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Sample MTEL65 Middle School Math Open Response

May 14th, 2021 | Comments Off on Sample MTEL65 Middle School Math Open Response | Certification Prep, Math Certification, Teacher's Lounge Blog, Teaching Licenses

MA DESE is updating many MTEL exams over the coming year.  As of the end of May, the MTEL 47 Middle School Math exam will be replaced by the MTEL 65 Middle School Math exam.  This is a welcome change for many as many of the more difficult concepts, including calculus and discrete math, were removed for this new exam.  There will still be two open response questions on this MTEL exam and one is quite different than the previous exam. Here is a quick sample problem with a response.  For more information on preparing for this exam, please check out our full-length, MTEL prep comprehensive course with unlimited expert instructor support. (www.prepforward.com/mtel-massachusetts)

The following is a sample problem for Objective 14 on the new MTEL 65 exam. 

Standard: The Massachusetts Mathematics Curriculum Framework for grade 7 provides the following content standard:
Expressions and Equations (7.EE)
1. Apply properties of operations to add, subtract, factor, and expand linear expressions with rational coefficients.


1. Solve for x:  3x – 7 = 2/3
2. Factor  x2 + 4x + 4
3. Simplify  6(-x + 0.5) 

Analyze standard 7.EE.1.  Identify related prerequisite concepts and skills.  Critique whether the problems listed above are aligned with the content standard. Provide your own problem with different representations to teach the standard. Explain your reasoning.


Here is a sample response for the above problem. 

The 7th grade standard under Expressions and Equations involves an application of the properties of operations to add, subtract, factor, and expand linear expressions with rational coefficients. Therefore, a student must understand associative, commutative, and distributive properties as a prerequisite. Furthermore, as the coefficients are rational, a student must be comfortable with all the operations with rational numbers, including negatives, fractions, and decimals. Finally, students must understand how to identify if two expressions are equivalent. 

Given Problems:

1. Solve for x:  3x – 7 = 2/3
2. Factor  x2 + 4x + 4
3. Simplify  6(-x + 0.5) 

There were three sample problems given for teaching this standard. Unfortunately, the first sample problem does not fit under this standard as the problem asks the student to solve an equation, which is a concept that is taught later as this standard only deals with expressions. The second sample problem also does not fit under this standard as it is not a linear expression, but a quadratic expression. The third sample problem is an appropriate question to ask students under this standard. 

In addition to problems similar to the third sample problem, one part of this standard is teaching students to use the distributive property to find equivalent expressions.  An area model will help students visualize this.  A sample is included below.

In this problem, a student would be asked to simplify 3(2x + 5).  Using the area model, they would be asked to find the area of each rectangle and then add them together to find the total area of both rectangles. 



Using Social Media in the Classroom

April 15th, 2021 | Comments Off on Using Social Media in the Classroom | Inclusive Teaching, Remote Learning, Teacher's Lounge Blog, Teaching Licenses

If you teach young people ages ten and up (and often younger), it is a given that they are attached to their phones at every opportunity. Why not take advantage of social media in and out of the classroom to engage your students in a different and exciting way?

Many educators view social media as a nightmare to be tolerated, but it can be useful – and promote learning – in the proper context. Try one or more of these recommendations to tickle the interest of your students in a new way. It is an excellent opportunity for students to interact who may not feel comfortable speaking up in class.

Create a Class Blog
For a twist on traditional writing assignments, have students share their writing online in a class blog. Writing online where everyone in the class sees it can foster classroom community and teaches online communication basics in a blog format. Require classmates to comment on posts.

Write Twitter Summaries
With a limit of 280 characters in 2021, it can be challenging to get your point across via Twitter. Sharpen your students’ writing skills by having them “tweet” a summary of a poem or chapter, answer a question, or write a really short story within the character constraints.

Classroom Facebook Page
Although Facebook is no longer the “in” social media platform for most youngsters, use it to create a class forum by posting homework assignments, school activities, and contact information. Include parents, too.

Social Media Profile
Make history come alive by having students create social media profiles for historical figures, whether they are handwritten or posted to Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter. Classmates can post comments and ask the person questions, requiring the poster to have extensive knowledge of the historical figure.


As with all online communication, it is essential to ensure that everyone follows the school’s rules for acceptable use policies. It may also be prudent to download monitoring software to notify you of at-risk behavior and protect students from cyberbullying.

Since students are online so much anyway, why not incorporate it in the classroom? It is easier than you think, and your class may surprise you with their creativity.