GTCC Golden Apple News


“Golden” Apple  

            By Diana Knudson                                                 February, 2015


February is a time to look at the Sample and Practice tests on  In this website, you do have samples of the kinds of questions your student will have on the state test in March, and you are so LUCKY!!!!


Often we do not know the kinds of questions our students will face on tests that are out of our control.  But we have great practice tests and sample questions that we can use to help our students learn how to take a test that is now focused at higher thinking levels.  Do your students in grades 3-11 understand the terms “claims” and “evidence?”  The reading and writing portion of the test is mostly devoted to students reading articles, deciding on a claim, citing evidence from the articles to back up claims, and then explaining how that evidence backs up that claim.  This process is a high level thinking focus.


This site includes samples of math questions students will have at each grade level.  If you look at these, you will see that a focus on computation is gone.  Students are now expected to use computation skills to solve many kinds of mathematical thinking problems.


Our students can make their way through this process.  They need to have modeling, guided practice, small-group instruction, and whole group sharing.  If we are not using these best practices to give our students confidence with this this focus on complex reading, writing, and math, they will struggle with the Smarter Balanced test in March.  If our students learn this process in the classroom, their stress and anxiety will be greatly minimized.  I would think your stress and anxiety would be greatly minimized, too.  Let me know if you need help.

Time for a contest.  Send your name to brianna@  We will enter it into a drawing for a $100 gift card.  Last day to enter your name is Feb. 27.



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Upcoming Committee Meetings & Events... 


February 2015
Visual Arts Committee
3D International Great Falls
Business Committee &
Vocational Ed Committee
3D International Great Falls
Principal Forward Meeting 3D International Great Falls

Web Resources, Grants and Other News...


Grant Opportunity for Music, Drama, or Library

Please notify Music Instructors, Drama coaches, and/or Librarians within your district.

The Montana Masonic Foundation (MMF) would like to offer an opportunity to enhance educational opportunities for Music, Drama, or Library students.  Grants of upwards of $2500 will be awarded to approximately six Montana school programs to improve student achievement in these targeted areas. Please complete the MMF Grant application available at this link:


Please direct inquiries to:
Thom Chisholm, Superintendent Plains Public Schools
Mobile Phone -- 406-396-9208
Email --

Sharp Minds Sweepstakes
Deadline: February 28, 2015
Stanley Bostitch

$2,500 prize package filled with funding and classroom tools for K-12 teachers, schools, and students.
Read More

Summer Seminars for Teachers
Deadline: February 13, 2015
Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History 
Fellowship to attend history seminars during the summer 2015 for K-12 teachers of history, social studies, and English.
Read More

2015 Master Teacher Fellowship
Deadline: Varies
Math for America (MFA)
Scholarship, $100K stipend, and job placement for aspiring K-12 math teachers.
Read More

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