Summer? WOW I have to catch up on so many events but that will have to wait. I need to get this story out as soon as possible so sit tight and read this story. I think you need to know how sad and disappointed I am…
A few months ago a reporter from the New York Times interviewed me over the phone to talk about parents, the Common Core, and math. EXCITED-yes! I was but I kept calm and talked from my heart about what I have learned over the past three years.I gave her stories about kids' misconceptions I would not have found if they merely completed worksheets. For example, I asked one day “Cameron wants to share his cookie with Logan. Who gets the bigger piece?” The kid responses: "Cameron does because it is his cookie." "Logan does because Cameron will give him the whole cookie. When my mom tells me to share I have to give it to my brother." and another, "Wait if they are sharing they have to have the same size piece." This was 2 years ago and I have taught fractions in some shape or form for 17 years. I had students complete hundreds of worksheets but had no idea this might be a misconception shared by children. This is just one of many times I learned from talking to my students to think about math and become mathematicians and not just calculators.
Being a Mathematician, that means something in my classroom. It means being a problem solver, discovering a strategy to make numbers easier to work with, and seeing the relevance of math in our everyday world. Math time is joyful in our classroom. Yes, we struggle with why?, word problems/situational stories, and bigger numbers but we are working on really understanding math concepts and not just procedures for a better foundation. What about the parents?
My parents have questioned Common Core and how we are implementing it in the classroom. How could they not when all they read are stories bashing the Common Core and how parents can't do the kid's homework? My thought-Parents shouldn't be doing the kid's homework. I conference with parents and show them samples of their child's thinking. I explain pitfalls and provide strategies so they see the relevance and most important I ask them to talk with their child. Talk about money-earning it, spending it, estimate how large or how long it would take to do something, about how 10 is such a powerful number and building on that helps add and subtract double digit numbers in the 1st grade and yes they regroup with understanding and not borrowing. Borrowing means you are giving something back and that is not the case in double digit subtraction. I had parents upon parents willing to talk to Ms. Rich but they were never called. Parents have told me:
- Wow finally a way I do math and now my kid can do math a different way than a book.
- I wish my 2 older children would have learned math this way because they have no idea why they do the steps they do and rely on a calculator.
- I am so excited to learn right along with my child because I see math differently.
Not everyone has a Common Core bashing story but you rarely hear about the success. Common Core is here and we are learning, teaching, collaborating, and creating as a community. We need to hear success stories so I beg you read this story:
After, know our story and send this reporter a comment in support of Common Core. By the way after 30 minutes of praises and stories I did invite her to visit and she said she would talk to her editor. We never heard from her again. Maybe she would rethink that visit to Cypress Creek Elementary in Port Orange, Florida. Sad…