[MTBoSBlaugust] Curriculum Options

I’m trying to wrap my mind around all the possible resources I have for curriculum. I’m all excited that I’ve figured out most of what I want on my walls/bulletin boards; I’ve got the warm-ups and ticket outs ready; and I’ve got plans for seating, classroom management, and grading. Now I just need to figure out curriculum. You know, the stuff I’m supposed to be teaching.


My first year of teaching I was so naive: I thought I could come up with everything on my own. Now I’m realizing that it’s more efficient and you get better lessons if you can figure out how others are doing it/have done it and emulate. Therefore here are (some of) my resources for teaching 8th grade math (I’ll have to tackle Algebra 1 in another post). I plan on looking at each resource in depth on their own, but for now I just want to give some overall impressions.

Some Options for Curriculum

My Textbook (GO Math)

My textbook is actually a workbook, which I think I’m glad of. For one thing, it should be lighter than a standard hardback textbook, so it’s easier for students to bring to class everyday, if necessary. I’ll want to vet any poorly constructed practice or lessons[1], but fortunately our school system has already carefully aligned our pacing guide and the common core standards with the textbook pages.

Illustrative Mathematics (link)

This has some handy tasks, and I like how they’re put into small bite-sized tasks. Another nice thing is that our district has linked the appropriate tasks for each unit on our curriculum page. That’ll make this site a bit easier to use for my situation.

MARS (link)

I’ll be honest: I had never heard of MARS before until Fawn Nguyen mentioned it in passing as “one of the resources she uses”[2]. I googled it instantly and began looking through these lessons. They’re pretty awesome.

Inside Mathematics (link)

I hadn’t heard of this one either[3] until Michael Pershan tweeted it. Looked it up and liked what I saw, so I’ll be using these as well. These seem to be mostly “Problem of the Week” types of problems, but still good extension problems for my classes.

NRich Math (link)

I’ve used this before and I like the variety of tasks that are here. One difficulty will be digging up the relevant ones, since they’re not common core aligned. I hope to use this as much as I did last year, since I really like the problems.

Nicole Paris’s School’s Shared Folder

A fellow MTBoS-er who works in my district and already has a plethora of lesson plans freely shared her school’s folder with me[3]! This is very helpful, and completely aligned with my standards, so I should always check this folder when thinking about upcoming units.

Georgia Standards (link)

I’ve heard really good things about this curriculum. It’s too bad every state doesn’t publish a comprehensive set of lessons ideas and tasks.

MTBoS Blogs

Of course this is an awesome repository for lesson plans. The only downside is it’s quite scattered and takes time to find and align to standards (even with the MTBoS search engine). I’ve started using Evernote to clip, but I need to get in the hang of tagging things with the correct CCSS standard (which I’m still learning) to be able to go back and use them more efficiently.

This heading is also including all the 3-act banks and virtual filing cabinets that are out there, which I need to remember and use frequently because those have been some of my best lessons in Precalculus these past few years!

Connected Math Project

I hear a lot of people talking about this, and I really want to know more about it. Unfortunately, I think this uses/needs a textbook, which I don’t have, so unless someone can point me in the direction of free online resources…

NCTM Illuminations (link)

There’s some great stuff here. It’s loosely aligned to the common core, but the search feature should be good enough to narrow down to specific lessons.


There’s way too much here to look at every website for every topic. I’m sure I’ll fall into ruts and, if I’m really on my game, look at more than one website for lesson ideas. I want to choose my “go to” lesson/task banks, and start organizing all of these into something that I can use in the future easily.

I’m sure there are places I’ve forgotten or never heard of, so please let me know if there are other sources that you use frequently and highly recommend!


[1] They talk about scientific notation and decimals moving “left and right”.  Tina would not be happy.

[2] Can’t get much higher praise for a curriculum!

[3] I’d share it with you, but I don’t feel comfortable sharing someone else’s work with the world. If you’re interested, go to her blog and/or ask her for the folder!



Filed under Teaching

2 responses to “[MTBoSBlaugust] Curriculum Options

  1. Have you checked out Engage NY, Mathematics Vision Project and Dan Meyer’s 3 Act tasks. Thanks for sharing your list – I too am on the same mission for this year! We have Go Math in our district as well. Have you used it before? I wasn’t real happy with it last year (our first year of adoption) and feel like I will probably be supplementing it with outside resources this year.

    • I’m new to this district, so I’ve never used Go Math. I’m glad that students have the consumables: they can’t misplace their HW but have their textbook or visa versa. Of course, if they lose either, they’ve lost both, but having them both in one place will be easier.

      I’ve used Dan Meyer’s 3 Acts before–I guess I was covering that in the “MTBoS Blogs” online, but it’s certainly a stand-out site.

      I’ve never heard of Engage NY or the Math Vision Project–thanks for sharing! I’ll have to look those up. Wish I had another summer to get ready, ha!

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