Monday, September 22, 2014

Mathematics in CISD: Philosophy, Guiding Principles, Belief Statements (2 of 3)

This is the second in a series of three blog posts on what we believe about mathematics instruction in Coppell ISD.  Each of the posts will address one of the Guiding Principles and associated Belief Statements.

Mathematics in CISD: Philosophy, Guiding Principles, Belief Statements


High quality mathematics curriculum and instruction engages hands, minds, and intellect through authentic, active learning that supports each student to achieve personal success.  These learning experiences, assessed through a variety of methods, bridge the concrete and abstract by applying critical thinking skills and problem solving strategies in meaningful and relevant situations.  Through the understanding of mathematical concepts and reasoning, every student will be prepared to communicate effectively using the language of mathematics as a tool to meet future challenges.

Guiding Principle (and Belief Statements) Number 2:

Mathematics curriculum and instruction must be rigorous and relevant in order to develop conceptual understanding and skills

  • Mathematics relates to other content areas.
  • Strands in mathematics are connected.
  • Vertical and horizontal alignment is crucial when developing mathematical literacy.
  • Mathematics develops higher level thinking.
  • Teaching methods include multiple strategies such as: inquiry-based instruction, learner-centered instruction, multiple resources, and hands-on learning.
  • Students and teachers use technology as instructional tools.

I recommend that we consider what NCTM President Linda M. Gojak shared in her President's Corner article What's All This Talk about Rigor?  

Within the article, a clarification of learning experiences that do (and do not) involve rigor is shared and compared in the chart below.

Learning experiences
that involve rigor …
Experiences that do
not involve rigor …
challenge studentsare more “difficult,” with no purpose (for example, adding 7ths and 15ths without a real context)
require effort and tenacity by studentsrequire minimal effort
focus on quality (rich tasks)focus on quantity (more pages to do)
include entry points and extensions for all studentsare offered only to gifted students
are not always tidy, and can have multiple paths to possible solutionsare scripted, with a neat path to a solution
provide connections among mathematical ideasdo not connect to other mathematical ideas
contain rich mathematics that is relevant to studentscontain routine procedures with little relevance
develop strategic and flexible thinkingfollow a rote procedure
encourage reasoning and sense makingrequire memorization of rules and procedures without understanding
expect students to be actively involved in their own learningoften involve teachers doing the work while students watch

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