Secondary Math Newsletter

January 2016

In this issue...

*Sign Up for Transformational Geometry Professional Learning Study

*New Resources Website

*Course Titles

*Math Resources for 21st Century Learning

*Book Review: Mathematical Mindsets by Jo Boaler

*Move to the SAT: what are the implications for Aurora?

Limited Space Still Available!

Calling all 6-12th grade math teachers! Don't miss this outstanding opportunity for professional learning. The Common Core Standards has taken a different approach to Geometry than what most of us learned in school. The study of Geometry through a transformational lens is important professional learning for us. This study gives you the opportunity to increase your content knowledge in this important area with no cost to you - you will even be paid for your participation - What a Deal! Check out the flyer linked below or click on the link above to sign up.


New Resources Website

Now available! A new place to access the resource binders for your planning guides. We have moved the planning guides to a new website rather than the old dropbox location. Over the next few months we will be adding additional resources to this site to enhance your planning experience. If you have suggestions for enhancements, please let Gretchen know.

Landing Page Link

Course Titles

This fall the course catalogs for secondary math courses received an overhaul. We were looking to eliminate duplication (such as Math 7 and Mathematics 7 as two separate courses) and to inactivate courses that were no longer in use. Over the process we got input from ESS and counseling department as well as requesting feedback from principals and teachers. Here is a summary of the courses that will be available for the 2016-17 school year as well as an explanation of the changes that were made.

Middle School

High School

Math Resources for 21st Century Learning

As a district math team, we have begun the process of looking at our math resources. We are asking the following questions to guide our thinking as we design a process for exploring math resources for 21st Century Learning.

*What does 21st Century learning look like in a math classroom?

*What is the role of math curriculum resources in creating 21st century learning experiences?

*How can a math curriculum resource support teachers in creating learning experiences which develop 21st century skills along with deep math content knowledge?

We will begin with gathering a small team to explore 21st century learning in math class and to design the process for researching potential resources for APS.

If you have any questions or are interested in being involved in the process, contact one of the math ICs.

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Book Review

Jo Boaler's new book, Mathematical Mindsets is a great read with compelling ideas backed up by research. Here is an excerpt from the Summary:

"Teachers, parents and leaders have the opportunity to set students on a growth mindset mathematics pathway that will bring them greater accomplishment, happiness, and feelings of self-worth throughout their lives. We need to free our young people from the crippling idea that they must not fail, that they cannot mess up, that only some students can be good at math, and that success should be easy and not involve effort. We need our students to develop Growth Mathematical Mindsets. I hope that this book has given you some ideas that can start or reinvigorate your own journey into creative and growth mathematics and mindset that will continue throughout your life. When we encourage open mathematics and the learning messages that support it, we develop our own intellectual freedom, as teachers and parents, and inspire that freedom in others."

The book includes an extensive appendix with all of the math tasks that are referred to in the numerous narrative examples of the instruction that develops a growth mathematical mindset.

I highly recommend this book. I found it both informative and inspirational. -Gretchen

Move to the SAT: What are the implications for Aurora?

Colorado's move to the SAT corresponds with a major overhaul of the SAT. This spring will be the first administration of the new test. There are several structural changes and some content changes that we should be aware of as we prepare our students for the new test. The good news is that the changes generally make the SAT more like the ACT that we are more familiar with. The guessing penalty has been eliminated and the essay is optional just like the ACT. The new SAT will have two math sections: a non-calculator section for 25 minutes and 20 questions and a calculator section for 55 minutes and 38 questions. For the first time, the SAT will be offered on the computer (I do not know if we will be using the computer option this year or not). The content on the SAT math will be in the following areas:

Heart of Algebra 33%

Problem Solving and Data Analysis 28%

Passport to Advanced Math 29%

Additional Topics in Math 10%

The bottom line is that the SAT is more heavily focused on Algebra and has a significant increase in data analysis which includes reading and interpreting graphs. This leaves little room for Geometry (one source I read claims that there are only 6 questions on Geometry and Trigonometry). The SAT also will not include questions on logarithms, graphs of trig functions and matrices which have appeared on the ACT. What all this means for Aurora is that we do not have to make any major shifts to better prepare students for the SAT rather than the ACT. In fact, our integrated structure at the high school may serve students better since we do not spend an entire year on only Geometry as districts with a traditional curriculum do. If you do use sample ACT items in your classes, you may want to shift to using sample SAT items. There are plenty to choose from including 4 practice tests that can be found here as well as an app that students can download that gives them a practice question every day (it includes literacy questions as well as math). Overall, I do not think that the shift to the SAT should be causing any panic. Continue to teach math for understanding and the test will take care of itself.

Note: This year's juniors will still take the ACT

Sophomores will take the PSAT.