Elementary Curriculum Updates

September 17, 2013

Upcoming Dates to Note:

September 18: Survey for Grade 3 Unit 1 sent out
September 20: District PD Day

September 25-October 2: window for K-5 math quarterly; window for 4-5 CA quarterly

September 27: Survey for Grade 3 Unit 1 due

October 4: Early Release

October 10: Survey for Grade 3 Unit 2 sent out

October 11: Math Pilot Training for 2nd program - Pilot teachers only; Spencer Library

October 11-20: Fall Break

October 25: Survey for Grade 3 Unit 2 due

Information for Units of Study Implementation, Assessments in Mastery Connect, PD, and Revisions

I've had a few questions about Units of Study, the assessments for Units in Mastery Connect, the implementation and revision process, and PD for Units, so I wanted to give an overview what is happening with Units of Study.
K-3: MASTERY CONNECT INFORMATION- While everyone is expected to give the common assessments in Units of Study, only the data from the summative assessments will be required in Mastery Connect this year. The summative assessments for your units will be put into MC (at the district level) as a Benchmark and will show up on your tracker for CC ELA. I will input the formatives as well, and you will be INVITED to add them to your tracker. We know that there are many ways of tracking your students' information; the data for formatives will not be required in MC. If you have questions about any of this, please ask.
K-2: currently in Year 2 implementation
  • It would be helpful to have a rep from each building in your grade level as we meet two times this year to make further revisions in the units. Please discuss with your administrator who will be representing your building in your grade level. Both of these meetings will take place at Room 114 in C Building at Francis Howell High. Please see the dates for revisions below.
  • Building reps will review Units from 1st semester on Jan 14 (Kdg), 15 (1st gr), and 16 (2nd gr) during a release day (sub code 053).
  • Building reps will review Units from 2nd semester on May 27 (Kdg), 28 (1st gr), and 29 (2nd gr) for a stipend.
3rd grade: currently in Year 1 implementation
  • All remaining PD days will focus on the units of study and their implementation.
  • Surveys will be sent out at the end of each unit. These surveys are very important during the revision process. Please take some time to give us feedback to make our units better.
  • It would be helpful to have one rep from each building as we are revising units. Please discuss with your administrator who will be representing your building in your grade level. I prefer to have the same person throughout the year, but if that will not work please have an administrator at your building let me know someone else needs to attend on a particular day. All of these meetings will take place at Room 114 in C Building at Francis Howell High. Please see the dates for revisions below.
  • Building reps will review Units from 1st quarter on October 30 during a release day (sub code 053).
  • Building reps will review Units from 2nd quarter on January 23 during a release day (sub code 053).
  • Building reps will review Units from 3rd quarter on April 10 during a release day (sub code 053).
  • Building reps will review Units from 4th quarter on May 30 for a stipend (053).
4th and 5th Grades: currently being written
  • Unit writing started over the summer and will be completed this school year.
  • The documents going to the BOE in late spring will be posted to HowellNET in early spring. Feedback will be sought from teachers as well as the Curriculum Advisory Council and Academic Strategic Planning Committee (district level committees).
  • Fourth Grade teachers will receive their units and PD on these units on March 25 & 26 at Spencer Library on release days (sub code 053).
  • Fifth Grade teachers will receive their units and PD on these units on April 8 & 9 at Spencer Library on release days (sub code 053).
  • The current plan is for PD days for next year to be focused on Units of Study training and collaboration.

Math Pilot and Math Program Implementation Timeline and Info

Approximately 55 classroom teachers as well as SPED and ELL teachers are involved in piloting two math programs (Math in Focus and Envisions) during first semester. Program selection will be made at the end of the pilot. Teachers involved in the pilot will continue to implement the selected program for the remainder of the year, with adjustments being made to ensure our curriculum has been covered. Surveys from parents and students, input from pilot teachers, student data, and other factors will be considered when making a final decision on a new program.
The district's current plan is to implement the new math program in Grades K-2 for the 2014-2015 school year, with Grades 3-5 implementing in 2015-2016. We have had a few questions about this timeline, and the Academic Team has determined that a survey will be sent out to all K-5 teachers to give input on the timeline. This survey will be one of the data points in the final decision, and will be available in early December.

Substitute Access to HowellNET

Many of you have asked about this, and we are happy to report that substitute teachers who are in need of accessing HowellNET for Units of Study resources can use a sub code that has been set up specific to your building. This code should be provided to subs as part of their orientation information provided at the beginning of the day. For more information, please see your principal.

GOOD ARTICLE: How to Help Students Develop “Grit” in Math Classes

In this Education Week article, Kentucky teacher Alison Wright describes how two students in her Algebra II class reacted when they got back a quiz on which each had the identical score: 6/10. The first student looked at the grade, rolled her eyes, threw the paper on the floor, and loudly complained that the test wasn’t fair and shouldn’t count. The second student read Wright’s comments, reworked the problems to figure out her mistakes, and talked to her after class to set up an after-school meeting to go over the questions and discuss her study skills.

After doing some research, Wright came up with approaches she’s going to implement in her classes this coming year:

Teach students that wrong answers are a helpful part of the learning process.

Use cooperative group work as often as possible. W

Use “A” and “Not Yet” as the only two possible grades.

Details on these approaches can be found in “Developing Non-Cognitive Skills: A Math Teacher’s Perspective” by Alison Wright in Education Week, Aug. 21, 2013, http://bit.ly/12mlcT2

GOOD ARTICLE: Guiding Students to Productive and Polite Online Discourse


In a sidebar of an interview by Jan Umphrey in Principal Leadership, Catlin Tucker suggests the many do’s and don’ts for students’ online discussions. A couple include:

- Address peers by name to create a friendly online tone.

- Compliment peers when they post strong responses or contribute original ideas.
Tucker also suggests sharing the following sentence starters as models for students:

- Although Rio made a strong point that _______________, I think _____________.

- I respectfully disagree with Zach’s assertion that ____________ because __________.

See more in: “Blended Learning”: An Interview of Catlin Tucker by Jan Umphrey in Principal Leadership, September 2013 (Vol. 14, #1, p. 36-41), www.nassp.org; these are excerpted from Tucker’s book, Blended Learning in Grades 4-12 (Corwin, 2012, p. 63-65).