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Q&A #6493


New to teaching, however...older teacher

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From: Ralph (for Teacher2Teacher Service)
Date: Jun 14, 2001 at 11:16:22
Subject: Re: New to teaching, however...older teacher

Dear Chris,

First of all, welcome to teaching! I'm sure you'll love it, and that you will
do exceptionally well. It's hard to add much to what you've written, as you've
already come up with some marvelous ideas of your own (it's obvious that your
adult training background has held you in good stead!), but I'll try to add
what I can.

Your idea about making a cumulative test from last year's material to use as
a pre-test for your students is a good one. You might be able to save yourself
some time if you have access to Teacher's editions of whatever books were
being used in Gr. 7, since oftentimes there are cumulative tests already
created there. I know the Massachusetts curriculum is rather "messy" now with
the "approved" curriculum being at odds with what the original panel that
created the curriculum recommended, and an "alternative framework" being
proposed, etc. I have a friend in Boston who was on that panel, and has given
me permission to invite you to contact her. I'm confident  she will have
some extremely useful information for you. Her name is Carole Greenes, at
Boston University. Her e-mail address is: cgreenes@bu.edu .

As for Question #2 on "grading". Your best source for SPECIFIC grading
practices for your district/school would be from other teachers there.
However, there are several wonderful resources available regarding assessment
considerations. Everyone has his/her favorites, so I can only offer mine.
There are two books available from the National Council of Teachers of
Mathematics (NCTM). You can check them out by going to the NCTM website:
http://www.nctm.org  and clicking on their publications catalog. One is
entitled Mathematics Assessment: A Practical handbook for Grades 6-8. The
other is Mathematics Assessment: Cases and Discussion Questions for
Grades 6-12.  Both have examples, reflections, explanations, etc. that are
really useful.

Question #3-Good that you're ordering the Volume 1 of Problems of the
Week. It's excellent. Keep in mind that the Problem of the Week is an ongoing
feature at the Math Forum, and there's a specific POW section for Middle
School, so I'd suggest that you follow that each week, too.

http://mathforum.org/midpow

Question #4-You've got some great ideas of your own here.  Another source is
again from NCTM, called Mathematics Projects Handbook, Fourth Edition.

I'm really impressed with all that you're doing in preparation for next year.
 You/your students will have a terrific year, I'm sure!

 -Ralph, for the T2T service

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