Fiske Monthly News

May 2016


Welcome to the home of the Fiske monthly news! We feature great news and updates by grade level and specialist teachers to help keep you informed about what our students are learning. Enjoy your reading!
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News from The Principal

Blackboard Connect

You are probably aware by now that Lexington is using a new communication tool called Blackboard Connect. We introduced it earlier this year and then transitioned into it around late winter.

Needless to say, principals across Lexington are very excited about having this tool at our disposal. Blackboard connect gives us the ability to send phone, text and E-mail messages all at once, or individually, or in pairs. It is very easy to use and additionally, has a mobile application that is helpful for principals.

One of the other great features about Blackboard Connect that you may have already found out about is that it is able to send automated communications about student absences and lunch balances. It also has the ability to have messages programmed prior to sending them and will send at an identified time and date. This means that as a principal, I can "cue up" messages ahead of time and have them automatically sent to parents.

While it sounds a bit hokey, I am excited to have such a robust tool at my disposal to communicate with the Fiske School Community. We had a previous tool that was not as easy to use or as functional and I have felt that it hindered our being able to communicate with families as much as I'd like to!

With the arrival of this new system, Fiske School will move away from using Remind as a messaging system. Although that was a great tool to use in the interim, I don't want to confuse our families by sending messages from multiple platforms.

Should you have questions about Blackboard Connect, please be sure to reach out to me. I'd be happy to answer your questions.

PTO Thank You

I'd like to express a huge thank you to the PTO for a wonderful lunch they sponsored for educators at Fiske for Teacher Appreciation Week. The garden theme was beautiful and the lunch was a success! Thanks to Michelle Oldershaw and our other parents that coordinated the lunch for staff. The Fiske staff is always grateful for the community support we receive.

Additionally, thank you to the PTO for working with me and our LEF Community grant to infuse new books into our school book room! Over the course of the year, we've purchased $19,000.00 worth of new books that will be available to teachers and students for the upcoming year. This is a significant increase in the number of books we have and I'm very excited to see the collection grow! THANK YOU FISKE PTO!

News from the Assistant Principal

Dear Parents and Guardians,

It’s hard to believe that the last several weeks of the school year are upon us! The months of May and June are marked by lots and lots of excitement and activity as we prepare to graduate our 5th graders to middle school, to promote our current students to the next grade level and to welcome our incoming Kindergartners. There are field trips, assemblies, performances and other opportunities for families to come in and volunteer in a variety of ways.

As we wrap up our Math and Science/Engineering MCAS testing in grades 3-5 this month, I would like to thank all of the parents and guardians for making sure your child arrived to school on time and was well rested on days when their class was testing. The Fiske staff continues to work diligently to support the success and happiness for each and every student. This school year, I have seen so much growth and success throughout the entire building that it brings a smile to my face.

I am proud to say that Fiske is a school of continuous learners. We certainly are doing something right for all of our students! This is mainly because we are partnering and coordinating our efforts with each and every family. We care very much about the whole child, and by working with you, the families, we have created a very special place for children to feel safe, successful and most importantly, happy. I am so proud of this community and look forward to a very positive and strong finish to the school year!


Mr. Baker

Kindergarten News

We just completed our “in-house” field trip by Drumlin Farm called “Hatching Out” early in May. In this program the children learned that birds aren’t the only animals that lay eggs! They were able to meet two other egg layers. We also had a chance to discover more about the wonderful world of eggs and the animals that lay them. This was another wonderful Science Enrichment program the children are fortunate to experience in Kindergarten.

Thinking locally, Kindergarten classes are getting ready for our May field trip to Lexington Center. We look forward to visiting the Cary Library to receive our very first library card, stopping at the post office to mail a letter, and visiting Rancatore’s. We are fortunate to be able to take The Lexpress Bus, our local public transportation. This field trip shows children how much fun they can have right here in their own hometown. This field trip supports our Social Studies unit on Community and Community helpers. Keep an eye out for upcoming dates and details.

Grade One News

It is hard to believe that May is here! The first graders are very busy preparing for our play, “American Symbols”. The kids are eager to get up on stage for the whole Fiske Community to show off their U.S. pride! Now that the students have picked out their parts, they are practicing on stage! We all can’t wait to see those creative costumes that they come in wearing on May 27th! We will see you all in the gym at 9:00AM sharp!

When we aren’t practicing for our big show, we are busy writing realistic fiction stories in Writer’s Workshop! The children have created characters for their stories. They have been working on planning out their stories to be sure that they include a main character, setting, a problem or goal and a solution. They are working on starting their story with a catchy lead and stretching out their story to make it interesting. The stories that they have been coming up with are fantastic!

In reading, we are reading some great books. We are learning about many different authors, such as Eric Carle and Kevin Henkes. We are also working on contractions and compound words.

We are beginning our unit on Organisms (Living Things) in Science. We have some new class critters including Bess Beetles, guppies, and snails. They are learning about what these Organisms need to survive. We will be planting later on in our unit, which is sure to be a fun and exciting learning opportunity.

In math we have just wrapped up a fun unit called “The Double Decker Bus”. The children used math racks or rekenreks to help solve math problems. We are continuing with geometry and look forward to spending some time on money. If you haven’t sent in real coins, please do so. First graders need to have 20 pennies, 10 dimes, 10 nickels and 4 quarters in a labeled ziplock bag. Thank you if you sent them in earlier in the year!

Grade Two News

We began May wrapping up our Nonfiction same topic book groups. Our small group discussions provided us with many opportunities to share information across multiple texts, prove & disprove facts, practice active listening, as well as turn taking. We continued with nonfiction as we shifted into our unit on Biographies. Now experts at examining text features and extracting important details in text, we focused on an individual and what achievements brought them great distinction. We had a PTO sponsored guest performance, Louisa May Alcott on May 6th. Another exciting part of the unit incorporates an at home project, requiring students to research one figure using texts and other resources. After completing a written summary, students will dress the part to create classroom Wax Museums! Families, staff members and our Learning Buddies will visit our classrooms on Thursday, May 26th. Second graders will stay in character as they present about their historical person. Following the Wax Museum, the second graders will have their turn at performing a song during All School Meeting.

During the beginning of May, we continued to explore the cucumber seeds we planted at the end of our Soil unit. We completed our Information books about topics we could incorporate soil into. Students wrote on a variety of subjects; camping, gardening, spring sports, animals, insects to name a few. Each information book needed to include facts they acquired during the Soil unit. We were very impressed with the volume and depth that the second graders are now demonstrating in their writing.

Our Math focus has been on fractions, measurement and recording data. We will be revisiting place value up to 1,000 by the month’s end. Please continue to work on telling time to the nearest 5 minutes and opportunities to problem solve with coins and dollars, as this would be most beneficial to the children.

Grade Three News

Lexington 1775

How fortunate we are to live in the birthplace of America, Historic Lexington, where the “shot heard around the world” occurred! For the past few weeks our students have been learning about aspects of everyday life in 18th century Lexington including: family life, homes and farms, and jobs. The children have found it very interesting to compare and contrast life in 18th century Lexington to their own lives today.

In order to fully grasp what it was like to live in Lexington in the 1770s, our students have transformed themselves into true Lexington residents of that time period. Each child is part of an historic Lexington “family” group, and has taken on the persona of one child in that family. The children, along with their “siblings,” are exploring his/her family structure, daily responsibilities, and position in society. Your child’s new “namesake” may even sound a bit familiar…. Clark, Harrington, Brown, Estabrook, and Parker.

Our study of life in 18th century Lexington allows the students better understand the events that led up to the American Revolution and how Lexington residents contributed to the beginning of the American Revolution. The children will learn about significant events that led up to the American Revolution, and the importance of the shots fired on the Lexington Green and in Concord on April 19, 1775.

We are all looking forward to our field trip to Historic Lexington, when we will visit and tour the Hancock-Clarke House, the Old Burying Ground, and participate in the Lexington Historical Society’s lesson, “What Did Reverend Clarke Eat?’ It is sure to be fun-filled day!


In addition to our current unit on Geometry, we are we are honing our skills in preparation for the Math MCAS. We are reviewing previously taught concepts such as multi-step word problems, measurement and data, elapsed time, and fractions. Students will be ready to show what they know on the mornings of May 18th and 19th.

Grade Four News

In literacy, fourth graders have recently wrapped up their historical fiction book clubs. Through group discussions and close reading, students have learned about the historical context, character perspective, and themes or big ideas. Many of the book club texts and our class read aloud, Letters From Rifka, featured various aspects of immigration that students had learned about in the fall. The background knowledge helped students make deeper connections and provide more thoughtful and insightful comments during discussions.

Fourth graders continue to be very busy in Science. Students have become experts on a particular planet during our exploration of the Solar System. They have worked hard using print and online resources to research their planets, and they will be putting their newfound knowledge to good use as they create a Powerpoint presentation in order to teach their peers. Coming back to Earth, we will launch into our Geology unit shortly with a visit from the Museum of Science’s “Rock Detective” program, as well as a Big Backyard field trip to Whipple Hill. Finally, the spring weather has us testing out our green thumbs by designing and carrying out scientific tests with vegetable seeds. Will those cherry tomatoes seeds grow better with consistent watering or sporadic watering? Will the cucumbers grow better in soil from right outside Fiske or in soil purchased at a garden center? And possibly most interestingly, what will happen when a seed is “watered” with root beer?! Who knows what we’ll discover!

In Math, our students have been becoming much more adept at solving problems related to fractions. They have enjoyed exploring the Fraction Nation program on the computers, have completed a collaborative unit entitled Field Trips and Fundraisers, and have practiced creating visual diagrams and models to represent various fractional concepts.. In addition, we have continued to work on reasoning and explaining orally and in writing through a variety of story problems, and have also reviewed previously taught concepts within intervention blocks as a “refresher” before the Mathematics MCAS in mid-May. We’re excited for these marvelous mathematicians to “show what they know” on those tests!

In social studies we have moved up north to Canada to study the geography, culture, and history. Students have been exploring the similarities and differences between Canada and the United States and will soon become experts on one particular province and territory. Students will be presenting their learning to their classmates.

We hope you all enjoyed the recent fourth grade concert on May 6th. Mark your calendars for our Fourth Grade Mexican Fiesta on the afternoon of Friday, June 10th. This special event marks the culmination of our study of North America and will be a festive way to celebrate the end of the school year!

Grade Five News


In art with Ms. V, we have been making Mexican Molas. Mexican Molas are a piece of fabric (which can be sewed or glued on to each other) that have a design or base in the middle. Then around them there is the shape but larger, a different color, and less detail. This keeps going on for 3 or 4 times, and then it has designs on the background (the background is usually black). The designs are usually geometric because it is very hard to sew a pine tree onto a piece of fabric.

Lotem Loeb- Ms. Hoffman’s Class

In art we also just finished our pop art. We painted foam plates that had our self portraits on them. Then we stamped them on to paper and glued those onto construction paper to make a collage. Now we are working on our black-out poems. We picked a narrative story that we wrote and use only certain words to create a poem. We “black out” all the other words from our narrative and use fun ways to connect the words you are keeping.

Zach Khozozian - Ms. Gavrin’s class

Poet Visit

Regie and Marlon, rapping poets, came to our class and taught us new ways of thinking about poetry. Regie asked us questions, and he told us no matter how crazy the idea, we should carry on with it. One more part about Regie’s presentation was about sides of your brain. For example, he said that the left side of your brain is your logical side, and your right side is your creative side. He said when you’re doing poetry you want to use as much of your right brain as you can. In other words, to be very creative and imaginative. To push us to be creative, he even asked us the silly question of, “Why don’t airplanes fly with their children?” There were many answers from “They don’t have baby seats,” to “their children would be scared.” It helped us to make better poems and be more creative. Regie and Marlon really know how to rhyme, and all of us had a great time! [This visit by Regie O’Hare-Gibson and Marlon Carey was sponsored by ACT/Fiske PTO. It was a great visit, and many thanks to the Fiske PTO!]

Andrew Hine - Ms. Gavrin’s class

Reading: Social Issues

In reading we learned about social issues. Social issues are problems that affect many people. For example, bullying, racism, and homelessness are some social issues. We learned about these social issues by splitting up into book groups in class, reading these books at home, and identifying the social issues in them. Some of the books the book groups read were Maniac Magee, The Color of My Words, Small As an Elephant, How To Steal a Dog, and Donuthead. Once the group read a certain amount at home and took notes, each group would discuss the social issue in their book. To take the social issue to a higher level, we wrote a “full sentence of truth” about the book, telling why the author wrote it.

Ashley Taylor - Ms. Gavrin’s class


In Social Studies we have been studying the 13 colonies. Each person in our class got a colony, and some people had someone else that got the same colony because we have 23 people in our class. We have to make a brochure for our colony to convince ‘relatives’ to come to our colony. For example, I have the Maryland colony. We are including things like: who founded the colony, why it was founded, where it is located and fun facts.

Dean Barone-Ms. Hoffman’s Class


In math, we are studying capacity and volume, where we have to look at the length, width, and height of an object and find the volume by first multiplying the length and width, and then multiplying the product of the length times the width by the height of the object, thus finding the volume. For example, we first looked at how much space a flat square takes up on the table, then we compared that to the space or volume of a square tissue box on the table. We are also reviewing lots of concepts that we’ve studied all year.

Dean Barone-Ms. Hoffman’s Class

Specialist News

Counseling News

How to Keep Kids Focused in School When Spring Fever Hits:

The warmer springtime air beckons as the trees are budding and the ground is soggy with melted snow. But watch out for spring fever! Just as young minds are tempted to wander from school and homework, it’s the time to buckle down, to prepare for the last months of school and the culmination of a year’s worth of hard work.

Although staying focused when the weather changes can be challenging, we have compiled these tips to help you keep your kids motivated and engaged.

Set realistic goals :Don’t let exams sneak up. Help your kids plan out what they need to do to prepare. Set concrete goals together, and decide how much time they’ll need to accomplish each task. To avoid becoming overwhelmed, break bigger assignments into smaller goals. Make sure to leave wiggle room in the event that kids need an extra break or more time to prepare.

Create a “study zone” :Create a place that’s conducive to productive study and concentration. The area should be comfortable, quiet, void of distractions, and stocked with necessary supplies. Encourage your kids to put away cell phones and turn off their computer chatting programs. Designate a time period for homework, and try to have kids work at the same time each day. With these parameters in place, they’ll be in the frame of mind to get down to business.

Countdown: seeing your goals :Hang up a wall calendar and have your kids circle important dates and deadlines. Also write in any scheduled activities, including social events, family trips and upcoming obligations. Sometimes what kids perceive as a lot of time is actually shorter than they think. As your kids reach their goals, encourage them to cross off the days. This way they’ll have visual evidence of their accomplishments and their remaining responsibilities.

Break time: Allow kids some down time. Help them learn how to let go of stress by doing things they enjoy. Let them decompress by playing with friends, watching a movie, or exercising. They’ll come back from their break refreshed and ready to work.

Make a list of accomplishments: Remind your kids about the goals they have succeeded in reaching, and create a list of the milestones that you are proud of them for. Reflect with them on how far they’ve come. Remember when they started the year and there was a subject area they were worried about or a particular math problem they couldn’t figure out? Take some time to note the changes they’ve made, the hurdles they’ve overcome, and how much they’ve learned.

By implementing these strategies, you can help your kids complete the last months of school on a successful note. Then, when that final bell rings and the summer months begin, they will be able to truly enjoy their break, free from academic cares, knowing they finished at their best.

Art News

Wow, where has this year gone? We have so much slated to create from the art cart.

Grade K

We are working on “My Art Books”. The activities in this book are a review of all things we’ve learned this year. We started the pages about warm and cool colors. Coming up – A self-portrait, texture, neutral colors, secondary and primary colors, shapes and line and all about pattern.

Grade 1

We are finishing our ”Funny things are everywhere” group work with lots of detailed line designs and color. We will soon start to create decorations for the American Symbol Parade. This 2-3 week project will focus on lettering and decorating American Icons. Look for this art when the parade comes to Fiske! We will work on a clay slab owl and a small Matisse like painting. Finally will do a project on what to pack for summer vacation.

Grade 2

We just completed our geometric shape book covers. Recently, we drew detailed bugs for our “Bug’s” eye view of a flower, inspired by Georgia O’Keeffe. We will also create an accordion book about Ghana and India. Lastly, we will be designing the ultimate dream house project inspired by the Taj Mahal.

Grade 3

Students have been working on sculpting wire for a self-portrait of what they want to be when they grow up, inspired by Dr. Seuss’ “Maybe you should fly a jet! Maybe you should be a vet! The students will be making clothing and set them in an illustrated scene. We will also be working on a silhouette type painting of warm colors. Hopefully we will get to a painting of an animal hiding in its environment, inspired by Henry Rousseau.

Grade 4

We will begin our Mexican folk art squares for the fiesta quilt! We just sculpted from clay our favorite Mexican foods, which will paint next week. Recently, we looked at the work of Paul Klee and design a painting using overlapped symbols for planets with black and florescent colored paint and clear glitter. We will be working on a Celtic stained glass like design as well as a giant face card.

Grade 5

We have been focusing on 3-D drawing and practicing drawing a city in one point perspective. We will be designing our own Campbell Soup can soon. Finally, will be designing starbursts with our names for graduation. These two projects are based on the Pop Art style of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. Look for your son’s or daughter’s during graduation.


Mrs. O’Leary and Ms. V.

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ELL News

We are working in all of our ELL classes to develop our academic conversation skills and learn ways to speak to one another using “school talk”. Each ELL class at Fiske is working on using academic conversations to help students learn from one another and develop their thoughts on the content in class. Ask your ELL about what they say in an academic conversation! These conversations can occur around the dinner table as well as in the classroom.

Sentence stems to develop robust academic conversations:

  • What is your idea?

  • I understand, what you’re saying is….

  • One idea could be….

  • Can you tell me more about ____________?

  • How can we combine these ideas?

  • What are other points of view?

  • I noticed the pattern of…

  • Thank you for talking with me!

Our ELLS have made lists of expected behaviors during an academic conversation:

  • Students sit knee to knee

  • Students look at each other, eye to eye

  • Students take turns

  • Students stay on topic

  • Students are respectful of one another

  • Students use a voice volume of 2

Music News

Greetings from the Music Room….

Come celebrate music at Fiske and see some performances! Here are the remaining performances for the year:

Third Grade Recorder Performance:

Thursday, May 26 at 11:30 in the gym.

Fifth Grade Chorus/Band/Strings Concerts:

June 8, 2016 at 9am and 7pm in the gym.

Meanwhile, these are things you might see or hear if you walked by the music room at Fiske:

Kindergarten: Singing the Tall Tall Tree song, and learning our first contra dance, Bow Wow Wow.

1st Grade: Learning about lines and spaces and singing Allison’s Camel.

2nd Grade: Playing the Poison Rhythm game, and learning about bar lines and measures.

3rd Grade: Recorder Madness continues! New recorder concert date: May 26 in the gym!!

4th Grade: Celebrating the great performance and moving to discover ostinatos and canons.

5th Grade: Practicing our chorus songs. A song from Pippin, a song about John Henry, a choir of animals, and We Go Together from Grease.

Library News

Kindergarteners took a big step toward becoming first graders with the introduction of shelf markers. We learned how to use a shelf marker to independently choose books from the picture book shelves. The kindergartners are doing an amazing job of navigating the library and following multi-step directions. Way to show best effort!

First Graders are learning all about American symbols using a multi-media approach, from print books to digital databases to videos on Safari Montage.

Second Graders celebrated Beverly Cleary’s 100th birthday the week of April 12th by watching a video interview with Ms. Cleary. We also engaged in book talks and explored a display of books highlighting her prolific career!

Third Graders also enjoyed celebrating Beverly Cleary’s 100th birthday. We are now embarking on a study of Greek mythology by reading The McElderry Book of Greek Myths, retold by Eric Kimmel, and discussing connections to other literature, the English language, and ourselves.

Fourth Graders completed their tall tale unit and are beginning a study of space with such books as Star Stuff, a biography of Carl Sagan, and Pluto’s Secret: An Icy World’s Tale of Discovery.

Fifth Graders have been learning about the inventions of Ben Franklin (Now and Ben) and Leonardo DaVinci (Neo Leo) that were far ahead of their time. In MCBA news, the statewide results are in!

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PE News

May is National Physical Fitness and Sports month. Join us in making May an active month by participating in physical fitness activities with all the special people in your family. Field Day this year is on Thursday, June 9th with a rain date on the 16th. Please consider volunteering for this fun-filled morning and hopefully share in the excitement of the day with your child!

Math News

At Fiske Elementary, we believe mathematics is about connections and communicating. In classrooms across Fiske, students are exploring different ways to explore math as they make connections and communicate their thinking. Kindergarteners and first graders have been exploring “Contexts Units” (K-Apple Boxes and Gr1-Double Decker Bus) and it’s been fabulous to see how students are seeing groups of numbers (aka subitizing) and sharing their thinking!

From Dr. Jo Boaler, here is a recommendation to support your child’s development in mathematics: Encourage children to play maths puzzles and games. Award winning mathematician, Sarah Flannery reported that her maths achievement and enthusiasm came not from school but from the puzzles she was given to solve at home. Puzzles and games – anything with a dice really – will help kids enjoy maths, and develop 1 number sense, which is critically important.

Here are a few resources to explore:

How Many Under the Shell?

Give the Dog a Bone - 100 Grid -

KenKen Puzzles to Play Online:

Article Recommendation: In Math, Positive Mindset May Prime Students’ Brains found-for-mindset-theory.html

As gardens are blooming, here’s a math problem to think about Sarah has a beautiful garden filled with daisies, roses, and sunflowers. This year she grew 30 flowers in all. Fifteen of these were daisies, and 10 were roses. How many sunflowers were there? How do you know? Extra: If Sarah grows double the number of daisies next year, how many flowers will she have in all?

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Literacy News

Highlights from Poetry and Pastries

Thank you to all who attended Poetry and Pastries! We celebrated National Poetry Month by participating in various poetry stations. The activities included:

  • Word Bowls - students selected words and phrases from a bowl and then arranged them to create a poem

  • Bio Poems - students wrote poems about family members and about themselves

  • Art Inspiration - students selected poems that inspired them to paint, or wrote poems that were inspired by famous works of art

  • Object Poems - students wrote descriptive poems about unusual objects from nature

  • Twitter Poetry - students used magnetic words to create original poems, which were then tweeted out

  • Poem Reading - students browsed poetry books and performed poems for two voices with a friend

Here are some of the creations:

Health Office News

Warm weather and sunshine are finally here! We may also have rain and with that mosquitoes and insects on the playground and school yard. Parents are encouraged to apply insect repellent before school to prevent bites. Insect bites can by very distracting and disruptive to learning.

Sun safety is another area of concern. Please consider applying sunscreen on exposed skin at home before school. Also, encourage hydration by sending in water bottles with your child.

Thank you and enjoy, it’s Spring!

Claire O’Connell RN

Math Matters: Karen Tripoli, K-5 Mathematics Department Head

Using Precise Language in Mathematics

This month’s featured Standard for Mathematical Practice is “Attend to Precision” and the practice states that Mathematically proficient students try to communicate precisely to others. As instructors of mathematics, it is very important that we communicate precisely as well. Here are a few examples of why precision of language is important:

· Refrain from using the words borrowing and carrying. Use trading or regrouping to indicate the actual action of trading or exchanging one place value unit for another unit.

· Read the equation 2+2=4 as 2+2 equals or is the same as 4 instead of 2+2 makes 4. The use of the word makes often results in the misconception that the equal sign is an action or an operation. The equal sign represents a relationship.

· Use simplifying fractions rather than reducing fractions. Reducing suggests that the value of the fraction has decreased when in fact; the value of the fraction is the same.

ATLAS Rubicon Revisions

Over the coming months, the K-5 Mathematics Department Members will review the units of study on ATLAS Rubicon and make necessary changes to improve and enhance the information and resources that are provided for teachers. Part of the process includes looking at feedback we received from classroom teachers and specialists throughout the year. Most years, we use summer workshop time to add significant resources to ATLAS. As always, we will provide you with detailed notes about any changes that are made for implementation in 2016-2017.

Mathematics Materials

Mathematics Materials orders were due last week and I am happy to report that 103 of 142 classroom teachers responded! We have received some feedback and suggestions for improving the system and we will be sure to address any difficulties that you encountered. If you have not yet submitted your requests, please do so by April break. Additional feedback is welcome.

Personnel Update

A Lexington Public Schools classroom teacher will join the K-5 Mathematics Department for the 2016-2017 school year as the district-wide intervention specialist. The process to hire a K-5 Mathematics Department Head has begun.

Standard for Mathematical Practice #6

Attend to Precision

Mathematically proficient students try to communicate precisely to others. They try to use clear definitions in discussion with others and in their own reasoning. They state the meaning of the symbols they choose, including using the equal sign consistently and appropriately. They are careful about specifying units of measure, and labeling axes to clarify the correspondence with quantities in a problem. They calculate accurately and efficiently….In the elementary grades, students give carefully formulated explanations to each other…


What does this practice look like in the classroom?


· Communicate precisely using clear definitions

· State the meaning of symbols, carefully specifying units of measure, and providing accurate labels

· Calculate accurately and efficiently, expressing numerical answers with a degree of precision

· Provide carefully formulated explanations

· Label accurately when measuring and graphing


· Emphasize the importance of precise communication by encouraging students to focus on clarity of the definitions, notation, and vocabulary used to convey their reasoning

· Encourage accuracy and efficiency in computation and problem-based solutions, expressing numerical answers, data, and/or measurements with a degree of precision appropriate for the context of the problem (ems & tl Project, 2012)

To increase student engagement with this practice, ask questions such as….

· What mathematical terms apply in this situation?

· How did you know your solution was reasonable?

· Explain how you might show that your solution answers the problem.

· Is there a more efficient strategy?

· How are you showing the meaning of the quantities?

· What symbols or mathematical notations are important in this problem?

· What mathematical language…, definitions,…, properties can you use to explain…?

· How could you test your solution to see if it answers the problem? (Institute for Advanced Study/Park City Mathematics Institute/Created by Learning Services, Modified by Melisa Hancock, 2013)