(Mi)^2 Update February 2018
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In This Issue:

Dear Teacher: Heartfelt Advice for Teachers from Students
Dear Teacher: Heartfelt Advice for Teachers from Students

Foundations of Math

2018-2019 Level 2 and Implementation Site applications are now open.

Overwhelmingly, we hear about the benefits of going through this training with colleagues, and, even more so, as a building. When colleagues are able to gain shared knowledge during the 5-day training, return to their buildings with shared goals, and have instructional leadership ready to support the shifts in practice, participants report more confidence and ability to shift practices. They also report seeing student growth in mathematics.

We hear that sites wish they could access the training more often and closer to their districts.

Are you interested in having regional Foundations of Math instructors and becoming an implementation site?  

For information on the benefits of, and eligibility for, becoming an instructor and implementation site, visit the Foundations of Math webpage.

Fall 2018 Foundations of Math registration and Foundations of Math: Teaching Students with Significant Disabilities registration are now open.

The two 5-day trainings will again be offered at Clinton County Regional Educational Service Agency (RESA) in St. Johns from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Foundations of Math
August 1 and 2
October 3
November 5 and 6

Foundations of Math: Teaching Students with Significant Disabilities
August 3
October 4 and 5
November 7 and 8

Enhancing Mathematics Instruction for Students With Learning Difficulties: Implementation Story

Mike O'NeillMichael O’Neill
Math Consultant, Bay-Arenac ISD

In our first year of offering this course in the Bay-Arenac Intermediate School District (ISD) area, this program was unknown to nearly every teacher I came into contact with. Therefore, getting the word out became our number one priority. With the help of our administrative staff at Bay-Arenac, we created a brochure detailing the content of the course and the benefits to the student body at large, not just those identified as special needs. We sent the brochure to the 6th through 10th grade teachers.

Finding that this was only fairly successful, I called the principals of most of our districts to see whether the information had reached their desks. Sadly, few had heard of the series, so we also sent the information directly to curriculum directors, principals, and even most superintendents.

With the information “out there” we saw a positive uptick in the number of districts responding. Our first four series during the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 school years (one in fall and one in winter for each year) saw nice size classes (12-24) and representation of 20 area schools. This past year, class sizes were in the teens and seemed to be more individually attended rather than the general education/special education pairs we were seeing initially.

Over the three years of putting on this training course, the focus has morphed from students with identified disabilities to those who experience any type of difficulty in acquiring the needed math skills to ensure a positive Algebra experience in high school.

This is exemplified in a co-taught 9th grade classroom, with a typical class of 28 students, including both identified special education students and students that are behind their peers mathematically, and where 0 percent of the students met proficiency benchmarks in math last year. After experiencing the “Step Zero” strategy for writing equations in Enhancing Math, and incorporating practices from “Building Thinking Classrooms” (a separate math training that we shared during Enhancing Mathematics), the co-teachers took the leap and changed the culture of their classroom completely.

Once saddled to individual desks, the students were now part of a program designed around discovery and collaboration. The instructors’ initial fear of “losing control” was replaced with students eager to get to class and see what was next. The teachers found the students were agreeable to work in any group, social barriers came down, co-construction of answers increased, knowledge became mobile, and reliance on the teacher decreased. As they continued to refine their new teaching style, these teachers began to give presentations about what they do and spread the word about their success.

I have kept in touch with many of the teachers who have gone through the training. We share topics, research, and resources that reinforce the content of the program. Some teachers have emailed me copies of their assessments that they modified or made more accessible as part of the work on the third day of the training. I have passed these along and received good feedback from their peers. Another plus I have noticed in classrooms is the revamping of teaching slope with an emphasis on scaffolding from sixth grade’s emphasis on proportion and rate of change.

Although I have kept in contact with quite a few teachers, I do not get the opportunity to visit most of their classes. Beginning this year, facilitators of the course are required to have three follow-up contacts with participants through email and/or visits. This is a huge step toward making sure the good strategies we cover are purposely being used to help students. I look forward to this addition.

As we move into our fourth year of offering this program, I am more positive than ever that it will indeed have a lasting effect on instruction. Hopefully, with the accompanying research and strategic instruction, one day we can see the belief that ‘I am not good in math’ is no longer an acceptable crutch for students.

Delta Math

The spring screening cycle begins next month on March 1, 2018.  Based on implementation data from dozens of schools reporting positive results over the past few years, Delta Math has adjusted its recommendations to include tier 1 options. The tier 1 option includes "screening up" all students, including kindergarten students, between February 1 and February 28 using the 1st grade winter readiness screener. Screening takes approximately 15 to 25 minutes and data is immediately available to guide tier 1 intervention throughout the winter and guide instructional decisions while reviewing concepts for the M-STEP.
Delta Math provides an implementation guide, assessment overview, and implementation calendar (p. 4 of the Planning Guide) to support professional conversations while planning and implementing a multi-tiered system of math supports.
If you have questions about providing tier 1 or tier 2 optional support using Delta Math resources, please contact Mike Klavon.

Alt+Shift Update

In addition to two math sessions at the upcoming Michigan Council of Exceptional Children (MCEC) Annual Conference, Alt+Shift will present a session on Assistive Technology and our Lending Library of assistive technology that allows Michigan educators to “try before they buy” as part of a thoughtful consideration process of assistive technology needs for students.

Session: Alt+Shift Lending Library: What It Is and How to Use It
Description: Learn what Alt+Shift believes about Assistive Technology (AT), what the Alt+Shift lending library is, how educators can use the library, and what AT devices are in the library.

For more information on the conference, visit the MCEC website.


Explore Learning Gizmos are online simulations that provide context and build curiosity for situations that can be explored through math and science. Using an inquiry approach, these gizmos promote conceptual understanding and deeper knowledge, while also being aligned to content standards. Some Gizmos are available free. All Gizmos are available with a paid subscription.

Check out “Estimating Population Size.” Students use the real life method of “tagging” along with proportional reasoning and averages to estimate the size of animal populations that cannot be directly observed. The simulation is accompanied by instructional materials, a lesson plan, and a community discussion where users post and share how they used the lesson with their own students.

Upcoming (Mi)2 Trainings

Enhancing Mathematics Instruction for Students with Learning Difficulties, 3-day training, Bay-Arenac Intermediate School District, February 1, February 22, and March 14

“From Research to Practice: Teaching Math to Students with Significant Disabilities,” breakout session, Michigan Council for Exceptional Children Annual Conference, March 1, 2018 in Grand Rapids

“Using Language in Mathematics to Improve Outcomes for Students with Disabilities,” co-presented with Kevin Dykema, breakout session, Michigan Council for Exceptional Children Annual Conference, March 1, 2018 in Grand Rapids

Math Around Michigan

Michigan Council for Exceptional Children (MCEC) Annual Conference
The MCEC Conference will be held February 29 through March 2, 2018 in Grand Rapids and will feature a math strand on Thursday, March 1, 2018.

Gain information on collaboration and how to include students in all areas of school life. There will also be many topics related to school leadership, behavior supports, and preparing students for future life in their communities.

Look for a full schedule at the MCEC website.

Plan to Attend Math in Action: Making Math Meaningful
Math in Action presents lively and informative discussions of current issues in mathematics education while providing an opportunity for practicing pre k-12 teachers, prospective teachers, curriculum directors, and college and university faculty to share ideas, concerns, and resources. SCECH credits are available for most sessions. The conference consists of six hour-long sessions with choices of seven or eight separate interactive presentations during each time slot.

This year’s conference will be held on Saturday, February 24, 2018 at Grand Valley State University - Allendale campus.
Keynote speakers are Tracy Horodyski speaking on Mathematical Discourse: An Avenue to Student Agency and Linda Funsch speaking on Discovering the Value of Numeracy for Secondary Students. Break-out sessions are focused on specific mathematics and pedagogical topics at a variety of grade levels.

Look for sessions addressing:
  • mathematical discourse
  • Number Talks
  • Desmos applications
  • STEM activities
  • geometric patterns
  • design thinking
  • using technology in teaching statistics
  • place value
  • growth mindset
  • formative assessment
  • opening routines
  • much more
Registration is now open. For more information, and to view the conference program, visit the Math in Action website.

19th Michigan Council of Teachers of Mathematics (MCTM) Online Book Club
The next online book club will begin the week of February 12 and last seven weeks. Each week, the book club reads and discusses one of the chapters. Questions are added to a Google Doc and emailed to club members at the beginning of the week. Club members have the week to read, reflect, and respond if they would like.

The book club will study Routines for Reasoning: Fostering the Mathematical Practices in all Students by Grace Kelemanik, Amy Lucenta, and Susan Janssen Creighton.

There is no cost to join the book club, other than the cost of the book.

If you would like to join, or have additional questions, contact Kevin Dykema.

Michigan Formative Assessment Academy 2017-2018
The Michigan Math and Science Center Network presents (MMSCN) this series of virtual meetings that focus on math and science formative assessment strategies. Each month (September through May), a different speaker presents a new topic related to the use of formative assessment in math and science.  For more information on the topics, and how to join the meetings, download the Michigan Formative Assessment Academy flyer.
Michigan's New Science Technology Engineering Mathematics (STEM) Teacher Network
The STEM Teacher Network is a community-driven professional learning community that connects STEM instructors across Michigan. Members can interact through the online community or join in on monthly live, online meetings. Each meeting will focus on a specific topic (such as free resources, class routines, or fundraising) and will feature a panel of fellow STEM teachers who are knowledgeable about that particular topic. 
The first online meeting was held in October. Live sessions will continue on the second Tuesday of each month. 
Sign up to receive the STEM Teacher Network updates including an invitation to join the online community.

Responsive Math Institute
The Washtenaw ISD in collaboration with Eastern Michigan University is proud to present the Responsive Mathematics Institute. The Responsive Mathematics Institute provides an opportunity for educators to examine mathematics instruction from an equity perspective. Participants will explore the following questions:
  • How does identity influence one’s perception of math? 
  • What strength-based instructional models can be implemented in the mathematics classroom?
  • How can cultural modeling be embedded within the mathematics classroom?
  • How have I imposed my biases on students?
  • What privileges do I have because of my identity?
  • How can we, as educators, develop a reflective practice?
The final institute event this year is March 18. For more information, visit the Responsive Math Institute website.

(Mi)2 Partner Organizations


Detroit Area Council of Teachers of Mathematics (DACTM)

Detroit Area Council of Teachers of Mathematics logo
The Detroit Area Council of Teachers of Mathematics (DACTM) proactively supports Michigan math educators’ continued professional growth.

Michigan Council for Exceptional Children (MCEC)

logo for Michigan Council of Teachers of Mathematics
The Michigan Council for Exceptional Children (MCEC) is part of a national community of educators who are the voice and vision of special and gifted education.

Michigan Council of Teachers of Mathematics (MCTM)

logo for Michigan Council of Teachers of Mathematics
The Michigan Council of Teachers of Mathematics (MCTM) is the professional organization for Michigan mathematics educators at any grade level, pre-K through college.


Michigan Math and Science Center Network (MMSCN)

Michigan Math and Science Center Network logo
The Michigan Mathematics and Science Centers Network (MMSCN) collaborates with partners across the state to improve math and science teaching.

Alt+Shift, encompassing Michigan's Integrated Mathematics Initiative, is an Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Grant Funded Initiative out of the Michigan Department of Education, Office of Special Education.
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