BTSD Internal Math News

The 2-25-16 Issue

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BTSD Internal Math News

Generic News:

Have you been features as the BTSD Mathematician Spotlight? Have you been featured as the contest winner? Do you read this and occasionally find a tidbit of information that you are able to use? if so, consider using this as a resource for your MY Learning Plan.

: The 2nd grade math tests continue to be edited to reflect PARCC-like questions, increased vocabulary retention & increased grading rigor.

FWS: Common Planning took place discussing PARCC Sample Released Items. The discussions included the rigor of their scoring system & what changes/ideas are needed moving forward.

BTMS: Common Planning took place discussing PARCC Sample Released Items. The discussions included the rigor of their scoring system & what changes/ideas are needed moving forward.

BTHS: Preparations have begun for the possibility of a future Hackathon. This would be the district's first venture into this area should it come to fruition.


- Got news? Shoot me an email to be included in the next issue.

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The Common Core State Standards provide clear and consistent learning goals to help prepare students for college, career, and life. The standards clearly demonstrate what students are expected to learn at each grade level, so that every parent and teacher can understand and support their learning.

This is a reminder that no textbook will cover the standards perfectly. We as educators must use our professional judgement to supplement, reword, reorganize and often engage our students outside the realm of what the textbook has to offer.

New for this issue: Here is a thought from Diana Herrington regarding stepping into the Common Core. This is just something to think about.

Shift Lesson Planning

Interested in a first step for common core? I have found that just sifting my lesson allows me to think of connectors as the lesson is revealed. To do this I begin a lesson halfway through a class period. I have enough time to introduce the foundation for the concept. The next class period will begin with a short Q & A and then extend and go into depth, followed by a bridge to the next foundation lesson.

This is not easy to do when you have been teaching one way for years, but the rewards are amazing. Imagine no longer having the end of the period get away from you, instead of closure you can think of transition.

Unexpected Consequences

Here are some of the unexpected consequences when you shift the lesson: students leave the classroom with a curiosity of what they are going to do at the next class period, students retention increases, as a teacher you have to think about how the two lessons are connected. Once you begin down this road of just shifting your “two-page spread” format, you will begin giving students time to engage in the mathematical practices as you embrace a pathway for mathematics.

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PARCC testing will follow the Common Core Standards. The format in which the questions are asked or expected to be answered is what could be uncharted territory for our students.

Booking the computer lab, utilizing classroom computers & encouraging computer use at home might help ease these upcoming challenges. Click here for the actual PARCC-Example-by-Strand spreadsheet.

New for this issue:

Here is the link for the PARCC released items.

Here is a step-by-step tutorial on some of what you can do with that link.

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STEM education is an interdisciplinary approach to learning where rigorous academic concepts are coupled with real-world lessons as students apply science, technology, engineering and mathematics in contexts that make connections between school, community, work, and the global enterprise enabling the development of STEM literacy and with it the ability to compete in the new economy. (Tsupros, 2009)

Here is a link to our STEM resource center.


New for this issue: Tackling the gender issue in tech.

... and here is a link to TechNovation mentioned in the CODEGIRL trailer.

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BTSD Mathematician Spotlight

This issue's BTSD Mathematician is Mike Winsett.

Mike differentiates his review sessions in an interesting way. He predetermines the students' weaknesses within the chapter and separates the students into self-directed groups working on reinforcement worksheets. Mike travels through the classroom helping students on each of their individual needs. It is a neat way of maximizing his time with them for a review.

Do you have an activity worth sharing?

For this site & other good math websites, don't forget to visit the "Great Links" section under the "External Resources" category on the BTSD Internal Math Training website.

Kudos to Mike Winsett

Previous Mathematician Spotlight Leaders

October 2014: Peg Perry

November 2014: Andrea Keck

December 2014: Kiel O'Donnell

January 2015: Diana Pearl

February 2015: Theresa Deyo

March 2015: Margo Asay

April 2015: Marjorie Nisnick & Joann Maybury

September 2015: Mike Winsett

October 2015: Donna Gablein & Megan Iannuzzi

November 2015: Adam Fincke

December 2015: Diana Pearl

January 2016: Andrea Keck

February 2016: Mike Winsett

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Tips & Resources

Another fun idea on how to call on students brought to you by Trish Siboczy. Tape playing cards to their desks.

** Don't forget to visit the BTSD Internal Math site for other "Tips & Resources".

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App of the Month

This is a new section of the Math Newsletter. This will offer at least one new App that you can try or pass onto your students and parents.

This month's App: Brainscape - Smart Flashcards

Mike Winsett found this great app that allows you to find, create & share SMART FLASHCARDS on any device. The app is free.

Do you know of a good math app? Shoot me an email with the title and details!

Previous Apps:

Twelve a Dozen

Bedtime Math

NJ Core

Math Fight

Splash Math Worksheets (Grades 1 - 5)

Disney Imagicademy

Pixel Press Floors



Let's Do Math

Math vs. Zombies


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Math Question for this Issue

Are you actually reading this newsletter? The first 10 people who respond correctly will have their name put in a hat and one name will be drawn to win a prize!

Here is the question for this Newsletter:

1) What is the probability of rolling a 2 or a 6 on a standard number cube?

BONUS Question: (Two prizes will be given away this month!)

This one is a little harder.

2) Explain how you could determine the total sum of all the angles of a Pentagon.

Last issue's question:

A student recently earned 17 out of 21 points on a quiz. What percentage grade did the student earn?

Answer: 81%

October's 2014 winner: Leigha Quinn (She received 6 two-sided mini white boards to use in her classroom.)

November's 2014 winner: Kathleen Papa (She received a set of over-sized post-it notes to use in her classroom.)

December's 2014 winner: Tom Foreman (He received 6 two-sided mini white boards to use in his classroom.)

January's 2015 winner: Robin Umberhauer (Her entire class helped!) (She received a set of over-sized post-it notes to use in her classroom.)

February's 2015 winner: Hope Hayes (She received a set "Wipe Clean Worksheet Covers" to use in her classroom.)

March's 2015 winner: Kiel O'donnell (He received a set of over-sized post-it notes to use in his classroom.)

September's 2015 winner: Beth Iannuzzi (She received a set of "Wipe Clean Worksheet Covers" to use in her classroom.)

October's 2015 winner: Tom Foreman (He is our first 2-time winner! He received a Desktop Organizer picture below.)

November's 2015 winner: Joyce Schoolik (She received a Desktop Organizer)

December's 2015 winner: Mike Winsett (He received a set of two-sided mini dry erase white board to use in his classroom.)

January's 2016 winner: Heather Zierold (She received a set of over-sized post-it notes to use in her classroom.)

A special thanks to all that answered!

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Just for Fun

A new section! Take a break and enjoy something fun about math.
Kid Snippets: "Math Class" (Imagined by Kids)
Something else fun ... check out the show "Those who Can't" on TruTV. It pokes fun at the teaching profession.
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You can find the archived newsletter here.