The world of Open Educational Resources (OER) is growing by leaps and bounds every day as more and more people contribute their expertise. Since the resources shared are free and open to anyone, they are a wonderful choice for district adoption, leaving the funding normally spent on expensive textbooks to be used for technology to enhance learning. (You can learn more about OER in this blog.) I’ve recently discovered an excellent math curriculum for grades 6-8 that is complete, based on the standards, and incorporates problem-based learning.
What They Offer
Open-Up Resources and Illustrative Mathematics together provide a ton of classroom-ready content for educators with three main design principles in mind:
- Access for All – The curriculum is based on the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework.
- Presume Competence – The activities in these materials position students to capitalize on their existing abilities and provide supports that eliminate potential barriers to learning when they arise. Each lesson is designed for a wide range of abilities, and all students are given access to grade-level problems.
- Strengths-Based Approach – All students, including students with disabilities, are resourceful and resilient members of the mathematics community. When the unique strengths and interests of students with disabilities are highlighted during class discussions, their contributions enhance the learning of all students in the classroom.
In addition, the curriculum offers support in each lesson for students with disabilities and for English Language Learners (ELLs). And assessments for each unit are also available, along with practice problems, downloads, and family materials. All of the content can be accessed via print, imported into a district LMS, or used in OneNote.
A typical lesson includes four parts:
- A warm-up
- One or more instructional activities
- The lesson synthesis
- A cool-down
There is a detailed teacher’s guide as well, making this a complete package for middle school mathematics. Tested in 175 classrooms during the 2016-2017 school year, this content is well worth your time. And with the money you save from not buying textbooks, you can provide more professional development for staff and more technology resources for students. It’s a definite win/win.