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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Why students hate word problems

In 2012, Dan Meyer gave a talk in Durham, ON looking at why students hate word problems, posing five ways to improve them, and introducing this thing called “three-act math.”

Monday, October 20, 2014

Spring 2015 Testing Schedule

What will be assessed?
When will it be assessed?
What about the ACT?
Will they be paper-pencil or online?
What about make-ups?

Get all the latest news here.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Paper-Pencil Administration of Michigan Student Assessments

On October 2nd, the MDE released a memo explaining the process and procedures for districts to request a waiver to administer a paper-pencil of the spring assessments. Key points to know:
  • Online assessment is now the default administration mode for Michigan general assessments and MI-Access FI assessments.
  • Schools that are not technology-ready, or have an instructional reason to not transition online, must submit an online waiver request for a paper-pencil administration.
  • A school (or building) is the smallest unit that may request a paper-pencil administration waiver, i.e., a school may not apply to have only certain grades or content areas take the paper-pencil assessments.
Check out the memo for information on how to apply for a waiver.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Spotlight: Michigan Assessment and Accountability Newsletter

To ensure you have quick access to timely and important assessment and accountability related information, today, MDE's Office of Assessment and Accountability launched the first weekly interactive e-publication delivered each Thursday called Spotlight on Student Assessment and Accountability. This new easy to read publication will ensure you stay up-to-date with the latest news and information. Check it out today.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Time to collaborate: Math Workgroups

Work Group Schedule
Math Workgroup Picture▪ Are you feeling isolated as a math teacher?
▪ Would you like to collaborate with other teachers from your grade/course?
▪ Are you looking for a network of teachers with whom you can share ideas?
▪ Would you like to work with others to develop solutions to your current teaching challenges?
If your answer is “YES!,” then plan to come to Kalamazoo RESA’s FREE monthly Math Workgroups. These collaborative and supportive groups are scheduled for grade bands (K-1, 2-3, 4-5, and 6-8) and high school courses (Algebra and Geometry). The Math Workgroups have been designed to be peer-facilitated.
Registration is not required. Rooms have been reserved for a one hour block as indicated on the schedule, but end time is flexible. Please bring your own laptop and refreshment.
We will use the following standing agenda as a framework for the workgroup time. We will adapt the agenda to meet the group’s current needs.
1) Working: What's working well--come prepared to share out
2) Not working (challenges): What are the current challenges - sharing
3) Problem-solving and planning: Brainstorm resolutions to current challenges, if applicable
4) Try this: New endeavors--collaborate to encourage implementation of new ideas and figure out what data we should collect to see if it’s working
5) Rotating discussion topics: student engagement, grading, higher level tasks, positive learning environment, classroom management challenges, etc.
6) Collaborating (based on textbook): break into groups based on the textbooks and collaborate.

Please check out KRESA's other PD offerings

If you have any questions, please contact Danielle Seabold.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

PD Opportunity: Components of an Effective K-5 Math Block: Core Instruction

Date: Thursday, October 9, 2014

Math Elem Core
Time: 8:30 am - 3:30 pm
Location: Kalamazoo RESA Service Center, 1819 East Milham Avenue, Portage, MI 49002
SCECH'S: 6 ($10 fee - cash or personal check at sign-in)
Presenter(s): Danielle Seabold
Tuition: $80 Consortium Member | $128 Non Consortium

This one day session is connected to two other sessions, Number Sense Routines and Fluency and Maintenance. Together these three sessions detail the components of an effective K-5 math block. This session highlights the Core Instruction of a Math Block. Together we will explore what Whole-Group Math Instruction and Gradual Release of Responsibility are, the critical stages of learning mathematics, and what instruction (and the math block) look like when we attend to each stage. What is Gradual Release of Responsibility and how does it impact student success in mathematics?

Registration help: Linda Bussema @ or 269-250-9210

View all Kalamazoo RESA PD offerings here:


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

PD opportunity: Effective Instruction for 5th Grade Multiplication & Division

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

5th grade math multi-div
Time: 8:30 am - 3:30 pm
Location: Kalamazoo RESA Service Center, 1819 East Milham Avenue, Portage, MI 49002
SCECH'S: 6 ($10 fee - cash or personal check at sign-in)
Presenter(s): Matt Mayer

Tuition: $113 Consortium Member | $161 Non Consortium
The purpose of this workshop is for educators to learn best-practice, instructional routines and strategies aligned with the Common Core State standards (CCSS) to support students’ understanding and use of algorithms for multiplication and division. Content is built upon the instructional shifts and increased expectations of the CCSS. Teachers will be actively engaged in learning different algorithms for multiplication and division and preparing students for the traditional algorithm.

Registration help: Linda Bussema @ or 269-250-9210

View all Kalamazoo RESA PD offerings here:


Monday, September 22, 2014

PD opportunity: Secondary Math Instruction & Assessment in Light of the Common Core: The Math Assessment Project

Professional Learning Series starts soon at Kalamazoo RESA

Secondary math 2
Dates & Times:
10/1/2014 7:30AM-2:30PM
11/5/2014 7:30AM-2:30PM
12/3/2014 7:30AM-2:30PM
1/23/2015 7:30AM-2:30PM
Location: Kalamazoo RESA Service Center, 1819 East Milham Avenue, Portage, MI 49002
SCECH'S: 18 .. $15 fee is due at sign-in (cash or personal check only)
Presenter(s): Diane Rogers
Tuition: $365 Consortium Member | $503 Non Consortium

Secondary Math Instruction & Assessment in Light of the Common Core This four-day series is activity-based; built around a collection of classroom formative assessment lessons aligned to the Mathematical Practices and Content called for in the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics. Groups of teachers will be engaged in constructive discussions about their own practices and how these could change. Teachers will be provided with time to plan to teach a lesson using these ideas in their own classroom, and meet again to reflect on their experiences.

Registration help: Linda Bussema @ or 269-250-9210

View all Kalamazoo RESA PD offerings

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Fall Virtual Lecture Series from Illustrative Mathematics

This school year Illustrative Mathematics will offer two series for math educators. In the fall they are featuring “Working with Number in the Elementary Classroom” and this spring they will offer “Incorporating Mathematical Practices into the Middle and High School Classroom.” 
The intended audience for these series is classroom teachers, district and state mathematics specialists, and mathematics coaches. The five hour long sessions will include 40 minutes of presentation from national experts on Adobe Connect, followed by 20 minutes of Q&A. The sessions will also be recorded for participants that are not able to join in person. The cost to virtually attend each series is $150.
The following lectures are scheduled in the series on Thursday nights from 7-8pm Eastern on Adobe Connect.  Watch them live with the ability to ask questions, or watch the recordings at any time:
September 25, 2014 Linda Gojak, Immediate Past President, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, Director, The Center for Mathematics Education, Teaching, and Technology, John Carroll University "Using Representations to Introduce Early Number and Fraction Concepts"
October 23, 2014 Dona Apple, Mathematics Learning Community Project, Regional Science Resource Center, University of Massachusetts Medical School "Supporting students' conceptual understanding about number through reasoning, explaining and evidence in both their oral and written work"
November 20, 2014 TBA!
December 11, 2014 Francis (Skip) Fennell, Professor of Education McDaniel College, Past President NCTM "Fractions Sense – It’s all about understanding fractions as numbers (and this includes those special fractions – decimals!) – use of representations, equivalence, comparing/ordering and connections"
January 22, 2015 Susan Jo Russell, TERC: Mathematics and Science Education and Deborah Schifter, Education Development Center (EDC) "Operations and Algebraic Thinking in the Elementary Grades"

Monday, September 15, 2014

Getting our students used to online testing before this spring

So, we don't yet know who the content provider will be for this spring's assessments. We know it won't be Smarter Balanced. Here's just the little we do know:
  • The assessments will be online and testing windows have been assigned
  • Specific dates have been assigned for assessment for those school that elect to do paper-pencil testing instead
  • The mathematics assessments will be offered grades 3-8
  • The content of the assessments will be taken from our Common Core State Standards
  • The platform used will be the same as the platform for the Interim Assessments.
So, how can we get our students ready to take online assessments? The answer might sound a little strange: Sign up for the Michigan Interim Field tests.

Why? There are now two good (big) reasons to do this.
  1. Students can become familiar with the testing platform that will be used this spring. They'll get their practice now in a no-stakes testing environment.
  2. School Districts will earn a $3.00 minimum participation incentive per completed test for the Fall 2014 Interim Assessment Field Test

Although the interim assessment field test window begins Monday, September 15, testing does not have to begin Monday and there is still time for your district or school to participate.

Funding is being made available through the Technology Readiness InfrastructureGrant (TRIG), furthering the TRIG goal to support and build state capacity in technology.
Additional Reasons to Participate
  • The Fall 2014 Field Test provides an opportunity for schools to test bandwidth capacity and student scheduling for online testing, prior to the state summative assessment to be administered in the spring 2015.
  • Students will have the benefit of taking an online assessment in a low-stakes situation and practice using common online assessment tools (calculators, highlighters, etc.)
  • Earn TRIG incentive funds in the amount of $3.00 minimum, per test completed (Each content or subject area test consists of two parts, and both parts of the test must be completed to be eligible for the participation incentive. For example, a student who completes both parts of each assessment in ELA and Mathematics will earn the school district a participation incentive of a minimum of $6.00.)  Final amount to be based on the total number of completed tests throughout the state.
  • Teachers will receive an invitation to provide feedback and recommendations for improvement. 
Technology Considerations
  • Schools may use Windows or Mac desktops and laptops to administer the field test assessments. The field test window is September 15, 2014 through October 17, 2014. Schools may administer the field test assessments any time within this five-week test window.
  • NEW - MDE is also seeking schools to administer the field tests on iPads and Chromebooks. This separate window encompasses only these devices and runs from October 20 - November 14, 2014. Additional information on sign up and on testing with these devices will be provided during the next few weeks. Tests completed as a part of this separate window will also qualify for the TRIG participation incentive as well.
Details regarding the minimum requirements for each device type are provided in the Michigan Testing Device Requirements document.
To participate in the Fall 2014 Interim Assessment Field Test, please complete the registration survey for each school. If you have already completed the registration survey, you do not have to complete it again to qualify for the TRIG participation incentive.