Careening Towards My Curriculum Maps

With the new school year rapidly approaching, and teachers reporting back in two days, a near frenzied state stole over me.  Anxiety rose to its highs and lows over the summer for sure, primarily with the uncertainty of our district’s new algebra 1 curriculum framework looming overhead; the algebra 1 curriculum framework incorporating the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM) was incomplete at the end of the past school year, and no updates arrived over the summer.  Fortunately, a well-timed, spelled “L-U-C-K-Y,” email from yours truly to the manager of secondary curriculum recently allowed the sun to shine through: a decision was made to toss out the district created, thrice modified framework and adopt the CCSSM provided traditional pathway for algebra 1! [1]  My short reply after receiving the news: “Excellent!  That was a great decision;” my anxiety moved decisively lower.

No narcissistic regrets on my part either, even if I helped shape our early efforts with the framework.  Finally, I knew the exact structure of the curriculum for the year, at least in terms of unit focus and applicable standards, lesson specifics notwithstanding.  However, out of necessity, they would follow mapping the curriculum framework onto a modified block schedule for the 2013 – 2014 school year.  Fortunately, for both efforts, I found a premier set of lessons tied directly to the CCSSM algebra 1 traditional pathway that I could leverage.  My anxiety level dropped even lower.

CCSSM aligned Algebra 1 Curriculum Map

With a well-defined unit structure and standards focus in my possession, coupled with a straw man set of lessons (more like bronze than straw), defining a curriculum map followed with ease; that is, if twelve hours compiling, sorting, assembling, sketching then “spreadsheeting” the information in the following is considered facile.  Nonetheless, my anxiety level receded to near bearable levels upon completion.

2013-2014 Algebra 1 Curriculum Plan

After completing this curriculum map, it dawned on me that the figure resembled any of a variety of more technically oriented ones I created, adapted, interpreted, or simply observed over my career in high-tech.  For those of you familiar with GPS, at a highly technical level, the figure above is reminiscent of the GPS NAV message structure if one were to compile and arrange all the words in the NAV message into one table.  It also resembles a protocol stack, typically found in computing devices, many of which were wireless- and/or GPS-capable when I dealt with them.

AP Calculus AB Curriculum Map

With algebra 1 out-of-the-way, I elected to create my AP Calculus AB curriculum map.  It went much quicker, as I knew the curriculum more intimately, and could repurpose the spreadsheet I used to create the one for algebra 1.

2013-2014 AP Calculus AB Curriculum Plan

Completing both of these curriculum maps earlier this evening, I let out a sizable sigh-of-relief.  While much more planning remains, simply seeing these maps provides a much-needed respite, at least until tomorrow!

[1] CCSSM Traditional Pathway: High school algebra I

CCSSM A1 Pathway


About Dave aka Mr. Math Teacher

Secondary math teacher teaching math intervention, algebra 1, honors precalculus, and AP Calculus AB. I spent 25 years in high tech in engineering, marketing, sales and business development roles in the satellite communications, GPS, semiconductor, and wireless industries. I am awed by the potential in our nation's youth and I hope to instill in them the passion to improve our world at local, state, national, and global levels.
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5 Responses to Careening Towards My Curriculum Maps

  1. Jonathan G says:

    Teaching math sucks. I have learned from you and Denise that there is 0 fun and flexibility in what you get to teach. With my elective classes I’m pretty much given free reign to go nuts with what I think is needed for my populations. Still, well done for having your curricula so well mapped out.


    • The real difficulty for me is how far behind so many students are in their prerequisite knowledge, which is required for success in the course. Most are three to four grade levels behind…it is nigh impossible to fill the holes in their prerequisite knowledge, much less have them succeed with the course content. We need to unbundle mathematics courses, so students can focus on relative improvement rather than their position on an absolute scale.


  2. Glenn says:

    Dave, would it be possible to get a copy of the spreadsheet you used? I like the format you used, but like you hinted at, the construction of the spreadsheet itself takes time.


  3. Pingback: AP Calculus AB Spring Semester Curriculum Map | Reflections of a Second-career Math Teacher

  4. thood86 says:

    I would also be interested in a copy of your curriculum map. I like its visual nature and think we might be able use the template across our curriculum. Thanks


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