Major Work of the Grade and Vertical Alignment
I recently stumbled across a great website that offers a wealth of professional development on PARCC and the CCSS, both in ELA and Math. The site is powered by the National Math and Science Initiative. Teachers and administrators will need to create a free login to access the site. The site gives the following information as to why it was created:
“The PARCC Educator Leader Cadres (ELCs) will help each state build and expand the number of educators who understand, support and feel ownership of the successful implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and PARCC assessments.”
I found an activity on the site focusing on the Critical Areas in Mathematics. I printed out the cards on colored paper and asked the Instructional Coaches to place each critical area into the correct grade level. The cards are below:
After teachers worked together, I gave them this page (2.2 Critical Area Activity Sheet ) and asked them to check their answers and record any discrepancies. It is important to note that this activity calls the topics the Critical Areas and this differs slightly from the “Major Work of the Grade” as laid out by PARCC. PARCC’s use of Major Work of the Grade is more specific and the Critical Areas activity creates fewer and broader categories that do incorporate the major work of the grade.
It is a great activity for teachers to see the vertical progression of topics in mathematics with the CCSS. The PARCC.nms.org site went a step further and created this great one page document ( 2.3 Summary Critical areas summary) over viewing the critical areas from kindergarten to high school mathematics. The site also included a one page overview of the fluency standards (Key Fluency Expectations Recommendations and Examples of Culminating Standards). I encourage coaches to print these pages out and laminate them for every teacher.
The PARCC.nms.org site offers great activities on math practices, examining coherence in one domain, and text complexity. I strongly encourage coaches, administrators, and department chairs to visit the site and utilize some of the great resources.