Continue reading “Updates to Supports for Students with Disabilities and English Language Learners in IM 6–8 Math”
At Illustrative Mathematics we are committed to creating a world where learners know, use, and enjoy mathematics. We believe that every student can learn grade-level mathematics with the right opportunities and support. Our approach is to remove unnecessary barriers and provide teachers with options for additional support so that every student can engage in rigorous mathematical content. We’ve been busy this year working on some exciting enhancements to the teacher tools and supports to empower teachers to deliver instruction that meets the specialized needs of English learners and students with disabilities.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”― Maya Angelou
When I think back to my 8th grade math class, I cannot recall the exact problems I struggled with or exact things the teacher said or did, but I can distinctly remember how I felt each day walking into that classroom: anxious. From the very first day of school, I struggled, and my feelings of failure and self-doubt only compounded as the year progressed. I just could not keep up. While many, many years have passed, and details have faded from my memory, I have never forgotten how badly I felt about myself as a learner of mathematics each day.Continue reading “First Impressions: The First Units in IM K–5 Math”
Jennifer Wilson and Vanessa Cerrahoglu
Having an extended period of time to teach a lesson can be an advantage in a problem-based classroom. Students and teachers can savor the questions that are asked. Activities can breathe in a way that they can’t in a shorter period of time. But questions about planning inevitably arise. We find ourselves asking questions like: Do I simply merge two lessons? What stays? What goes? How do we ensure that we engage our students in the right conversations that will prepare them for the next leg of the journey?
By Sadie Estrella
Illustrative Mathematics’ high school curriculum is scheduled to be released this summer. This is an exciting time for Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2 teachers. I honestly am ready to take a job at a school just to have the opportunity to teach with this material (and everyone knows I am always dreaming of being back in the classroom). However, I want to bring light to a hidden gem I think not too many people are aware of that is also part of our high school materials.Continue reading “Extra Supports for Algebra 1: The Gateway Resources”
When I first started teaching, at the end of each day, I would open my teacher’s guide, grab my pen, and thumb through the stack of completed worksheets. My eyes would dart quickly from the red answers in the teacher’s guide to the corresponding answers on each student’s page. I would dole out my x’s and checks with finality and authority. When I got to the end of a page, I would tally a percentage score and enter it into my electronic grade book. I approached every piece of student work as if it were a summative assessment.
The entire Illustrative Mathematics team spends a lot of time reading about teaching and learning. Most recently, we have been reading—some of us rereading—and reflecting on the 5 Practices for Orchestrating Productive Mathematics Discussions by Mary Kay Stein and Margaret Schwan Smith. Members of the team were asked to reflect on the following two questions to share with the Illustrative Mathematics community:
- What idea stood out to you when reading the 5 Practices for Orchestrating Productive Mathematics Discussions?
- Why do you feel this idea is important?
By Robin Moore
As a coach, how can I help teachers structure their lesson-planning in order for students to unpack their mathematical understandings?
This question is always at the forefront of my mind as I reflect on my work as an instructional coach. Most times, I walk into classroom after classroom witnessing teachers working harder than the students. To be clear, the students are all on task and working on the mathematical concepts presented to them with little to no behavior problems. The biggest challenge for teachers is attempting to differentiate for the range of learners in the classroom. To address this challenge, teachers have implemented a math workshop format. In this format, teachers communicate the learning objectives for the lesson and present a scaffolded mini-lesson where they gradually lead students through problem-based activities to ensure each student’s success. While the activities are problem-based, something authentic is missing and many would say that the work does not appear rigorous for all students. From a coaching lens, I wonder when and where learning is happening and who is unpacking it. Continue reading “Using the 5 Practices with Instructional Routines”
By Alicia Farmer
I am the type of teacher you want on your teaching team. I am the person that can remember vast amounts of details, predict potential obstacles, and meet any and all deadlines.
My organized personality is apparent everywhere in my classroom. From classroom routines to student supplies, everything has its place. This organization also shows through in how I plan ahead for all of my lessons. Even after 12 years of teaching, I am still not able to “wing it” when teaching a lesson. While I know my organization and meticulous planning are advantages for many aspects of my teaching, I often felt like they kept my instruction from becoming truly student-centered because these characteristics did not leave much room for flexibility. I would have a planned path for a lesson—a very specific, usually teacher-centered, way to get to the end—and never imagined I could rely on my students’ work to guide the pacing, discussion, and overall lesson as effectively as I could. Continue reading “How the 5 Practices Changed my Instruction”
“Whether we’re asking students to analyze a historical event, reflect on a text, or work toward a scientific discovery, we need to give students a chance to dig into the ideas on their own first.”
By Kristin Gray
I’ve come to think that approaching a lesson plan is like approaching a 500-piece puzzle. It’s hard to know where to start. It takes time. It involves endless trial and error. But when it’s finished – when all the pieces have been put in place – there’s a sense of pride and accomplishment. Continue reading “The 5 Practices Framework: Explicit Planning vs Explicit Teaching”