Grades 6-12 Math NYS Curriculum Release and Implementation

During the math session today, participants spent the first half of this morning discussing Topic C, looking at the key standards covered and types of approaches. Questions and approaches are different than in the past. See the example below.

Solve the following equation for x.  For each step, describe the operation used to convert the equation. 


What are the most important words in the question?

  • Describe (construct viable arguments)
  • Convert (coherence with equivalence from topic B).

How may ordered pairs (x,y) will be in the solution set 4x-y=10?  Create a visual representation.

Why does it make sense to represent the solution set visually?

Participants had a good conversation about the problem sets and homework. They are challenging and are not just the fluency exercises of the past. Participants agreed that a safe environment needs to be created for the struggles, and we need to prepare the parents for these struggles as well: perseverance is the theme.

The session also focused on lesson 14, solving linear equalities. In this lesson, students are asked to explore and prove the properties by a counter example. As a leader of discussion, the teacher needs to transfer the role. Teachers shouldn’t tell students the “rule” about multiplying an inequality by a negative number; the goal is for students to know it well enough to tell someone else.

Teachers will need support not only with the new content, but with classroom management techniques. It’s important to have procedures for students working together in groups to generate a quality discussion.

See the materials from the math sessions for grades 6-12 here.


Module Assessments and Data Cycles – ELA Morning Session

For the Friday morning ELA session, participants were split into two groups based on their familiarity with the modules – those new to the modules and those familiar with them. The group members, which included teachers and principals mixed in with coaches, reviewed the Norms of Collaboration. Participants silently read “Central Beliefs about Data Inquiry Teams,” to themselves. Data Inquiry Teams are teams of teachers in a school that meet regularly to analyze student data, reflect on student progress, and create action plans that improve instructional effectiveness.

The five Central Beliefs about Data Inquiry Teams are:

1- Data inquiry is built on the foundation of a collaborative, trusting professional culture in which accountability for achievement is shared by teachers, leaders, and students.

2- Data inquiry teams generate and implement concrete action plans to improve teaching and learning.

3- Data inquiry teams use high-quality data sources to analyze student achievement.

4- The work of data inquiry teams is inclusive, cyclical, and structured.

5- School leaders ensure that data are organized and displayed to support effective analysis.

Further descriptions of each belief can be found on in the ELA 3-8 Turnkey Kit.

Participants then discussed their processes for analyzing the data and dissemination protocols. Shared experiences among participants led to examining the protocol developed by Expeditionary Learning to analyze the data received from the module assessments:

Step 1- Choose roles

Step 2- Analysis- individually

Step 3- Description- what do group members see in the data?

Step 4- Identifying Challenges – everyone reports

Step 5- Looking at Student Work

Step 6- Discussion

Step 7- Brainstorm- share ideas

Step 8- Come to Consensus

Step 9- Complete an Action Plan

The participant groups examined the Performance Assessment Scores and followed the seven steps of data inquiry. They then came to a consensus about the best actions to take and then developed action plans.

Highlighting a Module 2 Lesson – ELA Session at NTI

During Thursday afternoon’s ELA session, participants discussed how people aren’t resistant to change; rather, they are resistant to transition. Some have a sense of the loss of control that the modules can bring. It’s the job of the Network Team members to go back to their districts and schools and show their colleagues that they still retain control over the curriculum they are teaching and the modules are a guide, not a mandate.

“Live a Lesson” – Participants were asked to be a student when looking at Lesson 8 from Unit 1 of Grade 8, Module 2A. Text selections included Shirley Chisolm’s speech: “Equal Rights for Women” and an excerpt from To Kill a Mockingbird. After a close reading of the speech, participants answered questions based on the reading and then broke into groups to discuss the process of close reading, gaining an understanding of the text and then answering the Text Dependent Questions (TDQs). Viewing the lesson from the perspective of a student helps inform teachers on how to best approach teaching the modules.

The groups discussed the learning targets, the close reading process, academic vocabulary, TDQs, the writing process, collaboration, and reflecting on learning targets. Teachers were able to see all of these shifts in action through the eyes of a student, making them better informed when they develop their own lessons or are using the modules in their classrooms.

The session also covered supporting the module implementation through change. “If we don’t change the direction we’re going, we’re likely to end up where we are headed.”- Chinese Proverb

Participants read an article from the National Staff Development Council, “A measure of concern” and discussed how it connects to professional choices they have made in the past. This lead to the “7 Stages of Concern” that offer a way to understand and then address educators’ common concerns about change.

Stage 0- Awareness- Aware that an innovation is being introduced but not really interested or concerned with it.

Stage 1- Informational- Interested in some information about the change.

Stage 2- Personal- Wants to know the personal impact of the change.

Stage 3- Management- Concerned about how the change will be managed in practice.

Stage 4- Consequence- Interested in the impact on students or the school.

Stage 5- Collaboration- Interested in working with colleagues to  make the change effective.

Stage 6- Refocusing- Begins refining the innovation to improve student learning results.

Participants discussed their teachers and where they fit in these seven stages as well as the behaviors they show to indicate at which stage they are in accepting and working with change. School leaders were supplied with a list of strategies to help them address the stages of concern that may be evident in their respective schools/districts. They also looked at sample cases and identified the stages of concern that were present in each instance. They discussed various solutions including messaging techniques, professional development, and effective use of data to provide collaboration time for teachers. Leaders found that knowing about the seven stages will help them to become a better resource for their staff, yet they should be able to recognize at which stage they are in as well.

1,000th Tweet

Anne Marie Bertram, Network Team member for Jefferson Lewis BOCES, won two copies of the book, Switch, for being our 1,000th tweeter for #NTIny with this tweet:

Anne Marie Bertram@AnneMarieBertra 2m

Just got overviews for DRAFT Algebra Modules 2 – 4, new curriculum map, and alignment of standards. #NTIny It’s like my birthday!

1000th tweet at NTI

Congrats, Anne Marie!

Discussing ELA Grades 3-8 Curriculum Modules at NTI

The session on curriculum for grades three through grade eight ELA modules kicked off with an ice-breaker where participants discussed the Seven Norms of Collaboration and how these help to foster growth and improve student achievement. Participants practiced a protocol from Expeditionary Learning (EL) called Written Conversation. This protocol encourages students to pass notes between each other, but it forces them to write about a teacher-administered prompt relevant to the reading they are doing. This allows students to have a conversation about what they wrote which then leads to an engaging class discussion.

Participants explored the new EL curriculum maps, which serve as a “roadmap” of the modules for teachers to follow throughout the school year. They discussed how the modules progress over the school year and reflect a progression of the shifts. The curriculum maps will be revised after NTI member feedback and then posted on the EngageNY website.

EngageNY is working on developing alternate modules for ELA. These will be meant for teachers who may want to address topics with their students other than the ones in the existing modules. The alternate modules will give teachers more flexibility when planning their Common Core-aligned curriculum for the school year.

Participants split into groups of grades three through five and grades six through eight to conduct a Case Study of a Standard. They discussed the scaffolding of skills and standards to analyze how the modules increase in complexity over time. The groups focused on Common Core Standard RL.1: “Read closely to determine what the text explicitly says and to make logical inferences from it, cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.” Participants analyzed how the assessments in each grade level reflect the standard and even how assessments vary across the modules.

“The standard is not the standard, the assessment is the standard.” – A discussion on the meaning of this statement lead to conversation about types of assessment and the validity of some forms of assessment as opposed to others.

Find the ELA professional development session materials here.

Notes about Grade 9 Math Curriculum Release and Implementation

The Grades 6-12 Curriculum Release and Implementation session today was divided into groups for different grade levels. The participants in the Grade 9 Math group began by exploring the lessons in Topic A, where students explore non linear situations. Participants watched and analyzed a YouTube video of “Professor Splash” that introduces students to quadratic functions.

The lessons in Topic B challenge students to answer the questions: “Why are the commutative, associative, and distributive properties so important? What is the role they play in writing equivalent expressions?”

Participants studied lesson 5, which includes reading and decoding text. During this lesson, math teachers will need to use instructional strategies to help with decoding the text. These instructional strategies include the students reading the text alone, paraphrasing it with a partner and then the teacher asking the students specific questions that require them to pull out important pieces of information from the text with a large group and then individual groups.

Participants reviewed lesson 6, which includes a multiplication problem involving polynomials that is solved by using an array geometrically. Students shouldn’t lose their sense of number once the variables appear. The arrays that are introduced in multiplication in third grade play a big role in using an array of polynomials geometrically to solve multiplication problems. The standards for mathematical practice are a large part of the math curriculum at this level.

In reviewing lesson 7, participants examined what it means to be algebraically equivalent. In this lesson, the curriculum asks students to accept the four properties of arithmetic as truths and what that allows them to do. The lesson builds on coherency and introduces the concept of proofs and how a mathematical expression can be manipulated to look different but mean the same thing.

Please find the professional development materials from Grades 6-12 math here.

Supporting Parents through the Change: Answering tough questions, engaging for partnership

The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.
–George Bernard Shaw

In “Support Parents through the Change,” an afternoon session led by Ken Slentz, the Deputy Commissioner for P-12 Education at NYSED, the discussion was about the challenge in externalizing and communicating the changes that were discussed earlier. Slentz said communicating with parents is one of NYSED’s core values.

“Graduating ALL students, making sure they’re college- and career-ready is our core value and primary goal,” he said. “There is urgency in providing equitable education to EVERY student in NYS. There is a disconnect between what we expect from our kids now and what we NEED to expect.”


1. Implementing the Common Core- explain why and that it is state-based

2. New Assessments based on CCLS- explain the need

3. Online Learning and Assessments in the future- efficiency

4. Teacher and Principal Evaluation for all Districts- assess if/how students are meeting the standards and use the data to inform instruction and PD

5. Priority and Focus Designations and Diagnostic Tool for School and District Effectiveness (DTSDE) visits- determine health and vitality of schools

6. Dignity for All Students- ensure students and teachers have a safe and healthy learning environment.

7. Response to Intervention- first do a full in-class diagnosis of a student before making referrals

8. Tax Cap- we have to change the current antiquated system

The Message:

  • Identify your audiences and differentiate your message.
  • Identify avenues for communicating your message- utilize social media!
  • Identify parties responsible for communicating the message.
  • Identify the content of the message.
  • Identify the impact of the message.

Your district mission statement should clearly identify your goals, preferably including the eight perspectives listed above. Additionally, the district strategic plan should be continuously altered to drive reflection, analysis, and action towards achieving your mission. Districts also need to have a district communication plan, a mass communication service, and a way to measure the impact of your communications.

Participants looked at communicating a message through the lens of a CEO of a publicly traded company. How would your communications change? Communication should be short, focused, talk about your core values, showcase the children, focus on current and future highlights (college performance), and inform why/how decisions are made.

The Toolkit for Parents and Families and full presentations for download can be found on Differentiate the professional development to help districts meet their populations.