How do you typically plan for each lesson you teach? Whenever possible it is best to first do all of the problems from a given lesson using the student book (without answers visible). This will help you see the problems from the students’ point of view and help you to anticipate any areas where students will have questions. As you work through the problems make a list of some questions of your own and your predictions regarding common misconceptions. Next read through ALL the teacher notes including the objective of the lesson, the core problems, the suggested lesson activity, possible study team and teaching strategies, and closure. Now you are ready to complete your planning. Put in time limits for each portion of the lesson to serve as a guide and do your best to follow them. However, watch for instances where your predetermined time slots may need adjusting. Without a planned pacing guide, sometimes strong students will go too fast and ignore the deeper questions, while students who take longer to do their work will, if given the opportunity, take the entire period to do one problem. The more you practice timing out a lesson, the better you will be at scheduling a lesson to fit into the time allotted. Nonetheless, you will always need to be sensitive to the needs of each class.
If this is your first year teaching the course we strongly suggest that you follow the lesson as it is written. Once you have taught the entire book and are comfortable with the overall objectives and content, you can use your professional judgment to adjust the lessons as needed. Creating simplified versions of the problems or turning them into “worksheets” instead of following the lesson as written is not recommended. It often stripes the lesson of the thinking and exploring that is the basis for conceptual understanding and that fosters long-term retention of ideas. Nevertheless, CPM does understand that working with the students requires some flexibility. Carefully monitor the work of your students during class and adjust your plans as needed while making every effort to implement the program with fidelity. Have fun listening to your students’ thinking and watching them learn math!