BCS Elementary Mathematics

Winter 2016

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As we enter the next part of our school year, it is a good time to celebrate the great work that has been happening across our district in the area of elementary mathematics.

  • Our district math team participated in a professional learning session focused on Intentional Talk. We looked at how to move our level of discourse to more intentional frameworks. Teachers at the school level are benefitting from the experience as the math teams at schools like Glen Arden, Emma and Hominy Valley, facilitate sessions back at their schools!
  • Our district math team engaged in an ED Camp and had the opportunity to hear a talk by Dr. Drew Polly on Rich Tasks. Many schools, such as CC Bell and Fairview, are holding their own Ed Camps.
  • Lead Teachers in grades K-5 completed Fluency Practice experiences for all the major work units.
  • Our APLUS grant offered all our new to BCS K-2 and EC teachers sessions and materials.
  • Our Parent Math Website was launched!
  • First and second grate teachers across the district attended sessions to examine student work, levels of solution strategies and situational vs solution equations.
  • A team of teachers attended and completed a Developing Mathematical Ideas Seminar focused on algebraic reasoning!

Let's keep moving forward with our learning!

Coherence Across Standards and Grade Levels

New Interactive Progressions Site

Achieve the Core has released a new coherence map which shows the connections between and among the mathematics standards. You can view prior grade level standards, related upcoming standards, and connected standards within the grade level. This will be a critical tool in identifying gaps in prerequisite understandings and for supporting within grade level supports for the major work.


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Seeing Struggling Math Learners as ‘Sense Makers,’ Not ‘Mistake Makers’

An excellent article on how to support student sense making and a growth mindset!


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Supporting the Range of Learners: Productive Struggle for Our Students Who Need a Challenge

This site has rich tasks by grade level and by domain. The tasks are open ended and offer problems that are worth solving! The tasks are easy to offer and can be included as part of your math workshop or as an ongoing exploration.

Consider how you can ensure that your most competent mathematicians are engaged in productive struggle.

  • What question(s) can you pose that press students to deepen the goals of your lesson?
  • How might a student work with the underlying algebraic ideas of the lesson/ problem?
  • How can you make the task they just worked on more problematic?


Three Act Tasks

Three Act Tasks originated from the work of Dan Meyer. Students are engaged with a real world problem through either a picture or a video clip. Introduce the central conflict of your story/task clearly, visually, viscerally, using as few words as possible. The students are then asked to create their own questions, share observations and make estimations. The teacher supports this work and keeps the focus on the problem to be solved. This is ACT 1.

The protagonist/student overcomes obstacles, looks for resources, and develops new tools.The students then explore the problem, come up with their solutions, share and compare solutions. This is ACT 2.

Resolve the conflict and set up a sequel/extension. A solution to the problem is shared via video, or photos and the students compare the result to their findings. This is ACT 3.

Check out these resources for Three Act Tasks!

Dan Meyer explains how to engage with 3 Act Tasks :


Three Act Task Bank:


A collection of tasks : http://wmh3acts.weebly.com/3-act-math.html

Three Act Lessons : http://gfletchy.com/3-act-lessons/

Would you like for Meg or Marta to come to you classroom and try one? Email us!

OR try one out with your team and email us your observations!


We have very packed and rigorous curriculum maps which offer additional print and online resources to support instruction. Sometimes we may find a new resource that might extend or support our core instruction. Or we may find resources that assist us with remediation or enrichment blocks. In order to ensure equity and consistency of math goals and instruction across schools in our district, we have historically had an informal vetting process in place. This fall, the math office used multiple resources to create our own BCS Math Materials rubric. We hope that this rubric increases transparency and objectivity around the vetting process. You may view (and we welcome feedback) the rubric here. This rubric will be completed by a working committee for any materials requested to be purchased using Title One funds. We are also keeping the list of vetted materials updated with those that are approved for you to view. Additionally, we have complied a request form that we hope is easy to use for you to submit materials to the rubric process. This form can be found here.

Again, all of these efforts are to increase transparency and objectivity around approving materials - we welcome your feedback and suggestions around both of these forms. Please contact our K-12 Math Specialist, Stefanie Buckner, with questions, comments, and suggestions (stefanie.buckner@bcsemail.org)

Rubric and Request Form: https://docs.google.com/a/bcsemail.org/document/d/1spZydAfjd3y4s8KIvw0_KZsH_ujG4XR-pJTaGbsUKX4/edit?usp=sharing

Link to Materials:


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First and Second Grade Sessions: Supporting and Nudging Students' Computational Strategies

Thank you to all the teachers who attended the sessions! We had very engaging conversations about student work, the continuum of solution strategies and how to support students' progress toward end of year standards. We are seeing some amazing work from first and second graders!

We used the word " nudge" throughout our work to help remind us that we are working to analyze a student's current level of understanding and to then support a move toward an accessible next step. While we can offer our whole class strategies to use and can encourage more efficient strategies, it is important that we stay focused on individual children's current stage of understanding. As we carefully invite students to try on new more efficient strategies, we are being watchful to not impose strategies on the whole class. Anchor charts and anchor documents are used to capture students' current strategies and to model notation. We want to be sure that our anchor charts do not become "algorithms or rote procedures" for solving problems.

Please let us know if you need any further support or clarification of the work we did.

NCCTM Western Regional Conference

Put this date on your calendar! North Carolina Council of Mathematics will be hosting this free conference on February 27, 2016.

Go to this link to register:


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New DMI Seminar! Making Meaning of the Operations

Monday, Feb. 29th, 3:30pm to Monday, May 2nd, 5:30pm

Central Office Room TBA

Go to this url to sign up! http://goo.gl/forms/JAFyEbdA0M

2.0 CEU Credits

Location: Central Office Room TBA

Dates 2/29 3/14 4/4 4/18 5/2