The Mathematical

November 2019

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Rigor: How Do I Include It and Where?

We can all agree that we need to include rigorous activities with our students to ensure they have a better understanding of what they are learning. Plus, it often provides students a real-world connection they constantly crave.

Rigor can be defined as having three parts:


  1. procedural skills and fluency (how to do the math)
  2. conceptual understanding (why the math works)
  3. application (when and where to use the math)
Although all three components should have equal intensity, this does not mean equal days. It simply means that there should be equal emphasis on each component, and all students should be exposed to all three. While most teachers are experts at the skills and fluency component, a lot still struggle with the conceptual understanding and application pieces. One way to help with this is to incorporate more problem-based learning which provides the application part but also helps with conceptual understanding. These activities should be integrated throughout all parts of the lesson and not just at the end.
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Looking for More Problem-Based Learning?

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How often do you look at a worm and think "I wonder how many linking cubes is it?"

If you are looking for problem-based learning lessons and activities, don't forget to access the list linked to our pacing guides. The one above is called "Shark Bait" and can be accessed here. These are short activities that are sure to grab your students' attention!


K - 5 PBL problems are linked on the Resources page and are arranged by grade and standard. You can also access them from this link. Most of these are set up as a 3-Act task where students are shown a short video and asked a few questions. Once they decide what information they have and need to know, you can proceed to the second part where you provide the information they requested and allow them time to solve their problem. Finally, you will show the third part which includes another short video that reveals the answer. These activities can be done in about 10 minutes or less and can be a great intro to a new lesson or review for a completed one. There are also downloadable recording sheets guiding students through the process.


Middle School Problem-Based Learning activities can also be found in the pacing guides for 6th - 8th grade. They can also be accessed here: 6th, 7th, 8th. These include 3-Act Tasks and other problem-based learning activities that can be searched by standard.

But How Do You Assess 3-Act Tasks?

One of the most common concerns about implementing 3-Act Tasks (also known as problem-based lessons, application problems, or math modeling problems) is “How do you assess them?” Here are four ways:


According to Robert Kaplinisky, these 4 ways are shared on his blog. Use this link to read about these ways to evaluate and see examples.

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Standards for Mathematical Practice

Below are links to PDF copies of the Standards for Mathematical Practice in multiple languages. Click on the image to download the English version.

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The Challenge of Fractions

Students continually struggle with the concept of fractions. This includes the basic understanding of fractions, concrete representations and models, and basic operations involving fractions. Students often lack number sense and tend to use whole number properties to interpret fractions. To help with this, students should be taught the conceptual meaning of fractions. I've put together a small website that houses three modules that include activities, downloadable graphics, and short assessments along with a resource page. You are welcome to use this with your students to introduce fractions or use with students who continue to struggle with them. Link to website.
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Creating a Digital Escape Room for Your Class

Escape Rooms can be fun and adventurous for students. Typically, students solve puzzles (in our case, math puzzles or problems), to escape the classroom. While physical escape rooms in the classroom can be fun, they can be challenging as well with a large number of students. So here is a digital version that might work better for you.
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Here is a planning template created by Ditch That Textbook that you can use to make your own digital escape room. For specific directions on how to complete each step, use this link.


This site will walk you through step by step on how to create the prompt and write the clues. It will also show you how to create an interactive image using Google Drawing and use Google Forms to create the digital locks for students to open.

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Upcoming Professional Learning

Thinking Differently About Practice in Mathematics

Nov 4, 2019 - Webinar, 3:00 - 4:00

The demands of the standards and state assessments have made it necessary to look at practice in mathematics differently. Conceptual understanding and problems within context are essential to developing procedural fluency. Join this edWebinar to learn about effective strategies for helping students obtain computational and procedural fluency so that they retain more of what they learn and avoid common misconceptions. Sponsored by Curriculum Associates, creators of Ready Classroom Mathematics.

Register here. Cost: free


M Squared PL Session

Nov 7, 2019 - Werz - SD2, 3:00 - 4:00 (K-5) and 4:00 - 5:00 (6-12)

This is for 1st year or new to Coweta County math teachers. We will be discussing Infinite Campus, IXL, and other information. Please bring a charged chromebook to the session.


K-2 Collaborative PL Session

Nov 12, 2019 - Werz - SD2, 3:15 - 4:15

All K-2 math teachers are welcome to join this collaboration session. We will be discussing iReady math and other information. Please bring a charged chromebook to the session. Meeting will start promptly at 3:15.


3-5 Collaborative PL Session

Nov 14, 2019 - Werz - SD2, 3:15 - 4:15

All 3-5 math teachers are welcome to join this collaboration session. We will be discussing iReady math and other information. Please bring a charged chromebook to the session. Meeting will start promptly at 3:15.


EOG Constructed Response w/ Melissa Fincher

Nov 15, 2019 - Werz - PLC, 8:30 - 11:30

Join Dr. Melissa Fincher for a half-day packed full of strategies to support students in writing across the curriculum. This PL opportunity provides participants with instructional practices and examples to support Math Constructed Response.

Register here. Cost: $35


EOC Constructed Response w/ Melissa Fincher

Nov 15, 2019 - Werz - PLC, 12:30 - 4:00

Join Dr. Melissa Fincher for a half-day packed full of strategies to support students in writing across the curriculum. This PL opportunity provides participants with instructional practices and examples to support Math Constructed Response.

Register here. Cost: $35


Middle School Collaborative PL Session

Nov 20, 2019 - Evans MS - Media Center, 4:00 - 5:00

All 6-8 math teachers are welcome to join this collaboration session. We will be discussing math strategies and other information. Please bring a charged chromebook to the session. Meeting will start promptly at 4:00.

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Request a Visit

As you continue to reach towards achieving your goals, please utilize me as a resource. I would love to spend time with teachers and admin during your planning or instructional periods. If interested in a meeting, a class visit, or modeling, please complete this form to request a time. You can also send me an email anytime!
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Comments, Questions, or Concerns?

Please contact Michelle Clarke, Math Content Specialist, with any comments, questions or concerns.