District-wide we have seen a lot of excellent work as our math, science, English, and social studies teachers engage in phase two of our prioritized learning process, which is building proficiency scales. As PLCs/course-alike teams fine-tune their scales quite a few groups have requested feedback. In response to these requests, our Secondary Curriculum and Instruction Team has created list of clarifying statements and a set of guiding questions that teams can use as they construct and finalize their proficiency scales. You can see these below:
First, ensure that you have a clear understanding of Proficiency Scales:
Then, consider these questions as you draft and finalize each Proficiency Scale:
All documents required to successfully complete phase two of the of our prioritized learning process are available here (these include the lists of identified prioritized learnings, the distribution of work, and the template). Also, a one page, printable version of the list of clarifying statements and a set of guiding questions is linked below.
This post brought to you by the Secondary Curriculum & Instruction Team
We are aware that many of our students are going to enter into careers that do not exist today. By helping our learners develop an innovative mindset, we can equip them to thrive in settings that are fast-paced, digital, progressive and collaborative. The structure of our classrooms and lessons can inspire innovation and prepare our students to flourish in any environment. Learning environments that inspire innovation include:
Source: The Innovator’s Mindset by George Couros, 2015.
This post brought to you by Erin Broviak, APOSA overseeing Career and Technical Education
The importance of learning mathematical concepts over rules and methods is supported by extensive brain research where it has been concluded that the brain can only compress and retain concepts; it cannot compress rules and methods. Thus, concepts are retained whereas rules and methods not connected to a concept are forgotten. Once students learn a mathematical concept they can apply connected math facts, algorithms, and procedures to new situations that are related to the concept. Application of a learned concept is connected to the concept itself and is then compressed by the brain as part of the concept.
The difference between rule and concept is summarized by Jo Bohler in her book Mathematical Mindsets. Bohler notes three comparisons as a way to think about concept vs. rule:
When I attended the December 8, 2016 session of Minnesota Math Leaders Networking at the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), I came away with some constructive ideas for the use of inquiry to help students attain mathematical concepts. The session focused on changing mundane mathematical tasks into focused inquiry based tasks where students grasp mathematical concept before practicing an accompanying algorithm. I have highlighted some of the big ideas from the workshop below:
THE DEFINITION OF A RICH MATHEMATICAL TASK
A rich mathematical task should include the following features:
GOOD INSTRUCTIONAL ROUTINE FOR CONNECTING STUDENT REPRESENTATIONS
This routine encourages students to look at their peers work and make connections, look for patterns, and find solutions or algorithms that can be used for future math study.
THINGS THAT TEACHERS SHOULD BE AWARE OF WHEN USING STUDENT REPRESENTATIONS
I invite you to watch this Teaching Channel video representation of instruction focused on teaching concept before rule. You will see that the teacher is using a rich mathematical task, follows a routine for connecting student representations, and is aware of student perspective for displayed work.
This post brought to you by Dan Devine, Secondary Implementation Associate
For English Learners (ELs), navigating a textbook is a daunting challenge. Often the information is at a reading level that is much higher than what they are reading at. ELs may lack background knowledge regarding the material presented in the texts. ELs may also not have experiences with using a textbook in their home country. Teaching ELs, and all students, how to navigate a textbook will make learning more meaningful and less stressful. Here are some strategies to assist students in navigating a textbook as a tool for learning. Once they know these techniques, they can apply them to any content area that uses a textbook.
Strategy #1: Teach students textbook elements
Show students textbooks elements that are designed to help them navigate a textbook. ELs who have had have interrupted schooling may have never encountered these elements in their past school experiences. Others will benefit from a reminder.
Also, show students examples and ask them questions to aid in comprehension. Here are some examples of questions you may ask:
Strategy #2: Teach students chapter elements
Show students examples of chapter elements and talk about their functions.
Explicitly teach the difference between these elements and when to use them. Ask students questions to aid in their use. Here are some examples of questions you may ask:
Strategy #3: Teach students to do a “Chapter Walk”
At first these strategies may seem time-consuming, but as students become more familiar with elements of a textbook and chapter, they will begin to navigate the information much more quickly and efficiently. They will also be more engaged in the learning as they have become invested in searching for information. They will see the textbook as a vital tool to assist them in learning.
For more information regarding a Chapter Walk:
This post brought to you by Katie Miller, K-12 EL Implementation Associate
A team of teachers, administrators, and curriculum and instruction staff are currently engaged in studying our mathematical practices as a part of our curriculum articulation cycle. The following practices are taken from the book Principles to Actions, published by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and have been summarized by members of our study group.
This post brought to you by Heather Willman, APOSA overseeing Secondary Curriculum and Instructional Coaching
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