Friday, July 3, 2015

Engage New York Math

 I have to be honest- I have a love-hate relationship with Engage New York math modules. I love that we have a "curriculum" to guide us. I love that depth of understanding that the students have when they've mastered a topic. I love the word problem focus.  But there's so much I don't love.
Here's the back story that kind of explains a little.  Probably three years ago before all the modules were released, my kinder team and I found the Engage New York site and downloaded the only kinder module at the time- the first one. We were searching really desperately for a curriculum to use- something that aligned to Common Core and something that was good math. Our old math adoption was virtually useless to us- it was comprised of these big books that were just awful and the math just wasn't deep enough for us with Common Core standards.
So, we printed all 300+ pages of the curriculum and began looking it over with the idea that this was what we were going to use. The other modules were going to be released that year and we could just move through those as the year progressed. We were so excited!
Then we began really looking at it and prepping for it.  Well, that's when I started hating it. In the couple of lessons in kindergarten I need socks- lots of them and all different colors, patterns and sizes. Then I needed plates and cups with different patterns so students could sort them. Then I needed 18 cotton balls in a bag, 10 red counters and 10 blue counters for each child in bags.... I am all about using manipulatives to teach concepts; the problem with this was I needed them for one 10 minute lesson and then NEVER again. So, I was doing ALL this prep- hours of coloring clip art plates and cups in different patterns- only to realize that I would never in the curriculum use these items again until I taught that lesson the next year... So, we gave up.
Fast forward to last year when I moved up to 3rd grade. Our district had purchased the Eureka Math modules for us (it's the same thing just in a bound book)- they are not our curriculum because they aren't adopted (but we want you to use them-says district personnel). I was coming back to the grade level after being in kinder for years and I was super excited to see that I had some curriculum to use. So, I started with what our curriculum map at the time had us doing- place value and addition and subtraction. Well, place value and addition and subtraction are at the END of Module 2 after the students have done weight and capacity. So place value and addition and subtraction are all taught through measurement- well, I didn't do the first few topics (because my curriculum map said place value and addition and subtraction and not measurement).  It was a hot mess trying to make it work like that... confusing for everyone and very frustrating for me.  I complained, other people complained and shortly thereafter, the curriculum maps were changed to align with the Engage New York Modules.  That problem was solved.
My other real problem with Engage New York is the structure of the lessons. They are so wordy that it is so difficult to use. I really dislike the teacher says, student responds format of the lessons. I find it very hard to use because the students NEVER say exactly what it says they are going to and I hate scripted lessons.  So, digging through all the pages to get to the meat of the lesson was also a challenge for me.
And don't get me started on the ugliness of the problem set worksheets and homework- they really need to hire someone from TpT to make these worksheets look nicer and more kid-friendly!
On that note, I have gone through the Application problems and Exit tickets and made them a little more user friendly.  Get them for free here. I wrote out all the application problems onto 1/2 sheets and made the exit tickets into 1/2 sheets to save paper.
Above is a sample of an application problem

The exit tickets 

One other thing that I don't love about Engage New York, and this is kind of a big one for me, is that it doesn't allow enough differentiation or even time to do any kind of Math Stations or Math Daily 3 or anything besides the problem sets.
It's hard math for so many of my kiddos and there wasn't time because the lessons are so long to really do math stations last year. I am really hoping I can condense things a lot this year and have time to meet more with the students that didn't master the skill the first time.  Which brings me to my latest creation. I made task cards that mirror the language of the Engage New York content. A lot of times, they word things in ways that are not exactly the norm, so I tried to use their language on the task cards. My purpose was to give additional practice in a station-type, task card format so students could have more practice than just the problem set. Here are some pictures of the task cards- I broke them up by Topic so it is easier to differentiate. Here's the link to 3rd Grade Engage New York Module 1 Task Cards.

After a year+ of using Engage New York, I think the best way to sum it up is that Engage New York is good math, but not necessarily good teaching. So, now it's my goal this year to make the good math in the modules translate into good teaching in the classroom!  


  1. This is wonderful. Do you have module 2?

  2. Thank you for this helpful resource :)

  3. These are great do you have module 2 posted anywhere. I would love to purchase them for all the hard work and time you put into creating them.

  4. Hi, do you have module 3? I would love to purchase it. I am a student teacher and I could use that help! thanks