>>> <MsEdFun@aol.com> 10/24/2013 8:18 AM >>> I have been following this thread with a great deal of interest.
The new modules are very dependent on knowledge that the students ostensibly came into ninth grade with. With the changes that were made throughout the math curriculum in conjunction with transitioning to the common core, many students, and teachers, were faced with the challenge of 'the missing puzzle piece'. Last year, at least for seventh and eighth grade students, it became a serious game of playing 'catch up ball'. The problem was that there wasn't enough time or foundational knowledge to win the game.
Now, we are expecting our students to jump in with two feet and be able to master skills that they have not had sufficient preparation for. The modules make a lot of assumptions - and we all know what happens when you assume. (If you don't know, e-mail to me at MsEdFun@AOL.com and I will tell you.)
If you attempt to follow the modules, and I know that many of us have made undiluted efforts at doing so, you will leave a percentage of your students behind in the dust, and some of those that may actually succeed, and we all know there will be such a group in each class, their skills may not be as secure as we would like. After all - common core says that there should be real life application. Can they apply? I don't see enough stress in this area anywhere within the modules.
The modules, although a definte attempt by the state to provide us with some sort of curriculum (because there are no real common core algebra texts available), were too little, too late, and much too inadequate in addressing the gaps that exist.
Teaching inch wide mile deep, the new mantra, is wonderful from a theoretical point of view. The problem is that theory works nicely on paper - not in the real world. Mile deep needs to include levels - after all - an elevator makes stops on its descent and ascent. Where are our stops?
I firmly believe, that given a chance, common core can be very successful. But without sufficient time in which to allow younger students to be taught to think and learn in a new way, declining test scores will spell the death of it before it starts to walk.
For that reason, the modules, although a good guide for what is to be taught, is not sufficient for insuring that our students can learn. In order to achieve success, and without the benefit of knowing what the new test will look like, I am taking a huge risk. I understand that factoring is factoring, equation solving requires isolating variables, and that properties do not change - as well as the other topics, and therefore have been teaching topics as though they are being presented for the very first time. I assess what it already known, and quickly determine a starting point. I've thrown the pacing out the window. It isn't realistic. Yes, we may fall behind, but at this point I'm more concerned with the quality of what my students know than the quantity. If they can't apply information in different ways, what has been achieved?
My hope is that by the time we are ready to begin review and prep for the new Regents, there will be some sort of sample to help guide us through the new expectations/format that our students, having almost a month less time to prepare, will have to endure.
I will say it again - the pacing is out the window. It is not realistic. We, as experienced teachers, know what works. It is up to us to provide the students with the knowledge they need in order to progress through two more years of unknowns. Let us at least make certain that they have the foundation necessary to help them without unduly frustrating them.