Monday, October 28, 2013

Conceptual Understanding of Fractions

Fractions are a major focus of the Common Core Standards for Mathematics.  Although many of us were not taught fractions in a conceptual or visual way, we are now expected to teach beyond the procedural; and for good reason!  Below are some useful videos, tools and explanations that might help facilitate this shift in the math classroom. 
Using a Number Line to Teach Fractions
This video does an excellent job showing and explaining how the open number line (and double number line) can be used when teaching fractions.  It demonstrates how students can model with mathematics (standard for mathematical practice #4) and even includes a few examples of student work.

Fractions Progression
This website highlights seven key units of fractions and the ideal progression of these units.  It connects 3rd, 4th and 5th grade fractural concepts together through videos and sample teacher explanations.

Visual Fractions Practice
This tool is a visual learner's dream!  It includes fraction visualization models, worksheets, games and step-by-step explanations.  Everything on this site is free and kid-friendly.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Rigorous and Open-Ended Tasks

It's hard to keep all of the assessment terminology straight these days. 

What is the difference between a CEPA and a performance task?  How do we know when we've created an authentic formative assessment?  What's the point of administering interim assessments?  How do we define rigor?

This week's blog focuses on rigorous tasks and gives you concrete examples to work with.  Regardless of what we name these tasks, we know that it is imperative that we increase the amount of open-ended, rigorous problems that we present in the math classroom.

If you've explored the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers' (PARCC) website, you know that these tasks are a lot more open-ended than they used to be.  Below are some websites that provide you with sample mini-assessments or performance tasks.  I hope you find these resources useful and that you try out a few!

Achieve The Core
Achieve The Core-Mini Assessments

The Mathematics Common Core Toolbox
Elementary, Middle and High School Sample Tasks

Middle School Tasks
Open-Ended Math Problems

Friday, October 11, 2013

Academic Vocabulary in the Mathematics Classroom

Academic Mathematics Vocabulary Website

This website has highlighted math vocabulary lists that are based on the Common Core State Math Standards.  The lists range from kindergarten to high school.  You do not need to create a login to see the 'Math Vocabulary Words at a Glance' at the bottom of the webpage.


Building a Bridge to Academic Vocabulary in Mathematics

This article gives many practical tools that educators can use to help build academic vocabulary in the math classroom.  Beyond introducing purposeful activities strategies and investigations, this article stresses the importance of educators using formal mathematical vocabulary on a consistent basis.


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Good News for Spanish Speaking Students, Parents and Teachers

PARCC's Math Tests to Be Translated Into Spanish

The common math assessments under development by PARCC will be translated into Spanish and possibly other languages as well.  Massachusetts is one of eight states in the consortium to say that it needs a Spanish-language math assessment.

Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium Launches Spanish Webpage

Smarter Balanced has launched a Spanish webpage with factsheets, practice tests and videos for teachers, parents, and students. The webpage provides information on the assessment system and the Consortium’s work to meet the needs of English language learners.