Mar 20, 2019

The "New Math," Priority Standards and Interventions....OH MY!


Sharing an Understanding of the Key Shifts in Mathematics

Math hasn’t changed, but today’s opportunities for students to learn and succeed in mathematics are very different from when “we were in school.”  

Teachers are managing parents who wonder why students are not learning math “like we learned it?” and at the same time, teachers are trying hard to teach students many strategies and to become critical thinkers and problem solvers. The struggle is real when you’re balancing classroom dynamics with parents, and some educators, who wonder why it isn’t adequate to only learn the same standard algorithms that were taught MANY years ago.

These questions are pulled apart and summarized in education as the Key Shifts in Mathematics. The adoption of the Common Core generated these shifts so teachers would better understand how one grade’s set of standards flowed into the next grades’ standards.

The key shifts in mathematics are contained in three categories: focus, coherence and rigor. With the shifts, teachers will FOCUS on fewer topics at each grade level, so there is COHERENCE between topics and grades with the right amount RIGOR (conceptual understanding, procedural skills and fluency, and application).

Making Sense of the Key Shifts in Mathematics

Achieve the Core has many resources available to teachers to enable the practice of the key shifts. Here is a summary to help get you started:

FOCUS:  Each grade has a particular set of clusters and standards that are critical concepts. The FOCUS BY GRADE LEVEL helps guide teachers and coaches by selecting priority standards.  While this resource is meant to be a guide, teachers must use their professional knowledge of the Iowa Core when choosing priority standards and learning targets.

COHERENCE: Mathematics is linked between grade levels.  The skills a child learns in one grade are built upon in the next grade level, so it is important for students to master the priority standards at each grade level.

When this doesn’t happen and teachers need to intervene, the COHERENCE MAPS will help decide which standards to pursue.  

  • Once you are in the coherence maps, click “Get Started.”  
  • Find the grade level standard that you would like to FOCUS on (be sure it is a MAJOR FOCUS of the grade level) and then backmap the standard to decide on the correct skills for an intervention. It will even give you some sample tasks.  
  • Ask your friendly GWAEA math consultant for other resources.

RIGOR: Give the same amount of importance to conceptual understanding, procedural skills and fluency, and application.  The lessons and tasks that are within Achieve the Core are examples of lessons that may help increase the rigor of mathematics in your classroom.

One final professional resource within Achieve the Core that teachers may want to check out is the Aligned Materials Blog that is nested under the Professional Learning tab.  It’s full of good ideas and tips for creating a mathematics classroom aligned with the key shifts.


Category: The Linker Math