Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Advice for Math Teachers Gearing Up for Rigorous Standards

From the Marshall Memo 558 (courtesy of NCSM)

        “Many of us chose mathematics teaching because it was always so neat and clean,” says math consultant Steven Leinwand in this Mathematics Teacher article. “Almost always, we arrived at only one numerical answer by using one right procedure that could be easily graded either right or wrong… But, oh, how things have changed!” He offers the following postulates for math teachers adjusting to ambitious new standards:
            • We are being asked to teach in distinctly different ways from how we were taught. Parents tend to parent the way they were parented, and teachers tend to teach as they were taught. “We build on what is familiar because the familiar ‘feels right,’” says Leinwand. But the new expectations are unfamiliar territory for many teachers. “We need to increase opportunities for collegial classroom visits,” he advises, “and we need to increase our reliance on videotapes of what the distinctly different forms of pedagogy look like.”
            • The traditional curriculum was designed to meet societal needs that no longer exist. New math standards were developed because “society’s needs and expectations for schools have shifted radically,” says Leinwand. “Schools cannot remain perpetuators of the bell curve, where only some were expected to survive and even fewer to truly thrive; education must be a springboard from which all must attain higher levels.”
            • It is unreasonable to ask a professional to change much more than 10 percent a year, but it is unprofessional to change by much less than 10 percent a year. Changing one-tenth of one’s practice is about the right amount to ask of ourselves, says Leinwand – “large enough to represent real and significant change but small enough to be manageable.” This might be revamping one curriculum unit a year, changing questioning techniques, or introducing math journals. “Even the most radical proponent of reform should be satisfied with a change of this magnitude in our mathematics classes,” he contends, “and our most cautious and tradition-bound colleagues should be able to retain a real sense of control over such a rate of change.”
            • If you don’t feel inadequate, you’re probably not doing the job. Just think what math teachers are being asked to do, says Leinwand:
-    Use manipulatives and pictures much more frequently.
-    Get students regularly working in groups.
-    Work with heterogeneous groups.
-    Focus on problems, communication, applications, and interdisciplinary work.
-    Put more emphasis on statistics, geometry, and discrete mathematics.
-    Use assessments that are more authentic and complex.
“Feeling overwhelmed by this torrent of change is neither a weakness nor a lack of professionalism,” he says. “It is an entirely rational response… We must select a few areas of focus and balance the fear and worries we understandably have in some areas with the pride and accomplishment and success we find in other areas. We must accept the inevitability of a sense of inadequacy and use it to stimulate the ongoing growth and learning that characterize the true professional.”
            [Note that this article was published before the Common Core, referencing the NCTM standards, but the ideas are still relevant today.  K.M.]

“Four Teacher-Friendly Postulates for Thriving in a Sea of Change” by Steven Leinwand in Mathematics Teacher, May 2007 (Vol. 100, #9, p. 582-583),

Friday, October 24, 2014

Minutes of the October 16, 2014, Membership Meeting

Happy Anniversary to the Vermont Math Leadership Council!

We have just marked the end of our first year together.
I would like to:
1) Congratulations to our with new Board Members: Mary Fitzgerald (President), Julie Conrad (President-Elect), Patty Kelly (Treasurer), and Member-At-Large Elaine Watson, Mary Calder, Sue Abrams, and Sandi Stanhope,
2) Welcome to our two new members: Fran Huntoon and Mary Perkins,
and
3) Share the energy from the meeting to those unable to attend.

Please take a few minutes to read through the meeting's Minutes, and consider how you might join in networking, collaborating, and sharing with others in math leadership.

Thank you for a wonderful first year,
Tracy
-President

Request a copy of the Minutes, Attendance and Ballot, and Treasurer's Report at vermontmathleaders@gmail.com

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Membership Meeting October 16, 2014



Who Are We as Math Leaders?
    Vermont Math Leadership Council (VMLC) Membership Meeting
Thursday, October 16th
Windjammer Restaurant in South Burlington
 5:00pm-8:00pm.

Join us for appetizers at 5:00pm, elections of the Council’s new Board Members (President Elect, Treasurer, and Members-at-Large*), followed by work on defining our roles (continued from our August meeting), and time for networking.
*Nominations are still being accepted.
Contact: Elaine Watson, elaine.watson0729@gmail.com, Elections Committee Chair

Returning and New Members are welcome!** We welcome guests at our meeting for a fee of $20, which may be applied toward membership should you choose to join the Council. Only members may vote. **membership forms are available.
Contact: Julie Conrad, vermontmathleaders@gmail.com, Membership Committee Chair

Questions?
Contacts: Linda Horn lhorn@rnesu.org and Patty Kelly pattykelly@hotmail.com, Meeting Coordinators.


Monday, September 29, 2014

The VCTM Fall Conference "Teaching Mathematics Today" at St. Michael's College in Colchester


The VCTM Fall Conference "Teaching Mathematics Today" at St. Michael's College in Colchester is fast approaching- attached (below) is the full program- and then you can register here.  The conference is designed for all teachers, K-12 with many opportunities for discussions and explorations on a wide range of topics, with a focus on Common Core and SBAC, as well as newer teaching techniques and ideas from proficiency based learning to STEM.  


This is a great opportunity to connect with the greater Vermont math community and share in our resources!

Friday, September 19, 2014

STUDENT VIDEO CONTEST Calling All STEM Superheroes

STUDENT VIDEO CONTEST
Calling All STEM Superheroes
What one problem would you tackle to change the world and how would you do it? That is the question posed to students in the Disney Big Hero 6 XPrize Challenge, a nationwide video contest inviting young people, ages 8-17, to create innovative ideas using science, technology, engineering, art and/or mathematics to tackle the biggest challenges in schools, communities, or the world. Inspired by Disney's new animated feature Big Hero 6, this student challenge seeks out the real-life counterparts to the animated heroes.
Six winners will travel to Los Angeles to walk the red carpet at the Hollywood premiere of Big Hero 6 in early November. They will also go behind the scenes and meet the creative minds at both Walt Disney Animation Studios and Walt Disney Imagineering, join a special “Visioneering" experience at XPRIZE headquarters, plus other prizes. Deadline for submissions is October 12. Learn more.








Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

SBAC Online Achievement Level Setting Opportunity



Update on Achievement Level Setting
Smarter Balanced member states will establish a common set of performance standards in English language arts (ELA/literacy) and mathematics across grades 3-8 and high school. This process, known as Achievement Level Setting has three phases.
The first phase of Achievement Level Setting is the Online Panel (October 6–17). The Online Panel is an unprecedented opportunity for educators, parents, community members, and other interested parties to help recommend performance standards. Educators received the first invitations to participate and have been the primary target of recruitment efforts. To date, 60% of registered panelists are teachers, and another 20% are non-teacher educators or school administrators. Registration for the Online Panel will close on September 19. To learn more about the Online Panel and register to participate, visit http://smarterbalanced.measinc.com/EventCode/100614.
Recommendations from the Online Panel will be shared with 500 participants during an In-Person workshop (October 13–19), the second phase of Achievement Level Setting. The information collected will be disaggregated by role so participants can take into consideration the recommendations made by teachers, higher education faculty, and others. Teachers will drive the in-person workshop, comprising 65% of its participants. Non-teacher educators, such as curriculum specialists and other K–12 administrators, will comprise another 18% of participants, followed by higher education faculty (12%) and members of the general public (5%).
The final phase of Achievement Level Setting is the Vertical Articulation Committee. A subset of the 500 panelists from the In-Person workshop - approximately 60 individuals - will examine all the recommended achievement levels in ELA/literacy and mathematics, to ensure that the system is aligned from grade to grade. Leadership from the Smarter Balanced Governing States will vote on the recommended achievement levels in fall 2014.
Collaboration in the development of Smarter Balanced assessments is key to ensuring that the assessments are fair, accurate, and reliable for all students. We encourage you to make your voice heard and register for the Online Panel today!