Testing Window:

January 11, 2016–February 12, 2016

Diagnostic Window:

January 18, 2016–February 19, 2016


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· Multiplication/Division Fact Fluency-each student is working on activities to support their individual goal

· Support Activity #33: Fraction Decimal, Dollar - See Eduphoria-Fact Fluency Tab – 5th Grade Fluency pg 295

· Repeat Support Activity # 28: Fraction Bingo from last week or Wipe Out Game from Week 5

· Simplify & Compare – See Eduphoria – 2nd Nine Weeks – Skills Block Tab for this document


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Let’s face it–data is everywhere. In a school setting, the data that drives our instruction comes from assessments, which we usually classify as either formative or summative. Typically, we define formative assessment as assessment for learning. It is more informal and usually comes in the form of quick, frequent assessments. Think Tickets In, questioning, journal reflections, and teacher observations or discussions from small group instruction. Formative assessment is taking the pulse of student understanding so we can plan our next moves. Summative assessment, on the other hand, is assessment of learning. This type of assessment comes at the end of instruction and assesses how well the students have mastered the objectives. Summative assessments can be, among other things, unit tests, district tests, or state tests. But are summative assessments the end of the road? Of course not! The data that is produced from summative assessments serves as the basis for our remediation efforts. You give a unit test, you analyze the data and remediate as needed. But we have to use the data in the right way if our math remediation is to be effective. What does that mean?

Remediate the skill, not the grade

We have to resist the temptation to remediate based solely on the grade. Of course a child that makes a 60 needs remediation, but where do you start? Our test title might say Place Value Test, but in reality it probably covers several place value concepts and standards. The overall grade of 60 tells you little about the student’s actual needs. That student might have gotten every question about expanded notation correct, while missing all the questions about comparing and reading decimals. Likewise, a student who scored an 80 might not seem to need remediation. But what if he missed all three questions on expanded notation? If we remediate solely on the overall grade, that student would be moved right along without understanding an important concept. That’s how gaps begin.

Remediate the skill, not the question

If you think this sounds a bit like the last section, you’d be correct. Just because students miss the same question, that doesn’t mean they have the same remediation needs. Look, for example, at this question:

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The skill being tested is multiplying a decimal by a whole number, right? Now, think of the ways a student could miss this problem. They might place the decimal in the wrong place. They might not have a successful strategy for multiplying a 3-digit number by a 2-digit number. They might have added the two numbers. Or they might get the multiplication and decimal placement right, but have a fact error when multiplying. Would all four of those errors require the same remediation? No, of course not. That’s why you can’t rely on the data that comes from a scantron. You have to look at the mathematical thinking the student puts on the paper.

Forming math remediation groups

Once you have carefully analyzed your data, you plan remediation groups accordingly:

  • The students who missed the question because of decimal placement most likely don’t have a solid foundation in place value. Go back to the base-10 blocks and pictorial support to help students better understand place value in general and, more specifically, multiplication of decimals.

  • The students who don’t have a successful strategy for multiplication form a group learning strategies for multiplying, using concrete or pictorial support as needed. Strategies could include the area model or partial products leading to the standard algorithm.

  • Have a conversation with the student who missed the problem due to a fact error. It’s important that students understand their mathematical strengths and weaknesses. Explain to the student that he did all the hard math correctly, but still missed the problem due to a fact error. Provide the student opportunities to practice his basic facts.

  • The students who added clearly did not comprehend the problem. These students need strategies for understanding what the four operations look like in word problems. Work with these students to analyze problems and determine the operation. Learning to draw models to help them visualize the problem will be an important part of their instruction. Their emphasis is not solving the problems, just analyzing them to determine the operation.

Bottom line, our data is only useful if we use it correctly, and that means digging down to the skill level.


· Multiplication Fact Fluency-each student is working on activities to support their individual goal

· Investigation Unit 4 Session 1.2: Measurement Tools – Make sure to do the discussion titled “Estimate or Exact?”

· Perimeter Problems Lesson – See Eduphoria-This is not covered in your lesson block time –only in Skills Block. This is an extension of 3rd grade TEKS.


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Remediation…Who Needs It?

I was a classroom teacher for many years, an instructional coach for several more, and I currently serve as a K-5 math interventionist. Each role has allowed me to look at remediation through a different lens. Now that I am intimately involved in the Response to Intervention (RTI) process, I am seeing patterns emerge in how we identify and service students deemed at-risk in math. It can’t all be about classroom grades or standardized test scores. We have to look at the underlying reasons for a student’s struggles. And if we are identifying large chunks of our student population as Tier II or Tier III, we have to look deeper for systemic reasons.

Students with Behavioral Issues

Let’s just take this one off the table. If a child is failing math because of a behavior issue, I can’t help. Sure, I can forge a relationship with the student and coax the math out of him, but you can do that as easily as me. It does no good to put a student with behavior issues in a math remediation group with students who truly need remediation.

Students Who Lack Current Grade Level Skills

Face it, students do not all learn at the same pace. Some learn more quickly and some more slowly. If a teacher tries to teach all students at the same pace, some will fail. That doesn’t mean those students need to be pulled out for remediation. It probably means that the teacher should reflect on her instructional strategies to determine if they are meeting the needs of all students. A teacher who underutilizes small group instruction will likely have a higher percentage of students not mastering grade level skills, because whole group instruction will not adequately meet the differing needs of students.

Students Who Lack Number Sense

These students are probably good candidates for RTI. If a student does not understand how tocompose and decompose numbers, see the relationships between the operations, or lacks a basic understanding of place value concepts, they will undoubtedly fall further and further behind in math until those foundational areas are addressed. That said, this is the primary learning that is going on in K-2, so if a student lacks number sense in K-2, it could be argued that they just lack current grade level skills. So then we go back to the last conversation–is the teacher differentiating instruction and working with students in small groups at their level?

Students Who Can’t Apply Mathematics

They can multiply, but when it’s in a word problem they bomb it!” These are often the students who fail standardized tests. Students need to always see mathematics in context. Sure, they need to learn computation skills and how to generate equivalent fractions, but if they learn those skills in isolation, they never see the application of the skills in a real-world setting. Just as we have to teach students mathematical concepts, we have to teach them how to dissect and solve word problems. This should not involve tricks and key words, it must happen through modeling and strategic instruction, including reading comprehension strategies. In Texas, process standards are embedded into 75% of the items on our state assessment. If we don’t embed process standards into 75% of our classroom instruction, our students will not be successful.

Students with High Mobility Rates

My heart goes out to these kiddos. Their families can’t stay put in one place long enough for them to learn anything! They often come to us with huge gaps, because as they move around they miss big chunks of learning. These students definitely benefit from intervention, which can close the gaps and get them back on track.

Students with Learning Difficulties

There are students who, despite our best instructional practices and efforts, can’t seem to overcome their struggles. Additional testing is often required to determine if these students require the specialized talents of a special education teacher.



· Multiplication Fact Fluency-each student is working on activities to support their individual goal

· Motivational Math Unit 29 pages 320-325


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