Tag Archives: #mtbosblaugust

Overlooking the Needs of Students Who Are Significantly Behind: (Un)Productive Practice #MTBoSBlaugust


While watching the webinar last spring, this one the one that caught my attention most. You can watch here – Juli K. Dixon addresses this one around the 45:00 min. mark. I cannot find any blog posts on the dnamath.com site, but I am sure this is one she will be sharing more about.

I appreciate her acknowledging that teachers are well-intentioned feeling that if they work hard enough, they can catch students up. However, teachers will burnout and students will fall further behind.

What are we doing to support these students? With RTI and Multi-Tier Support Systems, we often focus on basic facts – this is not the best used of our time, not the most important. Juli shares, students with extended time will get those facts. We we want to reteach everything – we simply cannot do it. She suggests focusing on strategies that will extend beyond the basic facts, strategies that can be used to figure things out as opposed to “just knowing.”

Instead, she encourages us to look at our current year – and focus on prerequisites and teach them for understanding. This is where our energy and time can make a difference. For example – figure out the 3 most important topics, consider what is prerequisite here asking what do we need to be able to do to get there? Here is a slide with examples she shared.

As I rewatched this segment, I was reminded of ideas shared in our Routines for Reasoning chat last spring. We challenged each other to revisit the last chapter in August to choose 1 routine we would consider using in our classes as we started back. I committed to starting with Capturing Quanitites during the first few weeks of our classes. I feel that this would definitely be a supporting strategy for learners who are significantly behind.

Capturing Quantities supports Mathematical Practice 2 by focusing students io consider the important quantities and relationships in problem situations, we are helping them develop their ability to reason quantitatively and abstractly.

The info-graphic from Fostering Math Practices site captures the flow of the routine.

We begin by giving students a scenario and asking

  • What can I count or measure in this situation?
  • An important quantity is…
  • A relationship we know is…
  • Create a diagram – how can I represent the quantity and relationship?
  • Share with someone – ask, how did you represent? Then I did this… and explain your diagram.
  • Together, come up diagram that best represents the scenario. Share diagrams.
  • A gallery walk in a sense is where I visualize this – students are asked – Do you see the quantities and relationships in this? Where do you see the quantities and relationships in this?
  • Then students are asked to meta-reflect…
From Capturing Quantities, Fostering Math Practices

This. This is what I struggled with as a student. How the heck do I make sense of planes, trains and automobiles leaving stations at different times going it different or same directions. I saw immediate value in this routine. Giving students the question stem – but now question and letting them make sense of it.

Juli shared the 3-Reads strategy also and it will be a part of our learning environment this year as well. However, for 9th grade students – CQ is a step in that direction – it is actually embedded in 3-Reads. Give students the scenario, removing the question stem.

  • Read 1: What is the situation?
  • Read 2: What do the quantities describe?
  • What mathematical questions could you ask?
  • Then add the question stem back and allow students to compare their questions with the actual.

Now to consider ways I can implement Capturing Quantities remotely. Sharing ideas, diagrams. It is doable. I just need to ponder it a little longer.

the classroom is coming together… #MTBoSBlaugust Post 2


Nearly 3 years ago to the day, I blogged about leaving room 148.  Last summer, everything was packed away due to renovation and construction in our building – so it was essentially another full move.  This May, I found out I was moving back down to Room 148 – primarily teaching 9th grade again (yippeee!) as well as AP Statistics.

Another move, which in my mind, I hope is the last.

Room 148 is starting to pull together again.

wpid-20150802_193042-1.jpgWe are a Leader in Me District and I hope to spend our first few weeks helping students focus on goal setting and continued development of the 7 Habits.  Each Habit is listed with a quote.

wpid-20150802_193001.jpgMy 11 year old came up with this board idea for me.  There are 5 plastic sleeves stapled to the board.  The idea is to have 5 new quotes to change out each week.  She said it would help students focus on the positive things for the day.  Hopefully I can find a fold out sunshine to add on as well.

This workstation will be accessible to students as well.  wpid-20150802_195702.jpg

wpid-20150802_192933.jpg And I am overjoyed to have this storage cabinet again! I still have to sort some card stock and folders I plan to use in creating student data folders which are stored in the bottom boxes.  But this is a true convenience and I am grateful.

wpid-20150802_194449.jpgI always loved this back wall of windows – I will do my best to post pictures of the trees this fall…simply gorgeous and peaceful to look out on each day.  The morning sun shines bright on this end of the building – a perfect way to begin your day.  My husband is planning to help me hang my window treatments, which are now just laying in the window sill.

And these are the posters on either side of the window, purposefully placed so I can glance back when I need a quick reminder…


This board is quite busy.  The fabric features each of the characters from Inside Out.  The mini chalk clipboards will list ways to be bucket fillers.  Each class will be assigned a bucket.  There will be post-its placed on a nearby student station.  When a classmates spots bucket fillers, they will simply jot the person’s name down and what they saw them doing and place it in the bucket.  Just a way to celebrate positive actions and focus on the good things students are doing!wpid-20150802_194127.jpg

My daughter helped me get my “Starters” back up.  There is an electrical drop which is also metal.  So she used magnetic tape.  Got it at wal-mart – looks like a tape dispenser but is thin, sticky magnets.  She put a small strip in the center of each starter and placed it on the drop.


wpid-20150802_194041.jpgThis student station is just inside the doorway.  Clipboards will contain a class list and I will have a student assigned to record attendance at the beginning of each class.  These will be stored in the clear folders on the wall.  While You Were Out slips can be placed in the plastic bins as well and the black filetastic will organize extra copies for the week.  I also have a clear folder on the wall containing Emergency Procedures and our Emergency packet.  Students will turn in papers in their corresponding tray – my classes are color coded ROYGBIV.

wpid-20150802_194047.jpgAs students exit the room, the are reminded to “Do Something Amazing!” There’s my antique vertical number line and my poster @algebrainiac made for me a few years ago while chatting Making Thinking Visible!  “In this room, Thinking is Valued, Visible and Actively Promoted!”

wpid-20150802_182149.jpgAfter the first few weeks, I will change out the Gear Up for Greatness board and somehow incorporate this awesome light up question mark – how cool is that?!?  Thanks to a dear friend and colleague who is constantly cheering me on!

And finally, a little note left in my door window by my big-hearted 11 year old…

wpid-20150802_194108.jpgShe is amazing.  A reminder of why I do what I do…and that every child who walks through the door of room 148 should be given opportunities to do something that makes their heart sing.