I finally get it.
I have never understood the assumed necessity of having and using some big publisher’s packaged curriculum. You know the one, 15 pound student textbooks with a teacher’s guide painstakingly chosen by a committee every X years (or not, depending on the budget cuz they’re damn expensive). It seemed so Old-School-ish to me: curriculum = ultra traditional textbooks = lesson plans, Day 1, Lesson 1, Page 1. Here’s how you do it kids, practice it 5000 times, the test is next Thursday. Repeat ad nauseam. Yuck (with smug eye-roll). As a teacher, I rarely used the school’s textbooks except as an occasional resource. I already know what I have to teach, isn’t that the point of having standards? How I teach is up to me (thank goodness), and I chose to work towards constructing understanding via student-centered learning via worthwhile tasks. Prioritized student reasoning and valid arguments, focused students more on Why than How.
At least, that’s what I always aimed for. What a rebel. Consequently, I spent hours and hours (because I did not know about MTBoS yet!) developing my own curriculum, planning my own lessons, agonizing over details. H.O.U.R.S. Constantly creating, reflecting, refining. Continuously making shit up, learning from my mistakes (plenty of those!), trying again. The long hours and effort probably contributed to my early burnout, do ya think?
What I realized today is that I did not see any need to rely on a packaged curriculum because I had never met one I liked, one that I believed in, one that rang true for me, impressed and inspired me, one that I could follow without hesitation or makeovers or by sacrificing my convictions.
I seriously cannot say enough good things about Illustrative Math and Open Up Resources. OMG, this brand-spankin’-new 6-8 curriculum really delivers. It aligns so beautifully with my beliefs about teaching a learning mathematics that I could actually do Day 1, Lesson 1 without any qualms whatsoever. None, I’m not kidding. I get chills (they’re multiplyin’) just thinking about the implications.
NOW I get what you mean, Sadie Estrella (Math Nerd) when you insightfully advise us to rely on our good curriculums so we can put our precious time and energy into knowing our students and meeting their needs. I GET IT! Only now do I see and believe that it’s possible, because finally finally and oh joy of joys, here is a worthy curriculum that is going to hold me up when I lean hard on it. More than good. Glorious.
Plus, FREE is a very good price. Check it out NOW!