Elementary Math Update

December 2015

In this issue...

Thanks for a wonderful 2015 and while not mathematically correct a great first half of the school year. We have a ways to go but there is something about Christmas that marks the beginning of the second half of the school year! You can find the following in this issue of the Elementary Math Update:

  • NCDPI Updates
  • Testing Updates (Cycle Assessments and more)
  • Tidbits from the "twitosphere"
  • Problems of the Month
  • Professional Development Update

NCDPI Updates

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Testing Updates and Notices

Cycle Assessments:

Cycle assessments are constantly being revised and edited. Many eyes look at the assessments yet many mistakes are missed. As we find them we update the assessments. We try not to make any changes after a test is scheduled to start. Cycle 3 assessments are not due to be given until January. Some schools have taken Cycle 3 assessments for pre-assessment data. This is only an option for Non-Beacon schools. The tests were recently edited for errors and updated. One test had to be recopied and renamed as a result of the errors. This will impact schools who have taken the assessment already. Please know that the Cycle 3 assessments may have different names and numbers. An updated spreadsheet and PDFs can be found using this link:


K-2 Mid-Year Assessments:

The NCDPI mid-year assessments for k-2 are posted and available for all schools. These assessments:

  • are a great source of data around k-2 progress
  • will take time to analyze
  • are not mandatory
  • may be used in the place of cycle 3 assessments
  • have about 10 tasks
  • must be printed by the school
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What's happening on Twitter!

Twitter has been on fire with math ideas and collaborations! There are a few math coaches who are particularly interesting to me. I have included work from their blogs or Twitter feeds. Twitter is a great place to share and find ideas. It is really as easy as posting your thinking or wondering and waiting for responses. There are also so many people online seeking the insight of other professionals. It is a great place to network and problem solve. Check out the links below. I tried to add share as a response to frequent questions that I am getting in the field.

How do we get this students to reason about numbers and develop some "sense" of the numbers?

How do I engage students who already feel like they know the answer?

Why must you show your work if you already know the answer?

What have you seen lately that I could use in my classroom?

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Schools to watch

Schools to watch:

Being a school to watch is not about perfection. It's about trying strategies and being willing to work through the hiccups together as a staff. Smithfield and Devonshire are both doing this work. I find both sites to be refreshing examples of practices in progress, which is just what teachers and facilitators need. Sometimes seeing "perfection" makes strategies harder to grasp.

Number Talks

I was recently invited to come see Kindergartners working on Number Talks at Smithfield Elementary. If you have teacher who want to ask another teacher about how to get started with such young children you should call Smithfield.

AMC Data and Stations

Devonshire's grade 1 teachers are taking AMC on as a grade level. They have embraced personalized learning and have some really good ideas cooking. It's a work in progress but they each have unique ways for developing independence, monitoring student progress and running a classroom with many things going on at once. I would call Devonshire if you want to see AMC up and running.

Are you a school to watch? Invite me out so I can share with the district some of the great practices going on at your sites!

Where can we find good problems?

Check out the leveled problems of the month that would be great for developing a school-wide culture for mathematic thinking and learning. Many of you have asked me for good problems. Start here! Let me know how this goes for you.

Congratulations Rebekah!

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Professional Development Opportunities

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Math Leadership Conference 2016: January 25th

We are excited to host the first math facilitator/lead conference of 2016. In the past this opportunity has allowed us to showcase the great things that are taking place in so many buildings. All sessions will be 1 hour and we will need your help! Gabe and I will be running sessions all day but will need 2 additional presenters each hour to pull this off. Please review the following list of desired topics and let me know if you or a teacher in your building would be willing to share or if you have a different topic that you would like to share. We will provide support for getting materials ready and securing space for the sessions. A full conference schedule will be posted by Wednesday January 13th.

  • Interventions for addition and subtraction***
  • Attacking multi-step problems
  • Extending learning without leaving the grade level content
  • Building fluency with in 5/10 and 20 for grades k-2
  • Using AMC in personalized learning
  • How to teach division to 4th and 5th graders
  • How to teach multiplying and dividing decimals to 5th graders
  • How to teach multiplying fractions to 4th and 5th graders
  • Interventions for place value***
  • Using ten frames to build fluency
  • Do the Math Implementation
  • Implementing Number Talks
  • Using mentor text to teach major math concepts
  • Math for teachers: Understanding the addition & subtraction I teach
  • Math for teachers: Understanding the multiplication & division I teach
  • Math for teachers: Understanding the fractions I teach
  • Unpacking word problems using literacy strategies

A great video and teaching practice for math class!

inside mathematics: Creating a Culture of resilience in math

Please forward questions to us at:

Gabr'l Stackhouse can be reached at gabrlc.stackhouse@cms.k12.nc.us. We appreciate your time and all that you do for students in CMS.