September 2020, Volume 24

Prepare for Good Work Tomorrow By Doing Good Work Today

We are well on our way in to the 2020-2021 school year. Whether you are all remote, utilizing a hybrid model, or in-person full time we are all faced with challenges. Some of these challenges are within our control and some of them are not. Read on to find an activity to do by yourself or with your department/team/PLC to determine what is in your circle of concern and more importantly, your circle of control.

This month, we wanted to give you a newsletter that simply highlights what tools and opportunities are available to you as well as some incredible resources to hopefully ease some of the burden of doing it all right now.

Video of the Month

What Are You Teaching the World?

"No matter who you are, somebody's learning from you!" - Kid President
Kid President's Pep Talk to Teachers and Students!

Establishing Our Circles

You may be feeling a bit out of control right now. Those feelings are valid and okay. While the stress and anxiety may at times seems crippling, we must take steps towards developing resiliency and agency to better identify what we can and can't control and how to deal with them.
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Stephen Covey created the Circle of Influence and Control tool to help teams look at all the things that concern them and then to realize the power they have over them.

Try this exercise at your next department/team/PLC meeting:

  1. On a large sheet of paper, draw a big circle, this is the Circle of Concern.
  2. Get your team members to write their areas of concern on sticky notes, and put them in the circle. There will be lots of things that are of concern to them or are factors that could be affecting how they feel.
  3. When they’re done, draw another smaller circle in the middle of the first circle, this is the Circle of Control. These are the things they can control.
  4. In conversation, move all the sticky notes in the big Circle of Concern that they can actively control, into the middle Circle of Control.

Need a socially distant, virtual alternative for this activity? Use Jamboard! Jamboard is a free interactive whiteboard developed by Google where you can work collaboratively in real-time. Check out this example of how to use Jamboard for the Circle of Influence and Concern task.
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People usually feel there aren’t many items that they can actively control. They may have a lot of stress and anxiety over the things they’ve written down and will feel they don’t have any control over them. These feelings can be overwhelming.

  1. So, draw another circle in between the first two – between the circles of Concern and Control. This is the Circle of Influence.
  2. Get team members to look at the ways they could influence some of the things that are out of their control. Maybe they can’t control them, but could they influence them?
  3. Go through all the notes that are in the Circle of Concern and together try to move them into the Circle of Influence.

When you explore the Circle of Influence further, if you think about them differently, you’ll find that some of the concerns can go straight into the Circle of Control. The goal is to discover solutions and suggestions in the group!

Read more here.

Resource of the Month - Open Middle

This month we are featuring Robert Kaplinsky's Open Middle problems. The problems on this site have three features:

  • A “closed beginning” meaning that they all start with the same initial problem.
  • A “closed end” meaning that they all end with the same answer.
  • An “open middle” meaning that there are multiple ways to approach and ultimately solve the problem.

Open Middle problems are challenging yet accessible to all learners. They are great options for that just-in-time teaching to draw out the needed prior knowledge to maintain grade level content.

What you will find on openmiddle.com:

  • Challenging problems worth solving from Kindergarten through Calculus!
  • Corresponding student worksheet in three languages!
  • Printable number tiles for easy manipulation!
  • Searchable problems by grade/course or DOK level!


Depth of Knowledge

It is important to consider the cognitive demand of the tasks that you're asking your students to do. A good rule of thumb is to complete the task yourself before posing it to students. Open Middle used the work of Norman Webb as well as professional experiences to determine DOK levels for various math topics and grade levels. There is one third grade example below but please check out Robert Kaplinsky's website for more on the Open Middle Depth of Knowledge Matrix.

Desmos Check-in Screens

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Desmos has created Starter Screens for a variety of purposes. The Screens for Checking-In are a great way to engage your students and get a status on how your students are feeling. Using a variety of interactive elements, check-in on your student's feelings, life events, preferences, and more! Check them out here. There are some other starter screens available here to check for understanding and getting to know your students.

Instructional Support Survey - How Can We Help?

Opportunities for the Field

"Overcoming the Achievement Gap Trap" with Dr. Anthony Muhammad

IDOE is pleased to announce a collaboration with Dr. Anthony Muhammad to provide an especially relevant training based upon his book "Overcoming the Achievement Gap Trap." This training will take place in a virtual format on October 14, from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. ET, with scheduled breaks and lunch. Registration is now open through the link here. Registration is limited to the first 500 individuals. There is no cost for participation and 10 Professional Growth Points (PGPs) and a copy of Dr. Muhammad's book will be offered for meeting minimum participation requirements.

Learning By Doing with John SanGiovanni’s Book Productive Math Struggle: A 6-Point Action Plan for Fostering Perseverance

Join IDOE’s math team and fellow Indiana math educators for an action-oriented, learning by doing book study where John SanGiovanni outlines six essential actions for nurturing productive struggle. This is not your average book study. Over the course of 12 weeks, we will explore each of the six essential actions through discussion, implementation, and reflection to “support access, equity, and empowerment, specifically arguing that every student is worthy of struggle”. Module 1 opened today, September 21, 2020 but there is still time to get started with the self-paced nature of the book study!

Sign up here to participate! Deadline to sign up is October 4, 2020.

Indiana Council for Teachers of Mathematics PD Series

ICTM has announced two new professional development opportunities. The first is Teaching Mathematics During a Pandemic: Technological Tools for Streamlining Instruction moderated by Christine Taylor and presented by Kara Bensen, Ryan Flessner, and Madison Schaffer. The second is Strategies to Engage Students and Families in Learning Mathematics presented by Don Balka.

For dates, times, and more information on how to register - click here.

Save the Date

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Upcoming Chats:

September 23, 2020 - Social/Emotional Learning

September 30, 2020 - School Leadership

October 7, 2020 - Overcoming the Achievement Gap Trap

Follow #INedchat to be a part of the discussion!

News From IDOE

High School Math Clarifying Examples and Digital Resources Now Available on the Framework!

Clarifying examples and digital resources for the following courses have been updated to reflect the new 2020 Indiana Academic Standard for Mathematics on the Framework:

  • Algebra I
  • Geometry
  • Algebra II
  • Analytical Algebra II
  • Precalculus: Algebra
  • Precalculus: Trigonometry

Quantitative Reasoning and Finite will be released in Fall 2020!

Higher Learning Commission Extends Deadline for Dual Credit Instructors

In light of the impact of COVID-19, the Indiana Commission for Higher Education requested in May that regional college accreditor Higher Learning Commission (HLC) extend the deadline for dual credit instructors to hold a master’s degree and at least 18 credit hours in the content area in which they teach. The HLC Board of Trustees voted to extend the deadline by one year – to September 1, 2023 – allowing faculty to have more time to earn the required credentials. The extension will not negatively impact students participating in dual credit programs. Additional details can be found here.

Educator Spotlight

Mathematics Educator Spotlight Nomination

We are looking for rock star math educators who are innovative and inspiring; educators who lead, learn, and collaborate with humility and passion. If you know someone (or are that someone) click the button and nominate them (or yourself)!

Your IDOE Mathematics Team