For about the past three years I have served as one of the fourth grade representatives on my school district’s Math Curriculum Committee. The committee initially assembled in order to assist in the selection and implementation of a new math series that would be used across the district. However, we had a curveball thrown our way when Pennsylvania adopted the Common Core State Standards. It was at this point in time that the committee turned its attention to this drastic change, and the way in which we would utilize professional development to familiarize all teachers with these new standards and practices.
As part of the professional development process, I recently presented on Common Core Mathematics to all of the fourth grade teachers in my district. The presentation lasted for approximately 2.5 hours, and it took place on my district’s fall in service day. The majority of the content focused on how inquiry-based mathematics could be taught, and not so much the new fourth grade documents (pacing guide, curriculum, etc.) that will be rolled out within the next year or so. Presenting all of the information in one session would have been overwhelming for all parties involved. Also, in order to truly emphasize the pedagogical shift that must take place, I strongly felt that it was best to first focus on how to teach before reviewing what to teach.
Here is a brief outline of what took place over the 2.5 hours: