If possible, give yourself 2-3 years to get your implementation underway. This may mean beginning with a few units at each grade level and gradually adding a few more each year. It may mean beginning with use in grade 6 only and adding a subsequent grade level each year for the next two years. It may mean adopting the whole curriculum at the start of implementation and teaching it in all three grades. It may mean using a variety of other plans or approaches. In all cases, it certainly means allowing time for teachers to get adequate training to use the curriculum to its maximum advantage, to get community buy-in and to make sure the transition from the previous curriculum to MathScape will be as trouble-free as possible.
Because each district’s timeline for implementation will be different, we do not offer a specific timeline to follow. Instead, we include a list of some steps to consider during the planning phase.
Get clarity on what the district’s goals are for mathematics education, not only in terms of content topics, but in terms of students’ thinking ability and problem-solving skills.
Assess current curriculum materials – what do they do well for you and where are they lacking? What do you hope to achieve by changing curricula? Work toward a common vision of what new curriculum materials will do for you.
Gain familiarity with MathScape to assess whether and how it will address your needs identified from the previous step. The best way to gain familiarity with the MathScape curriculum is to attend a curriculum overview and/or initial unit training session presented by someone who has taught the materials. In these kinds of workshops, the leader will often discuss not only the content and approach, but will show how the particular unit relates to the rest of the curriculum and place the unit in it’s proper context.
Even if you have already begun your implementation of the curriculum, this can prove to be a valuable step. An overview or unit training from someone who has taught the materials will provide useful information about how the curriculum works in the classroom and about how students respond.
Take the time to figure out how MathScape aligns with your school’s or district’s mathematics curriculum. Go through the MathScape Scope and Sequence and figure out what material is included and what is not.
Since MathScape is made up of individual 6-week units, a district can choose to vary the default sequence of units to better suit their district needs.
Once you have ascertained how the curriculum aligns with your standards, identify any gaps in the content that the curriculum does not address. Plan for how you will address any gaps during implementation.
For some teachers, many aspects of MathScape’s approach, such as the use of classroom discussions about mathematical ideas and approaches, writing about one’s mathematical thinking or alternative assessment strategies, may be unfamiliar. Choose one area in which to focus during a year of implementation and work on developing one area at a time. Allow yourselves – both teachers, students and community – an appropriate amount of time to become familiar with the materials and be able to use them well.
Think ahead about how information about the new curriculum will be conveyed to families, to teachers, to administrators and to any other people you determine need to be informed.
Some districts have chosen to move towards full implementation gradually over 2-3 years while other districts choose to begin the full curriculum all at once.
Plan time for meetings or workshops focused on the new curriculum during the first year or two of implementation.
Take the time to first articulate your goals for a successful implementation. What will students be able to do? What role will teachers play in the classroom? What results will you expect to see?
Plan a set of indicators that you will use to gauge your measure of these goals. These indicators may be a mix of tangible and intangible, as one or the other exclusively will not provide a full picture of the implementation. Tangible indicators might include test scores, students’ grades or evaluations, examples of improved student work, or students’ projects. Intangible indicators might include teachers’ observations of and anecdotes about what is happening in the classroom, feedback from parents, students’ reactions to the materials, and the administration’s impression of the materials from observations.
MathScape units are sequenced so that the mathematics content builds from unit to unit and across the three grades. For each unit, it is presumed that students have completed all preceding units that focus on the same content strand. For example, in the number strand in grade 6, the mathematics content builds from The Language of Numbers to From Wholes to Parts to Beside the Point. Teachers should not change the sequence of these units.
Units within a content strand are sometimes spread out across a grade level, rather than all occurring consecutively. By visiting and later revisiting content within a strand, students get several opportunities to gain a deeper understanding of the content. In addition, the variation in focus from one strand to another in a grade level helps maintain students' interest in the content.