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Frequently Asked Questions

About Open Up Resources

What is Open Up Resources?

Open Up Resources is a nonprofit developing the highest quality core curricula available to districts, provided for free as Open Educational Resources (OER) to promote educational equity. We partner with expert authors to develop and publish superb core programs, and we support implementations with essential services like high-quality professional development, digital and print materials, manipulative kits, and integrations with LMS systems. Our mission is to provide students and educators with equal access to rigorous, standards-aligned core materials. Learn more about us here.

Are Open Up Resources curricula core programs or supplements?

Our materials are designed for full-course use as a core program to support an aligned, coherent progression within and across grades.

What role does Open Up Resources play in curriculum development?

Check out “How We Raise the Bar for Curriculum Development” here.

What grades levels and subjects do your curricula cover?

We currently offer Open Up Resources 6–8 Math and EL Education K–5 Language Arts. Recently we announced two more curricula in development, and we plan to continue expanding our offerings over time.

About Open Educational Resources (OER)

What are Open Educational Resources (OER)?

OER are freely available materials that can be downloaded, edited, and shared to better serve all students. OER license types vary: some OER allow free download and use, while others also allow adaptation. We publish our curricula with a CC-BY license—the most accommodating license—which lets users distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon our work, as long as they credit us for the original creation. Learn more about OER here.

Why do you publish your core programs for free as OER?

Publishing our programs as OER honors our organization’s commitment to social justice. We believe all students deserve a superb, equitable education; providing our curricula for free as OER ensures maximum impact and easier adoptions for districts across the country.

To support as many districts as possible, including those who do not have a 1:1 digital program in place, we offer low-cost print options for districts who wish to use hard-copy editions of our curricula.

We also acknowledge that the most essential ingredient to a successful implementation is a high-quality professional development support system. That’s why we also provide a broad array of professional learning opportunities.

I thought OER was supplemental material—is this really a core curriculum?

Yes! We release comprehensive core curricula.

How can I know that something free is still high-quality?

We agree with top district leaders: regardless of the cost of curriculum, quality is the benchmark. Learn how we partner with expert authors to raise the bar for curriculum here.

Districts deserve third-party quality assurance; in addition to our own review processes, we submit all our materials for review by nonprofit curriculum review site EdReports. The EL Education curriculum is top-rated by EdReports as well as having Tier 1 reviews from the state of Louisiana. Reviews of Open Up Resources 6–8 Math gave it near-perfect marks, making it top-rated by EdReports as well.

How does Open Up Resources sustain itself as a nonprofit?

We’re a nonprofit organization. Our goal is improving teaching and learning, rather than profit; as our CEO recently told The Wall Street Journal, “We would like nothing more than to change the [curriculum] market to focus on learners’ needs rather than shareholder value.”

In order to sustain our operations, including continuous improvement of our curricula, a small portion of the revenue generated from our optional services goes to support our organization.

How much will my district save using OER?

While the curriculum is free, educators know that implementing a new core program requires an investment. We provide more detail on the savings you can expect from OER curricula here.

Professional Development and Implementation Support

How do you support implementations of your curriculum?

Our support services fall into four main categories:

Professional Development: Educators agree that high-quality PD is the most essential ingredient to successful implementations. By adopting free content, districts can channel funds toward supporting teachers in making key shifts in instructional models, which builds capacity and best leverages our strong curricula to improve student outcomes.

Printing: Not all districts are ready for all-digital. We meet districts where they are in the technology adoption process by offering deeply discounted, full-color, quality print editions of our curricula.

Manipulatives, books sets, and classroom kits: Our curricula call for some materials that districts must purchase, such as colored tiles for math activities. Open Up Resources provides easy options for purchasing these materials as sets.

Technology: Many districts channel their savings into 1:1 initiatives to enjoy the sustained savings from tech-enabled classrooms; districts with devices for each student can use the digital version of our curricula, avoiding printing costs.

What are your PD options?

Open Up Resources offers ongoing professional development to school systems implementing its curricula. Our PD sessions fall along a continuum of services, meeting teachers where they are in the development of their professional practice; this scaffolded approach to professional learning establishes and builds on educators’ prior knowledge. We tailor professional learning and support recommendations to each district’s schedule, staffing, and delivery needs.

Contact us to discuss our professional learning options.

Do districts have to print student or teacher materials?

Not at all! We meet you where you are on the digital continuum:

  • Paperless edition for 1:1 classrooms
  • Low-cost print and shipping options available for non-digital classrooms
  • Integrated with common Learning Management Systems and Microsoft OneNote

Orders and Purchasing

How do I place an order for print materials or professional development?

Contact us: we’re here to help!

How can I track my shipment?

If you need assistance tracking a shipment for an existing order, please contact us at [email protected].

Do you take credit cards?

Yes, we do! Contact us at [email protected] to discuss the details of your order.

Technology

What are the hardware/software requirements for using your curricula?

Our curricula are accessible on any device via your web browser, and we are compatible with all recent version of Safari, Firefox, Chrome, and Internet Explorer.

Do you sync with my Learning Management System (LMS)?

There’s a good chance we do! We integrate with most major LMS systems via Common Cartridge (LTI). Let us know which LMS you’re using and we’ll discuss our integration.

Do you integrate with any technologies or applets (i.e., Desmos)?

We do! The digital edition of our math curriculum includes GeoGebra and Desmos applets developed explicitly for our program.

Do you integrate with Microsoft OneNote?

Yes! After logging into your free account, click the OneNote link at the top or contact us for more information.

Can I adapt the materials to be used with students who are visually impaired?

Yes. We can either send you the NIMAC files, or ISBN numbers of our books, so that they can be converted to become a fully-accessible textbook equivalent for students with print disabilities. Contact us for more information.

Open Up Resources 6–8 Math

Who authored your middle school math curriculum?

Our curriculum is authored by Illustrative Mathematics. The Illustrative Mathematics team has extensive experience with materials creation based on years of providing free K–12 supplemental materials and resources. Learn more.

How long are lessons?

Each lesson is designed for a 50-minute class period.

How many units, lessons, and activities per grade?

Grades are broken up into units, and each unit comprises lessons:

  • Grade 6: 9 units, approximately 130 lessons
  • Grade 7: 9 units, approximately 130 lessons
  • Grade 8: 9 units, approximately 120 lessons

Every lesson includes 2–4 activities.

Does the curriculum include assessments?

Yes. The following assessments are included in every unit:

  • Pre-unit diagnostic assessments
  • Embedded formative assessments
  • Practice problems
  • End-of-unit summative assessments
  • Student self-assessments
  • Mid-unit assessments (for longer units)

How do you keep students from accessing assessment questions and answer keys?

Since our teacher materials contain student assessments and answer keys, we only grant full access to validated K–12 educators. This policy is part of our commitment to our partners and educators to do everything we can to prevent students from gaining assessment access.

Are the activities aligned to the standards?

All activities are directly aligned to standards. Each lesson is aligned by means of its activities, and the practice problems are aligned by means of the lesson. A lesson is intended to be a sequence of activities that cumulatively address the standards.

Can teachers edit the assessments?

Yes. Our curricula carry a CC BY license, which means others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon our work—including assessments—as long as they credit the authors for the original creation. Learn more about our license here.

Do you offer PD to support the curriculum?

We do! Support for teachers and district teams is an essential success factor. The student-centered classroom approach—for which our curriculum was designed—represents an impactful practice shift. To foster success, we offer a comprehensive suite of PD options. Learn more here.

How did you determine the sequence of the curriculum?

The order of units was chosen so that concepts can be developed in a coherent way, with a priority on covering major work of the grade as early as possible and developing skills that benefit from long-term, ongoing practice.

My district's pacing is different than yours. Can I teach the units in a different order?

When considering a change in unit order, it’s important to consider the original flow of the curriculum as much as possible, so various components do not lose impact. For example, distributed practice, pre-unit diagnostics and end-unit assessments can still be used, but slight modifications may be necessary. Procedural fluency is built into the activities and practice problems in a progressive manner as students move through the units. Conceptual development of concepts also builds over time through a progression of units and is a consideration when choosing and ordering the units as well. We recommend consulting the Unit Dependency Chart, designed by Illustrative Mathematics, when contemplating the order of units.

Why are there units dedicated to supporting work of the grade?

The supporting work of the grade provides students with more opportunity to solidify conceptual understanding and build fluency for the major work of the grade. For example: Unit 1 in sixth grade is Area and Surface Area, which is supporting work of the grade. This unit reviews arithmetic and provides a context and application for work in Units 4 and 5, Operations and Fractions.

How does the curricula integrate the Standards for Mathematical Practice (MPs)?

At the beginning of each lesson, a narrative describes the lesson’s goals and addresses how these goals will be accomplished. A similar narrative is also included in each lesson’s subsequent activities. MPs are included in these narratives, including descriptions of how students will experience or practice them.

Do you integrate with any math technologies or applets (i.e., Desmos)?

We do! The digital edition of our curriculum includes GeoGebra and Desmos applets developed explicitly for our program.

Can students take the tests online?

While our website does not include an online testing system, the curriculum is available in Common Cartridge (LTI) format, which can be uploaded into various LMS programs that facilitate online testing.

Do you have any resources for families?

Yes! Every unit in the curriculum includes a section called Family Materials, which describes in plain language the big ideas students will encounter. These resources offer an overview of the mathematics your child is learning, detail what to expect as the learning deepens, and include questions that promote conversation around the math.

Are the materials available in multiple languages?

Currently, the materials are only available in English. However, our content is published with a CC BY license so you can translate it to any language you wish as long as you credit the authors for the original creation. Learn more about our license here.

Is there a way to see a list of all the required materials for a unit other than reading through every single lesson?

The materials needed for the curriculum are listed on the site in the Teacher Guide. To find them, go to , select your grade, log in, and select “Course Guide.” Next, click the “About These Materials” option on the left and scroll up.

You also might be interested in our math kits – they provide the materials so that you can spend your time planning instruction rather than gathering materials. You can find lists of the included materials here. If you’re interested in the math kits, ask for information about our pricing.

What materials are included “in the box”?

Our program comes complete with:

  • Student Materials (digital and print)
  • Teacher Materials (including unit plans, lesson plans, digital and print assessments, and embedded professional learning)
  • Scope & Sequence Supports for English Language Learners (ELLs)
  • Supports for students with disabilities
  • Activity level problems for advanced learners
  • Family Resources
  • Course Guide
  • Accelerated Blueprint

My district adopted Open Up Resources 6–8 Math and is currently looking for K–5 math, too. Do you recommend a specific K–5 math solution?

We don’t make K–5 curriculum recommendations for math, but suggest using EdReports and the Louisiana Believes tiered reviews site as resources when considering an elementary solution.

Can I be involved in the beta release of the Open Up Resources High School Math curriculum?

Our beta release is currently in progress, and we’re not able to accept any more pilot districts at this time. However, we’d love for you to pilot sample units of the curriculum when they become available. Contact us to express your interest, and we’ll share updates as the timing for high school samples becomes clear.