Welcome to the RSU5 Family Math Site!

June 2017 Update

Summer is here and....

The Summer Math Olympics Are Back!


The Math Olympics are a fun way to keep our math brains working during the summer so we don’t lose track of any of the great math that we learned during the school year. See the Summer Math Olympics link in the upper left hand corner of this page for the updated packets. In the meantime...


Here are some tips for keeping mathematically sharp during the lazy, hazy days of summer, either on your own or with the help of an adult:


  • Play lots of games that involve dice, cards, and other number tools that keep young people fluent with numeracy, addition, subtraction and more.


  • Help keep track of grocery costs at the grocery store-- unit prices, costs of specific items, comparing the value of buying in bulk with buying individual items


  • Help with planning day trips and vacations!  Keep track of travel time, itinerary, travel costs and help make wise decisions!


  • Help with gardening, building projects, and other tasks that involve measuring (!!!).


  • Measure how much your height or weight changes between the last day of school in June and the first day of school in September!


  • Make up your own interesting problem solving tasks involving addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, or fractions..


  • Make up your own board game, like Candyland or Monopoly or Yahtzee, except with your own design and your own rules!


  • Make a graph of how many pages you read each day


  • Keep track of weather data on a line plot or bar graph… Which days did it rain?  When was it the warmest?  When was it the coldest?  How many days were above 90 degrees?  How many nights were below 50 degrees?  Research local weather data (Portland Jetport data is available online) and compare the weather this summer to other summers.


  • Keep track of your heart rate.  See how many times your heart beats in one minute after you wake up in the morning, after exercising, and in the evening before bed.  When does it beat the most times in one minute?  When does it beat the least?  What is the difference?


  • See how fast you can run a lap around a track in minutes and seconds, or a mile (4 laps), and then see if you can beat that time later in the summer.

September will be here before you know it.... Here's a little about what your child can expect in math in RSU5:

  • The emphasis in our math instruction, and in our curriculum, is on understanding.  When teachers review student work and grade tests, they are looking for evidence of understanding.  This is really the only difference between how we teach math in 2017 and how it was taught when many of us were young.  In addition to "mastering concepts," we want to make sure students understand the concepts they are mastering. This means solving problems collaboratively as well as independently, trying out new algorithms (problem solving techniques), and learning from our mistakes.  We still teach fact fluency and all the old traditional methods of adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing; but we do spend more time making sure our students have opportunities to understand addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, decimals, measurement, geometry, data, and algebraic concepts.  Sometimes that means deconstructing numbers, algorithms, problems, and figures.  Sometimes it means learning new algorithms that help students understand the importance of place value.  Sometimes it means students' math homework assignments might look different than the homework assignments their parents had when they were in elementary school.
  • Unit assessments, which come home about once a month, are scored by domain.  A "domain" is a category of content standards that pertain to the aspects of mathematics relevant to what is on a test or assignment.  The Common Core is broken up into domains, which are then broken up into standards.  "Add and subtract within 20 fluently" is a 2nd grade standard that falls under the domain of Operations and Algebraic Thinking, or "OA" for short.  If a unit test assesses students on more than two standards within that domain, there will be a score for "OA" listed on the test's cover page.
  • Tests are scored on a 1-4 scale.  A "4" is not the same thing as an "A"!  Here is what each number on the scale represents:
                A "1" designates the student is a beginner and not yet demonstrating understanding of the concepts assessed in that domain.  Items might be left blank, or answered in a way that presents no evidence of understanding.

                A "2" designates the student is developing his or her understanding of a concept.  There is some evidence of understanding, but also evidence the student does not grasp the concepts assessed at this time.  This category represents a wide range, from "just starting to get it" to "almost got it."

                A "3" designates the student is achieving proficiency and demonstrated sufficient evidence of understanding.  This usually means the answer or answers to a test item are correct, and unit work prior to the test indicates the child has grasped the concepts assessed and understands them.

                A "4" designates the student demonstrates advanced understanding and is extending his or her work beyond grade level expectations.  This designation is less common and is not always an option for scoring.  Typically, a teacher scores a "4" on student work if the student has provided extra examples, explanations, or strategies to explain his or her thinking.  
  • Open Response lessons and assessments give students opportunities to demonstrate their communication and reasoning and to share their mathematical thinking.  Student work from Open Response lessons and assessments is used to help determine a score for the "Communication and Reasoning" portion of the math report card.  These lessons usually present a problem solving scenario that requires careful thinking, and trial and error to tackle.  In Open Response lessons, students often collaborate for at least a portion of the lesson.  On Open Response assessments, students usually problem solve independently.
We hope this is helpful!  Please let us know if you have questions about our math curriculum.  Also, we will continue to update this page, so check back every now and then for more information!