Posts Tagged "Common Core State Standards"

Trends in Mathematics Materials

Learning List has reviewed over 1500 of the most widely used instructional materials, including hundreds of mathematics materials aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).  Over the last few years, we have observed general and grade-span specific trends that may be of interest to mathematics teachers.  This blog post addresses the attributes that apply to mathematics materials across grade levels.

Most materials, particularly at the elementary level, present highly visual content sequenced to support the progression in learning from concrete to pictorial to an abstract understanding of math concepts. Materials today address fewer math topics in greater depth to develop critical thinking and problem solving skills. Rather than teaching algorithms and rote memorization, the materials help build students’ conceptual understanding and proficiency in solving math problems. Manipulatives and models help students visualize complex problems and develop solution strategies.  Often frustrating to parents, materials teach multiple approaches with multiple entry points to solve problems.

With the goal of creating mathematical thinkers, materials focus more heavily on teaching mathematical practices and process skills than in the past. Practices and process skills are embedded throughout instruction with varying degrees of success.  Some materials still isolate them in a particular section of the material; others integrate the teaching and use of practices and skills throughout the teaching of content standards.

Materials use real-world problems and connections to careers that use mathematics (i.e., fashion designers, fireworks engineers) to connect to students’ interests and lives and engage them in learning.  Moreover, current materials tend to provide more instructional resources for teachers. They often provide background in the concepts and pedagogy critical to successful teaching and learning. They identify the misconceptions that students most commonly have and provide teaching strategies to address misunderstandings. The materials also support differentiated instruction by providing adaptions (e.g., interactive tutorials, video demonstrations) that help students with differing abilities and levels of understanding engage with the material and learn the mathematical concepts presented.

Selecting materials is an increasingly complex task. During her presentation at the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics conference in Oakland, California, this week, Learning List’s president,  Jackie Lain, will address some of the critical attributes to consider as well as some of the grade span-specific trends to be aware of when purchasing new mathematics materials.

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New Review: The Mathematics Vision Project, or MVP, Secondary Courses I-III

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[Source: MVP]

Learning List has reviewed The Mathematics Vision Project, or MVP, Secondary Courses I-III. The courses are a set of a supplemental open-educational resources that support instruction for each of the Integrated Pathways described in Appendix A of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for mathematics. Resources are available in print format and structure an inquiry-based approach to learning.

MVP is built on “learning progressions” that include a meaningful flow of classroom learning tasks that prompt students’ mathematical thinking, develop understanding, and foster intuitive approaches to problem solving. Each course provides sets of questions accompanied by visual elements (e.g., graphs) that guide students’ thinking.

Courses encourage multiple approaches to solving problems and connect concepts in algebra and geometry. Daily lessons are guided by teaching notes that describe “Launch” (whole class), “Explore” (small group), and “Discuss” (whole class) activities. Each lesson is accompanied by a “Ready, Set, Go!” homework assignment that helps students practice new skills and retain prior learning. Many homework assignments have corresponding video tutorials available through Khan Academy (www.khanacademy.com).

MVP’s courses are available at no cost from www.mathematicsvisionproject.org. Additional materials, including answer keys for homework assignments, are available for purchase on the MVP website.

About MVP*

We enable educators to teach their students this truth through engaging, forward-thinking content. The MVP classroom experience does not look  like the traditional mathematics classroom. In the MVP classroom the teacher launches a rich task and then through “teacher moves” encourages  students to explore, question, ponder, discuss their ideas and listen to the ideas of their classmates.  In this way, the teacher connects the Eight Mathematical Practices to the content. All material is expertly-aligned with The Common Core standards.

Homework assignments are organized into three parts–Ready, Set, and Go!  As students mature mathematically, there are many math problems they should be able to do whenever they encounter them. The procedures for solving them become automatic. Students should be able to take off and Go! with them.

This is how students learn mathematics. They learn by doing mathematics. They learn by needing mathematics. They learn by verbalizing the way they see the mathematical ideas connect and by listening to how their peers perceived the problem.  Students then own the mathematics because it is a collective body of knowledge that they have developed over time through guided exploration. This process describes the Learning Cycle and it informs how teaching should be conducted within the classroom. MVP materials top the charts when it comes to Alignment, Rigor & Balance as well as Deeper Learning. All essential attributes of a focused, coherent and rigorous curriculum.

*The content in this section is provided by or adapted from MVP.

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New Review: LearnZillion’s Full Math Curriculum

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[Source: LearnZillion]

Learning List has reviewed LearnZillion’s Full Math Curriculum—an open educational resource that provides comprehensive instruction to support the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for students in grades K-8. Resources are available online and include printable materials. Instruction develops students’ conceptual understanding, procedural fluency, and ability to apply their learning.

Productive struggle is at the center of LearnZillion’s Full Math Curriculum. LearnZillion defines productive struggle as “the process of expending effort to make sense of important ideas, concepts, or connections that are within reach but require new understanding” (Math Overview). To ensure this process, the program defines and makes use of three curriculum strands, or “Threads,” that bind instruction across grades and provide coherence: (1) Operations Thread, (2) Number Thread, and (3) Equivalence Thread. In addition to coherence, the three strands, or ONE, link concepts within and across CCSS domains and clusters at each grade level and provide a foundation that supports the transition to algebra.

Instruction is presented in sequential units that address “Key Concepts” of the CCSS. Each unit includes a summative assessment that evaluates students’ understanding of the Key Concepts. Lessons develop students’ understanding of concepts, fluency and procedural skills, and ability to apply concepts and skills in new situations. Each lesson is presented using a slide show with detailed teaching notes. Slide shows focus on problem-solving activities that foster productive struggle. Each lesson’s teaching notes provide detailed guidance in implementing activities, including the purpose of each slide, pacing information, suggestions for discussion, common student misconceptions, teaching tips, and answer keys.

About LearnZillion*

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[Source: LearnZillion]

The idea for LearnZillion began at E.L. Haynes Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. where co-founder Eric Westendorf, was principal. After watching 6th grade teacher Andrea Smith teach her students what it meant to divide by fractions, Eric wondered, “could powerful learning experiences be captured so that teachers didn’t have to re-invent the wheel every time they taught a standard?” He decided to find out. Working with Andrea and a few other E.L. Haynes teachers, he created a homemade website that featured screencasts of high quality, Common Core lessons. The website worked. Not only could teachers find examples of high quality lessons, but parents and students also benefited from the explanations.

Thanks to a Next Generation Learning Challenge Grant, Eric was able to grow the idea. He teamed up with former classmate and teacher , Alix Guerrier, and together they recruited an initial corps of 20 Dream Team teachers from across the country. The Dream Team grew to 123 the following year. In 2015 over 1,000 teachers participated on Dream Teams across the country. The result is the world’s first open, cloud-based curriculum.

*The content in this section is provided by or adapted from LearnZillion.

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New Review: ThinkCERCA

ThinkCERCA-Literacy-Framework-Homepage

[Source: ThinkCERCA]

Learning List has reviewed ThinkCERCA materials for grades 6-8. ThinkCerca is an online learning platform that helps students in grades 3-12 develop literacy and critical thinking skills across the core subject areas. The supplemental program focuses on developing close reading and academic writing skills. Content addresses the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and supports instruction in blended learning, flipped classroom, and self-paced environments.

ThinkCERCA focuses on developing students’ ability to read a text and produce a written response using the CERCA framework: (1) make Claims, (2) support claims with textual Evidence, (3) explain their Reasoning, (4) recognize Counterarguments, and (5) use language that appeals to a particular Audience. Core instruction is presented in modular “CERCA Sets” that cover content from across the core subject areas (i.e., English/language arts, science, mathematics, and social studies).

Reading selections are drawn from a variety of engaging informational and literary texts and include visual elements, such as photographs and illustrations, to support understanding. Teachers may select texts that are leveled in terms of the complexity for a particular grade level, and may differentiate assignments for students reading at, below, and above grade level.

think cerca logo

[Source: ThinkCERCA]

About ThinkCERCA*

ThinkCERCA is an online platform designed to empower teachers to personalize literacy instruction across disciplines. ThinkCERCA helps whole school teams differentiate for engaging learning in classrooms of diverse learners. The CERCA Framework provides a common language for students, teachers, parents, and administrators to drive sustainable growth in student achievement.

*The content in this section is provided by or adapted from ThinkCERCA.

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New Review: McGraw Hill’s Reading Wonders

Wonders-Logo_prod

[Source: McGraw Hill]

Learning List has reviewed McGraw Hill’s Reading Wonders, a comprehensive reading and language arts program for students in grades K-6. Instruction focuses on the close reading, collaborative discussion, and analytic writing strands of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), including the California CCSS. Materials are available in print and digital formats.

Wonders uses a variety of student materials, such as the Reading/Writing Workshop, Your Turn Practice Book, Close Reading Companion, Leveled Readers, a Literature Anthology, and Grammar Handbook, and WonderWorks for Response to Intervention. The Reading/Writing Workshop is at the center of instruction and addresses the CCSS Anchor Strands for close reading of complex texts, collaborative conversations, and analytic writing, as well as foundational skills (e.g., phonics) as appropriate for a particular grade level. At each grade, Workshops present six-week thematic units (e.g., New Discoveries) organized in weekly instructional blocks.

Wonders focuses on the reading of literary and informational texts, rereading for specific purposes, and the use of textual evidence to support conclusions and opinions in spoken and written formats. Lessons are structured using the Gradual Release of Responsibility (i.e., GRR) instructional model. Instruction relies on a set of instructional routines (i.e., introduction, modeling, and guided and independent practice) that are applied to specific learning task (e.g., sound categorization). Optional technology-based activities are provided.

About McGraw Hill*

McGraw-Hill-Education

[Source: McGraw Hill]

At McGraw-Hill Education, we believe that our contribution to unlocking a brighter future lies within the application of our deep understanding of how learning happens and how the mind develops. It exists where the science of learning meets the art of teaching.

Educators have been and always will be at the core of the learning experience. The solutions we develop help educators impart their knowledge to students more efficiently. We believe that harnessing technology can enhance learning inside and outside of the classroom and deepen the connections between students and teachers to empower greater success.

By partnering with educators around the globe, our learning engineers, content developers and pedagogical experts are developing increasingly open learning ecosystems that are proven to improve pass rates, elevate grades and increase engagement for each individual learner while improving outcomes for all.

*The content in this section is provided by or adapted from McGraw Hill.

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