Math Department 3rd-5th Grade

Week 4 News/Updates "Focusing on Essential Content"

Team Message:

For the past 4 weeks our focus has been on "Creating a Positive Classroom Environment" focusing on those PPCC GRIT strands. We will continue to keep PPCC at the forefront, but turn our eye toward Essential Content over the next few weeks.


What does Essential Content (EC) consist of?

In a nutshell, this subdomain of our GRIT Rubric focuses on the quality of instructional materials you put in front of students, the clarity and accuracy of your lesson including how you address misunderstandings and content vocabulary, alignment of activities, and overall lesson alignment to state standards.


District Trends:


  • Teachers addressing few or no misunderstandings "proactively", most teachers are being "reactive" with clearing up misunderstandings which is less effective and takes up more instructional time.
  • In some cases content delivery is unclear to students. Here is a rule of thumb if more than half of your students are confused or struggling with guided/independent practice, it's more than likely a teacher error. Try explicitly modeling another example being sure to verbalize your thinking for students. Also, make sure you are reinforcing key points with a call and response, cold call, etc. and checking for understanding of key points throughout.
  • Inconsistent use of content and academic vocabulary. Engage NY has a language of it's own. It's imperative that we highlight and incorporate content vocabulary throughout the lesson. Content Vocab. vs. Academic Vocab? Content vocabulary will be the terms from the curriculum (noted in each module overview) and specific to grade level content. Academic vocabulary would be other terms that support the content but are not necessarily noted in the curriculum. For Example: equation, inverse operation, decompose, factor, addend, horizontal, linear, etc.


Why turn our eyes toward Essential Content? Well, it's simple! Ask yourself "am I proactively addressing misunderstandings, is my content delivery always clear to most students, is the use of vocabulary essential to the content used seamlessly throughout my lesson?" If the answer is yes, Kudos to you keep it up! If the answer is no or not all the time own it and self correct or reach out for support! Our department goal is for 100% yes over the next quarter!

Curriculum Alert:

  1. Weekly Pacing Calendars have been created and loaded to our Sharepoint page. This was in response to the growing fear of getting off pace or feeling unprepared for upcoming district wide assessments. Use it as a guide to keep yourself on track!
  2. End of Module 1 Assessment and Grading Rubric/Scale has been loaded to Sharepoint. Note: The expectation district wide is that the EOM 1 assessment is given to students by September 18th, graded, and loaded to School Runner!
  3. Engage New York Module 2 Final Draft Curriculum Resources will be loaded to SharePoint on September 4th!

Math Department Resource Hub on Sharepoint

This is a working hub that will evolve and grow throughout the school year. You will find both resources from Katrina and the C & I Team here.


3rd-5th Grade Math Resources and Curriculum 2015-2016 School Year direct link: (copy the whole link and paste it if it doesn't open)

https://tnasd.sharepoint.com/teams/academics/_layouts/15/start.aspx#/SitePages/3-5 Math Additional Resources.aspx

Math Department Resource Hub on Sharepoint 2014-2015 School Year Direct Link:

SPOTLIGHT: Team 5th Grade

Huge SHOUT OUT to Team 5th Grade Allison Thompson WAES, Deborah O'Neal GHAES, Lozie Guy FAES, and Mildred Clark CAES!


They exemplify TEAM WORK, WHATEVER IT TAKES, and NO MAN LEFT BEHIND when it comes to planning, sharing resources, and providing support of any kind to each other. Whenever 1 does something amazing or figures out a cool new way to do something you can believe the rest of their teammates will know about it!


Way to lead the pack 5th grade!

Spotlight Video: Check Out Allison Thompson Reinforcing Her Systems and Routines Guiding Question: How is Allison setting her class up for a successful lesson filled with student engagement?

General Tips for the 4th and 5th Week of School:

  • If you are confused, students will be confused! Know the lesson content before delivering the lesson to students. Need extra support internalizing the content? Be on the look out for an invitation to "Pair Up and Share Up" walk through content with a partner. In the mean time check out the link below for Engage NY videos.
  • Stick to the plan, but be flexible where needed! Use tangible student data to drive how and when you adjust.
  • Make learning fun!
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How are you using Guided Notes to Maximize Instructional Time? Check out a few examples from across the district!

Student Work Samples

Shout Out to Lozie Guy for creating and sharing his newsletter! Over the next nine weeks I challenge all Math teachers to create and distribute a newsletter either weekly or biweekly! Just imagine the impact!

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Tips for Instruction- Teach Like A Champion (TLAC) Week 4 and Week 5:


  • No Opting Out
  • Right is Right
  • Name the Steps
  • Board = Paper
  • Double Plan
These are a few that you will hear mentioned in feedback and next steps. You can find a quick reference guide for these TLAC techniques on our Math Sharepoint page.



  • Spotlight Technique #10: DOUBLE PLAN -- Most lessons focus on what you, the teacher, will be doing – what you will say, do, collect, and assign. Teachers often forget to plan what the students will be doing. What will students do while you model examples? Will they take notes on a graphic organizer or their guided notes doc? Will they review those notes in a "think pair share"? To help you see the lesson through the students’ eyes try creating a T-chart listing what you will do on one side and what the students will do on the other.
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    Remember: "If you want to sustain a positive classroom culture you must have effective essential content practices!"