Good Advice From the Top

I just read a blog post by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics President, J. Michael Shaughness, about the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics. In his post, CCSSM and Curriculum and Assessment: NOT Business as Usual, Shaughness shares his thoughts about how the common core movement affords our nation an opportunity to make significant changes in mathematics instruction.  He includes links to assessment sites and his thoughts on curriculum and instruction.  Shaughness encourages schools to begin examining current curriculum to see how it aligns to the common core but warns against states or districts writing their own curriculum. With the majority of the states adopting the common core standards, this is our first opportunity to have a nationwide collaborative community working to improve mathematics curriculum, and instructional and assessment practices.

Hi, I am Renee' Smith and I began teaching math in, of all places, a maximum security prison. “I was 21 years old and 99 lbs. soaking wet. Some of my students were convicted murderers and as scary as it sounds, it was incredibly sad. Many of those men had failed in the school system and then turned to crime.” That early experience with public school dropouts, cemented my resolve to help future students understand and succeed in the area of mathematics. To that end I dedicated 16 years to the classroom, teaching 5th grade math through algebra. After obtaining my Masters in Education from Baker University, I joined the ESSDACK team in 2007. I have presented at the local, state, and national levels but my most worthwhile experience at ESSDACK has been working to take the fear out of math for teachers and students alike. Although my primary focus has been providing professional development in mathematics, I also devote time to podcasting and creating materials for teachers to use in their classrooms. My podcasts include, By the Numbers, Just Desserts and Math Snacks. Working at ESSDACK has provided me the opportunity to do many of the things I love. “I have the time to research current educational practices, I get to be creative, collaborative, and I meet tons of new people."

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