Saturday, May 25, 2013

Keep Calm and Understand the New Math TEKS

I have been studying the new math TEKS for grades 3-5 and I'm noticing both minor and significant changes.  Although the TEKS don't go into effect this fall, I know many of us will begin using them to guide our instruction so students are prepared for the standards the following year.

I'm going to be honest and tell you that I cringe about every other time I look closely at one of the fifth grade math TEKS (moving back to fifth next year!).  Maybe it's because I've taught 4th grade math under the current TEKS the past year...maybe they really are cringeworthy.
Regardless of the TEKS being cringeworthy, we have to be ready.  If you're familiar with the Common Core standards, a lot of this will look familiar.

Financial Literacy
In all grades, a personal financial literacy strand has been added.  Kindergarteners will be identifying ways to earn money and distinguishing between wants and needs.  By fifth grade, students will  be balancing budgets, learning about different types of taxes, and identifying advantages and disadvantages of different methods of payment.

I'm happy to see financial literacy appear in the TEKS.  I think this is a great change that will help students as they make their way toward adulthood.

The TEKS seem to be very specific as to what students need to be able to do.  (That's the way it seems to me right now, at least.)

The Big WHY and HOW
Mathematical reasoning for WHY math is the way it is shows up a lot now in the new TEKS.  For example, students are decomposing fractions to understand what they represent.

4th Grade Changes
  • finding quotients for divisors of up to 4 digits
  • concept of "perfect squares"
  • using formulas for area and perimeter
  • Angles!!!  Go to 4.7A-E to see the changes
  • converting within customary and metric systems
  • data analysis 

5th Grade Changes
  • dividing and multiplying decimals and fractions
  • adding and subtracting fractions with unequal denominators
  • more work with expressions
  • more with coordinate grids and data
  • say "bye" to probability--it's moving to 6th and 7th

Recommendations for You!
I have been exploring the new TEKS in depth to make sure I understand all that each of the TEKS is asking us to teach students to do.  Here's what I recommend:

TEKS-Based Assessments:
I created  5 question quizzes for each of the TEKS in 4-5.  I sell them in my TpT Store bundled by grade level along with student data tracking resources.  I highly recommend these (even though they are not done) to help guide your instruction and assist with analyzing students' understanding.
5th Grade Quizzes
Update: 5th Grade Assessments are ready!
Texas Teacher Round-up:
I am working super duper hard to get all of the new math TEKS posted on Texas Teacher Round-up and adding appropriate resources and ideas to teach your students each of the new standards.  The old math standards remain posted, as well.  3rd and 4th grade are looking pretty good!
Finally, keep calm:
This is the year to bridge the change from old to new.  They are not technically in effect until the 2014-2015 school year. Everyone will be in the same boat.  We will all feel overwhelmed.  But, we will be okay.  Learn them, love them.  ;)

Helpful Links (adding as we go along)
Project Share


  1. Ari,
    I can't wait to see your five question quizzes. What a great idea! Also, have you seen the new Math TEK documents on Project Share? They are really nice and make everything very easy to understand. If you need the link, just send me your email address. Enjoy your weekend!

    Teaching With Moxie

    1. Thanks for the tip, Diane. That's a great document.

  2. I am switching from third to first and my daughter is moving from kinder to first. I can't believe the changes from what she is learning this year compared to what she will learn in the first nine weeks next year! Great post.(we are implementing a year early so there isn't a huge gap for testing grades)

  3. Thanks Ariane for sharing such a great resource and for getting everyone thinking. I am sad though because they have moved Probability to another grade level. That is one of my favorite things to teach in fifth along with median, mode and range. I didn't see that either, but I'll check again. They are very different. However, we'll get through it.

  4. I never knew you had a math penguin site!!! This is awesome. My husband always wants to relocate and he currently has his heart set on Texas. This is great information to know and I love the financial literacy piece!!

    Think, Wonder, & Teach


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