Category Archives: CCSSM Progressions

Differentiating Professional Development NCTM Regional Las Vegas

This session examined the million dollar question of how do we differentiate our PD.  I shared some of my own research which focused on the varying levels of knowledge in our teaching profession about math instruction.  I used an assessment for teachers which assesses their Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching.  This specialized knowledge is what makes us a profession.  We not only need to know how to do the math, we need to be able to model it, explain it, demonstrate it, and connect this new learning to the previous learning of our students.  After I shared this correlational research, we looked at some of the training modules that I created, based on the PRIME Leadership framework.  Using these modules is one way to differentiate based on the current needs of the teachers.  Another way is to give a pretest on the content for a class.  Ask the teachers to reflect on their answers as a way to determine their readiness for the content.  Then they can select activities for learning based on their current knowledge level. We need to “help give teachers the mathematics education that they deserve”  (Jason Zimba, October 23, 2013).  If you want more information about the training modules, please email me at



Focus in Math

Instructional Practice Guides Daily

Instructional Practice Guides Yearly

Student Achievement Partners

Zimba Chart

Zimba Talking Points

6-8 Coherence: NCTM Regional Las Vegas

In these sessions for middle school teachers, Vicki Collaro, Marissa McClish, and I used the shifts to demonstrate the importance of building a focused, coherent plan for instruction in mathematics.  These sessions closely examined the 2nd shift: Coherence.  We used several tasks from Illustrative Mathematics to examine the coherent plan laid out in the CCSSM. We used the Zimba chart to organize these tasks. Then we analyzed the learning trajectory using the progression documents.  All of the resources used are listed below.

Ratios & Proportional Relationships

Illustrative Mathematics Tasks

6.RP.A.3 Mixing Concrete

6.RP.A.2 Mangos for Sale

7.RP.A Track Practice

7.RP.A.2 Music Company Variation 1

8.F.B.4 Downhill

Reading Mathematics at NCTM Regional Las Vegas

In this session we examined our mindset about mathematics in comparison to our mindset about reading.  We discussed the shifts required in our practices in order to meet the needs of the Common Core Standards.  We used the Zimba chart and the major work of the grade level to discuss Focus and Coherence in our instruction and planning.  We also found connections between the CCSS ELA Listening & Speaking standards (1,2, & 3) and the Instructional Practice Guides for mathematics developed by Student Achievement Partners.   While there are many connections to be made, we always need to remember that it doesn’t matter how well you teach the wrong math.  Focus always comes first!

Handouts and PPT


Zimba Chart

Zimba Chart Talking Points

Focus in Math (math shifts and major work of the grade)

Instructional Practice Guides

The Art of Questioning in Mathematics

National Math Conference

I am heading to Denver for the National Math Conference next week.  Let me know what specific topics you would like more information on.  What are your most pressing struggles with Common Core Math right now?  Just leave a comment on this post and I will see what I can find to help you.

Common Core Math and our path to Educational Equality

Schmidt has done it again!  You may remember my slides on Schmidt’s A+ Countries study showing the great variety of our instructional topics in math as compared to those A+ countries who have a very narrow focus.  This article clearly explains how our improved mathematics instruction will move us towards educational equality using the Common Core Math Standards.

Dan Meyer Perplexity

Check out this video by Dan Meyer on encouraging Perplexity.  We want our students to use mathematics to solve problems that perplex them.  This goes way beyond engaging them!

Focus Class 3rd-6th grade

Last Friday third – sixth grade teachers gathered to study CCSSM.  You can find the PowerPoint here.  There were a few concerns about the mathematical knowledge of their students and many concerns about the unwillingness of their students to persevere.  These students have spent much of their time in school following steps and procedures and stopping when they get an answer.  Explaining their thinking, describing their strategies, and working on highly rigorous tasks may be different from what math looked like in their previous grades.  Our teachers are ready for the challenge to help our students truly understand the mathematics.  It will just take some time for our students to get where we need them to be.

Here are some of the topics we covered.

  • The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) and some of the Sample Items
  • Everyone enjoyed this video by Phil Daro.  This is a quick CCSSM overview video (one of the main authors of CCSSM).  It’s an entertaining video and it demonstrates that the CCSSM is not just a new list of standards. It requires a change in our instruction.
  • We looked at mathematical patterns on a multiplication chart including using it as a tool to see equivalent fractions.  We also looked at a summary of how children learn their math facts using information from John Van de Walle, Marilyn Burns, and David Sousa.  It is called “Help!  They don’t know their facts!”.  You can read it here.
  • We looked at a chart created by Jason Zimba that helps us to understand the progression of the mathematics throughout the grade levels.  I have created a document of Talking Points to help us understand the chart.
  • We studied the Operations & Algebraic Thinking learning progression and the 6th grade teachers read the Expressions & Equations progression.

It was an awesome day!  Special thanks to Kristin Campbell from RPDP for her support throughout the day.


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