West Broward High School math teacher Horace Buddoo says the best classroom tips come from other teachers.
It’s why he’s posting a year’s worth of algebra II lessons to a new web site offering free lessons for the new math and language arts standards fully adopted by 45 states, including Florida. Buddoo is one of 130 teachers across the country posting lesson plans, videos and other tips for teachers making the switch to the new standards, known as Common Core.
The standards outline what students should know at the end each grade.
“I wanted to share what I do in my classroom with other teachers around the United States,” said Buddoo, who has six years experience. “Many teachers may not necessarily know what the differences need to be within their current lessons.
“If other teachers have access to those methods I think it will improve lessons across the board.”
The $7 million site is a partnership between the for-profit BetterLesson and the National Education Association. Buddoo responded to a email request, went though the screening and training and is now one of the “master teachers” contributing lessons to the site.
Buddoo is the only Florida teacher participating in the project so far. His lessons aren’t posted to the site yet.
The architects of Common Core intend the standards to shift the focus of math education, to put less emphasis on the mechanics of arithmetic, and more on allowing students to discover the patterns and theory. Student will also have to explain how they reached an answer.
“A lot of time in a math class,” Buddoo said, “we’re not really asked ‘Defend this position. Why is it the answer? Why did you get that?'”
Teachers say the standards will require them to change how they structure lessons. Students will have more freedom — and responsibility — to work through concepts on their own and in groups.
Buddoo believed Common Core will require teachers to incorporate more technology into their lessons. His lessons will demonstrate some high-tech tips, he said.
Buddoo said the Common Core standards are an improvement, though some teachers and parents disagree. He’s also enthusiastic about the potential for sites like BetterLesson to connect teachers across the country.
“A lot of things I do and a lot of things I’ve incorporated into my teaching is because I’ve been in contact with great teachers,” he said. “That constant collaboration helps to fine-tune our teaching skills.”