Curriculum News

K-5 Curriculum Initiatives

With the adoption of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), District 27 has been engaged in deep study of the new standards and revision of its current Math and Reading/Language Arts programs. The revision initiatives are multi-year projects, and we are pleased to share the exciting changes we will be making over the next few years, including changes for the 2013-14 school year.

Writing

UnitsofStudyThis past spring and summer we focused heavily on our writing curriculum and selected a core resource to support the teaching and learning of the new standards. We currently use the first edition of Units of Study and have been very pleased with our students’ understanding of the writing process and quality of writing. Through our curriculum revision process, we reviewed the updated/CCSS-aligned version of the program and believe it is an exceptional resource. The updated Units of Study program addresses at every grade level the three types of writing identified in CCSS: Information, narrative, and opinion/argumentative, the latter being a new type of writing included in the updated resource. The writing workshop model, which includes explicit mini-lessons, guided and independent writing time, conferencing with the teacher, and peer work, will continue to be a critical part of our writing curriculum.

We have constructed a thoughtful implementation plan that will support quality implementation and ensure that every child receives high quality instruction.Because students are already familiar with the lesson format and writing workshop model, the transition to the CCSS-aligned units should be relatively seamless for the students. At Shabonee all classrooms will be using the updated Units of Study resource this year. At Hickory Point we will use a two-year, phased-in implementation plan. By the 2014-15 school year, all students be using the revised resources.

 For an overview of the units, please click here.

Reading

In conjunction with the writing curriculum revision, we have been reviewing our reading curriculum and accompanying resources. All teachers have engaged in comprehensive professional development on the new reading CCSS, which they have been applying already to their classrooms lessons. We will be selecting new resources this year and will conduct a two-year, phased-in implementation plan similar to writing that will start in 2014-15.

Mathematics

We have been using the University of Chicago’s Everyday Math program for nearly 15 years with great success. Since initial implementation, our students have demonstrated exceptional math scores on standardized assessments, including ISAT, Terra Nova, and NWEA. Despite very strong student achievement, we have been planning to review our math curriculum and update our resources as part of our regular curriculum revision cycle. Using the new Common Core State Standards as a guide, The Math Curriculum Committee carefully reviewed MathExpressionsseveral resources and selected a new resource called Math Expressions. We were highly impressed with Math Expressions because of its true alignmentto the grade level CCSS and the overall quality of instruction. In addition to the content standards supported by Math Expressions, it also supports the Common Core Standards for Mathematical Practices, which focus on math processes and practices that all students should develop, such as mathematical reasoning, communication, and problem solving. Math Expressions is rigorous, builds deep conceptual understanding, focuses on problem solving, requires students to apply math knowledge and skills, and supports fluency with math facts and multi-digit problems.

  • For additional information about the program, please visit the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Math Expressions website.
  • For specific grade level math CCSS information, please click here.

We will use an implementation plan similar to the one we are using for writing. At Shabonee all classrooms will be implementing the Math Expressions resource this year. At Hickory Point we will use a two-year, phased-in implementation plan. By the 2014-15 school year, all students will be using the new resource. As we transition from Everyday Math, we have reviewed every lesson in the program and have made modifications to lessons to support student learning of the new math Common Core State Standards. Additionally, we will use assessment data throughout the year that are aligned to CCSS to inform instruction in all our classrooms to ensure that all students are receiving a rigorous and high quality education.