Tonight, my colleague Colleen Turco and I shared our new and improved third grade mathematics curriculum with our peers as part of our course final. The more I work on curriculum — and I’ve been at it since 1987 — the more I realize that nothing is every really “finished”. Curriculum is a fluid as the students who populate our classrooms from year to year. Can we ever consider something done? I doubt it.
This project was started nearly a year ago when Colleen and I realized that following the Investigations in Number, Data and Space curriculum strictly left us little time to develop number sense or conversation about mathematics. We also came to the realization that the timing of the units left our students with little time to learn the math facts, multiplication and division, expected in computation. With these things in mind, we spent the summer pulling apart the curriculum and reordering units in a way that seems to make sense for our student population.
Additionally, Colleen, who is our school’s Math Resource Teacher and who knows the big picture like no one else can, made sure we had addressed all the third grade standards in the Massachusetts framework. Working together, we’ve pulled in lessons and resources from many different places (Math Solutions – THANK YOU!) which we felt supported the philosophy of mathematics teaching, yet improved upon, supported, or revisited the curriculum framework.
Now that we’ve developed this document, or plan if you will, and implemented it on a pilot basis in my classroom, Colleen and I are ready to roll it out to the rest of my grade level team — and adjust it. Already I have a list of things that need tweaking.
Our first attempt at making sense out of the mathematics curriculum feels pretty good; although I do have an eye on the standardized testing which I hope will show some improvement over prior years.
We hope any readers of this blog — if you are out there — will offer up suggestions for materials or lessons that will enhance our work in progress.