September Math Minute

Every Child. Every Day. For a Better Tomorrow.

Elementary Math Minute

Welcome to the second edition of Elementary Math Minute. This monthly newsletter will keep you well-informed about district and state initiatives, current research, and effective practices in K-5 mathematics education. We hope you find the content of this newsletter useful and look forward to partnering with you to strengthen the teaching and learning of mathematics for all K-5 students in Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools. If you missed the August edition, please click on the link -

Gabr'l Stackhouse & Kaneka Turner

CMS Elementary Math Specialists

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Guiding Principles of Elementary Mathematics in Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools

In Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools we believe the learning and teaching of mathematics should involve:
  • Students talking about the math they are doing;
  • Students using what they understand about numbers to solve problems; and
  • Students sharing and analyzing their own strategies with teacher guidance.

Mathematics in Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools should not be:

  • The teacher standing and talking;
  • Students memorizing procedures; and/or
  • Students copying teacher examples.

Investigations in Number, Data, and Space, the CMS adopted math curriculum, engages students in making sense of mathematical ideas. It provides a coherent, carefully sequenced core of mathematics content and supportive professional development for classroom teachers. Curriculum maps, a supplemental resource developed by classroom teachers throughout the district, provide insight about the mathematical ideas in each lesson and how to gauge student understanding.

As you work to meet the needs of the students in your classroom it is important to note that modifying the curriculum and making it work in your classroom requires a thorough knowledge of the curriculum and your students. It means taking time to understand the mathematics focus of each lesson and how those ideas build over many lessons. Knowing the curriculum also means resisting the urge to change activities because you think they are too easy or too difficult for your students before trying them.

We are here to support you as you work to build mathematically proficient students in your classroom. If you have not already done so, please spend some time reading the Implementation Guide for your grade level to learn more about using Investigations in your classroom.

Take a peek inside an Investigations classroom.

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Curriculum Maps

Curriculum Maps are only accessible in Google and Canvas. Google access is only granted to CMS employees so please use your CMS Google account when signing in to view the maps. Access will not be granted for personal email accounts.

Google Access:


Canvas is our new platform for sharing resources and strategies from the Elementary Mathematics Department. Each grade level has a dedicated course which houses the Curriculum Maps, Scope and Sequence, and instructional resources for your grade level. Please click on the link below for a step by step guide for accessing your grade level course.

Link -

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Clear Goals for Student Learning

Effective mathematics instruction begins with understanding what students are learning and how the mathematics develops across learning progressions. There are several documents that help us understand how learning progress and what students are expected to know and do at each grade level.

  • Common Core Standards for Mathematics - Define what students should know and be able to do by the end of the year.
  • Progression Documents - Describe the progression of a math topic across a number of grade levels, informed both by research on children's cognitive development and by the logical structure of mathematics.
  • Standards for Mathematical Practice - Describe varieties of expertise that mathematics educators should seek to develop in their students.
  • North Carolina Unpacking Document - Provides a detailed explanation of how to teach the Common Core.

The resources can be accessed in Canvas or by clicking on the link below for your grade level:

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The Language of Mathematics

Learning math is like learning a new language. Principles and Standards of School Mathematics (NCTM 2000, p. 60) states that students who have opportunities, encouragement, and support for speaking, writing, reading, and listening in math classes benefit because "they communicate to learn mathematics, and they learn to communicate mathematically" which helps students be successful during math class.

Vocabulary instruction is vital to math comprehension because so much of how we assess students involves story problems. Students are no longer expected to only calculate a numeral problem, they must make sense of the structure of word problems. Part of the sense making involves understanding the vocabulary and while students may excel with computation, their ability to apply their math skills will suffer if they do not understand what the story problem is asking them to do.

As you work to promote vocabulary development in your classroom, consider incorporating journal writing and peer discussion (turn and teach) during instruction.

Contact Us

Thank you for your commitment to the students in Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools. Kaneka and I are excited about the year ahead and look forward to supporting your journey. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us and we will be happy to assist you.

Gabr'l Stackhouse -

Kaneka Turner -