Text Books

Textbooks do they exist anymore?

The answer is yes many schools have a bare bones set. In Oregon after the financial destruction of the recession many school districts couldn't afford to upgrade textbooks, also, Oregon switched standards leaving a cross over of some districts updating and others not. Now Oregon is switching standards again and adopting CCSS.  With the new adoption being implemented in the 2014-2015 school year many schools now are becoming more financially stable and looking to adopt textbooks.

My thoughts....

1) Do Not Adopt.  Wait 1-3 years to adopt.  Currently everything being produced is stamped CCSS aligned, but is it aligned? Without Smarter Balance or PRACC having been fully implemented on a large scale the effectiveness of these textbooks is questionable. Having looked into CCSS textbooks over a couple years the texts are also still very different. The interpretation of the standards is different and the depth of content covered varies. Most districts adopt every seven years so adopting now will mean you are stuck with whatever you choose for that time frame whether it is good, bad, or out right ugly.

2) For the first 1-3 years use open source materials.  There currently is a plethora of open source materials. Some districts are only using these materials to save money.  Find one that your department likes and stick to it mostly.  I say mostly as I believe it is important to pull resources from multiple sources. This gives students different views, wordings, and variations of "hardness" of problems.

(I will be using Engage NY, McGraw Hill - Math Connects, CK-12 Math Flex Books, Jefferson County CCSS Quizzes,  Ten Marks - Free Version, Oregon Focus Tiered and Challenge Worksheets, and the online program Manga High; to name a few)

3) The CCSS is almost nation wide. This means the amount of resources is going to be vast. Nation wide also means competition!  Every textbook company is going to be vying for being the best. In an assessment happy society this means the most popular is going to go to the company that produces the best results on PRACC and Smarter Balance.  For an educator and school this means we are going to get better resources on a much larger scale.

4) Online components. Little is ever touched on this, but consider a textbook that has RTI and/or a "Game" like aspect. Students latch onto this as practice and a tiered model that can target students strengths and weaknesses could be beneficial.  Think about the old school game Math Blaster. Math Blaster use to be on every computer and students would stay in from recess to play. This component doesn't have to be for an at home approach, but to add to the classroom model even if just used once a week or every other week.


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