Last year, Mark Beckwith and Sarah Wittmeyer collaborated on a project to create an online database of every test question that has been assessed on the 3-8 ELA and Math state assessments in the last few years. This database, the NYS Assessment Item Notebook, allows teachers to easily click a standard that has been assessed, which in turn generates a list of every released question that is connected to that standard. The Notebook is tremendously helpful because it contains all of this public information in one place, rather than having to open a myriad of PDFs.
Districts in our region have been using this tool in numerous ways. At Cuba-Rushford, middle school ELA teachers have been analyzing the question stems to notice patterns in how standards are being assessed. For example, teachers noted that many questions reference specific paragraphs, such as “How do paragraphs 3 and 4 contribute to the story?” By mirroring their own questions to students in this format, students will be more familiar with the structure of the state exam. Additionally, analyzing question stems can uncover vocabulary that students may need to help them succeed. For example, if students don’t understand what is meant by “contribute”, they may struggle right at the beginning of attempting to answer the question.
In Fillmore, middle school ELA teachers have created a mid-year benchmark assessment using the Assessment Item Notebook. Teachers reviewed their data to determine standards that are commonly assessed. Then they selected two passages and ten multiple choice questions to assess students with in January. The benefit to using these questions is that it will give them an indication of how students will perform against the rigor of the state assessment. Also, because they know which questions are connected to which standards, data analysis is easier and can offer areas for them to focus on before the state assessments.
If your district would like support in using the NYS Assessment Items Notebook to guide data analysis and instruction, please reach out to our team!
By: Brendan Keiser, CA BOCES Professional Development
Professional Learning Communities (PLC) is “an ongoing process in which educators work collaboratively in recurring cycles of collective inquiry and action research to achieve better results for the students they serve.” (Dufour, 2006).
Administration, teachers and staff at Hinsdale Central School are embracing the working concept of a PLC in an effort to make improvements in student performance on both 3-8 State Math Assessments and HS Math Regents exams. The work began a couple of years ago when key teacher leaders were trained by PLC Associates in Rochester and the work of Learning by Doing, but Richard DuFour. An emphasis was placed on ELA across grade levels last year and the shift was made to Math during this past summer.
Evidence of the Math PLC at work in Hinsdale include Professional Development work in Math instruction with an emphasis on both state assessment data and cooperative learning structures. In addition, a tangible example of the work done by the Math PLC is a series of teacher generated posters located across the district that shows Math representation in a variety of topics and manners. Some of these examples are shown below. These posters are strategically located within the building based on Math standards at specific grade levels.
Best of luck, Hinsdale, as you continue to monitor progress and address needs for your students.
By: Karen Insley, CA BOCES Learning Resources
It was “that time of year again”, for our 6-8 Middle School Math CLCs to meet as a collaborative learning community. It’s a great opportunity for teacher in the C-A region to come to learn, discuss, and collaborate ideas for classroom implementation. On October 4th, teachers came to The Barn Training Room to attend the second of three meetings. The day started off with some learning focused around the mathematical practices, and how teachers can implement them in their planning and preparation for the classroom. The next part of the day focused around the review of the newly adopted, Next Generation Math Standards. Teachers were given an overview of the changes from kindergarten through high school, and how the changes would look in each grade level. Teachers had rich and thoughtful discussions surrounding the implementation of the new standards by the school year 2020-2021. Another portion of the day was used to look at the activities the PD team brought back from Albany, including learning through Algebra Tiles. The day was rounded out by digging deep into NYS test data for the 6-8 math assessments, as well as looking at released test questions, and planning instruction for units with colleagues at the CLC.
By: Kathleen Agnello, CA BOCES Professional Development; Karen Insley, CA BOCES Learning Resources; and Ryan McGinnis, CA BOCES Professional Development
In an effort to the meet the ongoing math needs of our district, Learning Resources is currently working with a vendor called CueThink. In a nutshell, here’s what it is.
Funded by The National Science Foundation, CueThink is an innovative application and a pedagogy focused on improving critical thinking skills and math collaboration for students in grades 2-8. Their mission is to foster a growth mindset and empower students to see challenges as opportunities.
Students apply mathematician George Pólya’s 4 phases of Understand, Plan, Solve and Review to slow them down and explain their thinking. Students unpack the problem by answering the questions: "What do you notice?", "What do you wonder about?" and "What is your estimate?" We help them "Choose a strategy" and "Write a plan". Once they have created their solution, CueThink provides checklists to help them review their math and their recording.
In CueThink, students create "thinklets" or video vignettes of their solutions using the drawing and writing tools we provide. They record their voice as a think-aloud or a presentation. The teacher then uses these digital artifacts to highlight errors and missteps as well as illustrate effective solutions. Individual student solutions become part of the learner's digital portfolio, showcasing growth and change over time.
Students become teachers as they view each other’s solutions. They offer thoughtful, intelligent feedback through annotations and also reflect on and revise their own work. The goal of CueThink is to foster digital citizenry and build a community of social math learners in the classroom.
We are demoing CueThink for all districts this year, for all students in grades 2-8. Please contact me if you would like to know more or if you would like me to come out to your district to roll this out. Let’s make math social!
Alexandra L. Freer, CABOCES Learning Resources
Teachers from across the Cattaraugus-Allegany region participated in Day #2 of our 6-8 Math CLC. Karen Insley and I walked our participants though several hands-on, cooperative, and challenging activities. The activities included looking at PBL (Project Based Learning), structures for teachers to use with their students, including cooperative grouping activities, being sure to stress the importance of student to student collaboration with mathematical content.
Teachers were given a task (project) and were asked to work on the beginning stages of it. They saw how this type of learning could be incorporated into their lesson planning, and how PBL could look in a mathematics classroom. Teachers saw the structures modeled, and then discussed how they could use the structures in their own classrooms. Many ideas were shared, including ideas for extension for advanced students, as well as modification for students who may need more scaffolding.
Teachers were given time to create lessons, and materials they could use in their classrooms immediately, as well as in the future. They walked away with over five different structures to use with their students. The day was successful, and teachers could collaborate and learn from each other as well as from the facilitators! Our next 6-8 Math CLC is on March 14, 2017.
By Kathleen Agnello, CA BOCES Professional Development
This August area High School Math teachers gave up some of their time to come together to work on preparing for the upcoming school year. With the transition to the Common Core over the last two years most have grown accustom to the format of the NYSED Modules on EngageNY. However, even though some Algebra I teachers have had two years under their belt (and Geometry completing their first year of using the Common Core standards) they came together to share ideas of what they’ll look to tweak for this school year. Those teaching Algebra II also worked on adapting the modules for this first year of implementation of Common Core Algebra II. Throughout the two sets of 2-day offerings in August teachers were able to share ideas with others and have time to plan to hit the ground running next month.
As things continue to change for this trainsition to the new Common Core Algebra II exam you can find any and all of the approved High School Regents changes and/or resources at EngageNY: https://www.engageny.org/resource/regents-exams-mathematics
Resources shared for area teachers are also posted in our CABOCES HS Moodle course at: http://moodle.caboces.org/demo/course/view.php?id=471
*You can click “Login as a guest” instead of entering a username/password for access*
By: Mark Carls, CA BOCES and Hinsdale Central School
With the new High School Geometry standards and first installment of the Geometry Regents this June, area teachers have met to start collaborating on the best path to address this new assessment. During the summer and then again in early October in face-to-face sessions high school math teachers . These sessions will continue with online collaborations through Adobe Connect after New York State Education Network Team dates. Through these sessions teachers shared ideas to best address these new standards from different textbooks to utilizing technology like Geogebra and pacing out material for the year.
On Tuesday, September 16, twenty-three Pre-K teachers from the local area came together to learn about the PK Math Modules. Teachers were asked to revisit the PK math common core standards and look at the standards through the lens of Focus. Teachers focused on the major clusters- areas of intensive focus, where students need fluent understanding and application of the core concepts (approximately 70%). The teachers were introduced to supporting clusters and additional clusters. Teachers were asked to use the placemat as a guidance to inform instructional decisions regarding time and other resources spent on clusters of varying degrees of emphasis.
Students and teachers (of COSER 501 member districts) can access hundreds of thousands of digital resources using CABOCES Digital Kids.
Users may login to CABOCES DIGITAL KIDS to search clips and images or pass through to:
Brain Pop (Jr., ESL, Espanol),Discovery, Learn 360, Sylvan Dell eBooks, Teaching Books, Tumblebooks, Soundszabound, Gale Cengage, Regents Review
Cindy Mikowicz and Mary Parr from Hinsdale Central School during the latest online
Adobe Connect meeting February 12th with Mark Carls from CABOCES
With the adoption of the Common Core State Standards this school year and a new Algebra I Common Core assessment this June, many area teachers have joined forces to share ideas and strategies to tackle this new challenge. Area teachers met face-to-face back on October 8th to begin planning the best way to approach the new standards and assessment. Since then, they’ve met after school in online CABOCES Adobe Connect meetings. In these online meetings they’ve continued to discuss their progress and to share ideas with their fellow educators. This Algebra I group will meet face-to-face again at the end of March and will have one final online meeting before the June 3rd Common Core Regents exam. Since this is the first year of implementation of the Common Core Algebra I exam the date of the exam was moved up to this earlier June date. These Algebra I students may also have the opportunity to take the Integrated Algebra exam during the regular Regents week the morning of June 20th.
See our Calendar of Events on our webpage for this and all our offerings: www.caboces.org/iss
Olean City School District is currently piloting a new online supplemental math program—TenMarks, which will provide students with additional individualized math practice! A pilot group of 1st grade through Algebra I students, recently began using the program in January after teachers were provided start up information through a TenMarks webinar.