November Elementary Math Minute

Every Child. Every Day. For a Better Tomorrow.

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Happy November!

Fall is a very beautiful time of year. It is a time of change, a time of thanksgiving, and a time of laughter and joy. As you enjoy the leaves falling, the undefeated Carolina Panthers, and great food, I want to pat yourself on the back for the mathematical difference you make in the lives of your students each day. Math is all around us and I invite you to use the beauty of this season to make math come alive for your students.

Building Procedural Fluency From Conceptual Understanding

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According to the National Council for Teachers of Mathematics (2014), effective teaching and learning of mathematics focuses on students' development of conceptual understanding and procedural fluency. As you work to help students achieve fluency, it is important to note that fluency means students are able to choose flexibly among methods and strategies to solve problems. Fluency also means students are able to understand and explain their approaches, and produce accurate answers efficiently. Many of you have emailed me about the definition of fluency and I think it is important for us to consider four very important ideas.

  • Computational fluency is strongly related to number sense and extends beyond having students memorize facts or steps that are not connected to mathematical ideas.
  • Rushing students' fluency with the use of timed tests undermines students' confidence and interest in mathematics and can lead to math anxiety.
  • Algebraic reasoning is related to students understanding of how quantities can be taken apart and put back together in different ways.
  • Meaningful learning of basic number combinations involves students moving through well documented phases toward fluency. Students begin by using objects, visual representations, and counting, and then they progress to reasoning strategies that involve the use of number relationships and properties.

Interested in learning more? Read the Common Core Standards and the North Carolina Unpacking document for a detailed explanation of the fluency expectations for K-5 students.

Fixed Mindset vs. Growth Mindset: The Power of Communicating "You Can" in the Math Classroom

Jo Boaler Talks About The Power Of Our Mindset
Dr. Jo Boaler's Amazon #1 Best Seller Mathematical Mindset provides practical strategies and activities to help teachers and parents show all students that they can enjoy and have success in math. Dr. Jo Boaler, a Stanford researcher, professor of mathematics education, and expert on math learning, followed thousands of students through middle and high school to understand how they learn and to find the most effective ways to unleash the math potential in all students. Visit the sites below to learn more about her research and unlocking the math potential in ALL students.

Inspiring Students to Math Success and a Growth Mindset -

Interested in learning more? Visist Amazon today. -

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Math Assignments Matter!!!

According to Robert Marzano, "High expectations and pressure to achieve refer to establishing challenging goals for students" (2003, p. 35). The reverse is also true in that low expectations and little pressure to achieve cause poor academic achievement. When students engage with assignments taught with high expectations and pressure to achieve, they gain the knowledge and skills needed to connect and apply mathematical ideas.

Assignments are excellent vehicles to prepare students for applying mathematical ideas and they serve as products of instruction. Great assignments include a task, rubric, and a product which together set a clear purpose and process for engaging in the academic process. Assignments unlike assessments or activities are intentionally taught, well crafted, and serve as a centerpiece for learning important mathematical ideas.

How often do you give assignments as defined above? How do you think think engaging students in more challenging assignments might motivate them to engage more with the curriculum? I invite you to share your thoughts using the link below:

Have a great assignment you would like to share with others? Click on the link below to load into the folder specific to your grade level. When uploading an assignment, please ensure your full name, email address, and school is located on the assignment. Reflections and links to assignments from teacher's across the district will be shared in our December Math Minute.

Resources for great math assignments aligned to the Common Core:

Register Today for Upcoming Professional Development

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Using Mentor Texts to Make Meaning of Fractions

Who: 3rd and 4th Classroom Teachers

When: December 15, 2015

Where: Highland Creek Elementary Media Center

Time: 3:30 pm until 5:00 pm

During this session, participants will gain a conceptual understanding of how to use mentor texts to support students' fluency with the big ideas and essential understanding of fractions. Participants will explore how Children's Literature is a power vehicle to bring meaning to the mathematics students’ encounter in their lives on a daily basis. Participants will receive 3 interactive read alouds and tasks that can be implemented in the classroom.

MyTalent Course Code - 415672

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Dreambox - Using Reports to Target Instructional Needs

Who: K-5 Classroom Teachers

When: December 2, 2015

Where: Spaugh

Time: 8:30 am until 2:30 pm

This course is designed to provide an overview of Dreambox and in depth walk through how Dreambox determines appropriate instructional levels. Participants will also review student reporting data and learn how to make instructional adjustments based on students’ needs.

Classroom teachers that enroll and attend this session are eligible to have the cost of their substitute teacher covered for the day by emailing Valerie Davis at

MyTalent Course Code - 415665

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Click on the Links Below to Access Previous Monthly Math Minutes:

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Contact Me

Thank you for your commitment to the students in Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me and I will be happy to assist you.

Gabr'l Stackhouse, Elementary Math Specialist

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