If you teach math in one of the 45 states (or the District of Columbia) that have adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), then you, like many educators, are working to align your curriculum with the new academic expectations. The CCSS continues to be a news item as implementation becomes more widespread. Developing a Common Core math curriculum means interpreting the standards in a way that makes sense to students and ensures they are given the tools they need to do well on the accompanying assessments, As you consider how to approach your Common Core math lessons, and think about professional development, keep these implementation techniques and tools in mind as well:
Use CCSS-aligned materials
One key way in which educators can ensure that their curriculum is Common Core-aligned is to use textbooks, software, and other materials that are already aligned with the Common Core State Standards. It is essential that these teaching tools match the new curriculum, whether they are intelligent adaptive learning software or e-books. However, it’s important to note that not all teaching tools that tout themselves as being “Common Core-aligned” meet all criteria, so materials will need to be thoroughly vetted.
Keep overarching skills in mind
While there is a specific set of math standards for each grade level, there are several overarching skills that the Common Core State Standards aim to cultivate in students: reasoning abstractly and quantitatively; persevering as they make sense of problems; constructing viable arguments; critiquing others’ reasoning; strategically using appropriate tools; looking for opportunities for repeated reasoning; and precision in work, to name a few. The Common Core lesson plan template that teachers construct should ensure that techniques for achieving these overarching skills are embedded in each lesson.
Share lesson plans
Although the implementation of the Common Core State Standards will mean the presence of more streamlined math curricula across city and state lines, school districts will continue to have their own unique challenges to address day to day. As teachers develop their own techniques for updated their math lessons—from sharing the standards with students to employing multiple manipulatives or adaptive learning programs – they can benefit from sharing their successes and struggles with other educators. This can take place as a part of professional development workshops put on by the state, or through free online resources such as Share My Lesson and Achieve the Core. Although what worked for one math classroom may not work for another, the sharing of resources can spark educators’ imaginations and proliferate best practices.
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