculum. During remote learning, Toby has continued to push his students and engage them in their learning. Toby also works to better himself as a teacher constantly by studying the standards and asking for support from his coaches.”
Blair shared about his students’ engagement in remote learning with Open Up Resources 6–8 Math. He shared, “I have had students increase their verbal engagement over the process of remote learning. All my students have had their turn showcasing thinking about math and then verbalizing that thinking to solve math. Implementing the strategies promotes confidence and student outcomes are clear and evident.”
And Blair offered some thoughts about the curriculum: “This is a very forward thinking program. It allows the teacher to push the thinking past just answering a grade level concept. It challenges the student to make the connections to solve math problems. The tools provided allow for personalization of standard based learning. The cool-downs allow for the data to show student progression in real time. This program frames the lesson plan, so that you can maximize the learning in your classroom.”
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. Learn more about our National Professional Learning Communities here.