I recently left the classroom to serve my school system as the K-12 Math Coordinator. My goal this year is to work towards building a vertical alignment towards Common Core. I started by writing curriculum maps for my system. I started by looking at The Dana Center and the Mathematics Common Core Toolbox. This is a great resource and provides some great maps and sequenced units. We currently use a text that is not aligned to the common core, so I constantly found myself returning worrying about finding reliable resources for implementation. I felt like I needed more guidance. I found that several states have put very good curriculum maps and resources out there for their teachers to use. My own state, Tennessee, has provided teachers with tasks to use in their classes, but little direction for how to sequence the standards and how to pace them. Since my experience is at the high school level, I really needed a resource I could trust.
I then found CommonCore.org aka EngageNY. CommonCore.org is a nonprofit organization that created a curriculum for the State of New York. I spoke with one of their employees this week and Louisiana has signed on with them as well. This curriculum is being written as we speak. The first nine weeks is posted and what I have seen I really like. I know there are critics, but I challenge them to show me something aligned to common core that is better. My favorite part is that it is free through the EngageNY website. You can purchase an individual teacher license through CommonCore.org to access training videos and a digital version which is much easier to navigate.
The elementary level curriculum is amazing! It is a story of units and adopts a place value system for dealing with numbers and algorithms. I can not do it justice in this blog. It is worth watching the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qm5A38rBToo#action=share
If you haven’t checked it out yet, I encourage you to look at it with an open mind. I know there was an issue one of Dan Meyer’s tasks being used without permission and I hope they remedy that. (I would be so excited if they linked to my blog, but I’m not holding my breath.) I personally think any curriculum linked to a Dan Meyer task has to be awesome!
So, I said my perspective has changed. Since I have left the classroom, I now see that supports that my district provided that I didn’t need and often hated, serve a purpose. For example, curriculum maps: I know my standards and how to teach them and when. I feel confident with my subject matter, but not all teachers do and wouldn’t it be nice if we could collaborate across our hallway and district. Textbooks: I do not use textbooks. I find the best materials from blogs and twitter and I steal. Not all teachers read blogs and have time to dig online. They need a good, reliable resource that is readily available. I think EngageNY could be that resource.