I was recently emailed a question from a teacher who attended ICTM Conference in October and came to my workshop. His question was this:
"Our district is deciding on what to do for Math next year. Going with a state curriculum guide or buy some sort of textbooks. I am curious what you guys are currently doing or suggestions that you have."
Here is my answer:
For this year we are using the ISBE Model Scope and Sequence (you can download from their website). This is not an endorsement of this curriculum map, however it has it's good features. More than anything, we felt it was important to just pick a map and try it out knowing that we might want to make changes in the future. I would suggest not trying to "reinvent the wheel" when it comes to a map before trying it out. Save yourself the time and frustration and choose one and go for it.
I would not suggest buying new curriculum materials just yet. Of course you might buy some supplements here or there, but wait on a school or district wide purchase if possible. There are so many unknowns and things that are bound to change that might lead to you regretting a purchase in a year or two if things change drastically. Curriculum companies are racing to put "Common Core" stickers on the front of their "new" textbooks but many are not quite there yet. Plus, there are just piloting the Park Assessment this year so it is hard for any of us to know how exactly students will be assessed.
I keep encouraging people to remember that these first few years are transition years. We need to have high expectations for ourselves but also know that this is all new-- for us and the students. Think how much more prepared students will be in a few years after having a few grades of CCSS curriculum. In other words, I can't expect my current 8th graders to be able to go as deep with the standards this year that I might be able to in 5 years.
I hope this helps! Here are some resources you might want to check out:
Any thoughts on this? How is your district handling the transition to CCSS?