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Thinking across grades: Instead of treating math in each grade as a series of disconnected topics, principals and teachers carefully connect the learning within and across grades so that, for example, fractions or multiplication develop across grade levels and students can build new understanding onto foundations built in previous years. Teachers can begin to count on deep conceptual understanding of core content and build on it. Each standard is not a new event, but an extension of previous learning.

Linking to major topics: Instead of allowing less important topics to detract from the focus of the grade, these topics are taught in relation to the grade level focus. For example, data displays are not an end in themselves but are always presented along with grade-level word problems.

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