(Mi)2 Update May 2019
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In this Issue:

Make Math Accessible: Algeblocks in the Lending Library

Help make math more accessible for your students who struggle to learn in the abstract world. By using concrete manipulatives, the students can see the quantity and eliminate the struggle of trying to reason with the symbols. This tool can provide meaning to variables; demonstrate combining like terms with understanding; show how to use an area model to represent multiplying and factoring polynomials; and allow students to solve first, second, and third-degree equations. Algeblocks makes a natural connection between algebra and geometry through spatial models. Three work mats are included in the kit. The basic mat, sentence mat, and quadrant mat. To learn more about how to use this tool, watch this tutorial video on Algeblocks.

algeblocks, storage bin, and instructionsOur kit has enough materials for four students working independently. If you are interested in trying these blocks out yourself or with your kids, sign up for our lending library and check them out. You can have them for eight weeks to allow yourself time to get familiar with using them. It could be a great professional learning opportunity for you over the summer!

Michigan Mathematics and Science Leadership Network

What would look different about STEM education if it was grounded in deep, transformative, and consistent equity commitments? Starting in January, math and science education leaders from across the state have gathered to explore this question together as part of Michigan Advancing Equity in STEM (MAE-STEM) hosted by the Michigan Math and Science Leadership Network (MMSLN).
MAE-STEM is a four-day interactive workshop for regional and district teams of STEM educators and STEM educational leaders led by Paul Gorski and his team at the Equity Literacy Institute. This group is working to reject harmful presumptions that undermine equity and adopt an equity approach to maximize the integrity of equity initiatives at the classroom, school, and district level.
Their work began by immersing participants in a transformative equity framework built to help us recognize and respond to even the subtlest forms of race, class, gender, (dis)ability, and other forms of inequity in schools, STEM classrooms, and systems in particular. The group is continuing this work by exploring evidence-based equity practices and approaches related to STEM teaching, learning, and program development. Follow the collective learning and action on Twitter at #MiSTEMEquity.
To learn more about this and other initiatives offered by the Michigan Mathematics and Science Leadership Network, subscribe to the MMSLN newsletter.

Foundations of Math - Under Construction

As Alt+Shift prepares to shift our focus from implementation at the building level to the intermediate school district level, Alt+Shift’s state-level offerings of the Foundations of Math course will be put on hold. We will not offer a state-level training this fall for Foundations of Math or Foundations of Math: Teaching Students with Significant Disabilities. Our focus over the next year will be to restructure these courses to better align with site-based implementation, allowing for the most impactful experience for our future participants and strengthening both the training and our ability to support ISDs with whom we will partner.
Data collected over the past 4 years has informed multiple reviews of our goals, progress, and scope of work as we work to develop the course into a version conducive to implementation.  As we say in the course, we have to go slow to go fast, and that is what we at Alt+Shift are working to do.  Our goals are to restructure the course into shorter trainings over a longer period of time which will allow participants a chance to really engage in the strategies and practices we hope to empower them with.  We will also seek out partnerships with ISDs to spearhead the implementation work regionally so the training can be implemented at a greater rate across the state. 
We appreciate your patience, feedback, and support.  We will continue to offer support via our newsletters, social media, and our listserv (  If you have any questions, please feel free to email the Math Accessibility Specialist - Briana Bancroft (

Enhancing Mathematics Instruction for Students With Learning Difficulties: Implementation Story

Tim Madden
6th Grade Teacher
Grand Ledge Public Schools

Tim Madden and his special education teaching partner recently went through the Enhancing Mathematics Instruction for Students with Learning Difficulties course that Alt+Shift offered in March. Since finishing the training, he and his co-teacher have been working on making their math assessments more accessible for the students.  Immediately after returning from the training, they started to look at the printed formats of their assessments. They reported students were responding positively from the start, even after making the slightest change in font.
Taking part in the training has helped Tim look at his practice reflectively. He now has a new perspective when planning his lessons and presenting materials to his students.  He states, “I create math videos using the app Explain Everything for students to view.  I am now attempting to create differentiated videos so that students have more options with regards to comprehending the concepts. I am working to have different levels of video materials to better reflect where the students are in their understanding and confidence given the concept. It’s sort of a ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ type of design.” His next steps are working with other 6th grade teachers in the district, along with their math coach, to build a library of differentiated videos that will benefit student learning.

Delta Math

With the support of (Mi)2 and the Ottawa Area ISD, implementation support for Delta Math is available to schools during the 2019-2020 school year at no cost. Professional learning opportunities may include the following:

  • Information sharing for schools interested in learning more about Delta Math’s evidence-based resources and recommendations.
  • Implementation training for schools new to Delta Math and newly hired staff from schools currently using Delta Math. “Veteran” instructional leaders are welcome to join us for a “refresher” opportunity.
  • Data review and implementation planning for leadership teams to explore local data and reflect on current action plans for providing multi-tiered support.
  • Tier 2 instructional support for math interventionists and/or teachers to explore Delta Math intervention lessons with the primary focus on the visual representations used during the C-R-A (Concrete-Representational-Abstract) instructional approach.

If you would like to learn more about Delta Math or schedule an implementation support for your school or district, please contact Mike Klavon at

Alt+Shift Update - Conventional Literacy Instruction for Students With Significant Disabilities and Complex Communication Needs

Jacqueline Gale, Megan Hojnacki, and Bethany Vandenbrand, along with Dr. Karen Erickson, just completed a 2-day Conventional Literacy offering at Kent ISD. This was the final component of our first Conventional Literacy trainer development process, and feedback was overwhelmingly positive about the training and about our Michigan trainers.
Participants reported that the training caused them to shift the way they think about teaching and learning in their classrooms and how they can explicitly teach literacy to students with significant disabilities. Participants also said they learned, among other things, specific strategies for engaging writing activities, implementing word walls, and promoting literacy through activities like word sorts and key words.

Educator’s Resource: What’s Going on in This Graph?

Graph reading is a very important literacy skill. If you struggle to find good, useful, engaging, real-life data that is represented in graphs to discuss with your students, then you are going to be so pleased with the New York Times’ work geared toward math classrooms.  What’s Going on with This Graph, much like their work with What’s Going on in this Picture, is an opportunity for students to look at graphs of real-life, current information and reason through it. 
The data is geared toward middle and high school students. Often, some of the key information is stripped, and each graph is meant to generate three different discussions inspired by Visual Thinking Strategies: What do you notice? What do you wonder? What is going on in this graph? After discussing the graph and questions, you can also access comments left by students based on their thinking. The different ideas can also drive an excellent discussion on justifying and critiquing thoughts of others. No matter how you use it, this resource is one for the statistical books!

Upcoming Alt+Shift Events

Alt+Shift Implementation Team Summer Retreat
June 18-20, 2019
Traverse City, MI
*This event is open by invitation to our current implementation teams.  More information to come.

Teaching Movements for Communication
July 15-19, 2019
Wesley School in Muskegon
Alt+Shift has 25 seats and there was an application process for those seats
Enhancing Mathematics Instruction for Students With Learning Difficulties Overview
MCTM Pre-conference workshop
July 30, 2019
Grand Rapids, MI
2-Day Introduction to Pragmatic Organization Dynamic DIsplay (PODD)
August 7-8, 2019
Clinton County Regional Educational Service Agency (RESA)
St. Johns, MI

Math Around Michigan

Computer Science Fundamentals (K-5th) **NO REGISTRATION COST**
Computer Science (CS) Fundamentals is a single day comprehensive professional learning opportunity to help educators implement computer science lessons and activities with elementary students. Course includes curriculum materials, lunch, online resources, and online management tutorials. SCECHs for all workshops will be available pending approval.
All elementary educators are encouraged to attend. The lessons in CS Fundamentals are presented with the understanding that many teachers may not have previous computer science training. The resources provided will support educators in implementing the lessons and encourages educators to learn along with their students.
There are several locations across the state with varying dates for this one day workshop. Find locations on the MI-CODING K-5 webpage.  For more information on the course, check out the Computer Science Fundamentals flyer.

Michigan TeacherCon 2019
Provided by an official Regional Partner
NO REGISTRATION COST - Application required
AP Computer Science Principles & Computer Science Discoveries
Comprehensive professional learning for middle and high school teachers to provide an introductory level course for AP Computer Science Principles and Computer Science Discoveries. Teachers will be part of a state-wide cohort of educators and will be provided course information, pedagogy, teaching strategies, and online management tutorials. Participants are expected to teach the course in the 2019-2020 school year. SCECHs for all workshops will be available pending approval.
Summer Dates & Locations
Option #1 - Statewide TeacherCon
July 28- August 2, 2019 at the JW Marriott in Grand Rapids, MI.
Includes: Hotel room, breakfast, lunch, and materials
Option #2 - Commuter Workshop
July 8-July 12, 2019 at Macomb ISD in Clinton Twp.
Includes: Lunch & Materials
For more information, please visit the MI-CODING website or see the Computer Science Principles and Discovery flyer for details.

Building Thinking Classrooms for Co-teaching
August 16 and December 18 in Oakland County (open to out of county participants)
Building Thinking Classrooms (BTC) is the result of over ten years of research by Dr. Peter Liljedahl. Join us to experience high leverage practices that promote problem solving, questioning, and thinking along with accessible routines and grouping protocols that will increase opportunities for diverse learners. A local middle school teacher will share her implementation story. Secondary general and special education math teachers are welcome and encouraged to attend with building or district colleagues.  Ongoing access to free resources via miPLACE will be provided.

If you are interested in more information, please contact Shawna Veit at 586-612-7864 or

(Mi)2 Resources


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(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 Leadership Network (MMSLN)

Michigan Math and Science Center Network logo
The Michigan Mathematics and Science Leadership Network (MMSLN) 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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