Shifting mathematics planning and instructional practices to align with the expectations of the Common Core State Standards: a multi-faceted approach

Dingle, Catherine Green
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University of Delaware
As a result of the shift to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), the expectations for teaching and learning have changed significantly. During the time of No Child Left Behind, the state department of education provided grade level standards on which Fairview County Public Schools based their curriculum. The curriculum was circular in nature and focused on exposure to concepts and skills, rather than mastery. The same concepts and skills were introduced throughout many grade levels, which promoted surface level learning. The CCSS, however, are focused on depth of understanding and mastery; the standards build on one another from year to year, and students are expected to use that knowledge to expand and deepen their understanding as the years go on. The expectations for learning at each grade level have also become more rigorous; for example, complex texts and complex mathematical concepts are now introduced in earlier grade levels. In order for students to be successful with the CCSS, teachers must change the way that they plan for instruction as well as the way that they deliver instruction. This Education Leadership Portfolio describes strategies that were designed and implemented at one elementary school in an effort to shift mathematics planning and instructional practices to better align with the CCSS expectations. I engaged in activities to increase my knowledge of mathematics and professional learning so that I could lead the improvement efforts successfully and support teachers in a meaningful way. A variety of professional learning experiences was provided to help teachers increase their content-area knowledge and expand their repertoire of strategies to teach mathematics. The results of these professional development strategies on teacher practices are discussed and recommendations are made to inform future professional learning activities focused on shifting mathematics planning and instructional practices.