Frequently Asked Questions

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

Updated August 30, 2018

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?
    No. One goal of our curriculum is to support teachers making decisions in response to student thinking. We curate and develop tasks that uncover student thinking and we use Instructional Routines so that teachers know how to use some of our tasks. However, the resources we provide are not entire lessons and are not scripted. We do provide a structure for teachers to plan out their own decisions. We believe that teachers should respond to what students know and can do, which is inherently impossible to do when using daily scripted lessons.
  3. 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).
  4. 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.
  5. What are Instructional Routines?
    This page describes Instructional Routines in some detail.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. What about homework assignments?
    We do not currently create homework assignments as part of our curriculum. 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.
  10. Why don’t you have Core Resources for every Big Idea in Geometry and Algebra II yet?
    We are working on it! Writing high quality resources takes time and we have a small team. 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.
  11. What direction is your curriculum going?
    Our next steps this year, and likely the next, are to continue creating resources aligned to each Big Idea. 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.
  12. 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.


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