The Math Learning Center News Feeds

  • TEAs for Seesaw Webinar Replay
    by Mike Wallus, Vice President for Educator Support on February 26, 2021 at 10:38 pm

    Below you will find the full replay of the TEAs for Seesaw webinar we hosted earlier this week with Seesaw’s Kris Szajner. These TEAs, short for Tech-Enhanced Activities, are available on the Seesaw platform for grades K–2 and are linked from the Bridges Educator Site (login required). The webinar provided an overview of the resources, previewed a sample activity, and answered questions about using TEAs for synchronous, asynchronous, and blended learning environments. If the liveliness of the Zoom Q&A during the webinar was any indication, K-2 Bridges teachers are excited about TEAs for Seesaw. And why wouldn’t they be? Seesaw’s strength is capturing student thinking, particularly in the primary grades.  In addition to the webinar replay, you may find these other Tech-Enhanced Activity blog posts helpful: Introducing TEAs for Seesaw Getting Started with Tech-Enhanced Activities This 3-minute video provides a succinct overview of TEAs for Seesaw.

  • Introducing K–2 TEAs for Seesaw
    by Vi Tamargo, Curriculum Developer, Professional Learning on February 16, 2021 at 8:08 pm

    To support educators delivering instruction in synchronous, asynchronous, and blended learning environments, last summer The Math Learning Center began releasing Tech-Enhanced Activities (TEAs). These are activities designed for, and adapted from, Bridges in Mathematics and created with the Google suite of apps. Now, we’re excited to announce the release of TEAs for Seesaw for grades K–2! The video below offers a brief overview of the TEAs for Seesaw, shows where to locate them on the Seesaw platform, previews an example activity, and reviews the resources provided with each activity. Dig Deeper in the February Webinar The Math Learning Center is partnering with Seesaw to offer a live, interactive webinar to help Bridges educators get started with the TEAs for Seesaw. Join us for an in-depth preview of the activities, suggestions for using Seesaw, and more! Register for the TEAs for Seesaw webinar on Tuesday, February 23 at 4:00 PT.  Explore Your Grade-Level TEAs You’ll notice that the TEAs on Seesaw offer the same features as those designed in the Google suite of apps. Each TEA has a predictable three-part structure and includes an Implementation Guide to support asynchronous and synchronous facilitation. The TEAs in Seesaw include an Implementation Guide to support facilitation, just like the TEAs designed in the Google suite. While previewing these TEAs, Seesaw users will recognize that you can take advantage of all the tools available on the platform, including those that help to capture student thinking. In Seesaw, educators can invite students to use the Record, Pen, Camera, and Type tools. Students have choices in how to show their learning, and teachers have an opportunity to learn about their students’ thinking. The variety of developmentally appropriate tools in Seesaw offer ample opportunities to elicit student thinking (from Kindergarten, Unit 5, Module 1, Part 2).  Find the TEAs on the Bridges Educator Site under Resources & Support for 2020–21 for grades K, 1, and 2 (login required) or on our Seesaw page. We know many Bridges educators have been using the Seesaw platform and creating activities to support student learning this year. We hope you find these new TEAs for Seesaw helpful in providing effective remote learning experiences for your students.  

  • Share the Math Love with MLC's Pattern Shapes App
    by Kim Markworth, Director of Content Development on February 5, 2021 at 12:29 am

    At MLC, we’ve put our hearts into supporting teachers in various ways throughout this school year. One of our most popular offerings, for Bridges and non-Bridges educators, is our collection of Free Math Apps, based on the visual models featured in Bridges in Mathematics. In December 2020, the number of visits to MLC’s Math Apps were more than ten times higher than visits in December 2019. If these free Math Apps are supporting your instruction this year, we’re glad to hear it! One of the newer features of the Math Apps is the ability to share your work. Teachers can use the sharing features to communicate and share problems, while students can share their own work with peers and their teacher. Now, we are pleased to announce that the sharing feature has most recently been added to the Pattern Shapes app! If you’re new to this feature, you can learn more by watching the Share Work with Others video on the Free Math Apps homepage. We hope you enjoy the shared problems and activities that we’ve compiled here at MLC. Explore these problems on your own, present them to your students, and share the math love! And if you’re inspired, you can use the sharing feature to create your own problems, whether it’s in the Pattern Shapes app or one of the other seven apps that boast this feature. Enjoy! Prompt 1: Which Heart Doesn’t Belong? K-5 Prompt 2: Filling Hearts K-2 3-5 Prompt 3: Symmetrical Heart Design K-2 3-5 Prompt 4: Heart Values K-2 3-5 Prompt 5: Same & Different Hearts K-2 3-5

  • Using Seesaw to Elicit Student Thinking
    by Vi Tamargo, Curriculum Developer, Professional Learning on February 2, 2021 at 6:06 pm

    In this series of blog posts, we highlight educators in the field who are using remote learning resources intentionally to build classroom community, collaboration, and student sense-making. With the shift in 2020–21 to hybrid and remote environments, collecting authentic formative and summative assessment data presents a challenge. NCTM describes the role assessments play for student learning in Principles to Action : “Effective teaching of mathematics uses evidence of student thinking to assess progress toward mathematical understanding and to adjust instruction continually in ways that support and extend learning” (2014).   At the start of the 2020–21 school year, Bridges educators in Illinois’ Downers Grove District 58 found that the challenges of remote learning highlighted critical questions: “How can we accurately assess student thinking?” “How might we use tech tools to understand students’ thinking rather than simply noting whether their final answers are right or wrong? The value and emphasis Bridges places on student thinking led to the adoption of the curriculum. Christina Diaz is a 4th/5th grade dual language teacher in Downers Grove. She’s inspired by the way her district supports teachers and students with mathematics instruction. At the start of the year, teachers in Downers Grove considered how they might use Seesaw as a platform to make student thinking visible. They were interested in whether it could allow students to easily capture, demonstrate, and explain their thinking. To begin, instructional coaches in Downers Grove set up Seesaw activities with problems from student book pages, Home Connections, Number Corner checkpoints, and the unit screeners (login required) MLC created this year. The coaches prepared Seesaw activities that capture assessment problems on different pages, giving students ample space to show their thinking. Christina and her fellow educators use Seesaw as a tool for capturing student thinking. Students can upload images of their work, giving teachers a quick way to see student work and offer feedback. Now, Christina’s students have the option of uploading images of their work from the physical student book or Home Connections. They can also capture their thinking with Seesaw’s pen, text, audio, and video recording tools. Over time, Christina learned that her students appreciate being able to first use paper and then upload to Seesaw to show their reasoning. Students in Christina’s class can use Seesaw tools to annotate over a problem, writing and using the recording tool to explain their thinking. Because she can’t be in the same room as her students, Christina appreciates being able to see more than just their answers. “With Seesaw, I’m able to actually see student work,” Christina shares. “I can slow down and unpack their thinking.” Another key aspect of Seesaw, Christina reflects, is the opportunity to give students feedback. Christina regularly responds with comments attached to their work. Students often thank her for giving them specific feedback. They’re also excited when Christina uses student work as an opportunity for launching a discussion the next day. During a year when teachers have little to no face-to-face time with students, these opportunities for relationship building are critical.   Christina also adds a 4-3-2-1 self-reflection as the last page to every Seesaw homework activity. Students self-assess their level of understanding with the material. While some students rank themselves highly, others can be overly critical of their progress. Being able to hear from students how they’re feeling about their level of understanding gives Christina another opportunity for dialogue to help position them as knowers and doers of mathematics. “I have [some] students who rank themselves a 1 because they think they don’t understand anything from the assignment. This gives me a chance to reaffirm students who don’t see all the progress they’ve made. I can point out the strengths in their work and help them see how much they’re actually able to do. They CAN do math!” As she begins the second half of the 2020–21 year, Christina is eager to continue to use Seesaw in conjunction with Bridges. She thinks how she might use the features of Seesaw to offer students even more descriptive and concrete feedback on their work. She’s considering using the screen recording tool to record audio/video comments as she annotates on the screen directly in students’ assignments. Knowing that her students already enjoy this platform and the way Seesaw allows them to share their work easily, Christina is eager to see how they respond to seeing and hearing feedback directly from her. To learn more about the Seesaw platform, see this video in the BES in the Professional Development Library.

  • Unit 4 Grade-Level Webinar Replays
    by Mike Wallus, Director of Educator Support on January 21, 2021 at 7:02 pm

    Embedded below are the replays for the Unit 4 grade-level webinars, which explore the mathematics in Unit 4, highlighting multiple strategies for implementing Bridges in synchronous and asynchronous environments. As with the Unit 3 (Part A) replays and Unit 3 (Part B) replays,  we’re including the replays for each grade level below on a single page to facilitate sharing with your peers.   Since we cover resources created to support Bridges educators during the 2020–21 school year, you may find the definitions and links on this reference document helpful. Please watch and share. Grade K: Unit 4 Grade K Resources & Support for 2020-21 (Bridges Educator Site login required) Grade 1: Unit 4 Grade 1 Resources & Support for 2020-21 (Bridges Educator Site login required) Grade 2: Unit 4 Grade 2 Resources & Support for 2020-21 (Bridges Educator Site login required) Grade 3: Unit 4 Grade 3 Resources & Support for 2020-21 (Bridges Educator Site login required) Grade 4: Unit 4 Grade 4 Resources & Support for 2020-21 (Bridges Educator Site login required) Grade 5: Unit 4 Grade 5 Resources & Support for 2020-21 (Bridges Educator Site login required)

  • Planning for the Second Half of 2020-21
    by Patrick Vennebush, Chief Learning Officer & Nicole Rigelman, Chief Academic Officer on January 21, 2021 at 12:44 am

    As you prepare for the remainder of the school year, we’d like to offer some guidance and suggestions regarding the use of the revised scope and sequence and the tech-enhanced activities. Scope and Sequence Knowing that 2020-21 would be a school year unlike any other, we released guidelines for planning to help teachers and districts navigate the uncertainty. Those guidelines include a revised scope and sequence for a year during which instructional time would likely be compromised due to time out of school or because of new routines for social distancing.  As the second half of the year unfolds, we expect most educators will still face pacing challenges. if you’re behind due to a compromised schedule or instructional format — and no one should fault you if you are — stay the course. Follow the revised scope and sequence, and offer your students the best experience possible, given the circumstances.  Others, however, may find themselves with some capacity for returning toward fuller Bridges implementation. As circumstances allow, we recommend the following:  Revert to the original scope and sequence for the remainder of the year.  Return to previous units and teach any content that had been skipped.  Per the guidelines, supplement with activities from the prior year to address unfinished learning. Tech-Enhanced Activities  Our new resources for 2020-21 included a collection of Tech-Enhanced Activities. These activities show how digital materials can engage students in sense-making and promote classroom community and collaboration in synchronous, asynchronous, and blended learning environments. However, we want to offer a reminder that they are meant to support — not replace — Bridges sessions. Using only the TEAs without attention to the rest of the curriculum would result in curricular gaps and missed learning opportunities for students. Delivering effective instruction in the extraordinary circumstances of 2020-21 is no small task. Every district and each educator is dealing with a unique situation, attending to different variables and considering various approaches. We’re here to help. If you have questions or need advice, please reach out to your regional coordinator, who can connect you with one of our experienced curriculum consultants.

  • Student-Centered Learning in Asynchronous Environments
    by Vi Tamargo, Curriculum Developer, Professional Learning on January 20, 2021 at 12:45 am

    In this series of blog posts, we highlight educators in the field who are using remote learning resources intentionally to build classroom community, collaboration, and student sense-making. In a recent post, Ed Tech Specialist Tod Johnston discusses how educators can leverage digital tools to position students as active partners in their learning. Digital tools are a necessity during this time of remote learning, yet those we offer—and how we offer them to our students—has a profound impact. Tod writes, “We need to remember that the digital learning tools, materials, and tasks we offer must prioritize students as active participants at the center of their learning; not as passive recipients on the outside, merely watching.”  We often hear from Bridges teachers how much they (and their students) are missing their Number Corner time. Indeed, Number Corner is a time students come together as a community to engage and explore mathematical patterns, relationships and structure. With limited time for math this year, some teachers have had to push Number Corner to their asynchronous learning time, a decision that challenges the collaborative and active structure at the heart of this mathematical routine. How—especially in asynchronous environments—can digital learning tools engage students in their own learning? For Kris Peters, a third grade teacher in Washington, this question has been at the forefront of her mind. She currently has only 10 minutes for Number Corner content four times a week. To support facilitation, Kris records videos that she pushes out to students to launch Number Corner workouts. As the year progressed, Kris found it challenging to gauge what students were gaining from their Number Corner work. The incredible strength of Number Corner came from the student-centered discussions the workouts inspired. “It made me wonder,” Kris shared, “What tools can I use to hear from my students and to see their thinking?” While she’s tried a few tools, Kris recently discovered the free, basic version of EdPuzzle, a digital resource that allows teachers to deliver videos with an added perk—the ability to capture students’ comprehension and thinking. She shared an example she created for a December Calendar Grid activity. In the video, Kris reminded students of the previous day’s Calendar Grid showing ⅓ and posed the open-ended question, “What do you think Day 4 will look like?” At this point, the video stopped and a question on the sidebar invited responses. The paused video in EdPuzzle appears on the left and the question Kris posed to her students appears right. As the video continued, Kris intentionally chose key instructional points to pause, pose a question and invite students to respond. Throughout, Kris asked the questions Bridges educators ask in a classroom in front of students, and EdPuzzle gave a mechanism for hearing back from them, albeit after the fact. “In the fast pace of our limited synchronous instructional time,” Kris shared, “it can be challenging to provide sufficient think time. EdPuzzle allows students to work at their own pace and return to points in the video for clarification as needed.” Throughout the 6-minute video, Kris offered six pause points that invited students to actively engage. She used multiple choice, open-ended responses, and uploading a photo through Google Slides as ways students could show their work. Responses were recorded and Kris was able to review and check for understanding. Kris acknowledges the limitations of such responses but also speaks of their potential. “It can be a challenge to interpret third grade student thinking based on their written explanations,” she reflects. “Regardless, the questions I’m able to pose are intended to draw attention to mathematical ideas and patterns. Also, I think they send an important message about the kind of thinking we want to be doing.” You might be wondering, “How else might I use EdPuzzle to enhance Number Corner in an asynchronous environment?” Here are some possibilities: Record videos that show you launching or facilitating the workout. When students see and hear their teacher—even if it’s digitally—they are able to feel more connected to the learning and mathematics. Use EdPuzzle for formative assessment, and to learn about students’ understanding and where they need support. When appropriate, provide students the option of responding by posing an open-ended question such as, “Share with me anything you are unsure or wondering about, or any questions you’d like to pose to the class.” This type of question might help you better understand what students are grappling with mathematically and offers you insight for moving forward. Use EdPuzzle along with MLC’s digital resources, including Digital Display Materials and the tools found in the Resources & Support for 2020-21 section of each grade (login required). You can use these to launch a workout and engage students. Facilitate lessons with free, public MLC apps with the sharing feature that students can use to show their thinking. A link to their work or an image of their work can be pasted or uploaded into EdPuzzle. No digital tool can replicate the rich experience of learning in person with a community of learners, but as educators like Kris have shown, we can make instructional choices that position students to actively construct their own learning.

  • Using Remote Learning Resources in Hybrid Learning Environments
    by Vi Tamargo, Curriculum Developer, Professional Learning on January 12, 2021 at 9:57 pm

    In this series of blog posts, we highlight educators in the field who are using remote learning resources intentionally to build classroom community, collaboration, and student sense-making. This year, Bridges educators are adapting instruction to unique situations and varied circumstances. While some Bridges educators are teaching in person (with safety protocols in place) or 100% remotely, many are teaching in mixed, hybrid situations. In these settings, some students attend class in person while others join in “live” using Zoom or Google Meet. In hybrid environments, how can teachers attune to the needs of both groups of learners, all the while managing the technological complexities and building classroom connections?     Cheryl Marinari, a second grade teacher from New Jersey, is one Bridges educator adapting to a hybrid model for learning this year. Half her students engage synchronously via Google Meet while the other half attend the classroom in person. The safety precautions taken in her district mean that even in the classroom, strict social distancing expectations are maintained.  Recently, I watched Cheryl use one of our Grade 2 Tech-Enhanced Activities (TEAs) to facilitate a hybrid Bridges session. To launch this activity, Cheryl used the Jack and the Beanstalk context to draw her students in. In Part 1 of the TEA, students listen to the story of Jack and the Beanstalk to launch their work with measuring objects and skip-counting by 5s and 10s. Cheryl facilitated this launch beautifully. I watched as she managed the Google Meet session and the TEA Google Slides while attending to her students online and in person. Most impressively, it was evident all her students—those at home and those in class—felt seen, heard, and connected as learners and individuals. Throughout the session, Cheryl kept her eyes on all and kept her focus on supporting all of her learners. Here are three concrete instructional moves that I witnessed during her facilitation: Using split-screen to interact with technology and connect with students Cheryl loves the way that TEAs allow her to launch a session and enable interactivity with the content. As students considered how Jack could use Unifix cubes to estimate and measure his beans, Cheryl used the slides to represent student thinking, recording estimates and reasoning, and modeling measurement by dragging the cubes. At the same time, Cheryl stresses the importance of checking in with her students. “If I don’t see students on the screen as I facilitate, I am missing moments to learn about my kids.” For this reason, Cheryl facilitates with a split screen in order to manage the slides and to see her online students, allowing her to be present and connect with them. This practice also allowed the students in the classroom to see their classmates as home as they were learning, so students could feel more connected as a community. Cheryl used a split screen to simultaneously interact with the TEA slides and see her students learning at home. Cheryl used Part 1 to hear students’ estimates for the length of the longer bean, inviting them to share their reasoning while she collected their estimates on the slides. Using whiteboards to quickly gauge student understanding Many educators have shared with us how challenging it can be to gauge student understanding during remote learning sessions. Young students like Cheryl’s are still learning how to navigate technology. When students shared their work on paper with Google Meet, Cheryl found it difficult to clearly see their work—and she couldn’t do a quick glance to see where all of them were. As a solution, she sent whiteboards home for all of her students, and they now use them to share their thinking. They also use whiteboards to share with her when they are confused and need help. Since safety precautions also prevent her students in class from coming up to the board, they also use whiteboards to share their thinking. This simple strategy makes it easy for Cheryl to check in and offer help as students work independently or in a follow-up session. Ensuring equitable participation Making sure to hear from all students is challenging when managing two groups in different spaces. Cheryl intentionally balanced inviting students to participate—remembering to acknowledge those in her classroom as well as those at home. Since the students on Google Meet could not see students in class, Cheryl intentionally called students by name when they shared their thinking and restated ideas when it was hard to hear. By recording all students’ thoughts in the slides, she messaged that she valued all ideas and thinking. After Problems & Investigations, students went off to Work Places (students at home turned off their cameras). After some time, students returned to debrief their experience —another move that gave students separated by distance the opportunity to share their mathematical experiences and thinking and to build connections.  Most of all, Cheryl made math fun. As I watched her class, I wrote in my notebook in large block letters “joy” and “community.” During one moment early in the launch, Cheryl asked students to take a minute to silently think to themselves. “When you think you are ready to share, say ‘Aha!’” She made a hand motion to pair with the word. All of her students happily joined in. I left this session feeling inspired, encouraged that even in hybrid spaces, one can develop a sense of community and cohesiveness. Even though they were physically separated, it was clear that all students felt included and valued in this space as a learner. Cheryl used digital resources such as the TEAs and physical resources like the cash register paper to engage her learners in the context. As I shared my many affirmations with Cheryl about her session, she seemed surprised. She assured me that sessions were far from perfect and that she had to start slow with technology and certainly with this new hybrid model. She confessed that she’s had her share of technical mishaps and lessons gone awry. “The biggest lesson I can share is to give yourself grace. No one is perfect. We’re all doing our best.” And she adds, “And you have to show that to your students. You have to show kids you are learning too, you’re learning with them. It doesn’t have to be perfect.”  Tech-enhanced activities (TEAs) are organized by grade level under the Resources & Support for 2020–21 section of the BES homepage (login required).     

  • Registration for January Grade-Level Support Webinars Is Open!
    by Mike Wallus, Director of Educator Support on December 7, 2020 at 7:46 pm

    This week, registration opened for MLC’s January grade-level support webinars. As with past webinars in this series, our curriculum consultants and teachers in residence will explore resources and offer guidance for how they may be used to support students in synchronous and asynchronous settings. January’s webinars will focus on unpacking the mathematics in the upcoming unit, examining questioning strategies, and using share codes to design and scaffold learning activities. The grade-level support webinars will devote 50 minutes to the upcoming unit and 10 minutes to addressing questions. Bridges educators interested in the grade-level support webinars have two options.   Attend the live webinar. MLC currently has registration links posted on the News and Announcements section of the Bridges Educator Site as well as the PD Opportunities section of the public Math Learning Center webpage. You can also find them here. All Bridges educators who register for the webinar will also receive a followup email with a recording of the webinar in case they are unable to attend in person.  View a replay of the webinar at your convenience. All grade-level support webinars will be recorded and made available to Bridges educators on the PD Opportunities section of The  Math Learning Center public webpage. Below you can see several of the replays currently available for viewing. The Math Learning Center will continue to provide a certificate of attendance to all Bridges educators who attend a grade-level support webinar in person or who view the recorded webinar at a later date. We hope that you consider registering for and attending our next grade-level support webinars in January. 

  • Using Remote Learning Resources to Build Community
    by Vi Tamargo, Curriculum Developer, Professional Learning on December 1, 2020 at 6:59 pm

    In this series of blog posts, we highlight educators in the field who are using remote learning resources intentionally to build classroom community, collaboration, and student sense-making. Bridges educators strive to develop safe learning environments that foster inclusivity and collaboration. This environment creates a space for students to develop a sense of belonging and engage in learning with their teacher and peers. But in a remote environment—especially one with limited synchronous time—how do educators develop a sense of classroom community?  Eliana Belle teaches kindergarten in a small town in Oregon. Her school is starting the year with 100% asynchronous learning for math. Eliana plans approximately 20 minutes of math work daily for her students, including a 5-minute video she records to introduce the activity. Bridges tech-enhanced activities (TEAs) have been a lifesaver for Eliana, as they’ve set the context for the mathematical work of the session, allowing her to think more creatively about how she can use her videos to build engagement and community for her young learners. Earlier in the year, she used the Grade K, Unit 1, Module 2 TEA, Friendly Fives, to support her students with learning the structure of 5. In Part 1 of this TEA, students count to determine how many and show on their fingers.  Eliana inserted the video directly into the first slide of the TEA to make the day’s mathematical work accessible in one place for her students. The TEA provided a starting point to facilitate Session 1 & 2, but Eliana still wanted to find a way to see her students and their work. She also wanted to find a way to gauge their mathematical understanding and build community. She decided to ask students to use the camera feature of Google Slides to show their finger patterns. In her instructional video, she modeled how to use this tool. The Insert Camera option can be used to upload or take an instant picture that is automatically added to the slides. Eliana invited students to use this feature to take a picture to show their finger patterns.   “Because we don’t do a lot of live math yet, it’s nice to find ways to see them showing their thinking!” she said. What seemed like such a simple instructional move ended up building classroom community and engagement. Immediately after this activity, Eliana started to receive emails from parents sharing how eager their children were to share their thinking with their teacher. “My teacher is going to see my picture!” some of them told their parents. Students were also excited because they knew Eliana often shared student work samples in her instructional video, and they waited eagerly to see if their finger patterns would be featured in her next video. Over the next few sessions, Eliana used her videos to showcase her students’ work and comment on what she noticed, making sure to highlight her students equitably.  Eliana is considering how she might find more ways to continue building her math community. To expand the ways she can hear from her young students, she plans to incorporate Flipgrid as the year progresses. As she puts it, “We know research shows that teachers should really be more of a facilitator when possible and students should be doing more of the conversing. I’m excited to use Flipgrid, especially to hear students talk about what is different between the five-frame and the ten-frame.” Eliana plans to build connections among students by inviting them to listen and watch their peers’ videos. She plans to create a collage of students’ pictures and video clips from their work that can be played at the start or end of her lessons. She says, “I want them to be able to hear from their peers, see themselves as mathematicians, and recognize that they are part of a community of great and diverse thinkers.” Developing a strong sense of community is essential to the Bridges classroom. While doing so is undoubtedly more challenging this year, it’s inspiring to hear the many ways Bridges educators are finding to build relationships with and among their students. Tech-enhanced activities (TEAs) are organized by grade level under the Resources & Support for 2020–21 section of the BES homepage (login required).