This Week’s News

The end of the first trimester is Friday, November 3.  Normally, by this time of the year, students would be clearly aware of their progress and performance in all areas, but as we have moved to a new system of reporting progress toward end-of-year standards, students may not have as strong an understanding of where they fall, given the depth and complexity of the standards.  The number markings of 1-4 on the report card are in no way intended to be equated with the letter grades of the past.

At this juncture in the year, if students are making steady progress toward a standard–a marking of a 2–or approaching the standard–a marking of a 3–students are right where they should be at this point in the school year.

Further discussion of student progress will occur at each child’s conference.  Conferences will begin on Tuesday, November 7 and will continue through Friday, November 17.  Students will be running a portion of the conference so they need to attend the conference with their parents. A conference sign-up sheet was distributed and has been sent home with students.  If you have not yet signed up for a conference, please do so at your earliest convenience, either by sending back the sign-up sheet or requesting a time by email.

CPM Tip of the Week for Parents

Week 8

Your student may have told you about working with new team members. In a student-centered classroom, teachers have students change teams periodically. This allows students to collaborate with others. Research has shown that students who work in a collaborative problem-solving situation show higher achievement, increased retention, greater intrinsic motivation, higher self-esteem, and a better attitude toward teachers and school, to name a few. If you would like further information about team work, it can be found at, “Synthesis of Research”.

For Students:

Math Vocabulary

Try to use the correct terminology when explaining your work and asking questions.  For example, instead of saying “these angles are the same” try saying “these angles are congruent because they are vertical angles.”  If you know how to use the vocabulary in this class, your confidence in math will increase.

This Week’s News

Earlier this week, students had a guest speaker, Mr. Johnson, who brought ancient artifacts from the time of Early Humans. In addition to reviewing pertinent facts about each of the Early Human groups students studied–Australopithecus, Homo Habilis, Homo Erectus, Neanderthal, Cro-Magnon, and Modern Humans Homo Sapiens, the presenter also had students solve a mystery about Ötzi the Iceman. Ötzi’s well-preserved body was discovered by hikers on September 19, 1991, in the remote mountains on the border of Austria and Italy. It was determined that the body was 5,300 years old. He was named Ötzi after the region in which he was discovered. During the presentations, the students’ job was to listen to evidence and solve the mystery of how Ötzi died. After learning about his weapons, clothing, and supplies that were laid out by his body, students determined that the most likely scenario was either that Ötzi had been traveling with a partner and both were murdered by an enemy group or that a political rival, perhaps Ötzi’s brother, murdered Ötzi to gain power. For more information, check out the following websites: National Geographic and The Iceman.

CPM Tip of the Week for Parents

Week 7

There are several types of problems your student sees when doing the classwork and the homework. The classwork problems have been designed to encourage students to work together with their teammates to solve interesting and challenging problems (with teacher support). At times, these problems require students to use previous learning. Some problems will require the use of manipulatives, such as blocks, number cubes, Algebra Tiles, or models to help develop understanding. Other problems introduce students to new ideas. All of the problems have been carefully constructed to further a student’s understanding of mathematics.

The homework problems are both for review and preview. Often the first problem or two will cover the work that was done in class that day. Then there are problems that review concepts from previous courses or lessons. There are also problems that are designed to prompt students to think about a mathematical idea that will be introduced in a future lesson. If your student is struggling with homework, suggest checking the CPM online Homework Help and other resources found at

For Students:

Showing Work

When doing math problems, it is important to show your work in an organized fashion.  Try jotting down information about the problem and possibly drawing a diagram first so that you can look back at your paper and know what the problem is about.  Then show all steps so that you’ll have an example to look at later.  Showing all steps is one way to justify your answer.  Make sure that your answer is easy to see and easy to find.

This Week’s News

As you know, our school and district have partnered with St. Joseph Health System and the Petaluma Education Foundation to support and encourage healthy lifestyles.  Included in this partnership are weekly tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  Here is one related to activity, including our bimonthly Zumba class:

Make activity fun every day! If you do not like to exercise, make your daily activities fun! Ask yourself, “What do I like to do that involves a lot of movement?” It does not have to be what we consider to be typical “exercise.”

Activities can range from team sports, individual sports, or recreational activities. Here are a few examples: walking, skipping, jump rope, dancing, running, skating, bicycling, swimming, hula hooping, or participating in playground activities or free-time play.

Make physical activity part of your family’s daily routine by taking family walks or playing active games together. Instead of watching television after dinner, find fun activities to do on individually or with friends and family, such as walking, playing chase, or riding bikes.

Additionally, try to limit TV time to less than two hours each day, as this can be a supportive part of increased activity. Removing the TV from the bedroom also encourages more family time and activity.

Activities chosen to ensure thirty to sixty minutes of daily activity should be enjoyable so that it is easy to maintain this level of activity. You might even find yourself looking forward to this part of your day!

This week in math, students learned a new model for multiplication that for some was challenging and for others added new insight into the concept behind the multiplication algorithm.  For many students, the generic rectangle method built on their open array strategy from fifth grade and made perfect sense. The video below not only illustrates multiplication using rectangles, but also speaks to the rationale behind the shift in math instruction in the U.S.

CPM Tip of the Week for Parents

Week 6

By this time in the school year, your child may have taken a team test at some point before taking an individual test. Team tests provide students an opportunity to check their depth of understanding through collaborative problem solving. They also help teachers identify general areas of concern that need to be addressed prior to the individual test. Students who take notes during the team test process, who ask follow-up questions during class discussions, and who correct their test often experience dramatic improvements on individual tests.

Additionally, keep in mind that the homework assignments are specifically designed to provide opportunities for students to practice developing skills and that mastery of a topic is often not expected until two or three chapters beyond where it is first introduced.

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