This is the fourth in a series of articles exploring the use of the 2006 National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) publication Curriculum Focal Points for Prekindergarten through Grade 8 Mathematics: A Quest for Coherence. The series introduction by NCTM President Skip Fennell, explaining what Curriculum Focal Points are and why NCTM developed them, appeared in the December 2007/January 2008 issue of Teaching Children Mathematics (page 315). In subsequent TCM articles, the authors of the various grade bands discuss Focal Points for one or two grade levels. Because one principle of Curriculum Focal Points is that of cohesive curriculum, in which ideas develop across the grades, we encourage teachers of all grade levels to read the full series.
Randy Charles has been involved in curriculum development and research for over twenty-five years, much of his work focused on problem solving. A former vice president of the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics, he was a Curriculum Focal Points writing team member.
Paula Duckett currently provides professional development for teachers interested in improving their mathematics content knowledge and instructional techniques and conducts sessions for principals wishing to develop supervisory skills that support standards-based mathematics instruction.