Leslie Texas provides professional development workshops and individual coaching sessions purposefully designed to fully align with rigorous content standards. Understanding the demand for content focus and coherence as well as attention to research-based learning theory, Leslie seamlessly connects the two essential aspects of the standards: standards for practice and standards for content. Leslie keenly recognizes the diversity among educators and learners from school to school and grade to grade. In facilitating professional growth, Leslie scaffolds teachers’ abilities to recognize the intersections of practice and content within their classrooms and among their students, thereby resulting in greater achievement. Through a combination of approaches—analysis of exemplars, guided lesson planning, and ongoing process reflection—Leslie models effective instructional methods making many of the abstract reasoning processes of teaching and learning concrete for educational audiences. In demonstration and presentation of thoughtful practice, Leslie empowers teachers to become more effective classrooms leaders.

Leslie customizes her workshops according to the specific needs and interests of participating schools and districts, but current training areas include:

Numeracy Practices Across Content Areas

To meet the demands of the 21st Century and demonstrate progress towards college and career readiness, students need to apply, reason, and explain developmentally appropriate mathematics concepts with precision and fluency. Leslie explores the importance of establishing learners as mathematical problem solvers by providing opportunities for the application of mathematics across disciplines. The presentation of authentic mathematical problems within the disciplines of science, social studies, and technical subjects provides a natural means by which students can refine and reflect on their mathematical thinking. Additionally, authentic problem solving invites learners to demonstrate the 4Cs of 21st Century skills: communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity–essential components of success in a growingly complex world. Key topics covered in these workshops include:

  • Integrating mathematics into science, social studies and career/technology courses
  • Using technology more effectively to teach mathematics
  • Developing a coaching model that connects teachers across disciplines

Rigorous Standards for Mathematics

Leslie provides support and ongoing guidance for teachers and school administrators as they build district alignment to rigorous standards. Annual summative assessments have laser-like focus on grade level math standards to evaluate conceptual understanding, procedural skill and fluency, and application. Most items are based in problem scenarios and offer a combination of transformative digital tools (computerized manipulatives) and conventional means of deriving a solution. Some items require students write out their thought process in a narrative explanation. Leslie works with teachers and schools to better prepare students for these assessments by supporting the writing of new math curriculum and/or the revision of existing curriculum. Additionally, Leslie has access and experience with the wide-spectrum of materials offered as well as supplementary research-based materials that can bring a sound mathematical foundation to your schools. Key topics covered in these workshops include:

  • Creating curriculum frameworks that outline specific knowledge and skills
  • Designing criterion-referenced assessments that align with frameworks
  • Designing interdisciplinary curriculum that meets multiple standards
  • Differentiating instruction to support all students in achieving or exceeding standards

Formative Assessment

Leslie shares effective formative assessment techniques, including methods of analyzing information gleaned through the formative assessment to meet the instructional needs of the students. The new age of assessments requires students to be able to apply the Standards for Mathematical Practice as they demonstrate understanding of concepts, skills, and procedures as well as mathematical reasoning and application. Formative assessment lessons and tasks engage students actively in thoughtful problem-solving.

Key topics covered in these workshops include:

  • Designing rich tasks that allow for assessing targeted skills
  • Determining proper placement of formative assessments within a unit of instruction
  • Determining appropriate questioning strategies that can be used to assist students

Project-Based Learning

In her experience as a middle and high school mathematics and science teacher, Leslie used project-based learning in all her classes. Since then, she has trained teachers in implementing this powerful instructional approach and coached them as project-based learning peer leaders in their schools. Some of the topics she covers in these workshops include:

  • Integrating projects with core content and standards
  • Scaffolding skills and knowledge through project planning, implementation and reflection
  • Using performance and exhibition to raise the quality of student work
  • Assessing and evaluating project process and products
  • Forming and maintaining effective, collaborative, cross-disciplinary teams