Embrace the Challenges, Celebrate the Successes

The Wednesday morning math session started off with a combined grades 6-9 panel discussion about how districts have been implementing the standards and modules.  It clearly is a time to embrace the challenges while celebrating the successes. The greatest challenge seems to be that of time: time to completely grasp and understand the content and presentation of the lessons in the modules prior to teaching them and keeping up with the pacing required.

The issue of time has created a day-to-day routine of re-adjustment for us as educators. Letting go of old methods has been difficult to do, but trusting the work that we and our students are doing because of the depth of understanding now taking place in the classroom is calming some of the anxiety. The concept of closure has changed in that we cannot be so consumed by the final product of the day. We need to focus on and believe in the knowledge, skills, and confidence that are being built daily. Exit tickets do not have to be perfect.

The discussion also focused on how districts can help resistant teachers embrace the change and/or the modules. Some districts have needed to focus on the misconception that the modules are the standards. Teachers must look at the standards first and understand them, and then look to the modules as a tool or resource as one means to accomplish the task of teaching the standards.  Progression workshops where teachers explore the coherency and the instructional strategies for each of the domains is crucial in understanding the standards and has been done in some districts. Another strategy involves using the mathematical strengths of the teachers in the district and allowing them to take the lead for others. Coaching, mentoring, and collaboration have proven essential in these times of change.

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