NPS Teaching and Learning Flyer

Issue I, December 2022

Students are Learning about Ratios & Fractions

NPS is focusing on MATH this year!

This first issue of the Northampton Public Schools Teaching & Learning Flyer is brought to you by the Director of Curriculum & Instruction, in collaboration with district coaches and NPS educators and with the support of School Leaders and the School Committee's Curriculum Subcommittee members. We hope you enjoy reading about some of the current teaching and learning happening in our schools. This issue highlights mathematics as math is the content area identified for professional development and instructional focus in Year II of the NPS Curriculum Innovation & Review Cycle,

On August 30 and November 8, 2022, all district K-8 math teachers and special education teachers received a full day of training from professional presenters on our new Bridges in Math program and Illustrative Math program. These programs were selected by the Vertical Curriculum Math Team last year (comprised of teachers and administrators) and are being implemented in PK-2 and 3-8 classrooms, respectively, this year. Both programs are standards-based and are designed to help students gain a deep understanding of concepts, key skills, and develop students' ability to solve complex problems.

Fifth graders engaged in using a visual model to explain different fractional representations

"How can we draw a picture to show that 2/6 of the casserole or dinner dish has been eaten? Is there another fraction and diagram we can use to represent the same amount- what does that look like?"

Kindergarten and first grade students are engaged in mathematical thinking

Kindergarten teacher, Laura Mangones, notes how much students are learning through using the new Bridges Math program. On the math unit about shapes, she comments that " the dimensions and the math vocabulary is fantastic and [the program] gives certain kids the chance to shine." She adds, "One Kindergartener recently explained the difference between 2 and 3 dimensional shapes by describing how three dimensional shapes have depth. He used the word depth!"

JFK math teachers and special education teachers of math are taking a FRACTIONS AVMR course this year- taught by math coach and 'AVMR Champion', Diana Smith!

Add+VantageMR® Fractions (AVMR) Course: This course teaches ways to help students develop concepts and strategies with fractions to support algebraic reasoning and applying operations.

Some quotes from JFK particpants on the course:

  • "I wasn't too into this the first week, but every week it gets better. I am really enjoying trying to solve the sample problems and talking about fractions."
  • "Thanks, Diana, this was fun today."
  • "My question is how can we help students jump out of the 'chasm' between part- whole and measurement within our daily instruction?"
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Coach Martin on using AVMR techniques with middle school students:

"I enjoy using AVMR because the program is able to hone in on what is right on the edge of student understanding. This helps build student confidence and affirm their mathematical identities. This is crucial in encouraging historically marginalized groups to pursue mathematics. It's been a great experience gaining these skills and I feel that it has truly changed my understanding of mathematical development and my teaching."

Get acquainted with some of our math teachers and coaches:

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American Math Competition is what many secondary students are choosing!

American Math Competition (MAA AMC) program leads the nation in strengthening the mathematical capabilities of the next generation of problem-solvers. The MAA AMC program helps America’s educators identify talent and foster a love of mathematics through classroom resources and friendly competition. The MAA AMC program positively impacts the analytical skills needed for future careers in an innovative society.The American Mathematics Competitions are a series of examinations and curriculum materials that build problem-solving skills and mathematical knowledge in middle and high school students. JFK is involved in AMC 8 and the Northampton High School is involved in AMC 12 this year! instagram too @northampton_high_school

What is the AMC 8?

The AMC 8 is a 25-question, 40-minute, multiple choice examination in middle school mathematics designed to promote the development of problem-solving skills. The AMC 8 provides an opportunity for middle school students to develop positive attitudes towards analytical thinking and mathematics that can assist in future careers. Students apply classroom skills to unique problem-solving challenges in a low-stress and friendly environment.The material covered on the AMC 8 includes topics from a typical middle school mathematics curriculum. Possible topics include but are not limited to: counting and probability, estimation, proportional reasoning, elementary geometry including the Pythagorean Theorem, spatial visualization, everyday applications, and reading and interpreting graphs and tables. In addition some of the later questions may involve linear or quadratic functions and equations, coordinate geometry, and other topics traditionally covered in a beginning algebra course. Here's an example of a question: What is the number of ounces of water you would need to add to change 9 ounces of limeade (containing 50% lime juice) to a new mix containing 30% lime juice?

Benjamin Greenwood, Tiered Support Specialist, is leading a group of JFK students who have selected to be part of the Northampton AMC team. The group meets during FLEX time (which is built into the schedule) to solve problems together. When asked why he joined the team, Nathan, an 8th grade participant, replied, "I just like doing math. It's really fun subject and you can actually use math in real life situations."

Sample 8th grade question: Jack and Jill are going swimming at a pool one mile from their house. They leave home simultaneously. Jill rides her bicycle to the pool from their house. Jill rides her bike to the pool at a constant speed of 10 miles per hour. Jack walks to the pool at a constant speed of 4 miles per hour. How many minutes before Jack does Jill arrive?

Statistics and Precalculus classes at the High School

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In a statistics class, Mr. Jones shows a visual analogy to a statistics problem using a bag of skittles. When asked about what the group activity is in Ms. Schardl's precalculus class, 11th grader Nevin responds, "We have to figure out a way to space out [stakes on a circle] and find the points on a quadrant." Nevin adds, "Learning how to problem-solve your own solutions is better than if someone just tells you [the answer]."

Roxanne Dorrie, Director of Curriculum & Instruction

The Director of Curriculum & Instruction provides leadership & program management in the following areas:

  • Entitlement Grants
  • Title I Program
  • Educator Professional Development
  • K-12 Curriculum Development & Purchases
  • Instruction and Assessment
  • Mentorship Program & New Teacher Orientation