Curriculum Details for
Content Expert Reviewer
Lisa Ting is currently involved with educational consulting projects and private tutoring. She previously taught first grade and fourth grade at Charles River School in Dover, Massachusetts. She was active in creating age-appropriate and engaging curricula in math, reading, writing and social studies. She is certified in Project Read and Math Curriculum at Dana Hall for grades 3-5. She received her Masters degree from Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2004 with interests in developmental psychology and after school programs.
- Each level (1-8) of the curriculum corresponds with the appropriate grade level, and includes eight student activity books and answer cases.
- The five main strands covered throughout every level are Number and Number Concepts, Estimation and Computation, Pattern, Functions and Algebra, Geometry and Measurement, and Statistics and Probability.
- Charts within the teacher’s guide provide a comprehensive scope and sequence overview of VersaTiles. The charts are helpful for finding math problems that correlate to specific skill sets.
- The content is accurate and compelling for students who prefer to check their own answers and work at their own pace.
- Number and number concepts
- Estimation and computation
- Functions and algebra
- Geometry and measurement
- Statistics and probability
- Helpful for students to be organized to effectively use the curriculum
- Claims to build self-confidence as the students work independently.
Alignment to Standards
- Versatiles is aligned with the standards of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM).
- In the teacher’s guide, there is a useful guide that summarizes the correlation between each book and the standards for that specific grade. The chart is clear and allows the teacher to look up information at a glance.
- Informal assessments such as interviews, observations, and self-evaluations.
- Formal assessments are tests and work products.
- The theory behind assessment is: “authentic assessment involves examining a student’s process as well as his/her work product in order to obtain a holistic perspective of the student’s progress”
- VersaTiles is structured but teachers have some flexibility to individualize the curriculum.
- Scope and sequence can be determined by the formal assessments and tests, which determine the appropriate starting level for each student.
- Benchmark activities can help figure out which levels the students are at and help determine which strands they should focus on.
- The content for each student varies depending on their level and focus. For example, students can skip over certain books if they have mastered the skills covered in those books.
- Lessons are student-directed, as students work independently through the exercises, but teachers can guide and help the students if they run into problems.
Addressing Diverse Student Needs
- Books are available in different levels according to skills
- Students can move from book to book depending on their needs
- The curriculum is less adaptable for children with behavioral issues or physical challenges.
Learning Styles Addressed
- VersaTiles seems well-tailored to the developmental needs for this age group.
- Working in small groups is a useful option.
- Movement/spatial learning: This is not explicitly addressed by the curriculum.
- Interpersonal learning: Small group work is allowed.
- VersaTiles does not explicitly address students’ diverse backgrounds.
Strengths and Challenges
Challenges and Drawbacks
- Self-correcting feature provides immediate feedback to students, making problem solving more exciting.
- Self-paced, students work at own level.
- Effective supplemental daily practice.
- Can be implemented in many different contexts, including summer school, extra credit in a math class, or home lending library.
- Assessments, tracking forms, interview guide and notes, correlation of test to student’s books, and record charts are all very useful.
- Lack of interaction with other students.
- Lack of problem solving using manipulatives.
- Direct instruction on skills from teacher is not a focus of this curriculum.