When teachers turn their attention to the fall and begin their back-to-school planning, we know they will be contending with both the probable learning losses caused by school closures last spring and increasing uncertainty about the format of learning this fall.
One of the curricular challenges will be making sure there is enough time to both address unfinished learning and keep focusing on grade-level material.
To help teachers and leaders incorporate both objectives as they plan for next year, our math team has developed a new resource—Scope and Sequence Adjustment Guides for the 20–21 School Year. Drawing on recommendations in Student Achievement Partner’s 2020–21 Priority Instructional Content in English Language Arts/Literacy and Mathematics, the guides provide guidance on how to adjust the pacing and scope of Fishtank Math given the unique circumstances teachers face next school year. The guides are available for grades 3 to 8.
Taking the Long View
"We know teachers are constantly making decisions around their curriculum and their teaching practice. Next year, these decisions will only be compounded by other factors like remote vs. in-person learning, additional support for social/emotional well-being, and a need for more time, to name a few.
In developing this resource, we wanted to think about potential curriculum changes with a year-long view to help teachers make decisions about next year in advance. That way teachers can know, before they start a unit, if the content they are about to teach is critical to grade-level understandings, or if there may be opportunities for additional time. Looking at the curriculum across the whole year can also help teachers feel confident in where they decide to invest more time, knowing it is supported by a year-long plan."
— Jami Therrien Wells (Managing Director, Math Curriculum)
About the Guides
Our recommendations aim to identify opportunities where additional, targeted remediation can occur, while ensuring a deep focus on grade-level content. We recognize that while the remote learning experience of this past spring has undoubtedly varied from student to student, this pandemic has magnified many existing inequities in educational access and opportunity. Our guidance for curricular adjustments aims to preserve deep engagement with grade-level content which we believe is critical for equitable instruction for all students.
Knowing that additional time will be needed to address unfinished learning and that pacing will be important, the guidance in these documents serves to:
- Highlight critical grade-level content that should be prioritized,
- Identify opportunities where lessons can be reduced, combined, or eliminated in ways that will minimize negative impact on student progress and preserve grade-level priorities, and
- Identify specific places where strong connections to prior grade-level work are beneficial to diagnose and integrate into the curriculum.
Balance and Flexibility
"Given the immense challenges of the 2019-20 school year and the uncertainty of what the 2020-21 school year will look like, we knew we needed to create resources to help teachers to make instructional decisions for the upcoming school year.
We wanted to encourage a balance between maintaining focus on the most important grade-level content, and enabling teachers to free up space for ‘just-in-time’ remediation of important prerequisite content from last school year, as well as the social and emotional support that students will need in months to come.
We also wanted to give teachers as much top-level guidance as possible while also allowing for the flexibility to make decisions based on what their students really need. So we created a resource that provides suggestions at the unit and topic level that teachers can use to make decisions about where to consolidate content, incorporate pre-requisite knowledge as needed, and eliminate content that isn't critical, all based on what's best for their students."
— Sarah Britton (Curriculum Director, Elementary Math)
These guidelines are not designed as strict instructions on how to adjust the curriculum. Rather, they are meant to support teachers in making the curricular decisions that are right for their students.
In particular, this resource provides some guidance around incorporating prior grade-level work based on “just-in-time” content connections, but it does not specify how deep to go into that work or how long to spend on it, as that type of diagnosis and planning will be most effective at the individual level.
As noted in the documents, our Pre-Unit Assessments, available to Fishtank Plus users, is one resource that can support this diagnosis and curriculum integration. Teachers can also create their own diagnostic assessments using the standard connections mentioned in this resource as well as the foundational standards indicated on the unit page for each unit.
Where to Find Them
You can find grade-level Scope & Sequence Adjustment Guides available for download in the Unit Summary of every 3rd–8th grade unit.
You can also download directly from the links below: