GCCTM Newsletter

August 2013 Edition

News from the GCCTM President

What’s the most common “writing prompt” for the beginning of the school year?? “How did you spend your summer?”

My response: On July 8, I became a “nana”!! Brent Elijah Waters is now 6 weeks old, and already walks on water!!! Needless to say, that has trumped most of my “math thoughts” !! J

Please be on the lookout for Common Core updates and available inservices and training to help you implement them. There are already several on the schedule from Rita Bixler and Cathy Hale. Not only do those classes help you become more comfortable with the “new” way of approaching teaching math, but they also provide opportunities for you to collaborate and compare with your colleagues throughout the district! Be sure to take advantage of as many as you can!

Welcome back! Hope you have a wonderful year!

Patty Rhoney

President, GCCTM

How to Teach Math as a Social Activity

via Linda Manley

As I start a new year, I find myself once again wanting to establish the best learning community I can. Personally, I try to incorporate hands-on activities as often as possible. Often when I reflect on the learning I realize “something” was missing. There are many social skills needed to effectively engage students in cooperative learning. This video takes you through the steps of establishing a cooperative learning math lesson. How to Teach Math as a Social Activity

Other ideas for YouTube:

Race to a Dollar

Rockin’ the Standards Place Value Rap

Area and Perimeter Song

Multiplication Rap (2's and 3's)

How Familiar are you with Common Core Standards?

Myth vs. Fact Setting the Record Straight for Common Core

As we move into the “bridge year” of implementing Common Core Standards, we frequently read in news outlets criticisms and inaccurate claims related to the Common Core State Standards. The attached article (Myth vs Fact) from the Conservatives for Higher Standards website is an effort to set the record straight on this important education reform. (Conservatives for Higher Standards website was launched by the Foundation for Excellence in Education and the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. )

See also the letter of support below for CCSS from CBMS (Conference Board of Mathematical Sciences) of which both NCSM and NCTM are members.


Common Core State Standards' Myths and Facts

Prepare for More Realistic Test Scores

The article by Steve Leinwand and Matt Larson which appeared in the May issue of the NCTM journal The Mathematics Teacher

Rigor and the Common Core Standards via Cathy Hale

It is an exciting time to teach math! As we embark on the 2013-14 school year, the buzz at the water cooler will certainly be about the Common Core standards and their implementation at all grades. No doubt that some of the talk will lead to questions and concerns surrounding rigor and the new standards. The term “rigor” does not appear in the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, but it is certainly implied. The chart below gives a quick glimpse of the connections between rigor and Common Core.

We must consider rigor in planning lessons, tasks, and assignments. Rigorous lessons build on and extend prior knowledge. They encourage productive struggle. Although the objective of a lesson should be clear, it should not focus on one correct path to a solution or even one correct answer. A rigorous lesson embraces the messiness of a good mathematics task and the deep learning that it has the potential to achieve.

So, get messy! Help your students become “mathematicians” as they engage in rigorous tasks and assessments. The focus and coherence of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics lead the way to rigorous instruction.

Back to School

Using A Glyph As An Icebreaker via Faith Deaver

A Glyph is short for hieroglyphics. Hieroglyphics refer to writing stories in the form of a picture. The pictures tell a story with each of the symbols representing a word in the symbols. It allows students to create a data stream that can be transferred into mathematical glyphs so they can organize and analyze the data from these picture stories in several visits.

Name Tag Glyph Activity

This activity is a good one for the beginning days of school when teachers are trying to get to know students’ names. Students will need oak tag or other card stock paper and crayons or markers to create their name tag.
  • Hold paper landscape and fold it horizontally.
  • Before writing the name on the nametag do the following two things:
    • What is your position in the family?
      • Oldest – write your name in red
      • Youngest – write your name in green
      • Middle – write your name in black
      • Only Child – write your name in blue
    • Are you new to the school?
      • Yes – write in manuscript and add dots to the letters
      • No - write in manuscript
  • Draw the following symbol on your name tag to indicate the month in which you were born:

January – snowman July – sailboat

February – heart August – sun

March – kite September – apple

April – umbrella October – pumpkin

May – flower November – turkey

June – school with a x December – Star

  • Think about both of these before putting the border on your name tag:
  • On which day of the month were you born? – Put that many dots in the border of your name tag
  • How many siblings do you have? – Color a line around the edge of your border as follows:

0 – green 1 - blue 2 – purple 3 – yellow 4+ - red

Activities to use with glyphs:

¯ Collect the glyphs and give to students at random. Ask students to interpret the information.

¯ Post the glyphs for Back to School Night with the key and let parents see if they can decipher the information.

¯ Create a birthday graph or chart for the class using the nametags.

Websites on Personal Glyphs:

ABCTeach Directory: Glyphs


Math Glyphs


The Noyce Foundation has added new Problem of the Month videos featuring the Anna Yates school (Emeryville, CA) to the Inside Mathematics website. We invite you to see how the Anna Yates school jump started their schoolwide conversations about mathematics teaching and learning using the Problems of the Month. You’ll watch classroom footage from several different grades as students work on different levels of the problem, as well as conversations with the principal, teachers and coach. In the final gallery walk, students from multiple classrooms leave comments and questions for other students about the solutions and describe what they enjoyed about doing the Problem of the Month.

The Problems of the Month are designed to be used schoolwide to promote a problem-solving theme at your school. Each problem is divided into five levels, Level A through Level E, to allow access and scaffolding for the students into different aspects of the problem and to stretch students to go deeper into mathematical complexity. Check out the Problems of the Month with new Common Core alignment information here.

Why problem solving? Problem solving is the cornerstone of doing mathematics. A problem that you can’t solve in less than a day is usually a problem that is similar to one that you have solved before. But in real life, a problem is a situation that confronts you and you don’t have an idea of where to even start. If we want our students to be problem solvers and mathematically powerful, we must model perseverance and challenge students with non-routine problems.

Inside Mathematics is a professional resource for educators passionate about improving students' mathematics learning and performance. This site features classroom examples of innovative teaching methods and insights into student learning, tools for mathematics instruction that teachers can use immediately, and video examples of the Common Core Standards for Mathematical Practice and other Common Core math resources.

We hope these new resources will help support teachers’ understanding of the Common Core Math Standards. Visit the site at www.insidemathematics.org to explore free materials and tasks that teachers can use immediately with students.

Engaging Elementary Math Apps

via Sara Awtrey

As we kick off another school year, more and more schools and students have iPads or smart devices. Elementary students are very tech-savvy. These math apps can enhance the classroom instruction and allow students to practice the Common Core Math Standards in an enjoyable way. Teacher-tested, student approved!

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GCCTM on Social Media

GCCTM is available for everyone to access on Facebook and Twitter, subscribe for the latest news, resources, math jokes, inspiration, and more using the link below.


SCCTM Conference

October 24-25, 2013

TD Convention Center

Greenville, SC

Please check out www.scctmprogram.org for information on and forms for the 2013 Fall

Conference, Scholarship Opportunities, Professional Development Events, and information about our Sponsors.

SCCTM Fall Conference at the TD Convention Center

Thursday, Oct. 24th 2013 at 8am to Friday, Oct. 25th 2013 at 4:30pm

1 Exposition Dr

Greenville, SC

Why Join GCCTM?

  • To receive informative email newsletters containing countywide news, upcoming events, articles regarding instruction shared by other math teachers, and professional recognitions
  • To attend the GCCTM Fall Conference where respected speakers provide members with information useful for all classrooms (elementary, middle, and high school levels)
  • To attend the GCCTM Spring Banquet where senior high school students are recognized for their achievements in math
  • To fulfill professional requirements for ADEPT, PAS, or National Board Certification
  • To form and maintain collegial relationships with fellow Greenville County math teachers

Individual Dues $7, or with full school deparment participation only $5. See your Dept. Head

Due September 16th!

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GCCTM Officers

President, Patty Rhoney
Past President, Valerie Muller
President-Elect, Linda Manley
Vice-President Primary, Faith Deaver
Vice-President 3-5, Sara Awtrey
Vice-President Middle School, Jackie Waddell
Vice-President High School, Jennifer Southers
Secretary, Gay Durham
Treasurer, Sara Beth Kripinski
Newsletter, Chris Beyerle
NCTM Representative, Daniel Wilkie
Advisors, Rita Bixler and Cathy Hale


Greenville County Council for Teachers of Mathematics is an organization that promotes professional growth and student achievement for all GCSD math teachers.