The math course writer of generations past might have relied only on old textbooks in developing content, but the math course writer of today has so much more available to assist in creating high-quality content. With millions of resources just a click away, it is easier than ever to familiarize yourself with math education’s current best practices and tools. Here are 10 resources for every math course writer to explore:
- Common Core State Standards (CCSS)
Of course, the Common Core standards are one of the most, if not the most, important go-to resource for any math course writer. Standards can be broken down by grade level or domain. Make sure that you’re familiar with the Standards of Mathematical Practice as well.
- Open Education Resources
While there are many educational search engines available, Open Education Resources is one of the better-stocked and organized sites. Check out their Common Core Hub for a plethora of Common Core–aligned tasks and lesson guides to help inform your content and item writing. They also have a section dedicated solely to the instructional shifts of new standards.
- Illustrative Mathematics
This website not only breaks down the standards, but links tasks and sample problems to their respective mathematical domains and standards. Each task also includes a commentary about what a student must know/do to supply a proficient response, as well as possible student misconceptions—perfect for course writers who want to see exemplars of how the standards can be assessed.
- Engage NY
Modules for math courses from pre-kindergarten through high school are available from the New York State Education Department. Not only do they have student and teacher notes, but they also have newly created assessment tasks for each module. A great resource to see continuity across grade levels and how to integrate the Common Core standards into curriculum.
- National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM)
NCTM advocated for a universal set of mathematical standards at the national level long before the Common Core standards came along, and has been at the forefront of providing quality math resources and professional development for decades. Although many journals require a subscription to access, there are plenty of free lessons and articles available to search without having a membership.
The Galileo Educational Network promotes innovative teaching practices that revolve around inquiry-based learning. Definitely read the article “Designing for Deep Mathematical Understanding” (http://galileo.org/designing-for-deep-math-understanding.pdf) to better understand the forms that mathematical inquiry can take in the content you create.
- Better Explained
The ability to clearly and concisely explain content is a skill all proficient course writers should possess. Developed by Kalid Azad, Better Explained breaks down complex math concepts in ways you’ve never considered before. This is especially useful for those topics where you might want a more tangible way to approach an abstract concept.
Math course writers should be familiar with ways to use technology to enhance student understanding of mathematical concepts. GeoGebra provides opportunities to visualize and explore mathematical relationships using dynamic software. You can download the program to create your own geometric models, or you can search their user-created library for applets or interactive “worksheets.”
If you need an online graphing utility for yourself or for instructional purposes, look no further—Desmos is the tool for you. Create your own graphs or, like with GeoGebra, search their library for interactive activities accessible online or on your smartphone using their app.
You’ve found all these new resources. Now what? To avoid asking yourself “Wait, what was that website again?”, use Delicious as a way of organizing your favorite and newly discovered online resources. This social bookmarking tool provides a way to catalogue websites using tags, so that you can easily return to them when you need them.
While this is by no means an exhaustive list of first-rate resources for math course writers, using the websites and tools listed here will ensure that any content you develop is standards-based and well-informed from a mathematical perspective.