Spiraling makes way for mastery in math curriculum

South Orange Patch

Changes are ahead for math curriculum and instruction. Students in grades K-5 will have more time devoted to math this year, and the district will replace "Everyday Math" with the "Math in Focus" program. This change means that "spiraling" will be replaced by "mastery."

Rosetta Wilson, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, explained mapping of the grades 6-12 curriculum began in spring. A goal is to increase algebra in all grades, across all levels. Two courses were adopted at CHS last month: Intro to Calculus, and Calculus/Intro to Linear Algebra.

A professional development goal asks teachers to become more "diagnostic" in their teaching, becoming "more adept at diagnosing what students are learning."

Math classrooms are expected to become more student-centered, with less teacher talk.

PSAT testing was instituted for last year's sophomore class. Their scores were used as part of the summer Step-Up classes.

Wilson said a goal is to help the community become more aware of what goes on in math classes. Open classes are being considered.

In grades K-5, the program Math in Focus is proposed for implementation next school year. It will replace Everyday Math in K-5. Everyday Math uses a "spiraling" approach to teaching, where a given topic is covered year after year, in more depth each time. Math in Focus, said Wilson, looks to "mastery," where students consider a topic for a longer period.

A professional goal, noted Wilson, is for teachers to build their math capacity, which allows them to teach skills more effectively.

Math instruction will increase to 90 minutes daily; 60 minutes of classwork and 30 minutes of independent work. This will replace some time spent in science and Social Studies, effective this year.

Jennifer Payne-Parrish encouraged Wilson to introduce curriculum changes at Back-to-School night; there are no formal plans to do so.

Andrea Wren-Hardin noted a concern students will have less Social Studies and science instruction. Wilson acknowledged those subjects have been "streamlined," with some units of study removed.

A further concern was students who weren't challenged previously, spending 60 minutes daily on math, will now see 90 minutes of the same. Wilson said this will be addressed in each classroom.

Overall, said Wilson, the district is going "for depth, not breadth" in rolling out changes to the math curriculum.

Reader comments:

#### Thomas Lotito

9:45am on Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I wish Long Valley's K-8 schools would come to their senses and get rid of EM & CM.Hats off to administrators & advocates.

#### MarkDS

10:51am on Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I wish Millburn would follow suit and get rid of Everyday Math.

http://southorange.patch.com/articles/district-math-changes-this-year-and-next#photo-767356