Site helps teachers target lessons

Grade school mathematics teachers in Massachusetts can now use the World Wide Web to build lesson plans directly linked to the state assessment needs of the children they teach.

Barbara Libby, an administrator in the state Department of Education's Office of Math, Science, Technology and Engineering, said teachers previously had to do their own research to build appropriate lesson plans to prepare students for the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System tests.

The problem was that information found online was not always relevant. While there might be appropriate examples of lessons leading to fourth-grade student assessments, for example, there would be nothing aimed at second-grade students.

At the new Mathematics Curriculum Framework Web site (www.doe.mass.edu/frameworks/math00), teachers can go directly to the standards that apply for the grade level they teach and readily find student assessment items and appropriate lesson plans.

"The goal of the first phase is to put the [interactive] process in place," Libby said. "The next step is to invite people to say what activities andlesson vignettes they would want to add to the site. Teachers in other states will also eventually be able to link in and add their examples."

"It's amazing the effort that it took just to conceptualize how this first phase would work, and then think far enough into the future so we wouldn't have to significantly change the [Web site's] architecture," Libby said.

The site was launched at the beginning of August. The next item on the agenda is to put the science and technology frameworks into the same online format as the math curriculum, Libby said.

Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

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