Digital Papers Logo digital papers Home Page


Research Story and Diagram





Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player


Marian: But I want you to think about - is it that I want them to use a particular method? Or is it that I want them to be able to represent things in equations and figure out what they need or whatever. And then youʼll decide which it is and you'll go for that whichever it is.
Okay, thatʼs good.
Teacher: Okay.
Marian: Okay - so have you changed anything from what Iʼve seen?
Teacher: Not really.
Marian: So, recognizing situations where writing algebraic equations will solve the problem and being able to solve an equation by isolating a variable... Tell me why you would actually make your goal "isolating" - why is that a goal - as opposed to just solving the equation. Is it really important to you that they use the lingo of isolating.
Marian: If itʼs really your goal, then it is - and youʼve got to make sure that you ask questions that focus on it and if it was like I wrote this down but really that isnʼt what I did at all...
Teacher: Right.
Marian: Then I think you should take it away from your goal because it is not going to be involved in the questions you are asking.
Teacher: Okay.
Marian: So youʼre going to decide whichever way it is for you.

Outside Class: Consider the Math Outside Class: Consider the Math Outside Class: Plan Powerful Questions Consider Student Engagement Inside the Classroom: Pose Powerful Questions Inside the Classroom: Consider the Math Inside the Classroom: Respond to Students

Curriculum coherence requires a focus on interconnections, or big ideas. Big ideas represent fundamental principles; they are the ideas that link the specifics.

Big ideas form the framework for the learning of the important mathematics and they span across many grade levels. Differentiated instruction and the asking of good questions which meet the needs of a wide range of students in the classroom started with this approach to teaching through the big ideas.

Outside the classroom, we were focusing on deconstructing the expectations, figuring out what is important to each by 'filtering through big ideas' and planning lessons. Teachers looked at a curriculum expectation in light of the big ideas for the strand and focus in on appropriate lesson goals and consolidating questions.

In this video clip, teachers are co-planning their lessons and deciding on math lesson goals. They were thinking about what they wanted the students to learn in the lesson – is the goal about isolating a variable, or solving equations? Once teachers decided on what the goal was, they designed tasks and planned questions that brought the big ideas to the surface. The big idea for this lesson was that algebraic reasoning is a way to describe and work with mathematical relationships that apply to a large number of situations; and variables, or letters, are often used to efficiently describe these relationships.

Outside the Classroom Plan Powerful Questions >>