Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Goodbye textbook, hello Learning Targets!
In the first couple posts on this blog, I will try to summarize my journey to this point in my teaching career.
About 4-5 years ago a couple things changed in my classroom. The first and biggest and change was saying goodbye to my textbook. I taught out of Pearson's CMP book for many years. While I loved the approaches in the book, I knew the students needed something more aligned to the standards. I took some time in the summer and really dug in and came up with 30 learning targets for my 7th grade math class and another 30 for the 8th grade math class. These were based on the Minnesota State Standards, the Common Core Standards, the Focus Points for 3-8 by NCTM, and conversations with our high school science and math teachers about what they need from junior high math students.
While these concept lists have changed continually every year, and sometimes during the year, it has really helped me focus on the essentials of the curriculum and needs of the students. The lists have always been around 25-30 concepts. However, no matter how much time I put into making the lists in the summer, the needs of the students always tend to have me switching the order as the year goes. This year was actually the most ridiculous as we went from concept 1 to 3 to 4 to 2 in the 7th grade.
This was pretty scary, as I put the textbooks in the closet and used them only as source material for some of the concepts. This made up about 1/3 of the year. The rest of the stuff came from various other sources and digging around the internet. I have purchased many books with many teaching ideas about many topics. It took a lot of time, but after years, I have a plethora of sources I regularly draw from and have created.
This changes was the beginning of the snowball down the hill, causing an entire journey I never antcipated....
The Mad Hatter: Have I gone mad?
[Alice checks Hatter's temperature]
Alice Kingsley: I'm afraid so. You're entirely bonkers. But I'll tell you a secret. All the best people are.
7th & 8th Concept Lists 2013-2014