Math Coach Blog

Learning and Loving Math Together at Claypit Hill

Issue #3


By now you've probably all received Michelle Crowell's email regarding iReady. Our window opens this Tuesday, September 20th. Like last year, the students will launch with a video to set the stage. You may want to remind your students that this diagnostic will take them as far as they can go. This may mean that a high achieving third grade student could encounter questions that involve negative integers, which don't appear in the frameworks until sixth grade. Some of our students do just fine with struggle. But, as you know, others may become frustrated and feel deflated. Remind your students that the diagnostic will really push them and that they should, just like ay other day in school, simply do their very best.

As a coach who has recently administered iReady as a classroom teacher, I agree that it can be frustrating when an able student rushes, and as a result, the data received does not match what they know and are able to do. You can monitor their progress while they're taking the assessment using your dashboard. iReady flags students who REALLY, REALLY rush. It will not flag general rushing. If you aren't sure how to monitor student progress as they work, just let me know and I'll be happy to show you. In the end, we will be using a wide variety of assessments to monitor student learning. This one data point will not be used to define your students or you as a teacher!

As Michelle said, I will be working with classroom teachers to assess any student who is absent for the classroom administration of iReady. Please click HERE to let me know of any child in your room who requires a make up session.

I always took these diagnostics very seriously as a classroom teacher. The data is valuable when the student works hard and does his or her best. That being said, please don't put unnecessary stress on yourself or your students. It is one snapshot of progress. Don't let this assessment steal your joy or your students' joy.

WIN - Intervention Block

Now that Michael Rosenblum has met with students receiving pull-out intervention, you're probably starting to think about what these invaluable 20 (K-2) to 25 (3-5) minutes will look like in your classroom.

I'm sharing a couple of additional slides below to help you to think about what the adults in the room should be working on and what the students in the room should be working on. I hope they are helpful.

Ideally, you will use data to help you decide which 3-5 students you will focus your attention on. To begin the year, look at the major clusters from the previous grade. Identify 3-5 students who have demonstrated gaps in those critical areas. Over the course of about 3-5 weeks, meet with this group to deliver explicit instruction and to monitor progress. Meanwhile, the other students in your class will be working independently. Some students may be using "My Path" in iReady while others may be playing games to increase their fluency. Fluency work is a critical component of intervention. You might, on a very limited basis, assign students some practice work. This isn't an optimal use of the WIN Block time because students will not be able to receive immediate feedback on their work. I would love to help you grow your practice around intervention if you're willing to have me in. Just let me know. Also, I have access to a plethora of fun, simple, fluency building games, that include variations and differentiation as well as sentence frames to provide language support for ALL students.

Do you want to take a closer look at the priority standards for your grade level and maybe the grade level prior to yours? Achieve the Core has great, easy-to-decipher, documents at each grade level. You can access them HERE.

Let's look at one imaginary classroom as an example:

A second grade teacher may be noticing that a handful of her students lack the prerequisite skills in place value necessary to move through the second grade standards with the confidence that leads to proficiency.

Perhaps they do not understand that the two digits of a two-digit number represent amounts of tens and ones. They might not have command of special cases like: 10 can be thought of as a bundle of ten ones—called a “ten.” and that the numbers from 11 to 19 are composed of a ten and one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, or nine ones and finally, that he numbers 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90 refer to one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, or nine tens (and 0 ones).

Offering explicit instruction in this area will support the important learning that will happen in second grade as students' exploration of place value moves to the hundreds place.

While the teacher is focused on four students in front of her, the remaining students are working independently. Six students are working on their iPads in iReady's "My Path". Another three pairs of students are playing a game where they each flip over two digit cards, they each read the number they've made, they use manipulative to model the number and then compare the two numbers. They may sketch their models. The student with the larger number keeps the cards. Finally, two students are out of the room working with Mr. Rosenblum. While there are some students in this classroom who have IEPs, none have math goals so the special educator is not pushing in during the WIN BLOCK. After a handful of weeks the teacher may assess student progress. At this time she may vary the students she is working with.

Over the course of the school year, this teacher will work directly with all students in small groups. Often it will be to offer intervention but sometimes it will be to offer challenge. When working with students who need a challenge, the teacher will offer students enriching opportunities that push them to think about grade level mathematics going deep into the standards, applying their skills to novel situations. Truly, the goal of the WIN Block will be to provide every student with what they need.

What will the adults and children be doing during WIN Block?

STMath Update

You did it, Claypit Hill teachers! Every student at our school was logged in and active in STMath within the first ten days of school. So many thanks to each and every one of you who welcomed me into your rooms. I have delighted in getting to know your students. Thank you for tolerating my silliness and thanks especially to those of you who joined in. Let's keep STMath joyful. We'll celebrate goals met and milestones reached. Let's not compete but instead motivate one another to set goals so that we can use this program to inspire confidence in our mathematicians. If we do this right, STMath will give our students immeasurable opportunities to work within the math practice standards. They'll learn what productive struggle looks like and feels like and they will grow to enjoy the challenge of mathematics and believe in their abilities to make sense of challenging problems and to solve them.

On Friday afternoons, I'll be popping into a couple of classrooms to celebrate student success in STMath. One K-2 classroom and one 3-5 classroom will be recognized for extraordinary effort each week. Sometimes we'll be recognizing puzzle count, sometimes we'll be recognizing positive habits like the use of tools and perseverance during STMath time. Sometimes we'll be celebrating the extraordinary effort of the classroom teacher to make STMath time powerful and joyful for the students. How will we recognize success? A stuffed JiJi will spend the week with your students until it is time to recognize a new group of students the following Friday.

This week we're recognizing Ms. Curie's 2nd grade class and Ms. Walther's 3rd grade. Both classes solved an impressive number of puzzles this week.

Congratulations to Ms. Huynh and Ms. Whitesides' 2nd grade class. They've met an important STMath milestone.

As a reminder, on Wednesday, September 28th, many teachers will be able to access some in person STMath professional development. Our math leadership team will be working with our new Education Success Manager, Allison Hamblett, to design some PD that is both engaging and useful! Our session will be held right here at Claypit Hill. More information will be coming soon!

If you'd like to get started in creating an amazing STMath culture in your classroom and you want to begin NOW there are lots of resources for teachers on the STMath pages of my website.

Bridges Intervention System Training for Special Educators

Michael Rosenblum and I will be meeting with Claypit's special education team on Wednesday, September 21st to dive into the Bridges Intervention Program together. Stacey Laudenslager has generously agreed to allow us to meet in her room. We will begin our work together at 1:40.

Math PLC Preview

  • Answer any questions about the iReady diagnostic
  • Receive feedback from your team regarding your revised unit 1 assessment
  • Talk about the WIN block and your immediate concerns and needs
  • Set some goals for using iReady during the week
  • Set some goals for using STMath during the week
  • Start to think about how we'll begin our work together