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CoMath Update for August 19, 2020

School is really starting! As I think about how this school year is starting compared to how the last one finished, a contrast really sticks out to me: Last spring, a lot of technology was new to teachers but thankfully, their students were familiar. This fall, the technology is (more) familiar, but the students probably aren't! What that means to me is that we need to jump in and work just as hard to get to know our new students as we worked last spring to figure out how to teach online. And just like getting to know technology, sometimes building relationships with students has its glitches and missing features that frustrate you until you learn all the workarounds. To students' credit, though, they're better at giving you useful feedback when something isn't working right. You just have to know how to ask them and build some trust that you'll respect their answer because you want to work together to make this year the best it can be.

Congratulations Linda Cochran, PAEMST Awardee!

The National Science Foundation and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy recently announced the 2019 PAEMST awardees. Colorado's mathematics awardee is Linda Cochran, an 18-year veteran who teaches 8th grade math at Altona Middle School in the St. Vrain Valley School District. In addition to Linda's outstanding math teaching, she is a founding member of the Rocky Mountain Math Teachers' Circle, co-advisor for her school's National Junior Honor Society, and an advisor for a program that engages students with civics and patriotism culminating in a trip to Washington D.C. Linda has a B.S. in computer science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a M.S. in curriculum and instruction from CU Boulder.

Today! A CCTM Webinar with Joseph Bolz

Act quickly before it's too late! This afternoon Joe Bolz will present emPowering Students: Practical Ways to Approach Social Justice from 4:30 to 6:00. To learn more and register, go to the CCTM website. The event is free, open to all, and you will receive 1.5 hours of continuing education credit.

Taking Action Book Study

CCTM is inviting all teachers of mathematics to join in a free, year-long PD opportunity focused on NCTM's Taking Action series of books. This is such a huge opportunity for teachers across the state to engage in a monthly deep dive into each of the eight effective math teaching practices. Participants can choose to read either the K-5, 6-8, or 9-12 book, all of which have a similar structure and main points but grade-level appropriate examples. The book study will have both synchronous and asynchronous discussions, and participants can join in the live discussions on their choice of Tuesday afternoons, Thursday evenings, or Saturday mornings. All of this flexibility is to help engage as many teachers as possible throughout the school year. Read more and register now on the CCTM website!

Coherence Maps and Coherence Gaps

I've continued to add bits and pieces to, including instructions and a 12-minute video tutorial describing how to use the Coherence Map and Coherence Gap spreadsheet to make better decisions about curriculum planning this school year.

Setting the Standard Podcast and Webinars

CDE's Office of Standards and Instructional Support has a podcast and a new webinar series to keep you informed about teaching, instruction, policy, and more. The podcast aims to publish a new episode each week while webinars can be joined live on the first and third Friday of each month between 11:30 and 12:30 pm.

Family and Community Guides to the Colorado Academic Standards

With students learning at home, you may be interested in the Family and Community Guides put together by the content specialists in the Office of Standards and Instructional Support. Instead of the many pages and technical language of the standards, these guides are meant to provide a parent or caretaker with a small snapshot of what students are likely to learn and do at each grade level in all of Colorado's standards-based content areas.

Do You Get the Spark?

More than 35,000 educators subscribe to the Spark, CDE's newsletter for teachers. Do you? If not, you can check out the August edition (including a story written by Colorado Teacher of the Year Hilary Wimmer about how she overcame COVID-19) and sign up to receive the Spark directly.

CDE Performance Assessment Learning Community

At this current “moment” in education, many educators are asking important questions such as, How do we create engaging, empowering learning opportunities? How do we capture what students know and can do in a way that honors who they are as students? How do we assess whether students have truly learned key skills beyond the information captured using traditional assessments?

If those questions are relevant to your school and district, the Colorado Department of Education and 2Revolutions invite you to join a Professional Learning Community focused on cultivating strong performance assessment practices and supporting the design of the collaboratively-developed, standards-based performance assessment on the Graduation Guidelines Menu of Options. This hands-on learning experience is designed for high school teachers and leaders. The PLC will consist of synchronous and asynchronous activities throughout Fall 2020 that include access to 2Revolutions’ InspirED virtual platform. Participants in the PLC will also have access to a collaborative performance assessment scoring platform to facilitate statewide scoring collaboration of the teacher developed performance assessments. CDE has partnered with MZD to customize OSCAR Classroom to facilitate the sharing of tasks and collaborative scoring.

We initiated the recruitment process for the PLC back in late June. Currently, we are still in great need of math, science, social studies, and ELA teachers who are interested in developing, administering and collaboratively scoring performance assessments that are relevant to their students’ learning goals. If you are interested, you may access the informational webinar materials from our kick-off event on June 24th: Video Recording Part 1 and Part 2; Slides

We hope you consider this work as valuable and progressive not only as an option for students’ graduation demonstration, but as an opportunity to advance student-centered learning environments that engage students as they navigate the new world of school and beyond. If you would like to join the PLC, please complete this application as soon as possible. Also feel free to forward this information to whomever you believe would be interested in participating. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have questions.

CubeSat Challenge

The U.S. Department of Education invites high schools to design and build CubeSat prototypes. Submit your mission proposal by October 16. No in-person collaboration or prior experience with CubeSats is necessary.

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