January 2017
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Math Curriculum Review Kick Off Update

Teacher teams and principals met for a Math Review Kick-off Session on Oct 10, 2016 with Minnesota Department of Education Math Specialist Susan Wygant. The purpose of the day was to get updated information about best practices in math instruction and develop an action plan for implementing the practices in each building.

One of the best practices examined was a set of 7 questions asking what are our beliefs about learning mathematics. Each question had a continuum and teams identified where they are in their beliefs and how well do their actions follow those beliefs. An example item is:

An instructional best practice we talked about was “productive struggle.” This involves giving students tasks where they are going to struggle and need to persevere, but not so difficult that they give up. Students need to know that many mathematical concepts and skills take time and effort, that perseverance is required and how to deal with that angst. Also, that errors and confusion are part of the process of learning math, we learn from our mistakes. Talking with each other can help us figure things out. The recommendation was given that teachers should talk only 35% of the time and students should be talking 65% of class time.

Finally, a rather bold and extensive action plan template was shared that includes pieces to work on over years and years. The intention was that the teams would take where they are now and prioritize what they want to work on from the action plan template. The idea is that teams will work on only a few items each year, then refer back to the action template to decide what to work on next. An example of one part of the plan is:

 High Quality Math Instruction

  1. Shared vision of high quality math instruction
  2. Instruction is monitored and on-going professional development is given

  3. Formative assessment informs classroom practices

  4. Common assessment is used collaboratively to make instructional decisions

  5. Clearly defined beliefs around math learning

Now that the plans have been made, SCRED continues to support the implementation of those plans within buildings. We feel everyone is off to a great start.

Here’s a quick look at what’s happening in districts during this year of math review with SCRED:

Chisago Lakes’ elementaries are examining some components of their core curriculum, “How are we implementing this piece, How does that compare to recommendations, Do we want to make changes? Students’ flexibility with numbers is also being examined, staff are exploring number talks as an instructional strategy.

North Branch Area Schools are piloting new core curriculum for mathematics. The staff are working with Terry Wyberg, University of Minnesota on professional development.

Pine City Elementary has been implementing number talks in grades K and 1 for several years. This year they are moving number talks into second grade.

Hinckley and Finlayson Elementaries are implementing a new core math curriculum this year, EveryDay Math. Teachers are using the number talks format within their mental math portion of the curriculum.

East Central Elementary is continuing to implement number talks. This year they are investigating “productive struggle tasks” to build a positive disposition in math and build students’ stamina and problem solving skills.

The purpose of the Breaking Down Instructional Barriers monthly articles are to focus on Universal Design for Learning (UDL) to help you incorporate Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM) and Assistive Technology (AT) into every lesson to benefit every learner:
This month’s Spotlight on Breaking Down Instructional Barriers looks at The Center on Technology and Disability and addresses the Universal Design for Learning Guidelines:  Providing Multiple Means for Engagement, Representation, Action, and Expression. 
Center on Technology and Disability
The Center on Technology and Disability (CTD) is funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). The Center is designed to increase the capacity of families and providers to advocate for, acquire, and implement effective assistive and instructional technology (AT/IT) practices, devices, and services. 

CTD is a website that increases the capacity of families, educators and service providers to learn more about, acquire, or implement effective assistive technology (AT) or instructional technology (IT) devices and services.  It is free to register for this resource.  Some highlights of this website are:
  • A learning center with in-depth, e-learning modules on a wide array of AT and IT topics.
  • A café’ with expert-led topical and audience-specific discussion forums
  • A vast multi-media library of research, training and informational services from leading experts in the field.
To visit the CTD website and register go to: 

St. Croix River Education District continues to provide this UDL and AT resource to all member districts’ staff.  All new staff are encouraged to register at
Here are links to the newest Infinitec Newsletters with more suggestions on what is new and how to get the most out of the Infinitec resource:
AT Regional (5/7) Committee Newsletter
Copyright © 2017 St. Croix River Education District, All rights reserved.

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