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Topic: 7th grade math - what would you do?

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Subject:   RE: 7th grade math - what would you do?
Author: Hightower
Date: Aug 6 2007
On Aug  6 2007, jlbmagic wrote:

Hey all.

What would you do if you got a job at a charter school
that didn't have a curriculum to follow.  Instead, the 7th grade
standards are there for you to teach?

Would you search desperately for a curriculum, or would you pull all sorts of
materials together to teach the standards?

I'm in that situation and am worried that the materials I pull together won't be
adequate enough, as a curriculum program would be (assuming that curriculum
programs are adequate enough).

Please let me know what you'd do.  Oh and by the way, school starts in 1


Dear jlbmagic:

Thanks for starting everyone's week off with a stimulating problem.  First, you
don't need to, as you said, search desperately for a curriculum.  

Believe or not, math textbooks and related materials are the foundation of any
curriculum.  In the one week before school starts, here's what I would do:

     1.  Identify available math textbooks and related material for
         7th Grade Math.  Your charter school probably already has a
         set of textbooks for the math classes.  It could be
         State Universities "Connected Mathematics Series", Prentice
         Hall's "Mathematics", Glencoe, Holt Rhinehart, or any other
         publisher's 7th Grade math textbook.

     2. After you identify the textbooks, make sure that you have
        supporting material like Lessson Planning Guides, a Solutions
        Manual, and Study Guide and Practice Masters for student in-
class.  This material, along with a Xerox machine will save
        you and lot of time by helpinig our organize every aspect of
        your daily lesson plans.

     3. If you haven't already done so, contact your State Board of
        Education and obtain a copy of Grade Level Content Standards
        or Curriculum Standards for 7th Grade Math.  You really need
        them for every grade, up to Grade 7, to assess whether your
        7th Grade students have met the expectations, knowledge-wise,
        for prior grades.

     4. Since you only have one week before the start of school, you
        will need to work evenings and the upcoming weekend to get
        the following done: match up your state's Grade Level Content
        Expectations with the material in each chapter of the math
        textbook used by your charter school.  

        Since everything in the book cannot and should not be covered
        in one semester, you will be searching math textbook chapters
        for the best examples, exercises and problems that you can
        use to help your students learn the math content needed to
        meet your state's Grade Level Content Expectations.

        When you complete this, you will have a very detailed
        document that will describe what you, as a math teacher,
        be doing every school day, to deliver, by Direct Instruction,
        Cooperative Learning Groups or whatever, the content needed
        by students to meet your state's math standards.

        This document must detail pages to read by students,
        specific exercises,problems and writing exercises to be
        completed, applications of technology such graphing
        or computer spreadsheets and, last but certainly not least,
        the nature and timing of assessments like quizzes, exams  

Now, even in a charter school, a teacher should not have to do his or her own
Curriculum Guide, which is what all of the above is all about.

I don't know who your principal is, but he or she is supposed to be the
educational leader in that school.  As such, he or she should be giving you both
guidance and assistance in preparing a plan to fulfill your professional
obligations as a teacher under the laws of your state.

Apparently that is not happening.  So, I salute you for having the courage and
foresight to use this forum to ask for some suggestions.

I hope that my suggestions help you organize your 7th math class in a way that
will result in effective and efficient use of your time and an enjoyable
learning experience for you and your students.

Larry Hightower, CPA
Former High School Math Teacher

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