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New Kindergarten And First Grade Math Curriculum For Newtown Students

Published: April 19, 2018

A new math curriculum for kindergartners and first graders was approved by the Board of Education at its meeting on April 3, following a presentation on the proposed curriculum at the board’s March 20 meeting.

Head O’ Meadow Elementary School Math/Science Specialist Chrissie Pierce and Sandy Hook Elementary School’s Math/Science Specialist Kris Feda presented the proposed curriculum at the March 20 meeting. According to Assistant Superintendent of Schools Jean Evans Davila, district educators began working on the new curriculum last school year with a focus on concept-based curriculum and instruction.

Ms Davila commended everyone involved in creating the new curriculum during a time when the district was also transitioning to the new Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), which are state-set standards.

“We recognized that we needed to develop curriculum that was centered around concepts that… could be related from year to year,” said Ms Pierce.

The group focused on different concepts taught in math and then developed ways teachers can use them to instruct students. As an example, Ms Pierce shared that in kindergartner students can be taught addition and subtraction through the “lens” of patterns and equality. In first grade, the same lens would be used, but the lesson would be “at a deeper level.”

Solving problems and persevering were embedded in every unit in the new curriculum, Ms Pierce said.

Ms Feda said while developing the curriculum, the educators thought about the conceptual understanding of the mathematics that the students will be learning. Over last summer, Ms Feda said the educators thought of questions that also help students foster discourse in the curriculum.

“Not only has the use of our resource now transitioned into a nice concept-based curriculum, it also has helped teachers to be able to develop strong instructional strategies,” said Ms Feda, who is also the district’s K-8 science coordinator.

Board member Dan Delia thanked the educators for their efforts on the new curriculum and mentioned that it is “rigorous, and I think the children need that.”

The March 20 meeting was the board’s first read of the proposed curriculum. It took up the topic again at its April 3 meeting.

Middle Gate Elementary School Math/Science Specialist Jill Bracksieck answered questions for board members before the final approving vote on April 3.

The board unanimously approved the new curriculum, and Ms Bracksieck thanked all of the kindergarten and first grade teachers who worked on the new curriculum.

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