Valley Breeze

The North Providence Breeze 02-06-2019

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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NORTH PROVIDENCE EDITION | VALLEY BREEZE | FEBRUARY 6-12, 2019 NORTH PROVIDENCE 3 NORTH PROVIDENCE – Finding the right answer to a prob- lem has traditionally been the main objective in mathematics, however the prevalence of multiple choice questions on standardized tests has taught students "to circle and not explain" their answers, said Kirk Walters, principal investiga- tor for the Better Math Teaching Network, an organization dedicated to improving student engagement in math. A cohort of 14 middle and high school teachers from North Providence have volunteered to work with BMTN throughout the school year, meeting regularly at North Providence High School to examine their teaching practices and promote student engagement using data from RICAS, PSAT and SAT exams. Today's standardized tests reflect a shift in education away from rote learning, or memorization based on repetition. Examples of rote learn- ing include memorizing multiple tables or formulas, cramming for a test or using mnemonic devices, methods that are strongly discour- aged in education today. During their meeting last week, researchers from BMTN tasked the group of teachers with assessing their students' engagement levels using a "non-rote" problem, or a problem with multiple steps and facets, involving more than simple computation. These are the types of questions that tend to stump students during standardized test- ing, said NPHS Math Department Chairwoman Maria Branco. Take this RICAS practice prob- lem for 7th-graders as an example: "Billy left home at 9 a.m. and rode his bicycle to the park at an average speed of 10 miles per hour, arriving at 9:30 a.m. How many miles from the park is Billy's home? Show or explain how you got your answer." If you answered fives miles, you'd be technically correct, but not according to RICAS standards. If a question asks the student to show or explain his or her work, they must do so to receive full credit, even if their answer is right. If the answer is correct but the explanation doesn't demonstrate understanding, they could still lose a point. "The problem is that students can work through a math problem, but have difficulty justifying their solu- tion process mathematically," said Branco. Educators at both the mid- dle and high school level agreed that using non-rote problems is tak- ing time to "re-program" students' minds. BMTN researcher Melinda Griffin said students think writing happens down the hall in English class, and often find it difficult to justify their answer in words. "They need support to write mathemati- cally," she said. "Often, they're able to give higher-quality verbal justifications for their answers than written ones." To address this challenge, the BMTN facilitators provided rubrics for North Providence teachers to "fine-tune" the level of student engagement using instructional routines. The rubrics encourage students to "deep-solve" and "deep- justify" their answers, helping to prepare them for non-rote ques- tions on standardized tests. Students aren't docked points for spelling, but they are expected to respond logically and precisely using math language and concepts. If they do not make any attempt to solve or make sense of the prob- lem, it's considered "superficial" solving. The BMTN facilitators also encouraged North Providence edu- cators to experiment with changes that other teachers in the network have found success implementing. For example, high school math teacher Deborah Giammarco con- ducted a trial with her students by having them answer non-rote ques- tions, then go back in and write why they chose that answer. Another North Providence educa- tor remarked that she was excited to try a new method of engage- ment in her own classroom by ask- ing students to tell her what they understand instead of asking what they don't. A third teacher said stu- dent engagement increased when she added a sentence-starter to help prompt their responses. The group will continue to meet regularly with BMTN facilitators in order to discover and implement new methods of educating students, bouncing ideas off one another and learning from math educators across the country. NP Math teachers take aim at improving student engagement By NICOLE DOTZENROD Valley Breeze Staff Writer 'The problem is that students can work through a math problem, but have difficulty justifying their solution process mathematically.' MARIA BRANCO NPHS Math Department chairwoman Mancini Center announces 'American Heart Month' events NORTH PROVIDENCE – In rec- ognition of American Heart Month, the North Providence Mancini Center, 2 Atlantic Blvd., has planned a weekly series of heart health presentations. Each workshop is one hour long and will take place on Thursdays at 11 a.m. All are free and open to the public. Time will be provided at the end of each session for questions. All attending are required to register by calling the center at 401-231-0742. • Week one, Feb. 7: "What Is Congestive Heart Failure." Nancy Stone of Ocean State Cardiovascular and Vein Center will discuss the important risk factors, symptoms, and treatment of congestive heart failure. • Week two, Feb. 14: Students and professors from the University of Rhode Island Pharmacy Outreach Program will be on site to discuss heart attacks. This presentation is an overview of signs and symptoms, causes and risk factors of heart attacks. Participants will also learn how to be proactive in protecting themselves from having a heart attack. • Week three, Feb. 21: "Understanding Atrial Fibrillation and Stroke Risk." Stone will be back to discuss what atrial fibrillation is and why there is a risk of stroke with this condition. • Week four, Feb. 28: The final pre- sentation is "Heart Health Nutrition." Ocean State Cardiovascular & Vein Center Nutrition will be discussing how diet and exercise are the path- way to good cardiac health. If you have topics for future health presentations or would like to speak with Mary Ann Lilla, call 401-231- 0742, ext. 106, or email NPMCHEC@ . CORRECTION In last week's column by Gregory Butler on our Opinion page, it was written that Gen. George S. Patton was alive in 1946. In fact, he died on Dec. 21, 1945. do you know? You're holding 1 newspaper, but we fi ll 5 every week! 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FREE Hearing Screenings FREE Hearing Aid Checks & Cleanings Just call to schedule an appointment! 401-475-6116 6 Blackstone Valley Place, Building 3, Suite 307, Lincoln, RI Midway Laundry 1818 Mineral Spring Avenue (Adjacent to North Providence High School) February Dollar Days 401 563-3006 Starting Friday, February 1st SAVE ALL MONTH LONG WASHERS (only) 2 load washer - $2.00 3 load washer - $3.00 4 load washer - $4.00 6 load washer - $6.00 8 load washer - $8.00 OR Let us do it for you with our WASH–DRY–FOLD SERVICE Only 79 ¢ per pound (with minimum of 12 pounds)

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