The National PTA® will celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week May 6th-10th. Please take a moment out of your week and thank a teacher who’s touched your life. Here are some suggestions on how you can show your appreciation.
Here at MetaMetrics®, we would like to give special thanks because without teachers we wouldn’t be here. Thank you for all of the hard work you do and thank you for supporting our vision. Most of all, THANK YOU…
…For spreading the joy of reading, science and math
…For all of the extra hours you’ve spent mentoring students
…For all the late nights you’ve spent preparing lesson plans
…For giving kids the confidence to follow their dreams
…For teaching our youth discipline and respect
…For shaping the future leaders of the world
We are truly blessed to have you in our lives. Without you, none of us would be where we are today. You represent the future and direction of our society.
A recent Time article profiled Laura Overdeck is a high-tech consultant that switched to a stay at home mom. She has just launched Bedtime Math a website devoted to creating a new stamp for arithmetic. Lots of people believe they are “not good at math but you don’t hear them say they are not good at reading.” Overdeck thinks that parents should make time for math at night just as they do with reading bedtime stories.
She began by emailing about a dozen friends a word problem with varying levels of difficulty appropriate for preschoolers to upper-elementary students. Her numbers had tripled within a week and nine months later 20,000 people had signed up to receive the free daily emails.
Overdeck said that math is seen as a fun activity in her house and that kids seek out math activities, but she realizes this is not the norm. “Everyone knows they should read a book but nobody knows they should be doing math with their kids,” remarked Overdeck. She thinks it is important to make math engaging and applicable to daily life to connect with children. She does this by involving world situations into math problems in her daily emails. There are several math sites as well as math games that show students math can be fun, so Google some math sites and start early to show your child math can be fun. And be sure to check out our own Math at Home for targeted math activities that students can do at home. And to keep students engaged in math activity over the summer, be sure to sign up for our Summer Math Challenge.
The phrase “summer loss” describes the phenomenon in which students suffer a loss of content knowledge and skills over summer break. Research has shown that low-income students are particularly vulnerable to this issue because they lack the resources when they go home.
In an effort to combat “summer loss,” The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and State Superintendent June Atkinson have launched the “Give Five—Read Five” campaign. The campaign is aimed at promoting summer reading while providing books to those in need. Parents, teachers and business leaders are asked to donate five new or gently-used books to their local elementary school. You can donate books at any elementary school during school hours of 8 am – 3:30 pm.
MetaMetrics®, developers of The Lexile® Framework for Reading, have partnered with The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction to offer incentives for the top three schools that collect the most donated books. Click here to learn more.
On April 23rd, MetaMetrics President and Co-founder Malbert Smith spoke at the “Give 5—Read Five” campaign launch at Hilburn Academy in Raleigh, North Carolina. State Superintendent June Atkinson recognized MetaMetrics for donating 300 books to the school. You can check out photos from the event on our Facebook page.
Let’s come together and fight summer loss. Please Give Five and don’t forget to Read Five this summer!
We are thrilled to share our brand new global section on Lexile.com: www.Lexile.com/global. The section highlights the ever growing global presence of MetaMetrics®.
We’ve divided the Global section into three main categories:
- Global Partners- Features several of the largest global education companies that use Lexile® measures, including; ETS®, Pearson, and Scholastic International.
- In Country Partners- Details each country’s testing, book retailer and publishing partners, translated resources and local press.
- News Around the World- Includes hundreds of articles from around the globe that feature MetaMetrics and Lexile measures.
Our new global section is your source for latest news. Keep your eyes open for weekly global press updates, new partner additions (like our recent partnership with Amazon.co.jp) and our translated global resources.
In addition to the updated global pages, we’ve just released a brand new Lexile overview video, accessible in English, Japanese and Korean. All videos are also available on our YouTube Channel.
And don’t forget to like our Lexile and Quantile Facebook pages and follow us on Twitter!
Not surprisingly, what students know about math by first grade seems to be an early indicator of how well they will be able to do everyday calculations later in life. About 1 in every 5 U.S. adults can’t perform at a mathematical level that is expected of a middle school student.
A study from the University of Missouri tested 180 7th graders that were performing lower than their peers in a test of core math skills needed to function as an adult. The results showed that the students that were behind in 7th grade were also behind in 1st grade. Unfortunately, the gap was never filled. Dr. David Geary a cognitive psychologist leads a study tracking children from kindergarten through high school in the Columbia Mo. School system. He stated that the students behind in the early grades are not “catching up” with students who started ahead.
Geary says students need “number system knowledge.” This includes:
- knowing that 3, three, and 3 dots all represent the same quantity
- knowing that 23 is a bigger quantity than 17
- realizing that numbers can be represented in a variety of numerical ways such as 2 + 3 = 5
- 4 – 1 = 5, 5 + 0 = 5, 6 – 1 = 5
- using a number line to show the difference between 10 & 12 is the same as the difference between 20 and 22.
Mann Koepke of NH’s national Institute of Child Health and Human Development has a number of suggestions to help children with math at an early age. For example:
- attach numbers to a noun such as 5 crayons so they can visually see the concept of the number
- talk about distance by asking “How many steps to your ball?”
- describe shapes
- measure ingredients
- discuss what time you need to leave to get to a destination at a certain time
- making change when buying items
- predicting which line in a grocery store will be the quickest
It is never too early to start recognizing how much math is used in daily activities. And whenever possible, it pays to intervene early to ensure student math success.
In celebration of National Poetry Month, the New York Times has come up with an interesting project: they are publishing haikus. The short poems follow the general syllabic rule we all learned in grade school, but not the true rules of the poetic form (haiku are typically focused on images from nature and always refer to the season.)
Yet these poems published by the Times are unique in their own way: they are all pulled from Times articles using a computer algorithm. Journalists then review the findings and select the more elegant poems to post online. Each poem has a link back to the original article.
With Poem in Your Pocket Day finally here, it may be fun to browse the collection and pick a few favorites to share for today. And it’s always rewarding to watch as the day’s news leads to art.
Very, very early in my teaching career a more seasoned colleague shared with me his lamentation on the profession: As teachers, we are the eggs; the school is our egg carton. Each of us is separated off into our own little protective compartment—our classroom—never touching, never interacting, never discussing.
A new report from the National Center for Literacy Education, Remodeling Literacy Learning: Making Room for What Works, appears to suggest that little has changed in the last 20 years in that regard. According to its findings, only 40% of educators have the opportunity to co-plan with colleagues more than once a month. And yet, co-planning is the one professional learning experience survey respondents value the most. In fact, a majority of educators have less than one hour per week to work with other members of their learning teams. (A one-page infographic summarizing the report’s findings is also available.)
For a profession firmly focused on developing a love of life-long learning, this reality may seem counter-intuitive. However, the pressures of time and available resources too often dictate policy. The good news, as the report also states, is that many of the building blocks to begin to rectify this problem may be already in place: educator teams, online professional networks, smart use of student data, and—perhaps most importantly—instructional coaches and school librarians.
Changing the climate and culture of our schools to embrace collaboration may seem a daunting task. Policymakers at the school, district, state, and national level all have a role in the kind of systemic remodeling for which the report calls. But, as classroom teachers, we must be that change. Now, as classrooms across the country begin the heavily lifting of implementing new standards and striving for college and career readiness, the work becomes more important than ever. This may the time to finally break free from our Styrofoam sarcophagi, to escape our egg-carton mentality, and model for our students the kind of life-long learning we desire to see in them.
We recently recommended The Joy of X: A Guided Tour of Math, from One to Infinity by Steven Strogatz. One of the more interesting essays explains some of the mathematics behind interesting phenomena. He offers the architecture of New York’s Grand Central Station whispering galleries as one such example. In the whispering galleries two people can stand at two points 40 feet across the hallway from each other. If one person whispers “sweet nothings” the second person can clearly hear each word, but passersby cannot hear a word.
While this phenomenon seems like magic, it’s actually based on mathematics. The gallery is elliptically shaped (or oval shaped) which means there are two focus points on the floor where all sound waves will bounce from the walls.
One of my favorite examples of elliptical shaped architecture is the National Hall of Statues in Washington, DC. This is where the U. S. House of Representatives held their sessions from 1807-1857. There are two bronze plaques on the floor. If two people stand on those plaques across the hall from each other, they can talk to one another in a normal conversational tone and not miss hearing a word.
The first time a tour guide told me about these two points, I knew immediately that the two points were focal points of the elliptically-shaped hall. But the tour guide also shared that John Adams had his desk sitting at one of those bronze plaques on the floor and pretend he was sleeping. Actually, he could hear every word that was said among the other representatives. This is because his desk was at the point where all sound waves would bounce off the walls and over to the focal points. One of those points was where John Adams was sitting.
So what is wrong with this story? John Adams served as our second president from 1797 to 1801. At the end of his one and only term, he retired and moved back to his home in Massachusetts. While I love the math that is demonstrated in a beautiful and historic buildings, I also appreciate and know enough about U.S. history to realize that John Adams did not serve as a representative in the original US capital in Washington, DC. But I still can’t help but smile when I hear the story, as it so beautifully illustrates how much mathematics influences our world in unseen ways.
The Joy of X by Steven Strogatz is a series of essays that explore the seemingly limitless span and beauty of mathematics underlying so much of our universe. Strogatz’ exploration begins by considering the counting of the Sesame Street characters and extends to the unique and inviting applications of trigonometry, limits, and fractals. But don’t let that scare you. His examples yield insights into the way mathematics influences politics, art, and nature. And, of course, he explores the way science and technology rely so heavily on mathematics as well.
The author takes a delightful approach by using concrete examples in order to illustrate an abstract concept that even the inexperienced and the less mathematically inclined can understand. A reader with a mathematical background will respond to Strogartz examples with such reactions of “I never thought of it like that!” or “I didn’t know that!”
Even if you’re not a math educator, you will find the material enlightening and enjoyable.
MetaMetrics® is pleased to announce that the redesigned Quantiles.com will be released on March 14, 2013. The site has been given an all-inclusive makeover, complete with a brand new look and feel, improved navigation and tablet and mobile compatibility.
The new Quantiles.com will feature:
- A slick, crisp, design
- Tablet and mobile compatibility
- New content and images
- Redesigned tools such as the “Math Skills Database” and “Textbook Search” featuring improved functionality
In addition to these new site features, we are excited to announce “The Summer Math Challenge” a six-week, e-mail-based initiative designed to combat summer math loss. The initiative, based on the Common Core State Standards, will target students who have just completed grades 2 through 5. Parents will receive emails with resources and activities designed to help their kids retain the math skills learned during the previous school year.
We’d like to invite you to witness the unveiling of the new Quantiles.com first hand. Join us March 14, from 3 to 4 PM EDT, and you just might win free pie! Three lucky people who participate in our “Happy Pi Day… Introducing the New Quantiles.com” webinar will receive gift certificates for a free pie shipped nationwide from Porch Pies in Los Angeles, CA. For more information about the webinar, click here. Register today!
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