MathematicsIn the 21st century, a deep understanding of mathematics, and the ability to apply that understanding, is more important than it has ever been. In Peoria Public Schools and across the country, mathematics instruction is changing to make sure we provide our students with the skills and knowledge they need for success in college and the workplace. The Common Core Standards provide a clear picture of what students need to learn each year in order to graduate from high school ready to succeed in college and careers.Implementation of The Common Core Standards requires three significant shifts in teaching:
- Focus strongly where the Standards focus
- Coherence: Think across grades, and link to major topics within grades
- Rigor: In major topics pursue conceptual understanding, procedural skill and fluency, and application with equal intensity.
The Common Core Standards call for a greater focus in mathematics. Rather than racing to cover topics in today’s mile-wide, inch-deep curriculum, teachers use the power of the eraser and significantly narrow and deepen the way time and energy is spent in the math classroom. They focus deeply on the major work of each grade so that students can gain strong foundations: solid conceptual understanding, a high degree of procedural skill and fluency, and the ability to apply the math they know to solve problems inside and outside the math classroom. All students in the Peoria Public Schools shall have equitable access to a high-quality mathematics education. High expectations and equitable support for all students provide the opportunity for success.Coherence
Thinking across grades: The Standards are designed around coherent progressions from grade to grade. Principals and teachers carefully connect the learning across grades so that students can build new understanding onto foundations built in previous years. Teachers can begin to count on deep conceptual understanding of core content and build on it. Each standard is not a new event, but an extension of previous learning. Instead of allowing additional or supporting topics to detract from the focus of the grade, these topics can serve the grade level focus. For example, instead of data displays as an end in themselves, they support grade--‐level word problems. The mathematics' curriculum in the Peoria Public Schools is coherent and standards-based. The District Year Long Plans provide the structure for the standards-based curriculum.Rigor
Conceptual understanding: The Standards call for conceptual understanding of key concepts, such as place value and ratios. Teachers support students’ ability to access concepts from a number of perspectives so that students are able to see math as more than a set of mnemonics or discrete procedures. Teachers in the Peoria Public Schools are professionals who make informed instructional decisions based on the needs of their students. Instruction is based on the belief that all students can learn mathematics with understanding.
Procedural skill and fluency: The Standards call for speed and accuracy in calculation. Prior to working on speed and accuracy, teachers will ensure that students develop an understanding of the concepts involved and make connections to the standard way of computing. After the development stage, teachers will structure class time for students to practice core functions such as single-digit multiplication so that students have access to more complex concepts and procedures.
Application: The Standards call for students to use math flexibly for applications. Teachers provide opportunities for students to apply math in context. Teachers in content areas outside of math, particularly science, ensure that students are using math to make meaning of and access content.Assessment: Assessment in mathematics is ongoing, varied, and an integral part of instruction. Teachers use assessment as a tool for making instructional decisions. A comprehensive assessment program that is aligned with the curriculum is being used in the Peoria Public Schools.Technology: The use of technology in the mathematics classroom can enhance student learning. In the Peoria Public Schools, technology is used to promote problem-solving, develop conceptual understanding, and investigate mathematical relationships. The use of technology is not intended to replace the development of computational fluency with basic number facts and relationships.The Standards for Mathematical PracticeThe Common Core Standards of Mathematical Practice change the way that students interact with mathematical content across the district's classrooms. These Standards describe the varieties of expertise/habits of mind that teachers at all levels will seek to develop in their students.All students in Peoria Public Schools, District 150 classrooms will:1. Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.2. Reason abstractly and quantitatively.3. Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.4. Model with mathematics.5. Use appropriate tools strategically.6. Attend to precision.7. Look for and make use of structure.8. Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.Tracy Donath, Math and Science Coordinator