Frequently Asked Questions

This is a list of responses to commonly asked questions about the math curriculum.

Updated October 14th, 2019

This is a list of commonly asked questions we receive about our curricular resources. As we are asked more questions and come up with more answers, this list will be revised. If you have a question, and it is not answered by this page, please feel free to share your question with us by filling out this form.

  1. Do you have a paper version of your curriculum?
    We do not have a paper version of our curriculum, nor do we ever intend to have a paper version. First, a paper curriculum would be more difficult for teachers to customize. Second, it is our belief that curriculum should be enacted in ways which respond to student need; it is much more difficult to do this when everything is already sequenced and printed.
  2. Do you have scripted daily lessons?
    For Algebra I, we do have a complete set of Core Resources, each of which contains between 4 and 5 lesson plans that teachers can adapt or modify. For Geometry and Algebra II, every unit has a Core Resource but we do not yet have a Core Resource for each lesson. This page describes the overall completion of the curriculum by course.

    These lessons are not scripted but they are intended to provide student materials, a suggested teacher lesson, and other resources for supporting teachers using our curriculum.
  3. Why do you use Google Docs?
    We use the Google Doc platform for our resources because it is free for teachers and schools to use, the resources are easily made available online since the platform is cloud-based, and because Google Docs make sharing and collaborating around resources much easier than other platforms.

    We wrote a guide to help teachers that is available here. This guide should help teachers who want to edit, organize, download, or share the resources we have created.
  4. Why do you introduce functions before equations in both Algebra I and Algebra II?
    The focus of Algebra I and Algebra II overall is functions so we want students to have many opportunities to re-engage with the core ideas of functions. By positioning functions earlier in the curriculum, students get these opportunities automatically. We also want students to connect what they know about functions to equations so students have tools with which to check their work (e.g., graphs and tables).
  5. Where did your unit sequences come from?
    We initially derived our units and the sequence for our units from the Math Design Collaborative work led by Ann Shannon. Over time, these units and the unit sequences have been revised as we learn more about  the expectations of New York State and as we developed coherent collections of Big Ideas across the three courses.
  6. What are Instructional Routines?
    This page describes Instructional Routines in some detail.
  7. What additional supports do you recommend for English as a New Language Learners and students with special needs? And why do you use the phrase 'English as a New Language Learners' anyway?
    For a detailed answer to this question, see this page. We use the phrase ‘English as a New Language Learners' to describe students who are learning English as a second (or later) language to remind ourselves and others that these students have a language that they can draw on as an asset both when learning mathematics and learning a new language.
  8. Do you have resources for students who need additional support to be ready to take Algebra I?
    We include instructional routines within our curriculum students so that all kids have the instructional supports they are likely to need to be successful at Algebra I. If you want dedicated curriculum support for students, we recommend the Transition to Algebra curriculum published by Heinemann and have outlined some resources for this curriculum here.
  9. What are Big Ideas?
    This page describes what Big Ideas are and includes an argument by Phil Daro which convinced us to organize our curriculum around Big Ideas and not individual lessons.
  10. Where are the weekly quizzes for formative assessment?
    Creating weekly quizzes is a low priority task for us for a couple of reasons. Primarily, we have evidence that teachers can make quizzes fairly easily, so we prefer to focus on harder to make stuff. Also, our formative assessment work revolves around incorporating all five of Dylan Wiliam’s formative assessment strategies. As an alternative to setting aside instructional time for quizzes, we suggest collecting student work samples each day and analyzing them for evidence of student learning. Then plan to use this work to re-engage students in the mathematics of the week as the “weekly quiz.” This way students can continue to learn mathematics while you simultaneously can collect data to which to respond.

    However, if you still need to create weekly quizzes, we recommend using Quiz Banker, which has thousands of Regents questions that we have aligned to our Units and Big Ideas.
  11. What about homework assignments?
    We do not currently have homework assignments for Geometry and Algebra II. This is partly because this is work that we know teachers are able to do themselves and partly because the evidence of the impact of homework on student learning is mixed. There is some evidence that students benefit from interleaved practice, retrieval practice, and spacing of practice sessions, and so when teachers are designing their homework assignments, they may want to take these strategies into account.

    We do have spiraled (or interleaved) practice assignments for Algebra I. These resources can be found in the Resources bar at the top of each unit. These assignments can be used either as additional practice during a lesson or as homework assignments. More information on the design of these practice assignments is available here.
  12. Why don’t you have Core Resources for every Big Idea in Geometry and Algebra II yet?
    Writing high quality resources takes time and we have a small team. We have at least one core resource in each unit to give guidance on what lessons that support a big idea could look like. We hope to have more resources created in the future, but do not have a specific timeline. In the meantime, we recommend using a textbook, like College Preparatory Mathematics or the CME project to support planning for areas where we do not yet have resources. We also recommend that you use the Core Resource and Instructional Routines in each Unit to guide the creation of lessons based on student responses to the content. See question #2 for our rationale.

    More detail on completion of Core Resources for each course is available here. You can also view the Core Resources currently available for Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II.

  13. What direction is your curriculum going?
    Our next steps this year are to continue creating resources aligned to each Big Idea and to add Annotated Sample Student Work on the Student Handouts (see example here) for each Algebra I Big Idea Core Resource. We also intend to develop resources for two to three more Instructional Routines. Our objective is to create a curriculum that allows teachers to respond to students with meaningful instruction and useful tasks.
  14. What about the new standards (shift from the Common Core Learning Standards to the NYS Next Generation Mathematics Learning Standards)? 
    We are keeping an eye out on updates from the state. Here is a summary document with the latest information on the key shifts in the standards and the impact to the Regents-ending courses, as well as the anticipated roll out of Regents exams assessing the Next Generation Mathematics Learning Standards. Since most of the standards are similar to the Common Core Learning Standards, with a few major shifts noted in the summary document (or viewable in more detail on the Crosswalk documents released by the state), the impact to the curriculum materials will be minimal and will be made over time before 2022. What you will start to see over the next couple of years are updates to Quiz Banker and the curriculum that show alignments to the new standards, which will be ready by the full implementation year (see Implementation Timeline). 
  15. What is the license of your curricular materials?
    New Visions resources are licensed under a Creative Commons, Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International license (the fine print).

    You are free to:
    Share — Copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format.
    Adapt — Remix, transform and build upon the material.

    Under the following terms:
    Attribution — You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.
    NonCommercial — You may not use the material for commercial purposes.
    ShareAlike — If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you must distribute your contributions under the same license as the original.
    Resources created by our partners may be governed under different licenses and permissions.

  16. What textbooks do you recommend? 
    In considering whether textbooks (1) support Common Core-aligned teaching practice, (2) use rich tasks to generate actionable evidence of student thinking and learning and (3) allow for classroom practice that will encourage teachers’ own development, we have found two worth considering: College Preparatory Mathematics (CPM) Core Connections Series (CCSS, 2013) and the Interactive Mathematics Program (IMP) 2nd Edition. Both curricula originated in rigorous research projects and their theories of action and curriculum development have extensive research bases. Primarily because CPM offers a traditional sequence aligned with New York State’s three Regents examinations in mathematics, we recommend CPM as a resource to support student work outside the classroom. For more details, click here


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