Mastery Collaborative Visit

March 11th 2016


1st Period

9-10:  Introductions, overview of the iSchool, Sarah’s Mastery System

2nd Period

10 -10:15- Chat with Students

10:15 – 10:45 -Visit Classrooms

10:45-11 – Back in conference room to debrief/ answer questions

3rd Period

11- 11:30  BREAK  / Classroom visits

11:40 – 12:  Tom Jones + Liz Gray (ELA Teachers) will talk about their mastery work in English (room 506)

LUNCH: 12-1

5th Period/ MODULE BLOCK

1: – 1:30: Math Meeting / Talk with math teachers

1:30 – 2:20: Visit Modules

6th Period

2:20 – 2:45:  Kristen Brown (science teacher) will talk about her mastery work in 506

2:45- 3:20:  Visit more classes

3:20 – 3:30:  Meet in 404 for wrap up

Useful Links

Friday  Teacher Program

Overview of Sarah’s Mastery System  + Presentation Slides

iSchool Math Mastery Artifacts 

Links to Liz Gray’s Class Sites:      ELA Seminar,  Feminism,   Poetry in Performance





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Mathematical Art Gallery

This gallery contains 20 photos.

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Unit 9: Quadratic Functions

Lesson 9.1: Intro to Solving Quadratics – Solving by Factoring 

9.2 notes  Extra Help Video: Solving Quadratics with Factoring 

HW: 9.1 HW

Lesson 9.2: Solving Quadratics by Completing the Square 

9.2 notes

HW: 9.2 HW

Lesson 9.3: Solving Quadratics with the Quadratic Equation 

9.3 notes              Quadratic Formula Song Video

HW: HW 9.3

Lesson 9.4: QUIZ + What solution method should we use?

9.4 notes

HW:9.4 HW

Lesson 9.5:Graphing Quadratic Parabolas

9.5 notes

HW: Finish the 9.5 graphing quads activity from class + do QUIZ CORRECTIONS

Lesson 9.6: Finding the Vertex and Axis of Symmetry Algebraically 

9.6 notes

HW: 9.6 hw

Lesson 9.7: Quiz + Quadratic Functions 

9.7 notes

HW: 9.7 hw

Lesson 9.8 Modeling with Quadratics 

9.8 notes

9.8 Quadratic Modeling HW

Lesson 9.9: Review of Quadratics!

9.9 notes

HW:  Create your unit 9 notecard and complete the QUADRATIC UNIT REVIEW

Review Key

Unit 9 Test: Friday March 18th

HW:Beat the Basics 9

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Unit 8: Factoring Expressions

Lesson 8.1: Intro to Factoring 

Watch all 4 of the following videos and take notes!  After you watch each video, complete the part of the 8.1 intro to factoring

Video 1:  GCF Factroing

Video 2: Diamond Factoring

Video 3: DOTS factoring

Video 4:ACGC Factoring


Lesson 8.2: Review and QUIZ 

HW: 8.2 hw

Lesson 8.3: Factoring Practice 

HW: 8.3 HW

Lesson 8.4: Two Step Factoring 

8.4 notes

HW: 8.4 HW

Lesson 8.5 Factoring Flip Book 

Finish your  Factoring Flip Book!factoring_flip_book

Lesson 8.6: Factoring Shapes Review 

HW: Complete 8.6 review  Look over the Answer key .   Don’t forget to finish your flip book!

Unit 8 Test: Wednesday March 2nd 

HW: Beat the Basics 8

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Unit 7: Polynomials

Lesson 7.1: Adding and Subtracting Polys 

7.1 notes Extra Help Videos: Adding/Subtracting Polys- kahn,   Another Example

HW: Watch video 7.1: Naming Polys  AND TAKE NOTES!  Complete 7.1 HW

Lesson 7.2: Multiplying and Dividing Polys 

7.2 notes – extra help videos: Double Distribution,  Box Method  Dividing Polys- Kahn

HW: complete 7.2 HW

Lesson 7.3 Poly Practice 

HW: Complete 7.3 HW

Lesson 7.4: Shapes Review Activity 

HW: Complete 7.4 poly shapes activity to review for your test on thursday!

Answer  key to last page of the review activity: We will go over the shapes part in class.

Unit 7 Test:  February 11th  

Extra help Videos:

Naming Polys

Adding/Subtracting Polys- kahn,   Another Example

Multiplying:  Double Distribution,  Box Method

Dividing Polys- Kahn

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Quarter 2 Review

Your Quarter 2 Exam will be during Regents Week.  Your exam will either be Wednesday, January 27th from 9am-12pm OR Thursday, January 28th from 12:30pm – 3:30pm. Please consult your individualized Regents Week schedule to determine when your test is. .  This two day test is all multiple choice questions and contains a full practice regents.  The exam will cover all 6 units we have done so far this year and will count for 20% of your quarter 2 garde!

Please email Ms. P. with any questions!  Good Luck!

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Unit 6: Exponents and Radicals


you will have a QUIZ over this material the first day back from break! Watch ALL 5 of these videos and take notes

Multiplication Law of Exponents Video

Division Law of Exponents Video

Power of a Power Law of Exponents Video

Negative Law of Exponents Video

Zero Exponent Law Video

Complete Exponent Laws Packet (handed out in class) . The ENTIRE packet is due when we get back from break on January 4th. There will be a QUIZ on this material when we get back from break!


Lesson 6.1: Review of Basic Exponent Laws  + QUIZ

6.1 notes

HW:  Complete 6.1 HW and work on unit 5 test corrections.


Lesson 6.2: Challenge Practice with Exponent Laws 

6.2 notes

HW: Complete 6.2 hw

Lesson 6.3: Exponential Growth and Decay Formula 

6.3 notes  Extra Help Video:  Growth and Decay 

HW: complete 6.3 hw

Lesson 6.4  Introduction to simplifying Radicals 

Ms. P is absent today.   You will need to complete the following in class and finish for homework:

  1. Check your HW using the 6.3 hw key.  Circle anything you don’t understand and we will go over it on Monday.
  2. Watch this intro to radicals video and take notes!
  3. Complete 6.4 assignment on Delta Math  (due by 11pm on sunday night for BOTH sections!)


Lesson 6.5: More Radicals 

6.5 notes

HW: Complete 6.5 hw  + Study

Lesson 6.6: QUIZ + Simplifying algebraic Radicals 

6.6 notes    HW: 6.6 hw

Lesson 6.7: Multiplying/Dividing Radicals 

6.7 notes  HW: Finish worksheet from class: 6.7 multiplying dividing worksheet

Lesson 6.8: Adding/Subtracting Radicals 

6.8 notes  HW: Complete 6.8 Delta Math assignment

Lesson 6.9: Review

6.9 Review PacketReview Packet key

Unit 10 Test:  Algebra D: January 21st,  Algebra E: January 20th 

Mastery Topics:

  • Exponent Laws
  • Exponential growth and Decay
  • Radical Operations


HW: Beat the Basics 6


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BLOG: What I’m thinking about Mastery

My professional development world is a little overwhelming right now. I’ve been doing a lot of with the Mastery Collaborative, an amazing DOE group that is working to learn about what mastery practices are going on in New York City and help schools develop mastery learning programs on their own.  I feel like I’ve been at the Math for America offices every other week doing one thing or another and last weekend I, along with another MfA Master Teacher and Mastery Collaborative member presented our Mastery systems to STEM Teachers NYC.   Holy PD!


All of this work has got me thinking about mastery based learning.  I’m thinking about the work I do in my classroom and what other teachers are doing as well.  The first thing is- am I assessing mastery on the right stuff?!   My mastery system is very content focused.  I’m tracking the major topics of an algebra 1 curriculum which leads to the Common Core Regents exam.   Almost every other teacher I’ve spoken with about mastery is assessing more general skills like “ability to represent functions graphically” in stead of my topic “graphing linear functions”.   I’m not sure if my system is a more in depth version of the the more general skills?  Or if I switched to general skills students would be assessed on those skills more times over the course of the year and possibly gain a better understanding of their growth.


So I guess the question is-  What are the most important things in our classes that we want to have hard data to show our students are mastering them?

I like my content focused topics. But I also want to include more general skills that incorporate the mathematical practices.   The question is, as always, how to do that and when can I find the time to make this happen!?

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Old Blog Posts…

Blog Entries about what’s going on in Polymath land… 

January 24th 2015

Holy Educon!  I am so excited and proud to say that Ms. Leimsider, Lissa, Taji and Lesley (three current sophomores and former algebra students) and myself presented at #Educon today on Mastery Based Learning!   It was so fun to share information about our school and my crazy mastery system with other teachers and school people who are interested in transforming how we collect, use and communicate student data in our classrooms!!

Mastery Tracking

Check out the slides of our presentation!

November 10th 2014 

Senior Projects starts on Wednesday!  I am so excited and nervous to start the actual class!   The senior have been working hard in the first quarter to complete their research and writing class and write the literature review about their topic.  Now we get to the fun part!  Students will be working individually to complete a large scale project related to their topic.   The project should take around 50-60 hours to complete and the senior will present their work at the end of the quarter in January.    The image below is  a flow chart that details the process:1- presentation_3

November 7th 2014



After learning about the different types of bridges, the history of the bridges of NYC, how bridges handle forces, the NYC Department of Transportation, designing bridges using the West Point Bridge Designer Software , creating blueprints, and building the bridges from just balsa wood and elmer’s glue, WE BROKE THEM!

Students tested the strength of their bridges by seeing how many algebra text books they would hold in a laundry basket that was attached to a testing block inside the bridge.   Congratulations to Luke and Phillipe, their bridge held over 25 lbs!!!

IMG_6248 IMG_6249  IMG_6252IMG_6250  IMG_6253 IMG_6255 IMG_6256 IMG_6257 IMG_6247

November 3rd 2014

The first quarter is almost over! It’s hard to believe that the second quarter will be starting next wednesday! It seems like I just met my new, freshmen advisory and that we just got started with the 2014-2015 school year!

So far this year, master tracking has been going very well!  Students are mastering algebraic topics and demonstrating what they know on assessments.   We keep track of each students mastery in the mastery tracker (pictured below).

Mastery Tracking

Each time a student demonstrates mastery on a topic they earn a Mastery Point  which are tracked in this excel document.  Kids can track their own mastery and compare it to their peers.  If a student does not earn full mastery they can go through a corrections process on their assessment and take an alternative retake assessment to show what they have learned.  This process gives students the opportunity to go back and truly master a topic that they didn’t quite get the first time around.   It also provides, me as a teacher, with a tremendous amount of data!   Instead of just seeing that student has a B or C in my class, or even what letter grade they earned on a test, I have detailed information about what specific topics, or skills students do understand and which topics they need to continue working on.

This process makes our end of the quarter review a very differentiated, individualized experience in my classroom.  Students are not sitting through an all class lecture about something that they already understand, in stead they are working on the topics that they have not fully mastered by watching review videos and working on practice sets with solution guides. And for those students who have earned full mastery on all topic and have identified that they feel confident with all topics, they are working on an enrichment task to push their thinking and help deepen their mathematical understanding of modeling.

October 28th, 2014

Sliceforms!!!Amazing final Stackforms!

Wow, the paper engineering class has created some amazing sliceforms and stackforms!    Sliceforms are 3d shapes that are created from cutting slices into paper and arranging the pieces perpendicularly.    Stackforms are created from cutting shapes from cardboard and stacking the pieces up to create a shape.  Students completed this Sliceform + Stackform Task and learned how to use Silhouette Software, 123D-Make and a Silhouette Cameo Paper cutter to create their projects.

KT and Dawshawn struggled to put their sliceform together!KT and Dawshawn completed their torus!  Kacey and Hannah created a stackform OK hand A zig zag torus! Lidsey and Conor get creative to make a stand for their stackform!  Tiani uses Funky Film to decorate her sliceform!  Anson and Tashira use Silhouete Software to create sliceforms!  Connor paints his Stackfrom Kirby (not jiggly puff)   The cutest little teddy ever!Cube within a Cube!Green Alien Hand!Slicforms!

October 15th, 2014

Last week we finished our second unit of Algebra, Solving Equations. The unit covered four major topics: Properties of Equations, Manipulating Equations, Modeling Equations, and Literal Equations. We also talked a bit about some of the pitfalls and common errors using cross multiplication. During this unit, each night students worked at their own pace through “The Gateway” – a progressively difficult set of equations to solve, where leveling up requires successful completion of the level before. Although a number of students made their way to problems on level 15 (the highest level) two students deserve special mention for completing level 15 successfully: Caden and Ariana.

In class we played The Fishy Game where in pairs students tried to solve their equations quickly and accurately enough to avoid being eaten by the shark who swam right on their tails:


Next up: Linear Functions Unit

Written by Ms. Barlow 

September 29th, 2014 

Let’s talk a little about PAPER ENGINEERING!  So far the class is going really well.  We are focusing on the ISTE  STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) standards and the kids are creating some really great work.


The kids worked on a three part Origami Task:  1. create three traditional origami items, 2. write out the instructions to make an item w/o photos, 3.  a Choice project: $dollar$ bill origami, the fold and cut problem or create a mathematical origami project.


IMG_5770 IMG_5771 IMG_5773

September 23, 2014

Hi everyone and welcome back to school! This year Ms. P has two student teachers: Ms. Shube and Ms. Barlow.

We just finished our first unit of Algebra, Beat the Basics. The unit covered five major topics: order of operations and signed numbers, fractions, rates, percents, and types of numbers. We also talked a bit about problem-solving strategies and solved some tricky problems. Can you determine how BIG Bigfoot is based on a cast of his foot?


We thought about what we can determine from a problem without actually solving it. Given a string of numbers multiplied together, can we decide whether the answer will be positive or negative without actually calculating the answer?

We ended with our first Unit Test, where students were able to demonstrate mastery of each of the topics. Special shout out to Monia Saleh for achieving 100% mastery on the first test! Remember, if you did not master everything, you can always achieve mastery through the Mastery Retakes process.

We’ve already gotten started on Unit 2: Solving Equations. For this unit, students will be working each night on the Solving Equations Gateway, where they will work up the ladder until they can solve all levels of equations!

-Written by Ms. Shube

September 10th, 2014

Bridge Building is up and running for the 2014-2015 school year!  The class started off with students thinking about what makes a strong bridge and how we can create bridges with gum drops and tooth picks.    Students created bridges and towers from this task.

Gum Drop Bridge Building Thomas and Brittney build a tower Eggy and Priya are very proud of their wonky tower Mamour's bridge looks like a house!

August 4th, 2014

One month down, one month to go, of summer that is.    I think most people who aren’t really involved in public education think of teachers getting three glorious months of summer vacation.  We don’t, really, we get two.  Which is certainly nothing to complain about!  But  with only one month left of summer vacation, I wish there was more!   I want to go on more adventures and do less work!  But nevertheless, I’m at the iSchool today, working and planning.

This summer I have 3 major projects to tackle, all of which have many little parts

1. Rewrite algebra map and adjust curriculum for the full implementation of the Common Core Algebra 1 standards and test prep.

2. Create a new class: Paper Engineering-  write the syllabys and curriculum, but mostly just make a lot of awesome paper projects!

3. Do some serious prep for Senior Projects stuff.

So far I’ve been mostly focusing on the second one- the most fun one! I’ve created a ton of awesome projects!  I’m in the middle of making a cool little monkey pop up book and I have more sliceforms than I have room for them.     Zach came into school a few weeks ago and hung some shelves for me in my classroom to display all the cool paper projects and the bridge models that the kids build last year:

photo (6)

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How to Create your own Mastery Based Learning System

Here are some steps that I think you can follow to create and implement a unit that follows a similar system in your own classroom (ANY SUBJECT!)   Please, feel free to reach out to me and ask questions or get help with your own system!!!


Steps Relevant Resources / Links
1.       Pick a unit you will be teaching in 4-6 weeks- you don’t want to rush this!  
2.      Chunk your unit up into 3-5 ‘topics’ that you can track mastery on.


3.      Write the learning targets for each topic. One topic can have anywhere from 1-8 learning targets. The LTs should be small, and in student friendly language!


Common Core Algebra 1 Learning Targets
4.      Create an assessment that gives the student equal opportunity to display mastery on all of the learning targets for each topic.


2015 Tests
5.      Create a rubric or scale that clearly assigns a Mastery Level for their work.


iSchool Mastery Scale

iSchool Mastery Math Percentages Scale

6.      Create a mastery ticket if giving a test or quiz, or use the rubric if your working with a paper or project.


Mastery Ticket

Table to determine Mastery Level


7.      Determine how you will communicate the student’s mastery using your current grading system.


8.     Determine if and how you will track the data quantitatively over time (this is more advanced and optional, you may not want to do this the first few times)


Excel Data Monster 
9.      Backwards plan your unit to make sure you cover all of the learning targets (you shouldn’t have to change much about your plans!)


10.  Create a reassessment for each topic.  If a student does not earn mastery you’ll need to have an alternative way for them to show you what they know after reviewing. You may also want to create some sort or revision or reflection that they must complete before being able to do the reassessment.  If possible, make a video lesson for each topic for students to watch as a review assignment if they don’t earn mastery (again more advanced, but try to learn more about an amazing tool to create video lessons)


iSchool Math Corrections Template 

Algebra 1 Video Library 

11.   Teach your unit, give your assessment, share mastery levels and reflect.  Think about if you can keep up with this work, was it helpful for you and your students?  Did they enjoy it?  Are there any changes you can make to improve your system? Talk to other teachers who are also engaging in this work!




Please feel free to contact me to help you do this in your classroom! you can do it!!!!  🙂


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