Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Ninth Grade CCSS Algebra 1 Scope and Sequence

I had some requests on Twitter to share this out, so here goes.

As many of you know, in addition to my tech duties I teach one section of ninth grade Algebra (occasionally some sophomores in there as well). Colorado has adopted the Common Core State Standards so our math curriculum - like most folks' - will be transitioning to match the new standards over the next couple of years.

If you've read this blog before you know I have concerns with the Common Core. Nevertheless, it's what we are tasked with so - while still advocating for something different - I'm attempting to get my head around the scope and sequence for Algebra 1 next year. As I looked into it I was surprised to not find very many examples that have already been created, so I decided to try to take our current scope and sequence and see how well I could "translate" it into CCSS.

Before I link to that document, I think it's important to remember that everyone's school and situation is different. There will be local variables and constraints that will make each school's implementation look different. For example, here is some information about my school that affects what I've done so far.
  1. My algebra class meets for 59 minute periods four days a week (MTWF for me). When all is said and done, I see my students for approximately 126 class periods in a year, with about 110 of those the full 59 minutes and the rest anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes depending on the day (PLC days, assembly days, ACT testing days, state testing days, etc.). Because this is less time than in many Algebra classes, we do not typically cover quite as many of the "advanced" topics that some Algebra classes do. We have a six period day and freshmen (which is the vast majority of students in our Algebra classes) have between one and four unscheduled periods a week.

  2. We are divided into semesters and, while most students have the same Algebra teacher first and second semester, not all do, so we attempt to have a clearly defined break at semester (winter break, we start in August and end in May) and all the Algebra teachers have "covered" the same material by then. So you'll see the year divided up into two 18-week semesters.

  3. Our class sizes in Algebra are typically between 27 and 33. Not saying that's either good or bad, but it gives you information to compare to your classroom. We have 2150 students total in our school and the equivalent of 13 full-time math teachers (plus me teaching one section), and (this year at least) seven of those teachers that teach at least one section of Algebra (with 13 total sections). Whatever we develop has to meet the needs of the district, the school, those seven teachers, and the rest of the math department, and be both "backward" and "forward compatible." (And, oh yeah, it should meet the needs of the kids, but hopefully you get my point.)

  4. We have four middle schools in our district, two of which are our primary feeder schools. They are also transitioning to the Common Core 6-8 Math standards, and should complete that transition next year. But we also have roughly 30% of our students open enrolled - from public schools in surrounding districts and from many private/religious schools (over thirty total feeder schools each year). So while we more-or-less know what the students from our middle schools have experienced in math class, we have about 30% of our students that come from widely varying backgrounds.

  5. We currently use the 2007 edition of McDougal Littell's Algebra book. As we fully transition to the Common Core by fall of 2014, we may be able to purchase new materials (assuming they exist by then) but, until then (at least), we'll be using our existing book. (I'm campaigning not to purchase a new textbook, but that's a discussion for another blog post.)

  6. We are a suburban school serving a primarily middle class clientele. The community values education and our school is generally considered a very good school.
Okay, that's probably more than you wanted, but hopefully it will address some questions that people might have.

So I took our existing scope and sequence, matched it with the ninth grade CCSS Math Standards, and came up with this still very much in draft Google Doc. Feel free to copy, edit, add comments, do whatever (appropriate) things you'd like to that document. It really is rough draft thinking to give us something to build on this summer as we try to translate that into actual lesson plans. I'd love to hear your thoughts (on the doc or in the comments to this post).


  1. Hi, Karl. I'm trying to convince my department head that we NEED to transition to CCSS at our private school instead of doing what we've always done because it's easier. He's concerned that we're going to be cutting too much our of our old curriculum in order to put the "new stuff" in. I promised him I'd find some examples of curriculum maps so that we can get going, at least with our Algebra I's this year so that they can all be in the same place going into Algebra II.

    How did you find your Scope and Sequence to work out this year? Did you fit in what you needed to? Were there any topics you didn't get to?

    Thanks for any help!

    1. Susan, it worked reasonably well. Keep in mind that was a transition year for us, so it didn't completely align with CCSS-M.