Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Professional Development Today

I despise the Common Core math standards--not necessarily the content, but the way the standards are written.  They're so unclear and open to interpretation; to me, if I have to "interpret" a standard then by definition it's a poorly-written standard.

Our district adopted new textbooks for upper level math courses this year, so I went to a class today to learn how to use all the online goodies for our pre-calculus textbook.  I myself am not going to use most of the instructor goodies, but I do need to know what goodies are available to students (and there are some valuable things accessible to students).  When that was over, there was plenty of time left and I, wanting to get paid the full amount I had anticipated for this particular class (we get paid hourly to attend), suggested that all of us present go through the standards and compare them to what's in the textbook.  Then we'll know what sections of the book we have to teach and what can be left out, and then we can determine which chapters will be taught in the first semester and which in the second semester.

Trying to understand and interpret the standards, and then see where they were covered in the textbook, took more time than would have been needed if the standards were clearly and explicitly written (like California's 1997 math standards were).  We got it accomplished, though, and now have a template of what will be taught each semester.  I was impressed that we could achieve such a consensus in the room, given there were more than half a dozen teachers present!

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