A rich mathematics program is created to meet and respond to the needs of your students in a given school year. Following the textbook lesson by lesson will not allow you to create such a program. However, using your core resources (textbook and teacher's guide) effectively can help you achieve this goal. Learning how to make these resources work for you and your students is key.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Start with the curriculum, rather than the textbook, when planning your unit. Decide on the curriculum expectations you want to teach during your unit of study, then find the lessons from the core resource to match the expectations.
Both publishers have released correlation documents to help you do this.

Math Makes Sense

Nelson Mathematics

2. Both core resources commonly used (e.g., Nelson and Math Makes Sense) are not 100% aligned with the new 2005 Mathematics Curriculum. There are concepts in the curriculum document missing from both core resources. For example, the concept of mode is missing from the Grade 3 resource (both of them).

Both publishers released documents outlining revisions (lessons to omit, lessons to add) to their resource in an attempt to align with the curriculum:

Math Makes Sense

Nelson Mathematics

NOTE: The Grade 6 and 8 resources, from both publishers, are 100% aligned with the current curriculum because they were created after the curriculum was released.

3. Read your teacher's guide! Did you know that the lessons in both core resources are already organized into 3-part lessons?

Math Makes Sense:






4. Both resources indicate an Assessment for Learning question. If you only have time for one practice question at the end of your lesson, this is the question you want students to complete. It will let you know if your students understood the lesson.
Math Makes Sense refers to this question as the Assessment Focus question (indicated in the textbook and teacher's guide).
Nelson refers to this question as the Key Assessment Question (indicated in the teacher's guide only).

Math Makes Sense






Here are my final thoughts about textbooks:
They are a great starting point if you're new to teaching or teaching a particular grade for the first time. At some point, you will out grow them and start using additional resources such as The Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, TIPS4RM etc. Contrary to what some experts (e.g., coaches, consultants, instructional leaders, administrators, other teachers, your neighbour etc.) might tell you, you are not a mediocre or a bad teacher if you use your math textbook! Everyone needs a place to start.