In December 2018, as part of a six year curriculum revision process, Alberta Education released the updated draft curriculums for Kindergarten to Grade 4 for use in schools starting in the 2019-20 school year. While teachers in Grades K-4 begin to study and understand the new curriculums and consider the instructional implications, the work continues to update the Grades 5-12 curriculums over the next three years.
At each grade level K-4, the following subjects have been updated: arts, mathematics, science, social studies, language arts (English and French), P.E. (or wellness education) and French. An easy to read overview of the new outcomes for each subject area can be found on the new Learn Alberta website new.learnalberta.ca or at the following link education.alberta.ca/media/3795585/ curriculum-overview.pdf
Mathematics instruction in the early years has been a significant area of focus for Alberta Education during the curriculum revision process. In response to current research in combination with feedback from stakeholders and a downward trend in Alberta student’s performance on provincial and international math assessments, several changes have been made to the K-4 mathematics curriculum.
The new draft curriculum emphasises teaching standard algorithms (or processes) for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, memorising basic math number facts, computational thinking or the ability to complete mental math calculations, and an earlier focus on fractions, understanding time and calendars, money and geometry. As well, literacy and numeracy skills are now purposefully woven through all subject areas. Here is a brief summary of some of the changes in more detail from the current K-4 math curriculum (French, July 2018):
-fractions are introduced in Grade 1, earlier than the current Grade 3
-more emphasis on monetary value of coins and bills in Grades 2,3 and 4
-more emphasis on time, chronology of events, and following instructions in all grades
-first graders memorise addition and subtraction of numbers up to 10 (currently up to 5)
-second graders add and subtract numbers up to 120 (currently 100), and group numbers up to 60 (new)
-third graders multiply numbers up to 9x9 (currently 5x5)
-fourth graders memorise times tables up to 9x9 (currently 7x7)
-fourth graders work with and design algorithms - a set of instructions for people or machines (new)
Teachers at TIS have already had an opportunity to take a first look at the new curriculum documents. Moving forward, we will be meeting in focus groups at each grade level, attending relevant professional development opportunities, using resources and support from within and from Alberta Education to help us “unpack” the new curriculums, and may begin to make changes to instruction as early as September of 2019 in preparation for the final drafts which are targeted to be released by Alberta Education in September 2020. We look forward to our continued work with TIS students and parents as we develop our understanding of the new curriculums and shift our practice accordingly.