Tuesday, June 18, 2013

First Graders are AMAZING! (And my persepctive on the Common Core Standards in Math)

Hello, Friends!
There has been so much discussion about if the Common Core (or, as our legislators in Utah prefer to have it called “Utah’s Core Standards”).  Are they developmentally appropriate?  Are we expecting too much of our students?
I understand that if you are the parent of a third, fourth, fifth or sixth grade student, I can easily understand why you are frustrated and concerned.  I have no doubt that math is a source of stress for your child right now. It is likely that your child comes home with homework hat you don’t understand. (I can tell you that many of my first grade parents didn’t understand the homework that was coming home last year- not because they don’t understand math, but because they are not accustomed to thinking about numbers as fluidly as the new Core Standards require.)
Here’s the thing… we know that American students are achieving below students in other countries.  We know that our kids are equally capable.  We also know that we have amazing teachers here. (Have you seen Pinterest lately? Our teachers are AMAZING!)  So we need to do something to help our kids reach their potential.

What’s the alternative? Continue at the rate we are going—where our teachers are working hard and our kids are learning- but are not completive in the world market?  Continue waiting for the rest of the world to slow down to our speed?  Sorry, but I don’t want to play that game.
So how do we get our kids on the right track?  We could, I suppose, start with the preschoolers.  Start them out on the right path and go from there.  That’s great—for those kids.  But what about the children already in our schools?  How can we possibly say “We know that there is a better outcome for you, but it’s too late for you—sorry.”  I don’t think I could sleep at night feeling that way.
So we have to do the best we can to bring ALL children up to speed.  There will be a learning curve.  And each year, I sincerely hope, it will get easier.  We have to hang in there.  Together we have to help our kids work towards a brighter tomorrow.  It’s not going to be easy, but I firmly believe that it will be worth it!!

I have a few examples from my own first grade classroom that were excellent reinforcement for my own commitment to the Common Core Math Standards.  I am going to share them here—please contact me if you have any questions, or if you have any great examples, I would love to see them!!
This student was responding to a task question. She showed her thinking by drawing it, writing an equation, and drawing a number line.
This is in response to a task. They had to show their thinking. This student drew pictures and then also showed her thinking by drawing a number line.
This is one of hundreds of examples I could give that shows how fluidly my students understood numbers.  You have to admit that it is pretty awesome.

When we were adding 3 numbers, this boy noticed that 4 and 6 make 10, labeled it, and then knew to add 5 more.

Happy Tuesday!

No comments:

Post a Comment