Saint Paul public schools use Everyday Math for their curriculum in all elementary schools, regardless of type of school, including "city wide", magnets, or any flavor of "type" attached, be they self-designated Montessori, Core Knowledge, IB, or any other supposed program. I've been trying to understand how Everyday Math is implemented.

Recently, I was able to find a great number of resources on the Saint Paul public web site, including standards, frameworks, tools, curriculum planners, worksheets and other items that the district uses to support its teachers, coaches, admins with EM. I found these illuminating, if not encouraging. Perhaps they will enlighten others whose schools use Everyday Math as well.

Here is the

K-6 Framework document for Mathematics. It sets out the overarching vision the district has and lists the standards they say they implement. It's a confusing document, poorly organized. I've excerpted some of it below, but to get a feel for it, it's best to read it.

The framework doc mentions that SPPS has been working with an organization called Institute for Learning, IFL, at the University of Pittsburgh. They help with the planning and execution of the curriculum. (anyone have an opinion of IFL?) The framework says "These principles guide not only administrative leadership, but curriculum, instruction, and assessment in an authentic standards-based model." Some of the IFL's nine principles of learning are excerpted below, mostly the lowlights. (I love how they service-marked one of them--AccountableTalkSM!

1. Organizing for Effort

An effort-based school replaces the assumption that aptitude determines what and how much students learn with the assumption that sustained and directed effort can yield high achievement for all students. Everything is organized to evoke and support this effort, to send the message that effort is expected and that tough problems yield to sustained work. High minimum standards are set and assessments are geared to the standards.All students are taught a rigorous curriculum, matched to the standards, along with as much time and expert instruction as they need to meet or exceed expectations.

...

5. Academic Rigor in a Thinking Curriculum

Thinking and problem solving will be the "new basics" of the 21st century. But the common idea that we can teach thinking without a solid foundation of knowledge must be abandoned. So must the idea that we can teach knowledge without engaging students in thinking. Knowledge and thinking are intimately joined. This implies a curriculum organized around major concepts that students are expected to know deeply. Teaching must engage students in active reasoning about these concepts. In every subject, at every grade level, instruction and learning must include commitment to a knowledge core, high thinking demand, and active use of knowledge.

Commitment to a Knowledge Core

�� An articulated curriculum that avoids needless repetition and progressively deepens understanding of core concepts.

�� Curriculum and instruction organized around major concepts.

�� Teaching and assessment focus on mastery of core concepts.

High Thinking Demand

�� Students expected to raise questions, to solve problems, to reason.

�� Challenging assignments in every subject.

�� Extended projects.

�� Explanations and justification expected.

�� Reflection on learning strategies.

Active Use of Knowledge

�� Synthesize several sources of information

�� Test understanding by applying and discussingconcepts.

�� Apply prior knowledge.

�� Interpret texts and construct solutions.

6. Accountable TalkSM

Talking with others about ideas and work is fundamental to learning. But not all talk sustains learning. For classroom talk to promote learning it must be accountable to the learning community, to accurate and appropriate knowledge, and to rigorous thinking.Accountable TalkSM seriously responds to and further develops what others in the group have said. It puts forth and demands knowledge that is accurate and relevant to the issue under discussion. Accountable TalkSM uses evidence appropriate to the discipline (e.g., proofs in mathematics, datafrom investigations in science, textual details in literature, documentary sources in history) and follows established norms of good reasoning.Teachers should intentionally create

the norms and skills of Accountable TalkSM in their classrooms.

Accountability to the Learning Community

�� Students actively participate in classroom talk.

�� Listen attentively.

�� Elaborate and build on each other's ideas.

�� Work to clarify or expand a proposition.

Accountability to Knowledge

�� Specific and accurate knowledge.

�� Appropriate evidence for claims and arguments.

�� Commitment to getting it right.

Accountability to Rigorous Thinking

�� Synthesize several sources of information.

�� Construct explanations and test understanding ofconcepts.

�� Formulate conjectures and hypotheses.

�� Employ generally accepted standards of reasoning.

�� Challenge the quality of evidence and reasoning.

7. Socializing Intelligence

Intelligence is much more than an innate ability to think quickly and stockpile bits of knowledge. Intelligence is a set of problem-solving and reasoning capabilities along with the habits of mind that lead one to use those capabilities regularly. Intelligence is equally a set of beliefs about one's right and obligation to understand and make sense of the world, and one's capacity to figure things out over time. Intelligent habits of mind are learned through the daily expectations placed on the learner. By calling on students to use the skills of intelligent thinking—and by holding them responsible for doing so—educators can "teach" intelligence. This is what teachers normally do with students they expect much from; it should be standard practice with all students.

Beliefs

�� I have the right and obligation to understand and make things work.

�� Problems can be analyzed and I am capable of that analysis.

Skills

�� A toolkit of problem-analysis skills (meta-cognitive strategies) and good intuition about when to use them.

�� Knowing how to ask questions, seek help, and get enough information to solve problems.

...

Eventually, they do get to the actual standards. Leaving aside whether NCTM or Minnesota standards are any good for now, you can read the standards, and then read what the framework says they need to do for instruction, and you'll see that it never says anything that would actually meet the standard.

Here's an example: For

First Grade, the standard says (some pieces left out):

Teachers will:

�� Establish daily 60 minutes—or more—mathematics lessons.

�� Spend 35–40 minutes teaching Part 1 of the lesson,15–20 minutes on Part 2 (the practice and review), and 5 minutes on the closing.

�� Ensure that all students receive Part 1 of the lesson (no pull-outs).

�� Teach math to a heterogeneous group of students. Ability grouping is not recommended for Part 1 of the lesson.

�� Provide Flexible Group Lessons/Activities daily.

During Part 2, at least one or two flexible group lessons that are 5–7 minutes in length,are offered to a small group of students needing extra time/practice to learn an expected Secure skill/standard. (Pull-outs for support services could occur during Part 2 of the lesson.)

Provide students needing enrichment—in pairs or in a small group—activities to extend,enhance,and enrich their math learning, during all of Part 2. These activities must support the learning goals of the topic or strand of the current Everyday Math unit. If you determine they are demonstrating proficiency on the skill taught during Part 1, they may be excused from that as well. (Pullouts for support services could occur during Part 1 or 2 of the lesson.)

�� Teach, in sequence, all lessons in both Teacher Guides of Everyday Math,covering four to five lessons per week.

(Follow the pacing guide of the curriculum.)

�� Use the Everyday Math Games as part of the lesson, part of flexible groups, part of

homework, or at other review times. Students should play the games at school, up to four or five times per week.

�� Have students write their mathematical thinking/processes used to reach a solution, at least two times a week.

�� Create a classroom environment that recognizes and supports the strengths and abilities of diverse learners.

�� With students, create ongoing class charts, including vocabulary aids/graphic organizers.

�� Read Content Highlights at the beginning of each unit to support deeper mathematical knowledge and instruction.

�� Regularly analyze student work with their colleagues.

�� Provide multiple ways of presenting mathematical concepts.

�� Create a classroom environment where students take central roles in the math-talk

learning community.

This includes:

1) students listening in order to understand each other's thinking;

2) students reasoning, defending,and proving their math concepts to one another;

3) students using thelanguage of mathematics in order to engage in Math-Talk/Accountable Talk; (Refer to Principles of Learning #6.)

Read the rest of the document for more. Remember, those were for FIRST GRADE.

Other documents that shed light on how the district operates:

The

Math Coaching Vision document is here. This appears to be how math coaches create accountability, at least at their quarterly coaching meetings.

Here is a

document explaining what you would be seeing if you visited a District Model Classroom teaching Everyday Math.

This document is called

Everyday Math Instruction Evidence . It lists standards and benchmarks of what is supposed to be happening in a classroom during instruction, presumably so the teacher or teacher evaluator can determine if such elements are occurring.

Here are some of the things they are looking for :

a. Creates a rich math classroom environment

- Number Line, Number Grid posted and used

- Student generated charts are available

- Word Wall is available for student use

- Math Literature is read by teacher to class and available to students

b. Provides Part 1, Part 2 and a Closing, including pacing

- All students participate in Part 1

- Students are placed in appropriate flexible groups, for reteaching and for enrichment

- A closing includes students sharing what they learned and/or what still confuses them

- The pacing expectations are closely followed

c. Uses open ended questions - Accountable Talk

- Encourages critical mathematical thinking

- Students use reasoning, defending, and proving skills

- Students use the language of mathematics

- Students and teacher are questioners

- Students take responsibility for their learning

Read the document for more.