The Instructional Materials Taskforce (IMT) has provided a great opportunity to collaborate long-distance with our IMT colleagues in California, Washington, Wisconsin and New York. We each bring a different perspective shaped by our local district/state traditions and processes but are united in our goal of developing a deeper understanding of alignment. Together we are collaborating to develop mastery with the Instructional Materials Evaluation Tool (IMET) and learn how to apply it to our own unique circumstances. The conversations we have had around the IMET have challenged us to think deeply about the intent of the Common Core and the significance of the instructional Shifts. Here’s how:
Though we meet virtually, the structure of our conference calls allows, even encourages, us to go deep into understanding what it means to be aligned to the Common Core. On each conference call we focus on several of the criteria in the IMET, building an understanding of the purposes of the criteria and how they relate to each other. At first, some criteria seemed similar to each other and we questioned, in some cases, why two criteria were needed instead of just one. But as we discussed the criteria together, we identified nuances that make the need for two criteria obvious.
Practicing Review Together
In our conversations, we cite evidence regarding our recommendations that materials do or do not meet a particular criterion. Others in the group will cite additional evidence that supports the same conclusion or brings into question the interpretation of the criteria or the previously presented evidence. We seek to be precise in our language and in our reasoning, and we are open to learning from and questioning each other to clarify ideas and understand the criterion at hand.
Benefiting From Our Colleagues’ Expertise
While we come from different districts with different timelines and processes for selecting instructional materials, learning to use the IMET together has allowed us to also learn from each other’s experiences. For instance, some of our colleagues who have already been trained to use the IMET bring a more thorough understanding of the IMET criteria to the conversation, sharing insights that additional training has allowed them to develop. The questions and ensuing discussions demonstrate true collaboration as we all come away with a clearer understanding about the IMET, the particular criteria being considered or some aspect of the Common Core itself.