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Monday, September 24, 2012

FREE online Geometry course

Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District is pleased to provide a free online Geometry course aligned to the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM) and the Michigan High School Content Expectations (HSCE).  It was created during the 2011-2012 school year with funds from a 21st Century Learning Environments Initiative Grant provided by Mason-Lake ISD in cooperation with the Michigan Department of Education.  Algebra I and II on-line courses aligned to the Michigan HSCEs are also available.

These courses are designed to provide an online educational experience that utilizes multi-media materials to develop a thorough understanding of high school math content.  The creators used the Macomb Intermediate School District’s EMATHS trainings as a springboard for content development.  Michigan students will gain understanding through text, audio, video lessons, interactive activities, and worksheets.  Teachers will be able to monitor students’ progress through worksheets and assessments.  In addition, they will have access to a multitude of quality resources in one easy to access location already aligned to the Michigan HSCEs and Geometry CCSSM. 

A “Preview” of the new Geometry course has been created in order for you to examine the content and structure. You can also access the Algebra I and II courses. This site contains information about the courses including the history of development, links to the preview courses and instructions on how to get a copy of a course. 

All three courses were created in Moodle and once downloaded onto your server, full editing permissions will be granted.  If you have questions or comments, please contact

Math Consultant
Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District                                             

Thinking About Changing Your Grading and Assessment Practices?

In collaboration with Michigan Department of Education’s Bureau of Assessment & AccountabilityWayne RESA, and MI Streamnet presents

Thinking About Changing Your Grading and Assessment Practices?
Why It’s Worth Doing – For Your Students and for YOU!”

A Live Video Stream for Teachers, School Administrators, and School Leaders
Tuesday, October 2, 2012 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. EST

Amy Hodgson, Superintendent, will describe how Dansville Schools has progressed from traditional grading and assessment to a student-centered, proficiency-based approach that is increasing student achievement. 
Participants will learn how teachers have applied best practice in the area of grading. Learn the step-by-step process of making these significant grading changes, the pitfalls to avoid and hear stories from students and teachers that will demonstrate why it’s worth it to change your grading and assessment paradigm.

This live event will not be bridged. However, individuals are encouraged to gather together to watch, discuss, and submit questions.
To view on-line, click on the “Live Stream” link located by program date and time, and click in. Participants will be able to download posted documents.

After the live event, this presentation may be viewed on “Video on Demand” section. 
MI Streamnet Help Desk: 1-734-334-5254.

During the live event, you may send questions through the message box or you may email questions.

DVD copies will be available afterward. Cost $10 plus $4 shipping.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Teachers' Expectations Can Influence How Students Perform

repost from NPR

In my Morning Edition story today, I look at expectations — specifically, how teacher expectations can affect the performance of the children they teach.
The first psychologist to systematically study this was a Harvard professor named Robert Rosenthal, who in 1964 did a wonderful experiment at an elementary school south of San Francisco.
The idea was to figure out what would happen if teachers were told that certain kids in their class were destined to succeed, so Rosenthal took a normal IQ test and dressed it up as a different test.
"It was a standardized IQ test, Flanagan's Test of General Ability," he says. "But the cover we put on it, we had printed on every test booklet, said 'Harvard Test of Inflected Acquisition.' "
Rosenthal told the teachers that this very special test from Harvard had the very special ability to predict which kids were about to be very special — that is, which kids were about to experience a dramatic growth in their IQ.
After the kids took the test, he then chose from every class several children totally at random. There was nothing at all to distinguish these kids from the other kids, but he told their teachers that the test predicted the kids were on the verge of an intense intellectual bloom.
As he followed the children over the next two years, Rosenthal discovered that the teachers' expectations of these kids really did affect the students. "If teachers had been led to expect greater gains in IQ, then increasingly, those kids gained more IQ," he says.
But just how do expectations influence IQ?
As Rosenthal did more research, he found that expectations affect teachers' moment-to-moment interactions with the children they teach in a thousand almost invisible ways. Teachers give the students that they expect to succeed more time to answer questions, more specific feedback, and more approval: They consistently touch, nod and smile at those kids more.

7 Ways Teachers Can Change Their Expectations

Researcher Robert Pianta offered these suggestions for teachers who want to change their behavior toward problem students:
  1. Watch how each student interacts. How do they prefer to engage? What do they seem to like to do? Observe so you can understand all they are capable of.
  2. Listen. Try to understand what motivates them, what their goals are and how they view you, their classmates and the activities you assign them.
  3. Engage. Talk with students about their individual interests. Don't offer advice or opinions – just listen.
  4. Experiment: Change how you react to challenging behaviors. Rather than responding quickly in the moment, take a breath. Realize that their behavior might just be a way of reaching out to you.
  5. Meet: Each week, spend time with students outside of your role as "teacher." Let the students choose a game or other nonacademic activity they'd like to do with you. Your job is to NOT teach but watch, listen and narrate what you see, focusing on students' interests and what they do well. This type of activity is really important for students with whom you often feel in conflict or who you avoid.
  6. Reach out: Know what your students like to do outside of school. Make it a project for them to tell you about it using some medium in which they feel comfortable: music, video, writing, etc. Find both individual and group time for them to share this with you. Watch and listen to how skilled, motivated and interested they can be. Now think about school through their eyes.
  7. Reflect: Think back on your own best and worst teachers, bosses or supervisors. List five words for each that describe how you felt in your interactions with them. How did the best and the worst make you feel? What specifically did they do or say that made you feel that way? Now think about how your students would describe you. Jot down how they might describe you and why. How do your expectations or beliefs shape how they look at you? Are there parallels in your beliefs and their responses to you?
"It's not magic, it's not mental telepathy," Rosenthal says. "It's very likely these thousands of different ways of treating people in small ways every day."
So since expectations can change the performance of kids, how do we get teachers to have the right expectations? Is it possible to change bad expectations? That was the question that brought me to the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia, where I met Robert Pianta.
Pianta, dean of the Curry School, has studied teachers for years, and one of the first things he told me when we sat down together was that it is truly hard for teachers to control their expectations.
"It's really tough for anybody to police their own beliefs," he said. "But think about being in a classroom with 25 kids. The demands on their thinking are so great."
Still, people have tried. The traditional way, Pianta says, has been to sit teachers down and try to change their expectations through talking to them.
"For the most part, we've tried to convince them that the beliefs they have are wrong," he says. "And we've done most of that convincing using information."
But Pianta has a different idea of how to go about changing teachers' expectations. He says it's not effective to try to change their thoughts; the key is to train teachers in an entirely new set of behaviors.
For years, Pianta and his colleagues at the Curry School have been collecting videotapes of teachers teaching. By analyzing these videos in minute ways, they've developed a good idea of which teaching behaviors are most effective. They can also see, Pianta tells me, how teacher expectations affect both their behaviors and classroom dynamics.
Pianta gives one very specific example: the belief that boys are disruptive and need to be managed.
"Say I'm a teacher and I ask a question in class, and a boy jumps up, sort of vociferously ... 'I know the answer! I know the answer! I know the answer!' " Pianta says.
"If I believe boys are disruptive and my job is control the classroom, then I'm going to respond with, 'Johnny! You're out of line here! We need you to sit down right now.' "
This, Pianta says, will likely make the boy frustrated and emotionally disengaged. He will then be likely to escalate his behavior, which will simply confirm the teacher's beliefs about him, and the teacher and kid are stuck in an unproductive loop.
But if the teacher doesn't carry those beliefs into the classroom, then the teacher is unlikely to see that behavior as threatening.
Instead it's: " 'Johnny, tell me more about what you think is going on ... But also, I want you to sit down quietly now as you tell that to me,' " Pianta says.
"Those two responses," he says, "are dictated almost entirely by two different interpretations of the same behavior that are driven by two different sets of beliefs."
To see if teachers' beliefs would be changed by giving them a new set of teaching behaviors, Pianta and his colleagues recently did a study.
They took a group of teachers, assessed their beliefs about children, then gave a portion of them a standard pedagogy course, which included information about appropriate beliefs and expectations. Another portion got intense behavioral training, which taught them a whole new set of skills based on those appropriate beliefs and expectations.
For this training, the teachers videotaped their classes over a period of months and worked with personal coaches who watched those videos, then gave them recommendations about different behaviors to try.
After that intensive training, Pianta and his colleagues analyzed the beliefs of the teachers again. What he found was that the beliefs of the trained teachers had shifted way more than the beliefs of teachers given a standard informational course.
This is why Pianta thinks that to change beliefs, the best thing to do is change behaviors.
"It's far more powerful to work from the outside in than the inside out if you want to change expectations," he says.
In other words, if you want to change a mind, simply talking to it might not be enough.

Friday, September 14, 2012

PD: Smarter Balanced - Mathematics

Starting in Spring 2015, Michigan will implement the new assessment system from the Smarter BalancedAssessment Consortium. We will use these assessments for our federal accountability in Math and ELA for grades 3-8 and 11.

A successful implementation of the new assessment system requires planning on all levels: district, school, and classroom. Educational leaders should attend this one-day session to explore and become familiar with the new assessment framework and to begin to plan for a successful implementation on the district and school levels.

Together, we will explore and answer
  • What opportunities will districts, schools, teachers, and students have to access and use the SBAC assessments before 2014-15?
  • To what extent will educational leaders and teachers be involved in the piloting and review phases of development?
  • What tools will be offered as part of the Balanced Assessment system? What type of PD will be provided?
  •  What will happen to our students’ proficiency scores on these new assessments?
  • What will happen to the ACT? When is it going away? Will there be a MEAP assessment in 2014?
  • What support will teachers need in transitioning to the new assessment system?
  • What needs to happen with my district or school’s technology plan so that we are ready for the new assessments?
  •  What do our parents and guardians need to know about the new assessment system?

Pair this session with “Smarter Balanced – ELA" on October 19 to ensure you are fully informed and ready to plan for implementation with fidelity.

Please Note: This is an updated repeat of the May 2012 Smarter Balanced Math session. If you attended that session, you should NOT register for this session. You should plan to attend the "Smarter Balanced (Math): Updates, Opportunities, and Need-to-Knows" session scheduled for April 24, 2013.

Date: 10/9/2012
Time: 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Limit: 80
LOCATION: Kalamazoo RESA's West Campus
SB-CEUs: 0.6, pending approval
$10 additional fee
Trainer(s): Danielle Seabold
Audience: Superintendents, Administrators, Dept. Chairs, Lead Teachers, and Coaches

$60 in-county consortium
$75 out-of-county consortium
$120 in-county
$150 out-of-county

Fee includes morning coffee, lunch and materials

Research: Math Anxiety Starts Young

Math anxiety begins young, with students showing signs of it as early as first and second grade, a University of Chicago researcher says.

Sian Beilock said the youngsters whose school work is hurt the most by math anxiety tend to be the highest achievers. That's because anxiety disrupts working memory, which is typically strongest in those students.
"You can think of working memory as a kind of 'mental scratchpad' that allows us to 'work' with whatever information is temporarily flowing through consciousness," Beilock said. "It's especially important when we have to do a math problem and juggle numbers in our head. Working memory is one of the major building blocks of IQ."
Beilock and three colleagues are the authors of "Math Anxiety, Working Memory and Math Achievement in Early Elementary School," previewed on the website of the Journal of Cognition and Development.
The team found that less adept students tend to deal with arithmetic in other ways than working memory, like counting on their fingers. But they found math anxiety can put students who do depend on working memory as much as a half-year behind those without it.
The study involved 88 first-graders and 66 second-graders in a big-city school system. The team found about half of high-achieving students suffer from math anxiety.
The researchers suggest ways of dealing with math anxiety, including having students write about it before they have to deal with arithmetic.


Fractions resources: FREE

Understanding Fractions
Michigan's Bureau of Assessment and Accountability (BAA) is pleased to announce the latest addition to the MOPLS Mathematics program for the Michigan Online Professional Learning System (MOPLS).

MOPLS Mathematics: Understanding Fractions, is FREE and accessible to all educators who want high-quality professional learning options that not only support their mission to deliver content and instruction aligned to the Common Core State Standards, but also offer ways to engage students who struggle with key concepts in fractions, an area that often presents difficulties for learners.  In addition, the program offers an introduction to balanced assessment for mathematics.

As a reminder, the MOPLS English Language Arts (ELA) program is also available.  This comprehensive professional learning resource not only provides support for teachers who are seeking to align their instruction to the Common Core State Standards, but it also offers a large library of sample lessons and units of study written and submitted by Michigan educators.

Go to Michigan LearnPort to get started by clicking the Login/Sign up link.  Users who are new to accessing Michigan LearnPort content can follow the on-screen directions to create a free login and password.  The programs can be found by accessing the Catalog and searching keywords “MOPLS Math” and “MOPLS ELA”.  For technical questions or problems, contact the Michigan LearnPort Help Desk toll-free at 888-889-2840.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Smarter Balanced Technology Readiness Tool phase 2 released

Beginning in the 2014-15 school year, the Michigan Department of Education (MDE), anticipates replacing the MEAP and MME for ELA and Mathematics with online assessments developed by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC). It is important that Michigan schools make significant progress toward technology readiness to take advantage of this next-generation assessment system.

To assist local districts in preparing for this exciting change, SBAC has developed a Technology Readiness Assessment tool. This online tool will help local school districts and MDE determine current readiness levels and develop implementation plans for ensuring all schools are technologically ready for online assessments.

The second national Technology Readiness Assessment Survey collection window is open now and will be closed on September 30, 2012. Although Smarter Balanced will close the window for its data collection purposes, the MDE will continue to collect submissions until November 29, 2012. If your district has already completed the survey, please review your information to ensure it is current and accurate. Check out more information on how to complete the survey.

MDE staff has scheduled weekly webinars throughout September and October to provide your staff with the information they need to complete the survey by either September 30 or November 29, 2012. 
9:00 a.m. Thursdays, September 6, 13, 20, and 27
1:00 p.m. Fridays, September 7, 14, 21, and 28
9:00 a.m. Thursdays, October 4, 11, and 18
1:00 p.m. Fridays, October 5, 12, and 19

The webinars can be accessed through AdobeConnect®: The audio conference will be accessible through the following number: 
Call-in Number: 215-861-0692, access code: 8828859#

For more information, please send an email or download the MDE memo.

Free daily NCTM brief

Sign Up for your FREE e‑mail news briefing for NCTM SmartBrief.

  • Essential. Only the must-read news for mathematics educators. Published in proud partnership with the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
  • Diverse. Articles chosen from thousands of news sites, blogs, and other sources, delivered straight to your inbox.
  • Concise. Every story is summarized by our expert editors and linked to the original source for further reading.
NCTM SmartBrief brings you the mathematics education news that really matters. Knowledgeable editors handpick key articles from hundreds of publications, summarize them and provide direct links to the original sources.
In other words, we do all the research and you get the latest news in your inbox or on your handheld device, absolutely free. 

Online assessments in 2014-15? Are you ready?

In spring of 2015, Michigan, as well as 25 other states, will launch the first Smarter Balanced assessments for ELA and Math. These assessments will be fully delivered online.

Michigan has set aside $50 million to help districts prepare for online assessment. 

  • What does that mean for you and your district/ISD? 
  • How are you planning on meeting the goal of testing all students online? 
  • Do you have enough bandwidth, connectivity, devices? 
  • Does your District/ISD have the curriculum model to meet these requirements?
MIEM proudly presents
Technology District Readiness Workshop: Get Your Year Started Right
October 10, 2012

Lansing Community College - West Campus
5708 Cornerstone Drive, Lansing, MI 48917 

Cost: $50 for onsite and $40 for attending via video conference. Meals and materials will be provided.

Who should attend? It is recommended that Technology Directors and significant district administrators who are responsible for online assessment of all students. As Technology Directors and others leading the charge in innovation in schools, you need to attend this seminar to understand your role and requirements in the implementation of technology district readiness for your District/ISD.

K12 education is setting up to become one of the larger users of technology, larger than many companies. Technology directors need to be more engaged with the curriculum and how technology is integrated in the classroom. Come hear a panel discussion on how districts have been successful in this crossover.

This workshop will provide you with:
  • Information about how 54321 Michigan! is being implemented and how it will impact your work and how you can stay ahead of the curve.
  • How Technology District Readiness is replacing Technology Planning,how you can give input on the changes and how it will help you.
  • How technology is the driving force for curriculum integration.
  • The very latest information on the 22i Grant.
  • An opportunity to collaborate with your colleagues throughout the state. 
Video conference is available. Please contact Debbie Kopkau to organize a site.

Register online.
Registration form.

Can comforting students who struggle in math demotivate them?

It's OK - you're just not good at math...

Can comforting students who struggle in math demotivate them—and decrease the number of students pursuing math-related subjects?
Four recent studies say yes on both counts. The studies investigated whether holding a fixed theory of ability—that is, believing that ability is innate—leads teachers not only to comfort students for their perceived low ability following failure but also to use practices that promote students’ long-term low achievement.
These are the report’s major findings:
  • Instructors who held a fixed theory of math intelligence more readily judged students to have low ability in math than those who held a malleable theory, which supposes that people can improve their abilities through hard work and practice.
  • Instructors who held a fixed theory of math intelligence were more likely to judge that a student had low ability on the basis of a single initial poor performance. They were also more likely to comfort students for their apparent lack of ability and use “kind” strategies that failed to motivate the students to improve, such as assigning less homework and not calling on them in class.
  • Students who received comfort-oriented feedback—as opposed to more strategy-focused feedback—assumed the instructor had low expectations for what they might accomplish as well as lower engagement in their learning, even when that feedback was expressed positively—as in, “I know you’re a talented student in general; it’s just that not everyone is a math person.” Moreover, these students had lower expectations and motivation concerning their own abilities and performance. According to the authors, “It is not the case that instructors who believed math intelligence to be fixed failed to consider students’ best interests. Instead, it appears that their fixed view of intelligence led them to express their support and encouragement in unproductive ways that ultimately backfired” (p. 716). The authors conclude that an education system that focuses on accepting weaknesses is not as positive as intended.
Authored by Aneeta Rattan, Catherine Good, and Carol S. Dweck, the report is titled, “It’s OK—Not Everyone Can Be Good at Math: Instructors with an Entity Theory Comfort (and Demotivate) Students.” The report appeared in the April 2012 issue of the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.

Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium Update

In collaboration with Michigan Department of Education’s Bureau of Assessment & AccountabilityWayne RESA, and MI Streamnet presents

Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium Update: Live Video Stream
Friday, September 28, 2012 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. EST

A presentation with Dr. Vince Dean, Director of the Office of Standards and Assessment, Michigan Department of Education
This live video-stream is intended for

  • Teachers, 
  • School Administrators,
  • ISDs, and
  • District and Building Assessment Coordinators/Facilitators

The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium has been very busy in the past year developing assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards. Dr. Dean will provide the latest information on the transition to these assessments expected to be fully implemented in the 2014-2015 school year.

This live event will not be bridged. However, individuals are encouraged to gather together to watch, discuss, and submit questions.
To view on-line, click on the “Live Stream” link located by program date and time, and click in. Participants will be able to download posted documents.

After the live event, this presentation may be viewed on “Video on Demand” section. 
MI Streamnet Help Desk: 1-734-334-5254.

During the live event, you may send questions through the message box or you may email questions.

DVD copies will be available afterward. Cost $10 plus $4 shipping.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Part-time high school math position

Academically Talented Youth Program (ATYP) at WMU

ATYP @ WMU is looking for someone to teach Geometry and Precalculus (one class, one topic each semester) this school year.  The class runs from 1:20 - 3:50 pm on Tuesday afternoons from September - June.

ATYP teaches highly advanced middle school students high school math in a compacted fashion. We teach two years of high school math in one year and the students begin the program in either 7th or 8th grade. You can find out more about our program at our website.

For more information or to apply contact:
Dr. Kelly Schultz, Director
Academically Talented Youth Program

Algebra II PD: Get paid to plan for Common Core implementation

EMATHS Algebra II-Embracing Math, Assessment & Technology in HS Algebra II

Are you interested in learning the aligned content, pedagogy, and embedded use of technology needed to engage your Algebra II students in both the Content and the Practices required by the Common Core State Standards for Math (CCSS-M)?
If so, register for this opportunity to explore units of study for Algebra II along with benchmark assessments aligned with the CCSS-M. You will experience these units and assessments through the embedded use of technology.
What do I get?
If you register by the deadline of Wednesday, September 5, 2012, you will receive:
·        all course materials including a TI-Nspire Color CX
·        a reserved spot for the eight full-day, face-to-face sessions
·        a $600 ($150/day) stipend upon completion of the course and all requirements
·        your school will receive $400 ($100/day) to cover substitute teacher costs
·        4.8 SB-CEUs awarded after meeting all course requirements (There is a fee for these.)

What do I need to do to earn the stipend?
You will need to attend ALL eight, full-day sessions. You must also complete all course tasks and activities including the pre- and post-surveys.

In order to register, you must be a Algebra II teacher.

The eight (8) face-to-face days will be Friday-Saturday combinations and will occur on:
To participate, you must register by the end of the day on Wednesday, September 5 AND you must reply to the confirmation email by the end of the day on Thursday, September 6. If you fail to meet either requirement, we will have to forfeit your spot.

Getting your math classroom ready for the school year

The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) has assembled ten suggestions for how to prepare your math classroom for the coming academic year.

The one paragraph of tips include

  • create a classroom that engages you and your kids
  • know and believe in all your students
  • have a "NO NAME" folder
  • share your success