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Math Specialist

What We are Learning

Math enrichment groups are going on in grades 3, 4, and 5!

Grade 3
Students are studying number systems. First, they are exploring our own base ten numeration system. They will focus on the role that place value plays in our base ten number system Then they will compare and contrast different numeration systems. Specifically, they will learn about ancient Egyptian number system and the Chinese number system.  

In addition to the place value and numeration unit, students will participate as a team in the Continental Math League problem solving competitions. This competition is a fun, national competition for third graders who enjoy problem solving. These competitions are in January, February and March.

Grade 4
Students are studying algebra. Students will study variables, expressions and equations, and how to use logical reasoning and problem solving strategies. Students will solve one- and two-step equations and solve sets of equations that involve two unknowns using one or more of the following strategies:  guess and test, an organized list, and substitution. In this challenging and fun unit, students will get a chance to solve variable puzzles and even learn and create a magic trick.

Grade 5 
Students began their enrichment with learning about how variables change in relation to one another. They analyzed graphs to determine what was happening in given situations (i.e. distance ran increased as time increased). Now, students are focusing on problem solving. Students are challenged to use a variety of strategies to tackle these rigorous tasks! 

If you have any questions, please call 860-236-3315 x3307

More information on the CCSS

The role of Math Specialist is to support and enrich students in the area of mathematics based on individual student needs.


Smith School highly values math instruction and learning; after all, math is the “M” in STEM! Alison Foley is the full-time Math Specialist. Her role includes coaching teachers in best practices of math instruction, such as differentiation, small group instruction, and utilizing mathematical discourse during lessons. Mrs. Foley collaborates with teachers frequently to help plan highly engaging and effective lessons for all students. She often models or co-teaches math lessons, as working with students is her favorite part of the job! Mrs. Foley has four math tutors working with her to provide intervention services for students who need support to meet grade level math expectations.  

building thinking classrooms

In math this year we have begun to implement an exciting new approach with students. This approach stems from Peter Lijedahl’s latest research based on his belief that, “Thinking is a necessary precursor to learning, and if students are not thinking, they are not learning.” Mrs. Foley and the classroom teachers in grades 1-5 are studying the book Building Thinking Classrooms in Mathematics (2020). In August, we participated as “students” in a thinking classroom and we are now implementing the first four practices with our own students. These practices include using high quality tasks, randomly grouping students, changing the physical classroom environment, and having students work on non-permanent vertical surfaces. We are excited to apply these research-based practices and help our students become better mathematicians!

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