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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Newly released Practice Guide: Improving Mathematical Problem Solving in Grades 4 Through 8

IES has just released their newest practice guide, based on research that meets the WWC gold-standard for evidence.

Improving Mathematical Problem Solving in Grades 4 Through 8

This practice guide provides five recommendations for improving students’ mathematical problem solving in grades 4 through 8. This guide is geared toward teachers, math coaches, other educators, and curriculum developers who want to improve the mathematical problem solving of students.
What can teachers do to improve problem solving in students? The practice guide provides 5 research-backed recommendations:
  1. Prepare problems and use them in whole-class instruction.
  2. Assist students in monitoring and reflecting on the problem-solving process.
  3. Teach students how to use visual representations.
  4. Expose students to multiple problem-solving strategies.
  5. Help students recognize and articulate mathematical concepts and notation.
Check out each recommendation one by one or download the entire practice guide today.

Summer work opportunity for teachers: Smarter Balanced item development

Want to earn $3500-$4500 writing items for the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) this summer?
As a Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) Governing State, the Michigan Department of Education is pleased to provide Michigan educators with the opportunity to apply to be item writers for the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics Common Core State Standards. The item development work for this pilot will take place between June 1st and August 15th, and the deadline to apply is Monday, June 4, 2012

  • Want to learn more?
  • Want to apply?

view the invitation from Smarter Balanced to learn more. Approximately 5-10 Michigan educators will be selected. 

If you have questions regarding this opportunity, please contact Erika Bolig, Michigan’s Teacher Involvement Coordinator for SBAC.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Smarter Balanced: Upcoming call for teachers for summer work

The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium is committed to teacher involvement in the development of the assessment system.

Michigan's Bureau of Assessment and Accountability (BAA) will soon appoint a state-level “teacher involvement coordinator.” This person will serve as the point of contact for recruiting teachers for development and research opportunities. We should all hear from our newly-appointed teacher involvement coordinator within the next couple of weeks.

Here are the latest highlights of upcoming opportunities for teachers to be involved in the work of Smarter Balanced - THIS summer.  

  1. Within the month, the teacher involvement coordinator will begin to recruit teachers for summer work to develop and review assessment items and tasks.
  2. Recruited teachers will attend training sessions and work online in small groups to develop items and tasks. 
  3. Teachers and other educational experts will then review all of the materials for content, bias and sensitivity, and accessibility. 
All of this work will take place THIS summer.

This fall, designated teachers at participating schools will be trained to administer trial assessments to students in their classrooms as part of Smarter Balanced's detailed analysis of how students interact with new item and task formats. 

Additional opportunities for teachers will be offered through independent item reviews, and this fall teachers will also be able to participate in rigorous item review workshops using their experience and content expertise. 

Finally, this fall Smarter Balanced intends to send out an “all call” to classroom teachers across the Consortium, inviting teachers to volunteer to participate in our pilot testing in spring 2013. 

What can you do to stay in the loop? Stay tuned and subscribe to Minds on Mathematics to get the most current, publicly available information.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Adventures with Mathematics: Summer math activities for grades 1-11

  • Are you looking for fresh ideas for math tutorial sessions, student math activities, summer school, or  for “Back To School Night”? 
  • Why not share a game or describe an activity from one of the Adventures with Mathematics activity books? 
Michigan Council of Teachers of Mathematics has created a series of 13 “grade level” books, K-8, Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2, and Probability and Statistics, to enrich, support, and challenge your students both in school and at home.
When parents or your PTO asks for ways to help students in math, recommend that they purchase and use one of these books. If a student is weak in a given area, you can use the alignment chart to suggest specific activities. If a student would benefit from skill practice or experiences to develop concepts, activities and problems are there.
Two ways to order
For additional information you may also contact
Michigan Council of Teachers of Mathematics
Christopher Berry, Executive Director
4767 Stadler RoadMonroe, MI 48162-9424
(734) 477-0421
Proceeds from the sale of these books go to the MCTM Scholarship Endowment Fund that provides financial assistance for future mathematics educators.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Great math questions ripped from life!

Dan Meyer has recently launched 101questions: an online database of mathematically intriguing images and videos ripped from life. You can join the site to submit THE mathematical question that the image or video evokes.

Each week, Dan picks his "five favorites" from the week's submissions and reveals the questions that members submitted.
So what's the mathematical question that comes to mind from this image, "too good to be true"?
Here's this week's Five Favorites:

  • Too good to be trueScott Keltner. So is it … free … then? I give this image strong odds on provoking a class debate and highlighting some of your students' misconceptions of percent growth.
  • Car ChaseRyan Brown. The current darling of 101questions. (12 questions, no skips, as of this writing.) Notice how the first car smacks into the second, which was hidden off-screen. That's stylish camera work!
  • Muggsy BoguesTony Gumbo. The question, "How much shorter is Muggsy Bogues?" is one thing. "How many different ways can you express that difference?" is another. (eg. Absolute v. relative.) Start with the first. End with the second.
  • First day of schoolJohn Golden. "Is your height linear?" It's a striking visual and the units along the "x-axis" are identical so you have a rare moment to examine the growth of height over time using people in photographs rather than points on a graph.
  • PlinkoMichael Pershan. Yeah, great cut at the end there. Where's the wisdom in putting the biggest pay-out beneath the most likely bucket? Bowen? (Related: this image, taken from this video.)
So here are my questions to all math teachers: 

  • How can you use these images and videos in your classroom?
  • How do these questions help to engage your students in the Standards for Mathematical Practice?

Leave your comments and ideas below.

Summer Astronomy Camp for 6th-12th grade students

Do you like to gaze at the stars, moons and planets? 
Are you interested in photography or science research? 
Do you like to meet new people with similar interests? 
If you said yes to any of the questions above, then Astronomy Camp may be the right opportunity for you!
Astronomy Camp is an overnight camp where you can work with experienced teachers and researchers to learn about astronomy. There will be guided activities to learn about constellations, sunspots, astrophotography, variable stars and much more! You may also work on individual or small group research projects. University
researchers and local astronomy teachers will provide guidance for completing your project.

At Astronomy Camp, you will use computerized telescopes, a CCD camera, solar filters, computers and other equipment at the Camp McGregor Observatory. Various astronomy experts will be present to make presentations about current research in astronomy.

Like true astronomers, you will work on your projects at night and sleep late during the day.

Astronomy Research Camp is open to students in 
grades 6th-12th.

The overnight camp will be held at Camp McGregor 
on Crispell Lake, near Jackson.

Dates: 2:00 p.m. 8/13/12 through 12:00 p.m. 

Registration has been extended until June 1.

For more information and to register, check out the application brochure.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Free computers for your school: Computers For Learning Program

Get computers for your school through this federal program. The Computers For Learning (CFL) Program evolved as a guide for implementing Executive Order 12999, Educational Technology: Ensuring Opportunity for all Children in the Next Century. The CFL website enables schools and educational nonprofit organizations to obtain excess computer equipment from federal agencies.

Federal agencies report their excess computers and related peripheral equipment. Then, eligible schools can view and request the available federal excess property at the CFL website.

In order to register, schools must serve some portion of the pre-kindergarten through grade-12 population and operate primarily for the purpose of education.

Once registered, eligible schools can view and request available excess computers and related peripheral equipment. The federal agency that reported the property can then allocate the property to the school or educational nonprofit organization of its choice. After allocation, the receiving school or nonprofit can pick up the property within a certain time period. The school or educational nonprofit organization is responsible for the shipping and handling costs.

Want an overview of the Computers for Learning program? To learn more, watch this video.

Webinar: The Principal’s Role in Bringing the Common Core State Standards to Routine Use

Presenter Judy Carr will focus on the role of the principal in using key levers for change to bring the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) to routine use throughout the school. Within the context of  the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium standards and research on change, participants will examine how to drive implementation of the CCSS using
  • Common vision of effective implementation 
  • Professional development and support 
  • Teacher evaluation and walk-throughs

Tuesday, May 15, 2012
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM EDT

Register now.

Math Teaching Often Doesn't Fit With New Standards

Many mathematics teachers are teaching topics at higher or lower grade levels—and for more years—than the Common Core State Standards recommend, according to preliminary results from new research.
That finding suggests that when the new standards are fully implemented, many math teachers could face significant shifts in what they will teach.
Read the full Education Week article for more information.

Friday, May 11, 2012

StudentsFirst Teacher Fellows Program: seeking teachers

The StudentsFirst Teacher Fellows Program is seeking Teacher Fellows for the 2012-13 school year.
Program goals
to engage current, high-performing teachers in the education reform movement and to position them to serve as leaders among their educator colleagues. This highly selective program provides teachers a broad platform of knowledge and professional development focused on education policy, advocacy and reform. 
What you get as a Fellow
the resources and tools to build and lead active networks of teachers who want to create meaningful change across the education landscape. It is designed to complement the professional duties of full-time teachers by providing an after-hours forum to network with like-minded teachers, engage with national stakeholders, and ensure that progressive, student-centered education policy fully reflects the on-the-ground experiences of frontline professionals.
Find out more

Looking for a Math or Science teacher?

  • Looking for highly qualified secondary mathematics and science teachers?
  • Is your school a Michigan high-need public school? 
Check out the biographies and resumes for STEM teachers who have received their teacher preparation through the W.K. Kellogg Foundations' Woodrow Wilson Michigan Teaching Fellowship program.
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation's Woodrow Wilson Michigan Teaching Fellowship seeks to attract talented, committed individuals with backgrounds in the STEM fields—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—into teaching in high-need Michigan secondary schools.
On this website you will find the biographies and resumes of the 2011-2012 Michigan Teaching Fellows certificated in the areas of Secondary Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Earth/Space Science and Physics. The Fellows have completed and extensive 15 month clinical based certification program at one of the following Michigan Universities: Eastern Michigan University, Grand Valley State University, Michigan State University, University of Michigan, Wayne State University or Western Michigan University.
The Teaching Fellowship is administered by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation and is funded with a $16.7 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Leadership from the Governor's office is also a key part of the program.

Thank you, teachers

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Check out the first ever SBAC newsletter

Check out the first Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium newsletter.

What's Inside...

  • From the Executive Director
  • Inside the State-Led Consortium
  • Supporting Classroom Teachers
  • Engaging Member States and Education Policymakers
  • States Launch Technology Readiness Tool
  • States Convene to Discuss Accessibility for All Students
  • Smarter Balanced Prepares Students for Success After High School
  • Smarter Balanced Engages the Higher Education Community