Developing Curriculum for Common Core State Standards
1) You don't have to do it all. (Publishers are having many discussions about how best to write for CCSS. It is a very large and overwhelming process...use lessons that are already out there for the most efficient use of your time.)
2) You don't have to do it all at once. (Change is scary...you need to be confident in what you are doing so you can speak confidently to students and parents. Take your time and change a few things at a time.)
3) You don't have to do it alone. (Collaborate at your school or online to find what works best for you and your kids. If I hear it works well for one teacher, I'm more likely to try it. That keeps me going.)
Step 1: Keep the Mathematical Practices in mind at all times.
The Standards for Mathematical Practice
Step 2: Encourage students to think of the process rather than the solution.
Ask students questions along the lines of:
“Correct answers are essential... but they're part of the process, they're not the product. The product is the math the kids walk away with in their heads and in their ability to do stuff.”
Step 3: Teach the Unit and not the Chapter
This requires reflection and discussion. You can't do it all at once! Select this link to read my blog about finding Area of a Polygon to see how I took a first step in Geometry.
Step 4 and beyond: Getting Students to Dialogue about Math
At the beginning of any lesson, Use "review" math to get kids talking. Warning, it can take from 5-10 activities of this type before some students feel comfortable making estimates or explaining their reasoning. This is normal!!
How do I start?
You can't implement CCSS if the kids won't talk! Start by asking them questions you don't know the answer to. (e.g., How long did your homework take you? Do you like quiet or noise when you study? What do you think helps you most to prepare for a test?) Then, listen! Take their comments and summarize them. Show them to the class so they see they are not alone. Then tell them how you are going to help them learn more about how they learn best.
The students still won't talk. I feel like I'm pulling teeth. What should I do?
I started with Estimations 180 by Andrew Stadel. These are great conversation starters! The first time I did these with high school classes I had about 6 students participating. After a few weeks, the whole class is involved in the discussion. You are setting the groundwork for taking turns, listening to others, taking chances, etc. These are all things the kids will be doing with standards in CCSS.
How can I get kids to focus on the process instead of just the answer? (In other words, how do I get them to explain their thinking or show their work?)
I do this in two ways. Either give them the answer and ask how to get there (this takes the answer off the table so to speak) or give them a problem that has no exact solution. (Be prepared for students to be a little upset when you can't tell them who is correct. But ask anyone using math in real -life, there is rarely one absolute answer.) See Examples of problems with more than one answer can be found at Mathalicious, Yummy Math, Dan Meyer's 3-act videos
We have no new CCSS curriculum. I'm concerned the parents will protest if I'm not following the text. What now?
Start small. It's okay to use your textbook to guide you. This transition won't happen overnight. Take a look at the next chapter you will be teaching and then check out Nathan Kraft's virtual filing cabinet. It's organized by concept. Click on a few activities and see what might work for this chapter. Some of the activities are fairly rich so they might inspire you on how the lessons can be reorganized or combined.
It's so overwhelming. How can I keep track and organize things?
When I first began teaching, my goal was to create the perfect lesson so I didn't have to keep finding new things. Well...I've since learned there is no way to teacher perfectly (just as there is no way to learn perfectly). Now, I think of creating a giant toolbox (or filing cabinet) of all the things I might be able to use. That's what good teaching is all about because every class and every student is so different. As I stumble across something new, I'll put it in my filing cabinet and maybe use it later. Although I've decided to post mine so anyone can see it, you don't have to. Just hide the page and don't advertise your site! Here's a link to my filing cabinet. Note that (like my office) it's very messy and I'm the only one who knows where everything is! I'm in a perpetual state of cleaning it...oh well. It works for me. You may find something different that works for you. The important thing is to take things in small steps and realize you will NEVER have it all done. Welcome to the teaching profession! I think that's why I like it best...the lifelong learning.
Virtual Filing Cabinets
Select this link to go to my virtual filing cabinet and discover many more!