Common Core State Standards: Math

anpencil4The state of California is in the process of adopting new standards for instruction in elementary school. The new standards will be aligned across the country instead of just statewide. There are a lot of pros and a lot of cons for this approach, but the fact of the matter is that it’s coming. Full implementation is expected next year.

I know this is supposed to be a reading and writing blog, but the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in English Language Arts will not be difficult to implement. The Reading Workshop and Writing Workshop approach lends itself very well to CCSS. No, my mind has been on Math, which has long been ‘not my thing.’ My students do well in Math, but I don’t love it and it’s not intuitive for me like reading and writing.

So my focus this year has been practicing CCSS, teaching less material more deeply. This means more collaborative work on complex math problems, more open-ended games that practice concepts (right now that’s fractions, decimals, and percent), and more word problems to solve and to write. The students love this. I know that by the noise level that increases in excitement when they get to math. Can it be that math is finally becoming as exciting in my classroom as reading and writing? How wonderful!

Now if I could just do something about 6th grade Earth Science.

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