Month of January Updates

Dept. Meeting will be held @ Lunch on Monday 1/9 in the Secondary Floor Planning Area (agenda attached).

Math Teachers remember we will make course recommendation prior to science during the week of the 23rd.

STEM Update
Things are coming along nicely with our STEM Fridays' organization. The STEM Action Team has met several times and has developed a plan, some of which, hopefully, can be shared by a STEM Committee Member at your department meeting this Monday. Please plan in your agenda to allow this information to be discussed. I have attached a flyer summarizing some of the benefits of participation, how you can participate and a timeline to follow, plus other items. The STEM Committee Member will be able to answer most questions that your team may have during your meeting.

Thanks for your support for this innovative STEM initiative.



Looking for a new method to share information with your students and parents.

Jing is a tool to take a picture of your screen. It's a good alternative to the print screen button on the keyboard. You can decide on the size of your screen shot, upload it to your computer as a jpg or get a link for your picture. You can also make a short video of your screen by recording your voices. Jing is a great tool for creating presentation with your own voice, to show how a website works. Look what we are doing with jing at school



From the Secondary Office of Mathematics

Financial Literacy Survey

Apparently, the state comptroller is circulating a petition to teachers (via the Md Council on Economic Ed) asking them to sign in order to make the state require a stand-alone financial literacy course. I want everyone to know that the school system has opposed the creation of a separate, required course in Financial Literacy because we do not want to limit credit opportunities for our students in Howard County. This requirement would mean fewer students enrolled in AP and elective courses. We think FL is extremely important as well, but we use a different model here in that we embed the FL objectives into the last quarter of American Government, and offer other elective courses in Financial Literacy in high school. MSDE and the Md Council on Economic Education have used our approach as a model to share with other systems.

Please feel free to advise others of our position.

Program Description: www.howard.k12.md.us/socst

The information contained in this email transmission is privileged and/or confidential intended solely for the exclusive use of the individual addressee. If you are not the intended addressee you are hereby notified that any retention, disclosure or other use is strictly prohibited. If you have received this notification in error, please immediately contact the sender and delete the material.


Northrop Grumman is again sponsoring our fall Young Engineers and Scientists Seminars. These free seminars introduce students to careers in STEM. We are proud to offer these seminars for grades 9-12.

We will have 4 sessions. Speakers, challenges, pizza and prizes. These seminars are taught by 2 Howard County teachers.
The schedule is: Wednesdays: 10/12, 19, 26, 11/2 at the National Electronics Museum near BWI. 6-6:30 Pizza6:30-7 Speaker (from APL, Honeywell and Northrop Grumman)7-8:30 Challenge
Prizes will be awarded to the students who accumulate the most points in challenges.Attached is a flier with more information.
If you would like color hard copies of the fliers for distribution I can send you these to you.We hope you will encourage your teacher to send students to participate in this STEM initiative.
For more information and to register online visit:www.yessnem.org

9/6/11 Department Meeting Minutes


The Maryland Council of Teachers of Mathematics (MCTM) Fall 2011 newsletter is now available at

[ https://www.marylandmath.org/news/Newsletters/160 ]https://www.marylandmath.org/news/Newsletters/160


High school math contest: Chance for your student and department to win up to $5000

The American Mathematical Society is conducting a national contest for high school students, Who Wants to Be a Mathematician, with a top prize of $5000 for the winning student and $5000 for the math department of that student's school. There is no fee to participate.

*When/where: The 2012 contest will take place Friday, January 6, from 9:30 to 11:00 a.m. at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston. The event is part of the Joint Mathematics Meetings, which take place January 4-7, 2012.
*Travel: The AMS will reimburse reasonable travel expenses and room and board for each contestant and a parent/guardian for a maximum of two nights. Contestants and their parent(s)/guardian(s) are welcome to attend other events at the meeting.

*Qualifying: Contestants are chosen based on their scores on a qualifying test, administered by teachers (or in the case of home-schooled students, by whomever does the teaching at home).
*Request a qualifying test by emailing the AMS Public Awareness Office, paoffice@ams.org, with the subject line "National math contest." In the body of the message, include your name, school, contact information, and courses taught this year.
*Deadline for receipt of tests is Wednesday, Oct. 19. The AMS will select 10 contestants from different regions of the US and will notify those qualifiers beginning Friday, Oct. 21.

*Contest format: There will be two semifinal games, each with five of the contestants. The winners of the two semifinals will go "head-to-head" in the finals for the national championship. The champion will win $5000 for himself or herself, $5000 for your math department, a traveling trophy for you to display at the school until the 2013 contest, a trophy for the school/department to keep, and an individual trophy for the winner to keep. All contestants will win prizes, cash for themselves, and cash for your department (the minimum cash prize is $500 for the student and $500 for the department).

*See more about the contest at


Interesting Article on Collaboration



Aspen Training Link Below

This link contains all of the information we were supposed to cover this week for grade book training. (Aspen has been down). The teachers in your school may need help determining how they want to set up their grade books- categories only, total points, categories with total points etc.

[ http://mail.colonial.net/~jpatton/FOV1-0003E445/FOV1-0003EDD2/FOV1-00049910/?OpenItemURL=S03285A85-03285A85 ]http://mail.colonial.net/~jpatton/FOV1-0003E445/FOV1-0003EDD2/FOV1-00049910/?OpenItemURL=S03285A85-03285A85

August 24, 2011 Department Meeting

Room 320
Please bring your laptop and Faculty Handbook

Please Congratulate Robin White on being RHS’s Teacher of the Year the First in the Math Dept.


Teachers Please Share This info. with Your Students

Admission Officers are Searching for Students on Facebook

For a while now, there has been a lot of talk about the rumor that college admissions officers were using Facebook to vet prospective students. A new study claims that this practice is more common than previously thought. The link below provide additional information.


Free Webinar on Discourse


March 11th County Inservice

Oakland Mills High School
The Junior Class with be having a bake sale. The agenda and description of the sessions are attached below. Remember to bring your
"Worthwhile Mathematical Task" to share with your team.

PI Day

Hello Everyone,

Here are some activities for π day which is in 2 weeks! They may be good activities for after the MSA for either math or reading days.


Fun with Pi website

Teach π website

Pi day website

Celebrating Pi day 3.14

Pi day on World News tonight with Charlie Gibson

Johns Hopkins University

JHU is hosting an information session for those interested in earning graduate credits for a variety of STEM course options...including math, science, computer science, and engineering. This information session will be held at River Hill High School on March 11th from 12:15 - 1:30. (Room TBD)


Article from NCTM:

Tips on Supporting All Students: Equity and Diversity

"Equity" and "Diversity" are very deep topics, and as such, there are dangers in boiling them down to a list of tips. The following is not a list of activities one does to be equitable or to celebrate diversity, and should not be looked at as such. Rather, the goal is to provide a starting point for considering equity and supporting diversity within our classrooms. The following headings are very broad reminders of how we can continue our efforts to achieve the goal of a mathematics education experience that is equitable and celebrates diversity.
  • Equity does not mean equal. When considering how equitable one's teaching and expectations are, we must consider the diverse needs and strengths of individual students, as well as the needs and strengths of the whole class. One student may need only a few minutes of extra instruction to master a concept, while the next student may need additional time to work and struggle with a set of manipulatives to develop an understanding which will allow him to own the content. It is not about how much time each student gets, but rather, how to create the appropriate opportunities for each student to learn mathematics.
  • Focus on the individual. Learning our students' names is only the first step in developing a relationship with those individuals. The more we understand and respect the individual's background and strengths, the more we understand their particular needs. How do language, culture, gender, and socio-economics shape our students' world? More importantly, how can we, as teachers, understand, celebrate, and utilize the strengths and differences that make our classes unique? A first day handout or classroom exercise might include a survey that asks students to list strengths and rate past successes with mathematics. A simple exercise such as this can give us a good idea of students' feelings about mathematics and about themselves as math students, providing the contextual starting point for classroom interactions.
  • Create an environment for success. Do your students know how important their success is to you? It never hurts to remind them! The expectations that we hold for our students send clear messages of how we feel about their education. Holding high expectations for all students shows our confidence in their ability and translates into success for more students. An environment that fosters success can be one in which all ideas and strategies are valued, where students share their thinking, listen with interest, and engage all students in consideration of the ideas presented.
  • Identify your biases, and then get over them! Regardless of individual background or upbringing, we all carry own biases and stereotypes. As teachers, we are responsible for helping ALL students succeed, not just the ones that fit into our "box" of people who should do well. Set aside these biases and stereotypes and harness students' strengths to further every student towards the brimming mathematician and problem solver that they can be.
  • Create an equitable curriculum that supports diverse needs and celebrates diverse strengths. Not all students learn the same way, so we must vary our approaches to lessons and provide students with manipulatives, visuals, projects, technology and group work to reach as many minds as possible. Give every student the opportunity to shine every day. Most of us have to follow a state or district curriculum, but with some creativity and work, we can meet the state and district requirements while making math interesting, engaging, and attainable for our students.
  • Be aware of your questioning and listening techniques. How we ask questions, who we direct them to, and our interest in student responses can have lasting impacts on our students' achievement. We must believe that we can learn from all of our students' responses. We can learn about the students' thinking and often we can learn alternative ways of thinking about the mathematics itself. Are all students asked to engage in rigorous mathematical thought during the course of a lesson? Are all students given the time to think? All students should have the opportunity to tackle rigorous math every day, and carefully examining and altering our questioning and listening techniques can better assure that this happens.
  • Walk the tightrope. We need to meet the needs of all our students, but it often feels as though we walk a tightrope to do this. While I am praising and encouraging the student who sits in the front row and knows the answers to even my toughest questions, am I simultaneously discouraging and ignoring that struggling student who sits in the back, never offers answers, and avoids eye-contact when I ask a question? These two students have very different needs, and the one who shouts louder is often more likely to get my attention. After all, the squeaky wheel gets the grease, right? Engaging and supporting all students is not easy, but it is our duty as classroom teachers. I challenge you to touch base with EVERY student, EVERY day. Work to give them opportunities to shine, to show their strengths, every day. You never know when you will turn that corner with a student and have a young scholar on your hands.


Message from SOM

On Friday, March 11, 2011, the Office of Secondary Mathematics will be hosting it's spring professional development day at Oakland Mills High School. (8:00 am - 12:30 pm) The theme is "Engaging Math Students by Investing in the CCSS's Standards of Mathematical Practice" The day will feature time for teachers to attend sessions of interest (conference style) as well as meet as a school team to discuss implications of the Common Core's Standards for Mathematical Practice.

In order for the day to reach its full potential, we are looking for talented teachers to present sessions of interest to colleagues. The sessions should feature at least one of two major district math focal points; Classroom Discourse or Standards for Mathematical Practice (pp. 6-8 of CCSS found at http://www.corestandards.org/the-standards)

Please have interested presenters submit their proposals at https://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?formkey=dEU1cklKYkswQWlSMGZITjZHbHFQVFE6MQ.

Thanks so much for your support of this day of professional development.

Summer School Hiring

It's time again for Summer School hiring. I've attached a flyer for your review. The flyer contains course, dates, and salary information. You must complete an interest form so that a contract can be drawn up. You can find the form at http://hcpsssummerschool.com. Please complete the form by February 9; the form will automatically be forwarded to Richard Smart, AP responsible for collecting and processing the hiring forms. We will let you know of your position soonest. The interest forms are now available to all staff in Howard County, but returning staff have the same priority as previous years.

You will notice the email attachments contain reference forms. You DO NOT need to submit references UNLESS you are currently a college student and returning as a para-educator; you will need to submit one "other reference" form from someone within the university. Email me with questions.

The Summer School program will still run in two high schools: Howard High School will house the math and social studies and Long Reach High School will house English, and science. There will be full support of para-educators, counselors, media specialists, administrators, etc. at each site.

If I have confirmed your return to Summer School, please use the print shop early. Email me first before sending any jobs to print shop - I need to assign you an account number.

You are a special group of educators working with a special group of students; modeling and consistency are paramount in this position.

Once again, we look forward to working with you this summer.

Keep in touch.

Rick Robb and the Summer School Admin staff!

MSDE Master Teacher Information


Attached is an announcement from MSDE seeking master teachers for this summer's Educator Effectiveness Academies. Interested Teachers should apply by the February 22nd deadline. HCPSS wants to have strong representation in the ranks of master teachers.


The Secondary Office of Mathematics is looking for presenters for the spring professional development day. If you are interested, need additional information or need more time to think about presenting please see Lynnette. The SOM would greatly appreciate your time and talent. Call for presenters will go out by next Friday.

I will be asking the following on March 11th;
  • Algebra I Team will be meeting to discuss final review for HSA and Mock HSA,
  • 2 department member will attend the "Evaluation/Observation" session, and
  • at least 2 member attend the quarterly review session.


2011-2012 Teacher Course Request

Dear Teachers,

Please complete the following and submit by January 31st. Your feedback is extremely important to me as well as valuable when I am working with administration to ensure that both you and our students are supported. It takes only a couple of minutes of your time.


Many thanks,

Lynnette Moore

Department Meeting Agenda

Dear Maryland STEM Leaders,

The Baltimore Excellence in STEM Teaching (BEST) Project is a 12-month professional development opportunity for MSDE certified, tenured secondary-level STEM teachers. Components of the BEST Project include:

· A $3,600 stipend for a 6-week authentic research experience at a local university or research institution during the summer of 2011

· A $1,000 stipend for outreach and professional development activities during the 2011-2012 school year

· A $1,000 grant for classroom supplies and STEM or FEA club support

· 5 MSDE Continuing Professional Development credits

· Pre-paid, priority participation in Towson University STEM activities such as visits to SciTech, participation in Hackerman Academy Programs, and the use of the Maryland Loaner Lab

A copy of a fill-in pdf BEST Project application is attached. The application deadline is January 10, 2011. Thank you for sharing information about this exciting opportunity with your secondary-level STEM teachers and encouraging them to apply. Please contact me if you should have questions regarding BEST Project incentives, the application process, or program requirements. Additional information can also be found on our website [ http://www.towson.edu/cse/BEST ]www.towson.edu/cse/BEST


Winter Math Activities

Oh Deer! A logic problem by Mike Shenk
(first published in Games Magazine, December 1992)

Twas the night before Christmas, and at the North Pole
The last-minute planning was taking its toll.
As Santa was hastily making a scheme
For the placement of deer in his sleigh-pulling team,
The good Mrs. Claus was crocheting bright bows
To be worn by these reindeer (four bucks and four does).

The ribbons were colored in eight festive hues:
One ocher, one rose, one cerise, one chartreuse,
One maroon, one magenta, one white, and one blue.
(These ribbons helped Santa keep track of who's who.)
The deer pulled the toy-laden sleigh in four rows,
Arranged so no row held two bucks or does.

The order of pullers was changed year by year,
For Santa was thoroughly fair with his deer.
He summoned the elves and instructed them thus:
"Let's hitch up the reindeer with minimum fuss.
The bow on the buck behind Dasher is white,
While Blitzen, a doe, sees cerise to her right.

The blue bow is nearer my sleigh than is Dancer,
But nearer the front of my team than is Prancer.
The doe in chartreuse gets a front-of-team honor,
But not on the same side as Cupid or Donner.
Now Comet stands two spots ahead of the rose.
And three deer of four on the right side are does.

The cerise bow is worn two in back of maroon,
One of which is beside the bright ocher festoon.
Oh-Cupid's in front of a buck, by the way.
Well, that's how they line up for pulling my sleigh.
I trust that you elves, being clever, now know
Each reindeer's position and color of bow."

In no time each colorful ribbon was tied
And the team was hitched up for the transglobal ride.
Can you ascertain where each member fits in?
Who's Comet? Who's Cupid" Where's Donner? And Blitzen?
Who's Dasher? Who's Dancer" Where's Vixen? And Prancer?
With logical thought, you'll determine the answer
And write down the color and place for each deer.
Happy Christmas to all, and to all much good cheer!

Crossing the River Task

1. Eight snowmen and two elves need to cross a river, and they have one small boat available to help them. The boat can hold either one adult, or one or two elves. Everyone in the group is able to row the boat. Show how you get them all across the river.

How many one-way trips would it take for the eight snowmen and two elves to cross the river?

2. How many one-way trips would it take to get the following groups across the river?

6 snowmen and 2 elves

15 snowmen and 2 elves

3 snowmen and 2 elves

3. How many trips would it take to get 100 snowmen and 2 elves across the river? Describe how you find your answer.

4. Write a rule for finding the number of trips needed to get any number of snowmen (s) and two elves across the river.

Christmas Math Stumper (Solution Next)

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Christmas Tree Stumper
D. Russell

Christmas Tree Stumper Solution 1 (Solution 2 next)

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Legislative panel rejects regulation on teacher evaluations

State school board must decide whether to move forward on regulation that was part of winning Race to the Top application



Assessment Dates for 2010-2011


Math Counts!

The Office of Secondary Math has received several phone calls recently regarding Math Counts. As you probably know, Math Counts is a national competition and some of school sponsor teams. (some do not) There is a community interest to sponsor teams composed of students from schools not currently participating. The OSM is looking for a teacher who is interested in sponsoring such a group beginning this summer and continuing through next year. Please note that you do not need to be a middle school teacher to facilitate the program.

Please let me know by May 12th if interested.

Check out the Website

The commitment would be...

- meeting with myself to discuss expectations (1 hour prior to July 1)
- preparation time (4 hours prior to August 1)
- club meetings twice per month x 2 hours (10 months x 4 hours = 40 hours)
- time for competitions (TBD)

TOTAL Stipend - $900 + Competition Hours


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A Message from Bill Barnes

We have developed on online curriculum workshop interest form for teachers who wish to participate in curriculum workshops this summer. We have received some feedback and interest but this form must be completed regardless of prior communications. Please share with all stakeholders (math teachers, special education teacher working with math, math assistants, etc). Please do no hesitate if you have questions.


Bill Barnes


April is Math Month

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A few March Madness resources:

1) http://www.sciencedaily.com/videos/2006/0301-betting_on_march_madness.htm

2) Time Out for March Madness - http://www.educationworld.com/a_lesson/lesson/lesson228.shtml

3) Also, NCTM articles attached.


Robotic Competition

On March 4th, 5th, and 6th, Marriotts Ridge High School and Atholton High School will be participating in the Washington DC FIRST Robotics Regional Challenge at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, in Washington, DC.

Marriotts Ridge, Atholton, Hammond, and Glenelg will be participating in the Chesapeake Regional Challenge March 11th, 12th, and 13th at the Baltimore Convention Center.

Not doing anything Saturday, March 6th, or 13th ?.. Or want a really awesome activity to encourage your students to check out? All are welcome to attend, and cheer Howard County Schools on. Instructional Coordinators and Facilitators, can you please forward this email to your curriculum folder on CLC?

Founded in 1989, the United States Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) is a 501 (c)(3) public charity based in Manchester, New Hampshire. Created by inventor Dean Kamen, FIRST is organized to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology. FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs that build not only science and technology skills and interests, but also self-confidence, leadership, and life skills. FIRST’s oldest and most intensive program, the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC), features teams of approximately 25 high school students, working with volunteer mentors to design and build a robot in six weeks from a "kit" of common key parts.

Thank you for your support! Please email me if you have further questions.


Women’s Giving Circle Offers STEM Careers Expo for Girls

The Women’s Giving Circle of Howard County is holding a free introduction to careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) for middle school girls on Sunday, March 14, 3-5 p.m., at the The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.

Support for the event is coming from from The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory and Math Engineering Science Achievement (MESA), Maryland Space Business Roundtable and Multinational Development of Women in Technology.

Attendees will be offered opportunities to meet and talk with professional women in their fields of interest, participate in hands-on STEM activities and visit displays on careers in aerospace, chemistry, computer science, engineering, geology, information technology, space science and more. The Maryland Space Business Roundtable is a sponsor of the event.

The Women’s Giving Circle is a community of women philanthropists addressing the needs of women and girls in Howard County. Among its goals is encouraging the healthy development and personal authority of young girls. WGC has founded a residential camp for middle and high school age girls, Journey, which will be held at Washington College in the summer of 2010.

Parents are invited to accompany their daughters to the STEM careers expo. The expo will be held in the Kossiakoff Center, The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, 11100 Johns Hopkins Rd., Laurel. Directions can be found at www.jhuapl.edu.

For information, contact womensgivingcircle@verizon.net


Uniting the World in Numbers!


Join us in a celebration of numbers as children from across the globe unite in their quest to set a Guinness World Record in
the largest online math competition in the world.

Be a part of this great education event involving more than a million students from 200 countries.

It's Free and Fun!

Why should schools participate?
· World Math Day is the education event for the world!
· Your students will love it! Be part of setting a world record!
· It will create an amazing buzz around Math in your school.
· Designed for all ages and ability levels. Simple to register and participate.
· Great prizes for students and schools.
· And it's absolutely free!!

How will it work?
· Register your students/class online.
· Students take part in real-time math challenges using the using the Mathletics
game engine. Students play live with other students around the world.
· All you need is internet access.
· Students can compete at school or at home.
· On 3 March, all students will participate at www.worldmathday.com

Registrations and Further Information:
Visit www.worldmathday.com

Don't delay - school registrations close March 2

If you would like to contact me personnally, I welcome your call 1.866.727.040 or email peter.walters@3plearning.com to discuss how your school can make the most of this free and fun event.



University System of Maryland Admissions Requirements

I wanted to share the new USM (University System of Maryland) admission requirements with you. Pay particular attention to the math requirements. The state will likely follow their lead in the near future. Begin thinking about the implications to our own program. See attached.

Engineering Innovation and JHU Summer 2010

Do you know a motivated high school student who is strong in math and science?

Engineering Innovation challenges students with hands-on projects and college-level lectures for an exciting, fast-paced, fun filled summer.


Black History Month Resources

Teachers here are some resources for mathematics lessons that you can incorporate during this month.



Chick-fla Department Luncheon will be held on Thursday, January

Summer NASA Opportunities for Students

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Teachers please share this wonderful education opportunity for the students in your classes/school. The online application is currently available and open until February 7, 2010. Students should visit the site often when selecting up to 5 summer internship positions of interest. Mentors are allowed to post positions until January 17, 2010, so the postings may change daily.

The internship site is http://education.gsfc.nasa.gov/opportunities


News for the Office of Secondary Mathematics

The February 11th PD will be for new teachers, Geometry and Geometry GT teachers, and Calculus teachers. If this effects you please let Ms. Mohr know so she can block out that time for "Pick-a-Time."
external image clip_image002.jpg

The April Professional Development Day will not be a curriculum office PD. This will be a Principal's PD day.

Defining Worthwhile Mathematical Tasks

Focus Questions:
• What are some of the richest tasks you have used or seen used in a mathematics classroom? What characteristics made them so mathematically worthwhile?
• In what ways can you tell whether students are engaged in genuine problem solving rather than simply completing routine exercises?

1. "Equations" Activity (See attached file)

2. "Standards for Teaching Mathematics" (Standard 3: Worthwhile Mathematics Tasks) - See attached file

STANDARD 3 Worthwhile Mathematical Tasks
The teacher of mathematics should design learning experiences and pose tasks that are based on sound and significant mathematics and that -
• engage students' intellect; (2B)
• develop mathematical understandings and skills; (2A)
• stimulate students to make connections and develop a coherent framework for mathematical ideas; (2A)
• call for problem formulation, problem solving, and mathematical reading; (2E)
• promote communication about mathematics; (4B)
• represent mathematics as an ongoing human activity; and (4C)
• display sensitivity to, and draw on, studentsí diverse background experiences and dispositions. (2B)

Additional Reading

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Welcome Back and Happy New Year!

Congrats to Rona.

Here is an article that I came a crossed and used with Miles and his best friend over break on "When Will We Ever Use This?"

Hello Everyone,

The county is moving away from "Blogs" and moving toward Wiki spaces. So this year I am encouraging everyone to use this wiki space to use this space to collaborate with each other. The information that you share can be used in your evaluation this year. This wiki space was developed to give everyone in the department an opportunity to have a voice as well as a sharing opportunity. Feel free to post comments and strategies that you use or going to use in the classroom. This wiki space will make our department stronger if everyone contributes; remember we are moving toward "Exemplary Instruction" and academic success for ALL students.



NCTM’s Tips for Teachers
  • Only assign what’s necessary to augment instruction. If you can get sufficient information by assigning only five problems, then don’t assign fifty.
  • Focus on practice and review. Give students a chance to try new material, further practice skills they have recently learned, and review something they already know.
  • Take students’ age into consideration when determining the amount of homework to assign. Recommendations from “Helping Your Students With Homework: A Guide for Teachers,” published by the U.S. Department of Education, lists the following:

    • Grades 1-3: up to 20 minutes a night
    • Grades 4-6: 20-40 minutes a night
    • Grades 7-9: up to 2 hours a night
    • Grades 10-12: 1½- 2½ hours per night
Remember, this is a cumulative amount. If you are only one of five teachers assigning homework, you should adjust accordingly.
  • Share a list of homework rules before handing out the first assignment. A written explanation of expectations will increase the likelihood that assignments are completed. Let students know that homework is important, and that not doing an assignment will have consequences, which may include lower grades.
  • Let students know ahead of time when homework will be assigned. Some teachers always assign homework on specific nights—every Tuesday and Thursday, for example. This lets students and parents know when to expect homework.
  • Designate a Homework Collector. Assign a student to gather the papers at the start of class while you take roll or attend to other administrative tasks.
  • Have a weekly prize drawing. Students get a ticket for each homework assignment they complete, and at the end of the week, a winner is randomly chosen. (Plus, this activity can serve as the motivation for a probability lesson!)
  • Employ a “While You Were Out” form for students to fill out indicating any class periods they missed. (Leave blank copies of this form in a location accessible to students.) When students return these forms, fill out the form indicating the class work, homework, or tests that students missed, and return the forms to students. When students complete the make-up work, they should attach the form. Having a system for missed work will help you with organization, and it will reduce the number of last-minute assignments turned in at report-card time.
  • Give constructive feedback. Students are more apt to complete assignments and advance their learning when they get consistent and constructive feedback. Make an effort to provide written comments on student work that lets them know what they did well and what they need to improve.


If by chance I don't get to verbally speak with you during this holiday, "Happy Thanksgiving to you!"

Wherever you find yourself on Thursday, I pray you'll have a sense of joy and peace in your spirit. Take time to acknowledge what you're thankful for at this juncture in life. I'll start.......I'm thankful for AWARENESS -- I'm FULLY aware that it didn't have to be this way.... ETC. For me, absolutely nothing tangible comes to mind.

Let's show our gratitude in our genuineness & zeal in the way we live & love.

For those of you traveling have a safe trip and I will see you on Monday,

Lynnette Moore