Monday, March 14, 2016

Teaching to the Test

   My job encouraging teachers to explore and experiment with some of the defining MTBoS routines is made easier when there's an explicit connection between those routines and what their students are asked to do on our program's assessments.   When those stars align, I feel we're close to accomplishing real change.
   So why was I heartened to see the Everyday Math second grade  mid-year assessment several weeks ago? Let's take a look:

 MTBoS Routine: Which One Doesn't Belong?

This routine has gained in popularity throughout the school.  Teachers like the way it encourages students to explain their thinking  and how it reinforces multiple content standards.

Mid-Year Assessment: Question 2

Hey!  What's this?  Which one doesn't belong?  I'd never before seen an item like this on one of our assessments.  There were a variety of responses:

MTBoS Activity: Counting Circles

We've explored this routine in our PLC.  It's really taken off in second grade.

Mid-Year Assessment: Question 6

Completing counts and noticing patterns are reinforced by the counting circle routine.

MTBoS Activity: Clothesline Estimation

We've just started to explore this routine.

Mid-Year Assessment: Question 7

     The kids are starting to understand how number lines are constructed, especially how the numbers need to be spaced at regular intervals.
 OK, we still have a ways to go...

...but now we know who needs more time hanging out on the clothesline.

     Three MTBoS routines, three aligned assessment questions.
  And I almost forgot about this item, which showed up in a grade 3 journal several months ago:

Is someone out there listening?


  1. Wow. Great to see these concepts (noticing and wondering, wodb, estimation) in some of the textbooks. Looks like these companies are starting to listen to MTBos and the conversations that are happening on Twitter.

    1. Thanks Matt. I do wonder if it's just a coincidence or if they are paying attention. Maybe if the publishers get positive reinforcement from teachers we'll see even more.

  2. Let's hope we see more of these types of questions on assessments. In one word: Fantastic!

    1. Absolutely! My dream is to see something like a 3-Act on the PARCC. I think the planets would stand still!

    2. It would be a wonderful stillness!

  3. Exciting! Are all of these from Everyday Math?

  4. Hello! This post was recommended for The Best of the Math Teacher Blogs 2016: a collection of people's favorite blog posts of the year. We would like to publish an edited volume of the posts at the end of the year and use the money raised toward a scholarship for TMC. Please let us know by responding via whether or not you grant us permission to include your post. Thank you, Tina and Lani.