Deborah Schifter

“Implementing the Common Core as Constellations of Content and Practice Standards: An Example from Early Algebra”

Presented By: Deborah Schifter, Principal Research Scientist
Education Development Center (EDC)
Held Monday, September 24, 2012

Abstract: This talk addresses the question, What might it mean for elementary school students to understand the properties of the operations if, as the Common Core states, “[They] need not use formal terms for these properties”? The work of Schifter, Russell, and Bastable examines what can happen when generalizations implicit in common calculation strategies are explicitly investigated in the elementary classroom. The talk presents classroom videos that illustrate students working to notice, articulate, and prove generalizations about the behavior of operations. Through this work, students engage with a constellation of content and practice standards related to the Common Core’s emphasis on the properties of the operations.

Bio: Deborah Schifter has more than 25 years of experience providing professional development in mathematics and conducting research on student mathematics learning, with a recent focus on supporting teachers adopting the mathematical practices in the Common Core State Standards, and on understanding the potential for algebraic thinking in the elementary grades.

Schifter leads EDC’s Mathematics Leadership Program (MLP), which provides coordinated professional development experiences for educational leaders across a range of roles and responsibilities. She is coauthor of MLP’s Developing Mathematical Ideas.

Before joining EDC, Schifter taught elementary, secondary, and college-level mathematics and was an applied mathematician at the Naval Research Laboratory. In 1985, she began working for SummerMath for Teachers at Mount Holyoke College and directed that program from 1988 to 1993.

She received a BA from Saint John’s College, Annapolis, an MA in applied mathematics from the University of Maryland, and an MS and PhD in psychology from the University of Massachusetts.