Exemplars Blog

07.13.2019

Our “problem-solving procedure” hits the news in Edutopia — and boosts math and reading scores!

Read more
07.11.2019

We are pleased to announce that ReContext Data Solutions, LLC, an independent, outside research organization, has determined that Exemplars performance material in mathematics is “evidence-based” and meets ESSA’s Tier 3 standards.

Read more
07.05.2019

We asked a powerhouse teaching team to share their Exemplars experience. In an inspirational conversation, a panel of educators at Brooklyn's PS 12 offered ten amazing ways that using Exemplars has transformed their school.

Read more
06.15.2019

In order to support a talk rich classroom, I need to feed the learning. The Exemplars problems are rich and engaging tasks that my students eagerly unpack. With each new unit of study, I follow an instructional routine that allows students to acquire knowledge and skills in a predictable manner.

Read more
06.01.2019

High stakes, end-of-year performance tasks on statewide tests have become the norm in recent years.

How do we prepare our students for these challenging tasks while—at the same time— ensure that we are utilizing the precious minutes in every class period and are not “teaching to the tests?” The answer lies in what we hope to accomplish in our math classrooms.

Read more
06.01.2019

Twenty-five years ago, Dr. Ross Brewer, founder of Exemplars, sat in a warm farmhouse in upstate New York with Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe and asked a very important question, “How do we determine if students can utilize the mathematics they are learning in the classroom to address and solve the complex problems they eventually will be asked to address in the “real world?”

Read more
05.15.2019

“Exemplars changed the way my students look at problems and how they unpack them.” Challenging students with complex multi-step tasks, Problem Solving for the 21st Century: Built for the Common Core gives them a robust framework for developing solutions — so they’re well equipped to tackle such problems on standardized tests.

Read more
05.01.2019

At The Phoenix School, for many years (first in paper form, now digital) Exemplars has been a vital component of our math program. No more memorization and regurgitation that flies in – and out! — of kids’ brains.

Read more
05.01.2019

Teachers find the wealth of information included in the Exemplars program to be extremely helpful. We have incorporated Exemplars Summative problems as end-of-topic assessments, and in grades 3–5 we have seen growth of our SBAC scores. We attribute these gains to our work with the Exemplars Problem-Solving Program.

Read more
04.24.2019

This blog represents part one of a four-part series that explores mathematical connections and offers guidelines, strategies and suggestions for helping teachers elicit this type of thinking from their students. We find many students enjoy making connections once they learn how to reflect and question effectively.

Read more
10.05.2018

The math laboratory is in its second year at PS 54. Last year, our data saw increased math scores for the classes that participated in the problem-solving lab. This year, the trend continued and all general education students passed the state math exam.

Read more
10.04.2018

The Exemplars Problem Solving Procedure has supported students in understanding a problem, identifying a strategy to use, solve the problem, communicate findings in words, and trying to solve a problem in another way.

Read more
09.24.2018

In past years, when attempting to have children write in a mathematics journal, I would read: "This was easy. I like math." My students were not able to successfully reflect or share what they understood about problem solving or mathematics through their writing. Frustrated, I began to read about using math journals in the classroom.

Read more
07.24.2018

According to one student at Tokyo International School (TIS), “Our teachers want us to really understand the mathematics we learn.”

Read more
07.24.2018

Promoting discourse from rich tasks that move mathematical thinking forward challenges elementary teacher candidates, as their past experiences in working with both mathematics and children is often limited.

Read more
07.24.2018

Effective use of formative assessment in the classroom is one the most powerful ways to improve student achievement. Research shows that the improvement in performance is dramatic.

Read more
07.24.2018

From the beginning of the school year, I used Exemplars problem-solving tasks regularly to create routines that have helped my fifth grade students grow and succeed.

Read more
07.24.2018

This blog represents Part 5 of a five-part series that features a problem-solving task linked to a Math TEKS Unit of Study and a student’s solution in grades K-5. Evidence of all seven Mathematical Process Standards will be exhibited by the end of the series.

Read more
07.24.2018

This blog represents Part 4 of a five-part series that features a problem-solving task linked to a Math TEKS Unit of Study and a student’s solution in grades K-5. Evidence of all seven Mathematical Process Standards will be exhibited by the end of the series.

Read more
07.24.2018

This blog represents Part 3 of a five-part series that features a problem-solving task linked to a  Math TEKS Unit of Study and a student’s solution in grades K-5. Evidence of all seven Mathematical Process Standards will be exhibited by the end of the series.

Read more
07.24.2018

This blog represents Part 2 of a five-part series that features a problem-solving task linked to a Unit of Study for the Math TEKS and a student’s solution in grades K–5. Evidence of all seven Mathematical Process Standards will be exhibited by the end of the series.

Read more
07.24.2018

This blog represents Part 1 of a five-part series that features a problem-solving task linked to a Unit of Study for the Math TEKS and a student’s solution in grades K–5. Evidence of all seven Mathematical Process Standards will be exhibited by the end of the series.

Read more
07.24.2018

One of the most beneficial features of Exemplars is the ability to differentiate easily for struggling learners. Some need just a little extra support through small group instruction. The more accessible version of Exemplars tasks is perfect for them!

Read more
07.24.2018

In this post, we’ll look at a fifth grade student’s solution for the task “Seashells for Lydia.” This task is one of a number of Exemplars tasks aligned to the Number and Operations in Base Ten standard 5.NBT.2. It would be given toward the end of the learning time dedicated to this standard.

Read more
07.24.2018

In this post, we’ll look at a third-grade student’s solution for the task “Bracelets to Sell.” This task is one of a number of Exemplars tasks aligned to the Operations and Algebraic Thinking Standard 3.OA.3. It would be given toward the end of the learning time dedicated to this standard.

Read more
07.24.2018

In this post, we’ll look at a first-grade student’s solution for the task, “Pictures on the Wall.” This anchor paper demonstrates the criteria for Problem Solving, Reasoning and Proof, Communication, Connections and Representation from the Exemplars assessment rubric.

Read more
07.24.2018

This blog represents Part 6 of a six-part series that features a problem-solving task linked to a CCSS for Mathematical Content and a student’s solution in grades K–5. Evidence of all eight CCSS for Mathematical Practice will be exhibited by the end of the series.

Read more
07.24.2018

This blog represents Part 5 of a six-part series that features a problem-solving task linked to a CCSS for Mathematical Content and a student’s solution in grades K–5. Evidence of all eight CCSS for Mathematical Practice will be exhibited by the end of the series.

Read more
07.24.2018

This blog represents Part 4 of a six-part series that features a problem-solving task linked to a CCSS for Mathematical Content and a student’s solution in grades K–5. Evidence of all eight CCSS for Mathematical Practice will be exhibited by the end of the series.

Read more
07.24.2018

This blog represents Part 3 of a six-part series that features a problem-solving task linked to a CCSS for Mathematical Content and a student’s solution in grades K–5. Evidence of all eight CCSS for Mathematical Practice will be exhibited by the end of the series.

Read more
07.24.2018

This blog represents Part 2 of a six-part series that features a problem-solving task linked to a CCSS for Mathematical Content and a student’s solution in grades K–5. Evidence of all eight CCSS for Mathematical Practice will be exhibited by the end of the series.

Read more
07.24.2018

This blog represents Part 1 of a six-part series that features a problem-solving task linked to a CCSS for Mathematical Content and a student’s solution in grades K–5. Evidence of all eight CCSS for Mathematical Practice will be exhibited by the end of the series.

Read more
07.24.2018

The tasks created by Exemplars are excellent examples of rich problem-solving that naturally elicit the Practice Standards. Below we will look at the Grade 2 task “Barnyard Buddies” and discuss how it meets each of the eight Mathematical Practice Standards as well as content standard 2.OA.A.1.

Read more
07.24.2018

Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins have written a “must read” paper in which they offer key ideas to guide the work of transforming the Common Core Standards to a functioning curriculum in a school or district.

Read more
07.24.2018

Our math scores were the lowest in the county, and our disparity gap was over 30 points. One of the first changes we made was to implement Exemplars. That first year we implemented the program, our math scores increased by over 30 points.

Read more
07.24.2018

With the new standards and learning expectations outlined in the Common Core, anchor papers can be a useful tool for helping your teachers and students see and understand what meeting the new standards will “look” like in their classrooms.

Read more
07.23.2018

The Common Core assessment shifts posed challenges for many students. The use of rubrics allow teachers to more easily identify these areas and address them.

Read more
07.23.2018

To fully implement the Common Core, teachers must have an understanding of what problem solving is, why it is important and how to go about implementing it. For many, the successful teaching of problem solving will require real pedagogical shifts. What do teachers need to know?

Read more
07.23.2018

Beyond the “bare facts” approach, the use of a well-designed mathematical performance task like those developed by “Exemplars” may reveal how well a student has grasped and applied the math concept in an intervention or lesson(s). The performance task rubric is critical in providing the intervention team with information as to how to help the student continue to increase problem-solving thought patterns.

Read more
07.23.2018

In mathematics classrooms, teachers must create a “culture of opportunity” where students have the time for and feel free to explore the wonder and beauty of mathematics.

Read more
07.23.2018

If your school or district is preparing for the integration of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) into its mathematics curriculum, Exemplars materials are a great bridge.

Read more
07.01.2018

In this blog, Dr. Julia Watson provides insight on Problem-Based Learning (PBL) and offers suggestions on how teachers might go about incorporating PBL into their classrooms. It is published as a two-part series. The first segment features background information on PBL and its benefits on student learning, while the second will focus on steps for implementation.

Read more
06.30.2018

In her last post, Dr. Julia Watson provided an overview of Problem-Based Learning (PBL). In this segment, she offers suggestions on how teachers might go about incorporating this approach into their classrooms. 

Read more
05.05.2018

Exemplars standards-based performance tasks provide teachers with not only summative data about their Title I students' progress, but also formative information. As a result, teachers can see what their students know, what they don't know and most importantly where student misconceptions lie so that corrective lessons can be planned.

Read more
05.02.2018

The Exemplars tasks have proven to be engaging for our Title I students. Use of the student-scoring rubric helps students understand exactly what is expected of them as they solve problems. This knowledge then carries over to other mathematics tasks.

Read more
05.02.2018

Like the NCTM standards, Exemplars material places a greater emphasis on the "process standards." By focusing on mathematical problem solving and communication, Title I teachers are able to look more closely at what students' work shows about their mathematical understanding.

Read more
05.01.2018

We saw excellent improvement in students’ understanding of how to break down a problem and model their thinking. I can remember many blank papers in years past when we administered problem-solving tasks. This year we had not one single blank paper! All students were able to find an entry point to begin the task.

Read more
05.02.2016

Since its opening, Brewer Elementary has struggled with low test scores and student underachievement. But with the help of Exemplars, Brewer Elementary has moved from being a school on the Needs Improvement List to a school named to the Distinguished Schools List. Brewer Elementary is a school-wide Title I site.

Read more
10.03.2018

Long gone are the days of the stand and deliver as an effective way to teach. Science instruction is now more about sense-making than memorization.

Read more
10.03.2018

Time. It seems we never have enough time. Not enough time to teach everything we need to teach. And science is usually the subject most affected by this lack of time.

Read more
10.03.2018

Why is this important? Why do our students need to be scientifically literate citizens? The answer is obvious. If our children understand the why and the how of science, technology, and engineering, they are better able to make informed decisions as part of a democratic society. In order for students to do this, they must regularly engage with, investigate, and explain scientific phenomena.

Read more
09.24.2018

Science is rich with opportunities for communication. In fact, a large part of science involves students talking, writing and reading. This communication may include scientists' meetings to discuss ideas and investigations, science journals to record observations and data, or the use of trade books to help illustrate concepts.

Read more
09.27.2017

Exemplars Science is not a stand-alone program. Rather it is a supplemental program to help schools and districts bring standards-aligned, inquiry and performance-based instruction and assessment into their classrooms. The tasks can be used in a multitude of ways, for both instructional and assessment purposes.

Read more
06.15.2019

In order to support a talk rich classroom, I need to feed the learning. The Exemplars problems are rich and engaging tasks that my students eagerly unpack. With each new unit of study, I follow an instructional routine that allows students to acquire knowledge and skills in a predictable manner.

Read more
05.15.2019

“Exemplars changed the way my students look at problems and how they unpack them.” Challenging students with complex multi-step tasks, Problem Solving for the 21st Century: Built for the Common Core gives them a robust framework for developing solutions — so they’re well equipped to tackle such problems on standardized tests.

Read more
05.01.2019

At The Phoenix School, for many years (first in paper form, now digital) Exemplars has been a vital component of our math program. No more memorization and regurgitation that flies in – and out! — of kids’ brains.

Read more
05.01.2019

Teachers find the wealth of information included in the Exemplars program to be extremely helpful. We have incorporated Exemplars Summative problems as end-of-topic assessments, and in grades 3–5 we have seen growth of our SBAC scores. We attribute these gains to our work with the Exemplars Problem-Solving Program.

Read more
10.05.2018

The math laboratory is in its second year at PS 54. Last year, our data saw increased math scores for the classes that participated in the problem-solving lab. This year, the trend continued and all general education students passed the state math exam.

Read more
10.04.2018

The Exemplars Problem Solving Procedure has supported students in understanding a problem, identifying a strategy to use, solve the problem, communicate findings in words, and trying to solve a problem in another way.

Read more
09.24.2018

Science is rich with opportunities for communication. In fact, a large part of science involves students talking, writing and reading. This communication may include scientists' meetings to discuss ideas and investigations, science journals to record observations and data, or the use of trade books to help illustrate concepts.

Read more
09.24.2018

In past years, when attempting to have children write in a mathematics journal, I would read: "This was easy. I like math." My students were not able to successfully reflect or share what they understood about problem solving or mathematics through their writing. Frustrated, I began to read about using math journals in the classroom.

Read more
07.24.2018

According to one student at Tokyo International School (TIS), “Our teachers want us to really understand the mathematics we learn.”

Read more
07.24.2018

Promoting discourse from rich tasks that move mathematical thinking forward challenges elementary teacher candidates, as their past experiences in working with both mathematics and children is often limited.

Read more
07.24.2018

From the beginning of the school year, I used Exemplars problem-solving tasks regularly to create routines that have helped my fifth grade students grow and succeed.

Read more
07.24.2018

One of the most beneficial features of Exemplars is the ability to differentiate easily for struggling learners. Some need just a little extra support through small group instruction. The more accessible version of Exemplars tasks is perfect for them!

Read more
07.24.2018

The tasks created by Exemplars are excellent examples of rich problem-solving that naturally elicit the Practice Standards. Below we will look at the Grade 2 task “Barnyard Buddies” and discuss how it meets each of the eight Mathematical Practice Standards as well as content standard 2.OA.A.1.

Read more
07.24.2018

Our math scores were the lowest in the county, and our disparity gap was over 30 points. One of the first changes we made was to implement Exemplars. That first year we implemented the program, our math scores increased by over 30 points.

Read more
07.24.2018

With the new standards and learning expectations outlined in the Common Core, anchor papers can be a useful tool for helping your teachers and students see and understand what meeting the new standards will “look” like in their classrooms.

Read more
07.23.2018

Beyond the “bare facts” approach, the use of a well-designed mathematical performance task like those developed by “Exemplars” may reveal how well a student has grasped and applied the math concept in an intervention or lesson(s). The performance task rubric is critical in providing the intervention team with information as to how to help the student continue to increase problem-solving thought patterns.

Read more
07.23.2018

When teachers consider lesson planning, they typically think of the assessments last. This is natural, because the end of a unit of study typically culminates with the “big test,” or “final exam.” This misconception, however, causes inefficient and ineffective instruction.

Read more
07.01.2018

In this blog, Dr. Julia Watson provides insight on Problem-Based Learning (PBL) and offers suggestions on how teachers might go about incorporating PBL into their classrooms. It is published as a two-part series. The first segment features background information on PBL and its benefits on student learning, while the second will focus on steps for implementation.

Read more
06.30.2018

In her last post, Dr. Julia Watson provided an overview of Problem-Based Learning (PBL). In this segment, she offers suggestions on how teachers might go about incorporating this approach into their classrooms. 

Read more
05.05.2018

Exemplars standards-based performance tasks provide teachers with not only summative data about their Title I students' progress, but also formative information. As a result, teachers can see what their students know, what they don't know and most importantly where student misconceptions lie so that corrective lessons can be planned.

Read more
05.02.2018

The Exemplars tasks have proven to be engaging for our Title I students. Use of the student-scoring rubric helps students understand exactly what is expected of them as they solve problems. This knowledge then carries over to other mathematics tasks.

Read more
05.02.2018

Like the NCTM standards, Exemplars material places a greater emphasis on the "process standards." By focusing on mathematical problem solving and communication, Title I teachers are able to look more closely at what students' work shows about their mathematical understanding.

Read more
05.01.2018

We saw excellent improvement in students’ understanding of how to break down a problem and model their thinking. I can remember many blank papers in years past when we administered problem-solving tasks. This year we had not one single blank paper! All students were able to find an entry point to begin the task.

Read more
05.02.2016

Since its opening, Brewer Elementary has struggled with low test scores and student underachievement. But with the help of Exemplars, Brewer Elementary has moved from being a school on the Needs Improvement List to a school named to the Distinguished Schools List. Brewer Elementary is a school-wide Title I site.

Read more
06.01.2019

High stakes, end-of-year performance tasks on statewide tests have become the norm in recent years.

How do we prepare our students for these challenging tasks while—at the same time— ensure that we are utilizing the precious minutes in every class period and are not “teaching to the tests?” The answer lies in what we hope to accomplish in our math classrooms.

Read more
06.01.2019

Twenty-five years ago, Dr. Ross Brewer, founder of Exemplars, sat in a warm farmhouse in upstate New York with Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe and asked a very important question, “How do we determine if students can utilize the mathematics they are learning in the classroom to address and solve the complex problems they eventually will be asked to address in the “real world?”

Read more
04.24.2019

This blog represents part one of a four-part series that explores mathematical connections and offers guidelines, strategies and suggestions for helping teachers elicit this type of thinking from their students. We find many students enjoy making connections once they learn how to reflect and question effectively.

Read more
10.03.2018

Long gone are the days of the stand and deliver as an effective way to teach. Science instruction is now more about sense-making than memorization.

Read more
10.03.2018

Time. It seems we never have enough time. Not enough time to teach everything we need to teach. And science is usually the subject most affected by this lack of time.

Read more
09.24.2018

Science is rich with opportunities for communication. In fact, a large part of science involves students talking, writing and reading. This communication may include scientists' meetings to discuss ideas and investigations, science journals to record observations and data, or the use of trade books to help illustrate concepts.

Read more
07.24.2018

Effective use of formative assessment in the classroom is one the most powerful ways to improve student achievement. Research shows that the improvement in performance is dramatic.

Read more
07.24.2018

As you begin preparing your staff to focus on the new math TEKS this year, rubrics should play a key role in terms of helping your teachers and students achieve success with the new standards.

Read more
07.24.2018

Problem solving is a life-long skill all mathematicians use. The true power of a mathematician is the ability to see math in all situations and solve problems using a toolbox of proven strategies.

Read more
07.24.2018

Prior to 2006, many states—including Texas—had a math curriculum that was perceived to be “an inch deep and a mile wide.” Teachers were required to teach a large number of math skills that spiraled from grade to grade and seemed both disconnected and fragmented.

Read more
07.24.2018

Once upon a time, Americans might have been content to live in a community much like Garrison Keillor’s Lake Wobegon, “where all the children are above average.” That’s because historically American kids, and our schools, were above average; however, for decades, America’s education system has been losing ground internationally.

Read more
07.24.2018

With the new standards and learning expectations outlined in the Common Core, anchor papers can be a useful tool for helping your teachers and students see and understand what meeting the new standards will “look” like in their classrooms.

Read more
07.23.2018

The Common Core assessment shifts posed challenges for many students. The use of rubrics allow teachers to more easily identify these areas and address them.

Read more
07.23.2018

To fully implement the Common Core, teachers must have an understanding of what problem solving is, why it is important and how to go about implementing it. For many, the successful teaching of problem solving will require real pedagogical shifts. What do teachers need to know?

Read more
07.23.2018

Beyond the “bare facts” approach, the use of a well-designed mathematical performance task like those developed by “Exemplars” may reveal how well a student has grasped and applied the math concept in an intervention or lesson(s). The performance task rubric is critical in providing the intervention team with information as to how to help the student continue to increase problem-solving thought patterns.

Read more
07.23.2018

If your school or district is preparing for the integration of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) into its mathematics curriculum, Exemplars materials are a great bridge.

Read more
09.27.2017

Exemplars Science is not a stand-alone program. Rather it is a supplemental program to help schools and districts bring standards-aligned, inquiry and performance-based instruction and assessment into their classrooms. The tasks can be used in a multitude of ways, for both instructional and assessment purposes.

Read more
07.24.2017

Once upon a time, Americans might have been content to live in a community much like Garrison Keillor’s Lake Wobegon, “where all the children are above average.” That’s because historically American kids, and our schools, were above average; however, for decades, America’s education system has been losing ground internationally.

Read more
07.13.2019

Our “problem-solving procedure” hits the news in Edutopia — and boosts math and reading scores!

Read more
07.11.2019

We are pleased to announce that ReContext Data Solutions, LLC, an independent, outside research organization, has determined that Exemplars performance material in mathematics is “evidence-based” and meets ESSA’s Tier 3 standards.

Read more
03.11.2019

ReContext Data Solutions, LLC, an independent, outside research organization, has determined that Exemplars materials and pedagogy is "evidence-based" and meets ESSA's Tier 4 standards.

Read more
07.24.2018

Effective use of formative assessment in the classroom is one the most powerful ways to improve student achievement. Research shows that the improvement in performance is dramatic.

Read more
07.23.2018

To fully implement the Common Core, teachers must have an understanding of what problem solving is, why it is important and how to go about implementing it. For many, the successful teaching of problem solving will require real pedagogical shifts. What do teachers need to know?

Read more
07.24.2017

Once upon a time, Americans might have been content to live in a community much like Garrison Keillor’s Lake Wobegon, “where all the children are above average.” That’s because historically American kids, and our schools, were above average; however, for decades, America’s education system has been losing ground internationally.

Read more