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Classroom Information

Dear Families,

This year, I moved to 7th grade Mathematics after teaching 5th grade last year.   I joined the West Branch family last year after 4 years as a K-2 math coach with Youngstown City Schools.  Before Youngstown, I spent the majority of my career teaching math at the middle and high school levels in various states.  


No matter the school or grade level, I have always focused on learning not teaching.  


  • I believe my role is to help students set goals and use feedback in a precise manner to enhance learning and self-assessment.  Talents can be developed and changed through hard work, effort, grit, and perseverance.

  • I believe every risk-taking behavior – whether it ends in failure or success – is an opportunity to learn and grow.   

  • I believe in an environment that encourages thinking, an understanding that mistakes are natural, and a willingness to say, “I do not understand,”.   

  • I believe that knowledge is inseparable from practice; it is not possible to know without doing.  Math is NOT a spectator sport.  Doing math allows the learner to reflect on his or her skill and strategy choice while making sense of content ideas.  

Learning is constant in my classroom.  I do not believe in extra credit; failure is a natural part of the learning process. If a student wants to improve their grade, they can do so by relearning the content on which they struggled - the focus is on improvement .  Every student has the opportunity to retake quizzes after they have received extra practice. I do not assign homework often. Homework is worth 1 point (½ credit will be given). After a homework assignment, students will usually take a short quiz to monitor learning.   Missing homework can not be made up and will result in a pink slip; 3 pink slips will result in a before/after school detention. Missing homework slips will reset at the beginning of each 9 weeks.


This year, the 7th and 8th grade math classes are piloting a new math program - CPM (College Prep Mathematics).  On a daily basis, students will investigate, analyze critically, question, develop problem-solving strategies, gather evidence, and communicate rigorous arguments to justify their thinking. Under teacher guidance, students make sense of mathematics through frequent work in study teams. By working in teams, students can access higher-level, more sophisticated problems; they learn ideas more deeply when they discuss ideas with classmates. Furthermore, many tasks are more interesting when done within a team, leading to perseverance and therefore more success.


Students are expected to be an active participant in their learning as they cooperate with the members of their team. Being a part of a team means speaking up and interacting with other people. Everyone in the study team should be involved in sharing information, expertise, and ideas.  I will support each student as he/she works, but I will not take away a student’s opportunity to think and investigate for themselves.  


If a student is unable to focus his/her learning and is distracting the learning of others in the team, the student will be consulted and given an opportunity to correct the disruptive behavior.  If a student continues to disrupt the learning of others, he or she will be removed from the group and issued a blue behavior slip; 3 behavior slips will result in a before/after school detention.  Behavior slips will reset at the beginning of each 9 weeks.


I will post homework assignments and class notes in Google Classroom.  There is also access to educational sites and games in the Google Classroom.  All students have access to the online CPM book - ebooks.cpm.org (sign in with google).  Please help me help your child; if you see him/her struggling, let me know. Do not hesitate to contact me via email or phone if you have a question or concern.  


I am excited about working with you and your child this year.

Mrs. Erbs

deborah.erbs@wbwarriors.org   (main email)