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Using Unpacking Documents From Other States to Understand Math CCSS
As schools struggle to make sense of the new Common Core Standards in Mathematics they are often left overwhelmed and highly anxious. Change is hard for most everyone. How does one balance the classroom, dealing with management and current standards while trying to learn the new expectations brought on by CCSS?
When I first tried to read and understand the CCSS document I became the same way. What does this all mean? The great thing about a national curriculum, per say, is that there is a lot of information now available. That too is a double edge sword. How do I begin to weed through all this information, some bad, and some good, to get to my true understanding? The wealth of information about CCSS available can also cause me to become overwhelmed.
I would highly recommend that a district, school, and/or teacher start by looking at three state's initiatives to "unpack" and put into teacher's terms the CCSS for mathematics. These three states have done an outstanding work to show examples, give ideas, and to connect to resources that may align to CCSS.
A process to align district curriculum to CCSS that I have used is listed below.
1. Download the AZ curriculum for each grade level - http://www.azed.gov/standards-practices/mathematics-standards/
This document can be downloaded as a word document, making it easy to change. No reason to reinvent the wheel, just personalize and make it easier for you to understand. The AZ document also combines their interpretation with the CCSS terminology.
2. Read the document, deleting items that are redundant or don't make sense.
3. Look at the NC grade level documents - http://www.dpi.state.nc.us/acre/standards/
Highlight and copy and paste the pieces that you want to add to your document. NC has wonderful visuals/graphics that helps teachers understand how the 8 mathematical practices can be embedded. It also shows how different students may solve the same problem in many different ways.
4. Look at the Ohio grade level documents - http://www.ode.state.oh.us/GD/Templates/Pages/ODE/ODEDetail.aspx?page=3&TopicRelationID=1704&ContentID=83475
Ohio has done a wonderful job showing misconceptions, and holistic ideas to teach to the domain rather than the standards. Hyperlinks in Ohio's documents also make it a valuable resource. Highlight and copy and paste the pieces that you want to add to your document.
5. As teachers are copying and pasting examples it is critical that dialogue and discussion occur to what the standard means and how we best teach this standard in the context of the 8 Mathematical Practices. Other discussions need to occur, such as terminology, assessment, technology, and resources.