This Week in Math Ed: August 12, 2016

Math Ed Said

August 5: Inspired by Skemp (1976), Mark Chubb wrote, "Focus on Relational Understanding." In the post he discusses differences between instrumental and relational understanding and offers suggestions and resources to help bridge the gap between the two.

Shared by: Mary Gambrel, Ashley Bingenheimer, Beth Brandenburg, Matthew Oldridge, David Costello, Mark Chubb, Brian Bushart, Jeremy Went

August 6: Dylan Kane was thinking about the nature of students' questions, and when and if certain questions are best answered. In his post "Answering Questions," Dylan builds on the ideas of John Holt and Peter Liljedahl to focus on the kinds of questions and answers that keep students thinking.

Shared by: Dylan Kane, Matthew Oldridge, Mary Bourassa, MathDDSB, Ilona Vashchyshyn, Judy Keeney

August 7: The I-don't-know-her-name-cuz-maybe-it's-secret teacher that goes by Druin wrote, "Teaching Statistics: Thinking about Closure." The topic of this post are those precious minutes at the end of lessons, and how best to help students consolidate their ideas and reflect on what they've learned.

Shared by: Druin, Shauna Hedgepeth, Pam J. Wilson, Tracy Johnston Zager, Bridget Dunbar

August 8: The final minutes of a lesson are important, but so are the first few minutes of a unit. Sara VanDerWerf wrote about "Unit Pictures," a visual guide to get students thinking about what they'll be learning in the days ahead.

Shared by: Sara VanDerWerf, Megan Schmidt, Annie Perkins, Laura Wagenman, Mary Gambrel, Meg Craig

August 9: The topic of last week's Global Math Department meeting was "Back to School Night Ignites."

Shared by: Jessica, Global Math, Sadie Estrella, Regan Galvan, Deborah Boden, Cary Behrendt, Katherine Martin

August 10: THE Journal reported on some recent research with the article, "With High-Quality Lessons and Social Supports, Even Weak Teachers Do Better." The researchers, writing in a NBER working paper, found that teachers who were supported in the use of high-quality, off-the-shelf Mathalicious lessons saw greater student achievement than teachers who were not provided the lessons or support. Just giving teachers access to lessons didn't help as much, and researchers hypothesized that some teachers don't invest enough time in lesson planning to use an off-the-shelf lesson.

Shared by:, Christopher Danielson, Sadie Estrella, Patty Stephens, Glenn Waddell, Jr., John Golden, Martin Joyce, April Pforts

August 11: Mark Chubb is back with another post, "Never Skip the Closing of the Lesson."

Shared by: Tracy Johnston Zager, Margie Pearse, Matthew Oldridge, Max Ray-Riek, Annie Forest, John Rowe, Mark Chubb, Jami D. Packer, Mark Chubb, Jennifer Wilson, Bridget Dunbar, Pam J. Wilson, Brian Bushart

Around the Math Ed Web

On Tuesday the Global Math Department will be talking about "Flipping Your Math Classroom: More Than Just Videos and Worksheets."

August 19th is your last chance to submit a proposal for RUME. Actually, that's not entirely true — if you're submitting a poster, they'll take proposals on a rolling basis for a few more months.

The deadline to submit NCTM Research Conference proposals is September 4.

Research Notes

I've had some trouble tracking new article in Teachers College Record, but here's one that I think has appeared recently:
If you've been waiting all year for new articles in The Teaching of Mathematics, from the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, wait no longer! I know it's a low-profile journal, but it's open access and been around since 1998, something not many math ed journals can claim.

Math Ed in the News

Math Ed in Colorado


CCTM Board Meeting: I attended a CCTM board meeting on Saturday, August 6. We welcomed our new board members: Kevin Duren, our newly elected vice president from the Security-Widefield district; Gilbert Apodaca, technology specialist from Centennial R-1, and Erica Hastert, our new MAA representative who comes from Early College of Arvada. Most of the day we discussed the upcoming CCTM Conference and plans to grow and strengthen the math education community in Colorado.

Navajo Math Circles: Last Wednesday I attended a packed-house film screening of Navajo Math Circles, which was shown as part of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science's ongoing Indigenous Film & Arts Festival. For me, the film did a beautiful job showing how Navajo youth need access to mathematics, and how in turn mathematics needs Navajo youth. PBS will be showing the film in September, so watch their schedule for details. See the Navajo Math website for more details about the program, or for general information about math circles.

CCTM Conference: Register now!

Upcoming ESSA Standards Committee Webinar:

In December of 2015, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was reauthorized as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), replacing the No Child Left Behind Act. Following a statewide listening tour in May and June of this year, the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) is now convening committees to inform the development of Colorado's ESSA state plan to comply with the requirements of ESSA. For more information regarding ESSA please visit:

Under the guidance of the State Board of Education, the CDE will utilize a Hub/Spoke Committee structure for ESSA state plan development. The idea is to create a formal, central Hub Committee that will have an oversight role in the development of a draft of our state plan to be submitted to the State Board in early 2017, and ESSA topical spoke committees that will be responsible for developing and appropriately vetting sections of the state plan with the nimbleness and flexibility to get the work done in a timely manner.

The Office of Standards and Instructional Support at CDE is hosting an informational webinar about the standards spoke committee on Thursday, August 18, from 3:30 to 4:30 PM. A recording will be made available for those unable to participate.

The webinar will provide those interested in participating in or knowing about the work of the committee. Topics to be addressed in the webinar include:
  • A general overview of the Colorado’s ESSA state plan development process
  • ESSA requirements for state standards and related components for the state plan
  • Colorado's process for developing, vetting, and finalizing the standards section of the ESSA state plan
  • How stakeholders can become a part of the committee
  • Expectations of committee members
To participate in the webinar, please follow this link: Audio will come through your computer. You may also dial in for audio in the event you experience difficulties: 1-877-820-7831, passcode 712581.

Following the webinar, the membership for the standards spoke committee will be confirmed and work will begin on the standards section of the ESSA state plan. To become involved in the committee or to follow its work, please visit: