FDCSD will introduce new math curriculum

The Fort Dodge Community School District will have a new math curriculum starting with the 2013-14 school year.

Called Math Expressions, for grades K-5, and Big Ideas, for grades 6-8, the new curriculum better uses cognitively guided instruction and more closely aligns with the goals of the Iowa Core, according to Sue Wood, FDCSD director of curriculum, instruction and assessment.

The curriculum, purchased from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, cost $157,422.10.

“We had a study of mathematics last year,” Wood said. “After that study of mathematics and what we knew from that study would be required to meet the demands of the Iowa Core, then we selected three different programs to pilot.”

More than 25 district teachers were selected to pilot the different curriculums, Wood said. The curriculum is brand new, written after the common core standards were developed.

“We completed a rubric that actually was developed by the common core state standards authors to evaluate curriculum materials,” Wood said. “And then we came together as a group and made the decision as to which one would most closely align and most get us to where we needed to go.”

Several differences will be noticeable in math instruction.

“There will be more of students having to come up with several different ways to solve a problem, their own way being a good way,” Wood said. “They will need to communicate their thinking, the way they solved the problem. They will have to be familiar with the standards of mathematical practice. One of them is that they have to construct viable arguments for their solution to the problem.”

She added, “This curriculum will allow us to get there.”

Teachers will be trained July 31 for Big Ideas and Aug. 2 for Math Expressions.

“Throughout the year, we’ll be implementing the curriculum and professional development will be geared toward implementation all through the year,” Wood said.

Wood said students in the pilot programs were enthusiastic about the instruction.

“It aligns a lot with cognitively guided instruction,” she said. “In the classroom where we’ve done CGI, the students are used to this, and they do love it, because they love going up to the board, coming up with their own solutions to the problem and saying why it’s a good solution. They really enjoy that. And it really causes them to think.”