How is Common Core different?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Pisces_Fish, Sep 28, 2014.

  1. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

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    Three years ago I made a swap in districts and grade levels, which was the same year my state adopted the CC. The adjustment was 'easy' for me because I really didn't know the difference. Everything I need to teach my 2nd graders was all I was familiar with.

    I'm curious to hear from others who haven't switched grade levels what the changes looked like. Can you share an example of an "old" standard with a CC standard for comparison?

    A thread from Giraffe (?) got me thinking. She said something about her standards being similar to one she was expected to learn as a kid....but 3 grade levels after...in an honors class!

    Any examples of rigor gone wild? :p
     
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  3. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    We transitioned while I taught 5th in NC. It actually got easier. They moved very little in and they took out converting measurements across the systems. (Metric to customary and vice versa.) That was the hardest thing I taught for my kids to get, so I was very happy with the new curriculum. We did have to teach new (*cough* stupid *cough*) ways to do things like long division. Ways that made it 100x harder than just doing regular long division. I can see where the strategies could be successful if they were initially taught that way. However, I had kids that already knew how to divide. It just caused tears on everyone's part- me, them, their parents.

    All of these (idiotic, IMO) off the wall strategies that you see online should be used to help the kids who don't understand traditional ways. A kid who can do things the standard way shouldn't be forced to learn it a different way.

    Plus, the CCSS lists standards, not methods. So I'm slightly fuzzy as to where these 'methods' came from. Is it prepping for the new test? Well, here in Michigan, we pushed the test back again. We will be using our old MEAP again- at least for this year.

    ************
    Now, the 6th grade standards are a very large jump from my experience. I don't think a whole lot outside of algebra changed. Of course, I haven't really looked deeply into other areas yet. I know that in North Carolina under the NCSCOS, 6th grade was not a lot harder than 5th. This is not the case anymore. When I opened the text book, my jaw about hit the floor. We are taking kids who know virtually nothing about algebra, except to figure out a variable in an expression like x + 3 = 5, and taking them to comparing expressions, finding equivalent expressions, etc... Simplifying expressions was difficult enough, and after a few days, most of my kids have it (of those that pay attention.) But now they are wanting more. I think it is a lot.
    (And to clarify- this was 8th grade math when I was in school. I was in advanced honor's math, which meant I was two years ahead. I actually did learn this in 6th. But most of my peers did not.)
     
  4. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    I'm teaching freshmen English, and so I'm not sure if my kids are struggling because of the transition to high school, or the transition to Common Core. My students are not used to citing evidence, they are not used to paraphrasing, they are not used to taking information from multiple sources and analyzing it, they are not at all familiar with MLA format, they are not used to having to read at home, etc. I'm getting a huge push back from both parents and students because I expect too much from them. It's not my job to teach typing. I don't think that typing a one page paper is too much, but for kids with no keyboarding skills it is a struggle. But, using the Internet to publish material is a standard! My students are also struggling with annotations because they have never had to think while reading before. Again, I'm not sure if that has to do with the standards, or if it's just "welcome to high school!"
     
  5. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    In math, we no longer teach any graphing or probability. 90% of our algebra is also gone. We have to divide fractions (new), and master adding, subtracting, and multiplying fractions (in years past we taught those but it was also retaught in higher grades). Different strategies are taught so students understand it is all based on place value. My district has been using those strategies for 10+ years, so that isn't new. Most of my students can't do the standard algorithm at the beginning of the year, but by the end they understand the why behind the math enough to be successful with it.

    In literacy, there is a much greater focus on nonfiction and grade level text. In the past, we were able to differentiate more for students who were not on grade level. I may have taught a grade level skill then given a student who was reading two grade levels below an easier passage to practice the skill.

    There is also the shift to online testing. My students do not have the typing skills to type two pages in one sitting, which is expected at my grade level (5th).
     
  6. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I also see standards being "pushed down" to lower grades. I taught CC as a 3rd grade teacher two years ago as it was first being implemented, and I can absolutely say that much of the curriculum was things that I had learned as a 6th grader (in the year 2000!) In fact, I used some strategies/visuals that my 6th grade teachers had used with us in math to try to help my class.

    I don't have old standards to reference for comparison, but our state also put "work samples" out for many of the standards so teachers could have visuals for what truly meeting the standard looks like. In Kindergarten, the exemplars for writing are mult-iparagraph essays. IMO, that is INSANE to expect from a Kindergarten student. When I was in K, we barely worked on full sentences...in fact I'm pretty sure that even writing full sentences was considered "advanced."

    I agree with giraffe on the new "methods" for math as well. I'm not sure where these came from, but they are all the rage. In sped, I almost always teach my kids the "old school" methods for solving problems (since I am not as tied to the standards as gen ed), and then they finally "get it."
     
  7. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    I only taught the 2nd grade curriculum for one year before the switch to Common Core.

    I think the main difference is that it encourages students to be thinkers. They are encouraged to compare and contrast, discuss author's purpose, etc. from an earlier age. In math they are encouraged to "dig deeper" on certain skills, rather than just learn an algorithm.

    My district was already doing these things, but I'm sure some were not.
     
  8. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    We can still do this in our district, in fact, we are expected to do this.

    In my opinion, the standards are not too much different, it is the test that appears much more challenging than before. However, not much really changes, we have always been teaching to a higher standard during our daily activities, so the day to day teaching has not changed too much, beyond normal reflection.
     
  9. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    this to me is very interesting. If a child really is understanding what is happening in division, then being able to understand multiple methods should be easier, not harder. being able to accurately execute the long division algorithm, says very very little for their understanding of the math and more for their ability to follow a procedure and use math facts.

    I have found in my experience just the opposite. A student who has good understanding is quickly able to pick up new methods easier than those who are superficially able to "understand" an algorithm.

    With that said, exploring a variety of methods for working with division or multiplication is definitely more work, takes more time, better organization...etc. It is harder to learn initially and takes more time.
     
  10. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    I completely disagree. I vividly remember when the partial quotients lesson was coming up. (We had a common core workbook we were required to use.)
    At first glance, I didn't understand it. I had to read it several times. My team still didn't get it. I had to teach it to them.
    Then, the kids.... well, it didn't go well. Parents weren't happy.

    Part of it was just being overwhelmed by it. Another part was attitude- they didn't understand why they had to do this 'new' way with more steps when they could just do normal long division.

    I'm not sure if this got easier in subsequent years since I left. I just know that first year, having kids that could already divide, the division strategies were torture.
     
  11. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Exactly, I agree with this 100%.

    Yes, it is overwhelming at first when the expectation changes from quickly getting an answer, to diving in and exploring the math.

    Students and many parents simply do not understand that their is more to learning math than just quickly getting the right answer. this is a culture that needs to change. math is not about getting the quickest answer, imo, there is much more to it. Math should be explored.

    It is far more steps and work, no denying that, but the goal is more understanding.

    IMO, a student should know what regrouping means in subtraction, not just the quickest way to get an answer, they should know it has NOTHING to do with starting in the ones place.

    I want my students to know that there is a difference between understanding math and getting right answers. that a student who truly understands the math can manipulate the operations and numbers AND have a fast and accurate method for getting an answer.
     
  12. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Yep, this has happened to me too. I realized though, it was my lack of understanding, over reliance on an algorithm, and inability to see math as more than getting a fast, right answer. that was the problem. On a personal note, studying chemistry in college changed this point of view very quickly.

    Once I really started thinking about the math, it made sense. By no means am I saying it was easier, it was harder. It wasn't less work, it was more.
     
  13. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    The partial quotes ended up making a lot of sense.

    But- I still don't think it is right for everyone. I think it is a great strategy to teach those who are struggling with division.
     
  14. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    When I teach concepts like multiplication, I always start from very concrete methods (arrays), and gradually work out to the abstract. The kids naturally end up picking a method that works for them, and the method they choose usually relates to their level of readiness for the concept. The kids that struggle to understand what's going on tend to stay with something like the "box method," while the kids that really have it use the traditional algorithm.

    I think there's a point where enough is enough though. That point for me usually comes around the time where I'm using number lines with my kids. I've yet to meet a student who willingly uses a number line for any operation after first grade.
     
  15. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Why? How is it not great thinking for all students? Why would you not want your high achieving students who understand the algorithm to also understand a variety of methods?

    I 100% agree it is not right for everyone, hence why multiple methods is preferred.

    Would you agree that a student/person who can understand a variety of methods, more than likely has a deeper understanding of the operation than a person who has just learned 1 procedure for an algorithm?
     
  16. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    However, would you expect students to be able to understand how to use the number line?

    I would expect my students to be able to use a number line and understand it. Be able to demonstrate it from time to time during an activity. However, I would not expect them to choose that method for a quick efficient get the right answer type of question.

    Isn't there a difference between understanding a method and freely choosing to use it at a given time?
     
  17. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I think there's at least some point where we should stop hammering home a point they understand. Number lines have virtually no practical value as a computational tool, and minimal benefit as a conceptual tool (past basic addition/subtraction computation, at least). To me, they are the very epitome of teaching to the test.

    Being able to solve a problem multiple ways is great, and having a conceptual understanding of something is also great, but unless we are going to teach every single possible way of solving a problem, there's a point where we should prioritize.
     
  18. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Agreed, as you said, when they understand. Same can be said for the algorithm, correct?

    I don't think you have to show every single way, I would however expect a kid that understands to more easily pick up a variety of ways easier. Of course you should prioritize, but that does not mean algorithm or nothing.

    What is your priority, if not multiple methods(including the algorithm/procedure) and conceptual understanding? What is the alternative that you would want to prioritize? Disposition?
     
  19. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I'm not saying algorithm or nothing. As I said, I do several methods, and my kids pick one that works for them, with the expectation that they will eventually converge to the traditional algorithm when they are ready for it. My point is that teaching multiple methods is great, but there's a point where enough is enough, and for me, that point comes when teaching number lines, a method I consider to have little value either computationally or conceptually for students past a certain level (with exceptions for introductions of certain new concepts, of course).
     
  20. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Not quite sure how this is the epitome of teaching to the test. Can you give me some examples of how you teach multiplication that would be the opposite of the epitome of teaching to the test?
     
  21. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I teach number lines because they might be on the test, not because they actually have value to my students.
     

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