Instructional Shift 8: Minimize what is no longer important.

Chapter 9: Just Don't Do It!

What should we see in an effective mathematics classroom?

-A curriculum of skills, concepts, and applications that are reasonable to expect all students to master, and not those skills, concepts, and applications that have gradually been moved to an earlier grade on the basis of inappropriately raising standards

  • Ask your team to read Chapter 9 before the team meeting. Lead a discussion to summarize highlights of the chapter. Ask teachers to share how he or she might already be selective in the planning of their individual classes. Discuss the criteria used by each to determine which topics are emphasized.
  • Have the team examine the current curriculum as content partners (e.g., sixth grades teachers work together, Algebra I/DA teachers work together, etc.). Focus on one marking period at a time to discuss topics that should be emphasized. Have groups use color markers to distinguish topics that should be emphasized and de-emphasized. Groups should make a list that summarizes agreements.
  • Teachers should partner with teachers of prerequisite courses to share lists. Make additions and deletions based on the feedback provided.

-Implementation of a district and state curriculum that includes essential skills and understandings for a world of calculators and computers, and not what many recognize as too much content to cover at each grade level

  • Ask each team member to come to the meeting prepared to share how he or she has strategically used technology to improve student learning within a specific course. Each teacher pair should be prepared to present one activity or lesson seed.

-A deliberate questioning of the appropriateness of the mathematical content, regardless of what may or may not be on the high-stakes state test, in every grade and course

  • The Common Core State Curriculum will drive local curriculum in our immediate future. The objective has been to ensure that students have a deeper understanding of fewer and higher mathematical concepts. Provide teachers with a copy of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics. Have content teams examine the e-Guide for their course along side the Common Core. Lead a discussion on how things appear to "measure-up."