For those interested in testing out Stepping Stones, you can sign up for a free 30-day trial, or contact their team for pricing details. When a teacher has a subscription, they’ll have access to all the K-6 content, not just their own grade level. I think this is wonderful, and makes for a ton of differentiation possibilities.
To begin, ORIGO Slate is organized by channels, and Stepping Stones 2.0 is one of those channels. Several channels additional channels are also available with the Stepping Stones subscription, and we’ll touch on some of these throughout the review, but mainly focus on Stepping Stones 2.0
For example, in the “Flare” channel, you can create interactive digital simulations and tools that you can add into your lessons. In the “Honey Pot” channel you can access all your blackline masters and over 140 templates to use with your students.
All of these channels come with excellent resources, but the Stepping Stones channel is where the K-6 math lessons, objectives, assessments, and so on are located.
Overall, Stepping Stones is organized by grade level, and each grade level contains 12 modules. Within those 12 modules, you have 12 lessons, which gives you a total of 144 lessons for each grade level (Kindergarten is organized a little differently to be more developmentally appropriate). Hovering over each individual lesson will also give you a quick overview of the topic/standard that will be addressed.
Each lesson gives you the option of “Steps,” which will walk you through how to prepare for the lesson and teach it, as well as “Differentiation,” which will provide options for extra help, extra practice, and extra challenges for those students who might need it.
All of the lessons are also aligned with the CCSS Standards for Mathematical Practice (SMP). Plus, many of the lessons include videos of classroom teachers implementing the lesson, so if you’d like to get a quick look at how the lesson is being approached by others, you can.
In addition to these digital resources, teachers also get sent out physical materials to supplement these lessons. K-2 teachers will get big book story books, which they can use for activities like reading circles. Additionally, all teachers receive a number case, full of tools like number lines and sharing mats.
All students also receive two books (one for each semester) that act as work journals (Kindergarten has one journal and one practice book instead). These journals are a far cry from the typical math worksheets that you see in many classrooms. They’re fun, colorful, and full of ideas for helping students make real world connections. Because of these physical resources and manipulatives, I see Stepping Stones more as a Blended Learning resource, as opposed to being strictly digital.
In addition to the lessons that are provided, and the physical materials that teachers can use, teachers also have access to a wealth of additional features, tools, and activities. For example, each module also contains multiple “Investigations.” I would compare this to more problem-based learning, where students are charged with solving a challenge using the math skills they’ve learned from that particular module.
Teachers can also design playlists, which are setup by default to include all the resources a teacher might need to teach a topic, but are also completely customizable for teachers who feel comfortable doing so.
These playlists can include any tool or resource within the ORIGO Slate ecosystem, so if you want to create an interactive activity in the Flare channel, that can be added to your lesson playlist as well. These playlists can be accessed by clicking on the stack of papers at the top right corner.
You can also use the drop down menu right above that to access the complete scope and sequence of the entire K-6 curriculum, and see exactly what’s covered at each grade level. I find this feature enormously helpful just to get a quick, big picture snapshot of where the topic being taught falls in relation to the rest of the curriculum.
Finally, in terms of professional development, the “MathEd” channel in Origo SLATE includes professional development videos, all of which are included with the Stepping Stones 2.0 subscriptions. Districts can also request onsite professional development, and you can contact the ORIGO team for more information on what those look like.
It’s great to see the included video PD being offered, because while I do think that Stepping Stones is incredibly well-designed and easy to use, I also think it’s beneficial to be able to see the enormous range of possibilities that are available with this resource.
Overall, there is absolutely no shortage of high-quality, standards-aligned material that teachers have access to. Whether you want to use Stepping Stones occasionally to supplement your math curriculum, or as a replacement to a standard textbook curriculum, Stepping Stones has you covered.
I absolutely love the focus on hands-on activities, real-world connections, and lessons that are designed to get students thinking about why math can be useful, as opposed to just doing math because it’s required, or it’s something their teacher is telling them to do. With so many stigmas surrounding Math, it’s wonderful to see a resource like this that is both rigorous and enjoyable, while still being designed to help students make connections between the activities the real-world importance of the skills they’re learning.
If you’re interested in learning more, I absolutely recommend signing up for a free trial, or contacting their team for more information. Plus, for those working at the preK level, Stepping Stones has a program specifically designed for that age level as well!
I was not compensated for writing this review.