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What Is Your Experience With Common Core Math?

March 24, 2014

Hello, all. In an effort to understand the experiences of teachers, parents/guardians, students,  administrators, and other local-level officials regarding the impact of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) upon math classrooms across the nation, I am requesting reader comments of firsthand experiences.

Please tell me whatever you believe is important for me to know.
Feel free to post pictures of work samples if you wish.
I appreciate your help. Thank you.
–Mercedes
____________________________________________________
Below are files sent to me by readers:
From Tracy R:  core_math
From Terra: From the OnCore Mathematics workbook (Houghton-Mifflin)
example of math workbook page
From Cristina:
4th grade CC math

From → Common Core

39 Comments
  1. i really hope someday that you explore how school libraries have been closing all over, and either locked up, or now have teaching assistants running them….it is a critical part of the whole nightmare….thank you….. ^0^

  2. Hannah permalink

    One of the frustrating parts of dealing with CC Math is the constant needing kids to write explanations. I teach 3rd, and many of the kids are just getting the gist of written explanations. Some are still in the developmental stage of speaking in run on sentences (filled with ands, buts, and thens … with no space for a breath or a period)… but only about topics that matter to them. They are still very much in “concrete operations” a la Piaget. Trying to have them explain their logic in writing takes away from the time of actually teaching mathematical concepts and brings them into a much more abstract realm for which many are not ready. This type of exercise is more appropriate to older grades / developmental stages. Can SOME of the children do it? Yes. Unfortunately, when the homework comes back, parents will often write comments such as, “I couldn’t explain it so that it made sense to him/her.”

  3. Sandra Hennigan permalink

    Hi Mercedes,
    I appreciate the time you are taking to investigate CC. First my children attend a private school that has implemented the Math CC 3rd and 1st grader..Don’t like it, don’t understand it and have a difficult time tying to understanding it… 1st grader is being taught so many different steps to come up with one addition answer… Crazy!! I try and show him our old way but he says, Mom it kinda goes like this.. I wish I could explain it better.. 3rd grader scored A+’s last year in Math.. This year he is struggling! And he’s not the only one… I have a joined a group of Moms that is having a huge meeting April 4th.. Read below… We passed out flyers today and was shocked at how many parents don’t know, don’t care and don’t have the time to care… Please If you know someone who can attend or pass on the info.. It’s in Yorba Linda, CA:
    The new Common Core math and reading standards have come under a firestorm of criticism. But why criticize something meant to help students?
    Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, candidate for California State Governor, will join Robert Hammond, a member of the OC Board of Education and Lydia Gutierrez, Candidate for State Superintendent to cover the topic with expertise. Q & A to follow
    Friday, April 4th, 6:30pm
    First Baptist Yorba Linda
    18372 Lemon Drive, Yorba Linda
    ***Sorry, Child Care is NOT Provided***
    This is a NO COST event, but please register for this event at:
    http://www.eventbrite.com/o/hosted-by-faithful-christian-servants-of-orange-county-6237969249?s=23169679
    Ticketed Attendees will be given seating priority until 6:45pm

  4. Here is my response to a FB post linking to this blog post as to “why the ‘Anti’s’ often have it all wrong.”

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2014/03/07/about-that-common-core-math-problem-making-the-rounds-on-facebook/

    Addition/subtraction & multiplication/division are math FACTS. FACTS! When you have 2 apples and add 2 more it equals 4. If you have 4 apples and take away 2 you have 2 left. Pretty simple and straightforward. Why do we need children to explain that? How about a little more complicated version of the coffee example in the blog post:
    You have $49.56 in your wallet. You spent $26.31 at the store. How much do you have left?

    Old way: $49.56-$26.31=23.25 BAM! simple, effective, right answer.

    New way: Add.09 to make .40, add .60 to make 27.00, add 3 to make 30.00, add 10.00 to make 40.00, add 9.00 to make 49.00, add .56 to make $49.56 REALLY? Are you serious?

    The problem is that this is the way the kids are being taught to solve all math problems. It does not promote number sense. It is a colossal waste of time. I teach my child plenty of different ways to solve math problems. I teach him to use the most effective one for solving the problem based on the problem and his level of understanding. The reason most children struggle in math is because they are not being taught the facts. I remember when I was in elementary school we reciting them until we had them down pat. Maybe the problem is that too much is being pushed back to younger grades and it cuts out time for the very basics.

  5. I know that the previous comment was not an actual example from my personal experience, but it does give a good idea of where I have problems with CC math. I will look for personal examples to post, also. Thanks Mercedes!

  6. alicemercer permalink

    Response here. Sorry it’s so long. I’ve been sitting on that post for awile: http://mizmercer.edublogs.org/2014/03/24/common-core-mathematics/

  7. Puget Sound Parent permalink

    In a word: awful.

    My son, who has shown his gifted ability with math since preschool—when his teachers firCC mentioned it to my spouse and I—is now a 4th grader, about to turn ten, and in this first year of “Common Core math” at his school, he’s now bringing home report cards with “failing” math grades.

    When we met with his teacher, he told us “I know your son is good at math and we all know that he can do math very well in each of these CC categories. But my hands are essentially tied; I have no discretion in this area any longer. A lot of these are linked to his score on word problems, and if he gets one word wrong, or even misuses a comma, I have no choice: I can’t give him partial credit for getting almost all of the problem right. I am forced to mark the entire problem as a wrong answer.”

    We were both equally disgusted, angered and wanting to yell loudly in the face of whoever was responsible for shoving this down our throats.

  8. Julie permalink

    I teach math at a district that is taking a fairly practical approach to CC (plan and get ready but “wait and see” to embrace outside materials and we will start teaching it next year if we have to) — my children attend the district where we live and it is tragic: this district is very test-happy and they have written their own “common core assessments” to track kids four times a year (or maybe it’s to harass the teachers, I’m not sure). They have the highest test scores in our state, so losing ground seems to be a huge concern to them! Anyway, I’ve seen two things that are worth noting:

    1. In the middle school, they bought common core workbooks (not the text that goes with) and the teacher makes weird guesses as to what the kids are supposed to do. Sometimes she gets it clearly wrong (because she’s using words to mean things that are not the words’ ordinary math meanings, which confuses kids) — once I tried to help her (I tried so hard to be non-threatening) and she just said “well I have to do it this way because that is common core”. The response to this is “not really” — common core may want kids to do a certain thing in a certain way, but what she’s doing is just guessing based on some super-hastily-thrown-together workbook. My conclusion: the workbook is bad and the teacher really has no idea what common core wants. The district math coach is no better. My middle school child is now going to school in my district (the decision wasn’t solely based on this common core episode but generally on the quality of “test happy” teaching . . . . ) and it’s been great so far (common core is “not yet”).

    2. In the elementary school where my youngest daughter remains, her teacher continues to hate common core and they use the same hastily thrown together workbook as my middle school daughter. It is some weird and unnecessary stuff. My daughter brings home what she doesn’t get and we figure it out together. It’s better because the teacher “doesn’t know what she doesn’t know and doesn’t mind being honest about it”. Some of the “gifted” kids in my daughter’s class, though, aren’t so philosophical. My daughter has seen gifted kids in her class literally CRYING because they can’t figure out what they are supposed to know or be able to do.

    3. I’ve been teaching math since 1980. I learned math in elementary school in the ’60s “new math” — so no one can say I can’t learn new tricks (I’ve heard this said about “old” math teachers). I believe in “deep conceptual understanding” in teaching math and not focusing on simple algorithms. So I was OK with common core when I read the propaganda “deep conceptual understanding of fewer topics”. HUGE DISAPPOINTMENT: That’s not what Common Core Math is. It’s the “same old same old” — except very prescriptive. Tells you exactly what to teach, pretty close to “scripted”, to me. So, after much study, I concluded that Common Core math moves us in the wrong direction. [My opposition to it is on political and control grounds — we should not have a corporate takeover of schools, or even a minor invasion, we need local control, we need the ability to change and modify and/or use “standards” as guidelines to inform teaching. We don’t need standardized testing, at all. But once (I hope) we get local control back, my vote would not be for Common Core.]

  9. Drg permalink

    Sigh… Where to begin… Last night my 3rd grader brought home math homework about ‘benchmark fractions on a number line’. Unfortunately, I couldn’t help her and neither could my sister who was visiting us. The assignment was so difficult and the questions were multi-layered. It was ridiculous. I wrote the teacher a note and my friend’s daughter had trouble too- crying while doing the math assignment. I am very much against the common core. I don’t care how the defend it, but it strips away creativity and gets the kids frustrated. Not to mention it is NOT developmentally appropriate. I can go on all day about this subject, but I wanted to give you just a snippit of how the dreaded CC is effecting my 8 year old.

    • Jenny Asmar permalink

      Thank you so much. I am in 110% agreement. Learning should be challenging but not defeatest. I fear for our nation of young that are subject to this CC. They are not learning but are rather studying to take a standarized test. It takes the ability away from teachers to access their students and offer them help outside the box that the Common Core sets.

  10. I don’t have the worksheet in front of me so I am paraphrasing here… My apologies… But my second grader received partial credit when he had to express a number from a calendar (how many days have we been in school? 47 days) as CURRENCY…..drawing every possible combo of coins he could muster. Bless him, he got two out of three combinations correct. How does money relate to a calendar? Also, this multiplication thing where they have to draw all the circles with all of the hashmarks inside….(2 x 9 would be two circles containing nine marks each ) Not sure I like that either. Indiana just dumped the CCSS but the most conservative Republicans are cheering victory because they don’t want our state standards to be under federal control. Yeah, I am sure that’s it.

  11. My daughter who is a 2nd grader brought home a sheet of addition problems–fairly simple 3-digit numbers–that using the addition method I learned in elementary school could have been solved in a couple of seconds. She was told she had to solve the problems by drawing boxes, x’s, and tick marks to represent place value. I let her struggle with it for a little while, but when I realized it was not making any sense to her, I told her to stop. I proceeded to teach her addition the way I learned it in 1970 by adding in columns and carrying. We spent about 5 minutes going over the procedure and working all of her homework problems that way. She caught on instantly and was able to move on to 4-digit, 5-digit, and add up to ten 3-digit numbers together in a column all in a single afternoon. If she had continued to struggle with her math homework, working the problems the Common Core way, she would have still been drawing boxes and x’s when it was time for us to have dinner that evening.

    There is nothing wrong with the tried and true. I finished college without ever having to know how to draw a box, an x, or a tick mark to solve a simple addition problem. In 11th grade I had Trig and my senior year Calculus. These Common Core methods are deliberately designed to slow down the learning process and chip away at a child’s self-esteem and feeling of accomplishment. It is a form of child abuse and inexcusable.

    I have had the conversation with my daughter’s teacher that she will not be learning Common Core methods, nor will she be tested on them, and that I will be teaching her at home the most efficient way to solve a math problem. The teacher seems to understand where I’m coming from and respect my views, so we haven’t had any issues. But I did get a phone call from the principal complaining that I was teaching my daughter 4th grade math, to which I replied that if she is able to learn at that level, why is it a problem? Of course I am well aware of the socialist agenda. It’s straight from the Karl Marx playbook to have every child working at the same level, so I understood why the principal seemed to have a problem with it. I told her that if she wants the federal and state tax dollars that go with my child, she better wise up, and that I could easily pull my daughter out of public school and homeschool. The principal got very quiet and decided to play nice.

    I’ve heard from other parents in different school districts that their children have been forced to learn Common Core. Their child’s answers have been marked wrong (even if the answer they got is the right one) if they did not work it according to the math strategies they were taught. So far, that has not been my daughter’s experience at her school. She has been allowed to work math problems the way I taught her.

  12. heather sparling permalink

    First of all I would like to say I am a parent of 3 special needs kids. So the confusion that is affecting “normal” children is happening on a much bigger scale in the special needs community. Questions that are developmentally inappropriate, testing that is much too long and some that are daily (sprints), and the process or method to getting the answer being more important than the answer are what is causing children to become stressed, overwhelmed, and hate going to school. Children who are bringing an excess of homework home but begging for some free time. Parents who have muliple degrees in math are doing their best to try and help but can’t. I am sick of this idea in which we as Americans have to “keep up with the Jones’ “. We are from America why do we have to go by some other country’s standards for children. Yeah they are supposedly smarter. Who cares? They also use their children as slave labor in sweat shops. Are we to do that as well? Here is an actual problem my kindergardener brought home.

    “Susan saw 10 animals at the zoo. She saw 5 lions and 5 elephants. Draw the animals in the 5 group way.”

    So not only does my 5 year old have to know what the 5 group way is, he has to know how to draw elephants and lions too. 5+5=10 it is as simple as that.

    • Yes, I agree that the simple way is best, especially at Kindergarten level. It’s not art class, it’s math class. My kid likes to draw, but whether or not she can draw an elephant or lion has nothing to do with her math skills. If I didn’t teach her quicker ways to get the work done, she would never get any time to play. She’s very active and needs time outdoors to burn off the excess energy before bedtime. I think CC has the most adverse effects on the very bright and special needs kids. It’s wrong to cause children to worry and become stressed to the point that they hate school.

  13. I’m a substitute teacher, all grade levels, in a district that transitioned to CC Mathematics spring of last year. Suddenly math work packets are 3x as big, and I can’t grade them for the teacher any more, because they all include big long sections where you have to explain your answer. My experience as a sub: I usually skip the explaining part, when I do a lesson with a class. You’re requiring kids to be articulate about their thought processes, out loud, in Kinder and First Grade (where many kids haven’t matured enough to understand addition and subtraction yet), written down, in the older grades (where getting a clear paragraph out of them continues to be a challenge). Hard enough when a regular teacher does it, right? You know, I once worked with a friend of mine, a 4th grade teacher, who would have their kids do a mental math problem, then call on volunteers to explain how they got the answer. It had to be volunteers, because many of the kids even at that age, couldn’t explain how they got the answer. And doing it orally helped a lot, because many of the kids who could explain their thinking, were not the same ones who could write clear prose.

    I’m a sub. My job is classroom management: Provide a classroom atmosphere in which most of the kids can concentrate, and help them get their work done as best I can while I’m at it. I find I am cutting way more corners with this new math curriculum than I ever had to with the old one. It doesn’t help that the district doesn’t even have CC Math books yet, because the teacher will have the kids take notes in class, and instead of being able to take strugglers back to a page where the book explained what they were supposed to be doing, now I have to refer them to their notes (and we all know what kinds of notes the struggling kids have been taking). Common Core Math sucks. It’s based on expecting the whole class to do what only a few of them are able to do even semi-competently. My own son’s in a charter school, where the parent-school compact mandates him taking the standardized test. For next year, I’m swapping schools so I can opt him out. I don’t want his future determined by this crap.

  14. Melody permalink

    Here are two actual problems my third-grader “attempted” to complete at school. His attempts are not even attempts as he didn’t even know where to start. After doing some research, I know the first one is straight from the TNCore website. I figure the second one is as well. The multiple steps and equation drawing just are ridiculous. In addition, teachers see the HUGE gaps in the CC math curriculum, so they are trying to teach CC AND do everything that CC leaves out because they know what has been left out would hurt a child’s overall education if he/she doesn’t get it.

    1. Easton has been raising vegetables in his garden all summer. He plans to sell some of his vegetables at a local farmer’s market.
    He has selected 24 radishes, 30 onions, 16 heads of lettuce and 25 tomatoes to sell. he wants to display the radishes together, the onions together, the lettuce together, and the tomatoes together, and to place them in sets with equal rows for each kind of vegetable.
    He plans to put each kind of vegetable in at least 2 rows. Show all the different ways that he can display equal rows for each kind of the vegetables at the market. Write an equation for each way you find.

    2. Four families drove to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to vacation.
    The Nyguen family drove 120 miles to the park.
    The Nyguen family drove 2 times more miles than the Peterson family.
    The Dorsey family drove 2 times fewer miles than the Nyguen family.
    The Dorsey family drove 4 times more miles than the Lang family.
    Draw a number line. Place the names of the families on the number line from the last to the greatest number of miles driven.
    Write an equation to explain how far each family drove.

    The math is frustrating, but I am even more frustrated with the ELA junk! I teach Comp 1 at a community college, and my first-grader is “learning” some of the same concepts I teach to my college students! And the so-called critical thinking questions are NOT critical thinking when couched in multiple-choice format with only one correct answer, especially when at least 2 of the 4 are valid answers. If you want some examples of the destructive CC ELA, I can give you a ton of examples from work from both my first-grader and third-grader.

  15. dee permalink

    I am just sad over the fact that our children are getting caught up in all this cross fire. Never a good thing. I am just looking for ways to protect them.

  16. jessica permalink

    I have a 3rd grader and 1st grader, both are in “gifted” classes. They are so frustrated with the explain everything on every problem philosophy. My first grader has started writing, “because it is numbers” when they want a long answer about drawing out boxes to add two numbers instead of regrouping! I guess we will need paper and pens on grocery carts when they are all older and go to the store! My third grader has timed “math busters” for multiplication which he has completed through the 10’s (apparently the 11s and 12s are no longer tested), but yet she is still told to draw an ARRAY of 77 little dots to show that 11×7=77 in her “math journal”! The kids are not dumb and can see through this little charade and know that it is a time waste. I have told them to do their work in an efficient manner and ignore the rest.

  17. Laura permalink

    It’s just really frustrating that I can’t help my 7th grader with her math at all at home if she needs it. The teacher, who says she is changing the curriculum next year, has said that parents can’t really help unless they attend class as well. That is messed up! I admit to not being a math wiz, & neither is my kid. But I’m college educated & can’t even get a remote handle on this stuff. Looking online was no help either. I have no problems with changes in teaching, but this is just wrong.

    • Yes, the purpose of Common Core is to drive a wedge between the kids and the parents. That is the point of socialism in the schools. They begin indoctrination at age 4 (pre-K) or age 5 (Kindergarten) and by the time that child reaches middle school, his or her values system is totally opposite from the parents. You won’t even recognize your own kid anymore because his thinking is so skewed to the left. Even the History lessons are slanted towards the progressives or are revisionist in nature. Leaving a child under the influence of this type of material until graduation will certainly not give us many free-thinking and productive adults, but it will surely create a new generation of liberal voters and freeloaders.

  18. jen permalink

    As a parent trying to help her daughter with homework- the cc math is for the birds!!!! I personally don’t get it and when I try to Re teach my daughter the “old fashioned way” it gets ugly. she gets frustrated and confused and it makes it harder for her!! I really wish they’d go back to normal math- after all, isn’t that the same way these politicians and government leaders learned??????

  19. How can I post a picture of my second grader’s homework?

  20. I can appreciate that there are some students that may need an alternative way to solve math problems, but trying to teach the entire class a ton of different long and drawn out ways to do one type of problem as the Go Math textbook does is insane. Also, many children as adults aren’t going to be able to use all these long and drawn out steps while trying to quickly figure something out; they are going need to know basic facts and procedures such as regrouping. Several years back, i was lucky to be able to participate in the Mobile Math Initiative which allows children to play with numbers and explore different ways to solve the same math problem while still allowing for traditional math.

  21. Tracy R permalink

    how can i email or post pictures or a pdf of a packet of “strategies” that got sent home with my 2nd grader??

    The teacher packet began with a letter that said “these strategies are not like the traditional method that you or I learned. Studies show that the traditional method increases errors and takes away from the value of each digit”… it goes on to say ” you may be temped to teach your child the traditional method. I ask that you allow you child to teach YOU, and you may see that these new strategies are quite easy to learn” You cannot begin to know how much that infuriated me.

    My 2nd grader loved school, loved learning, took pride in her work and doing well and never ever woke up and said she didn’t want to go to school. Until about 3 months into this year that is. Her 2nd grade year is almost at an end, she is moving onto multiplication grouping yet still does not have basic 2-3 digit addition and subtraction down. She is frustrated and confused just looking at math. We are 100% homeschooling next year and I feel she has just given up on school all together and just doesn’t care anymore. She gets so worked up over tests and can’t finish them in time, even when the teacher crosses out half the problems for her. She gets sent to another class or out in the hall to finish so of course she rushes and does horribly. Because she has no confidence in math and hasn’t mastered the basics she can do 3 problems right, then do the next 4 totally wrong forgetting everything she clearly showed she knew in the first 3 problems. She should be able to take a basic 155 + 123 and know how to add and carry, or subtract and borrow properly but she doesn’t. She may for a problem or two but forgets that quick a few problems later. They were taught all these “methods and strategies”. The teacher informed me that the traditional algorithm isn’t even introduced until 4th grade. I am sure this is why the above commentor was told she was teaching her child 4th grade math.

    We first saw the CC math when it started with drawing everything out. The is Base Ten Method. 44 was 4 lines and 4 dots. Did this give her knowledge of tens and ones? no. it gave her ability to figure out how to fit all those lines and dots on her page when she had to draw them out. She came home one day so frustrated because on her small little white board for math she had to draw out 1000… 10 groups of 10 was 100, then 10 of those groups was 1000. she had to draw this out and was so stressed on how to fit it on her board! She also would get problems wrong because she would draw it out then accidently count a pencil mark that was just a pencil mark and not a ones dot and then her answer was off by that 1 pencil mark. I can understand teaching basic place value, but the drawing of boxes, lines and dots was just beyond ridiculous..

    Then it was the number line method. Where they count up for subtraction and my child could not understand why if it was a subtraction problem was she having to count UP. I didn’t even know what the number line was so i told her to ask her teacher for some worksheets or something to explain it so i could help her. My daughter was so worried about a test that was 2 days away and having this math that she just could not wrap her head around. her teacher helped her as much as she could but then had to just move on. she was stressing out, knowing she wasn’t going to know it for her test. The teacher told her, “don’t worry about it, its just one strategy”. That is fine, not every strategy works for everyone but they are tested on it and she knew she didn’t learn it! So I showed her how to count down on the number line to find her answer… So say 164-42. we’d start at 154, count down the tens first (4), so we jump 4 tens 154, 144, 134, 124.. then count down the ones (2)… 123, 122 and where we stop is the answer. Well that is not right because once I had a meeting with the teacher she informed me they teach to count UP for math way because one of the new standards is that they know how to “count UP in subtraction”. So that is how she had to show her work.
    I won’t even begin to describe the other methods of regrouping, spliting, friendly #s etc. If I can get you the packet you can see it🙂 They are all equally as confusing. Turning a simple 30 second problem into 15 steps of chaos.
    The teacher is doing the best she can, I understand that. she helps her as much as she can, even crossing out test questions so she can focus better and not be overwhelmed and not forcing them to do a certain strategy lately just telling them to use whatever strategy they want. And I tell her to do the standard algorithm I show her at home but still these different methods are being thrown at her at school and confusing her. The last test they had to solve it 2 ways. She did traditional way but then had to draw it out AND show work. Showing and drawing out “borrowing”. crossing out boxes and dots. It is supposed to give them sense of “number value” but it is just plain confusing and a waste of time. I wish I had taken a pic of her last test😦 The teacher told me she knows not all kids get every way. that is why she picked just a few of the strategies to show them. she said some just get it, others not so much but she only has so much time and has to move on. And that she sent home the packet so parents knew what they were learning in class. (grant it, it was good to see it all explained, as well as you can explain nonsense). Like an above commenter said “It’s based on expecting the whole class to do what only a few of them are able to do even semi-competently.” That is exactly it. The kids aren’t allowed to first master the basics then find their own ways and shortcuts. We all do it, we all have our own ways of solving math problems whether its regrouping, etc. but I didn’t need someone to show me that. And how do they expect kids to grasp any of it without even mastering or understanding the BASICS and having ZERO confidence that the answer they get is right.
    I feel this whole year has been a bust for her atleast in math. I try to teach her the traditional way but then she goes to school and get all these things thrown at her she just can’t get it mastered to get confidence. This CC Math is as frustrating for parents as it is for the kids.

  22. Sue permalink

    My daughter is in 2nd grade and she is being taught CC Math. She has failed each of the 4 state mandated Math tests this year and the teacher told me to have her opt out of the upcoming 4 day NJ Pass standardized tests. She has developed so much anxiety and cries when trying to do her math homework. Much of which I can’t help her with, so I have bought workbooks to teach her the basic ways to add, subtract, multiply and divide. The class has moved from addition through to division in a number of weeks with no time for anyone who falls behind to catch up. It is completely absurd! Why they have to confuse the heck out of young children is abusive, in my opinion. At least teach them the basics first before giving them these ridiculous abstract word problems that expect their brains to actually process correctly. I will be spending the summer on tutors and child psychologists, thanks to the people who decided this was a great idea!

  23. Sue permalink

    One additional thing I found INFURIATING was that my daughter was told on a Math test to draw out her answer to an addition word problem, like Mary has 26 cows and Joe has 54 cows…how many cows do they have altogether? Well, instead of teaching her to add 26+54, she had her drawing 26 cows and then 54 cows and then counting them! Of course, she counted wrong and got the answer wrong. The teacher would actually put a smiley face on how she drew the cows and she would still fail the test! My daughter would be the last one to finish the test drawing these cows and that would give her such anxiety. I was like, WHY can’t you show her an easier way to solve that??? I finally had to tell her not to draw the pictures any longer, just do the math.

  24. Interesting story about adults and Common Core math at a County Commission meeting in Fayette County, TN (The Fayette County Commission voted unanimously on the 1st reading to adopt a Resolution against Common Core):

    This may have been the highlight of the County Commission meeting… There was a very kind man speaking on behalf of the state for Common Core. He passed out paperwork to the commissioners. In that paperwork was a third grade math problem. One of the commissioners explained to the nice man from the state that he couldn’t solve the 3rd grade math problem. The man from the state explained that he couldn’t solve it either, but to just trust what the state is doing because it’s rigorous and it’s better this way.
    Another comment from the meeting: The man representing the state knew little or nothing about any of this. He literally said that he was there because “he had to put beans on his table.” I truly don’t think he had any idea what he was doing. He works with Emily Barton for TNCore. She would have had a heart attack had she seen his representation. He couldn’t answer the board’s questions. But I have found that to be consistent with the TNCore trainers- they can’t answer cc questions. He rambled on for quite awhile, doing the best he could, I suppose. The first man to speak following him immediately asked him whether he was for or against cc. That is how confusing his presentation for cc was. It was next to impossible to tell his stance on it. And these are the people we are supposed to trust that this is good for our children?! Goodness!

  25. Standardized test scores plummeted when Common Core was implemented for 1 year in this school in TN, so they switched back to the old standards to get scores up:

    http://www.tnparents.com/2/post/2014/03/why-common-core-is-not-in-my-tn-classroom.html

  26. Marie Little permalink

    I’ll give you a sample word problem that came home, which set off my radar for
    my 3rd grader last year. The kids were barely telling time correctly, but they were
    expected to do this:

    Mike spent 3 hours and 30 minutes playing video games. If he started playing at
    1:50 PM, what time was it when he stopped playing?

    Here’s why the teacher covered this:
    http://www.corestandards.org/Math/Content/3/MD/A/1/

    This standard specifically states the what and the HOW for this type of problem.
    I have seen these types of problems posted all over the place from other parents
    of 3rd graders. This presented universal frustration at homework time, all over
    New York state.

    I tried to teach my son how to do it using a clock, but he insisted they HAD to use a number line. Look at the standard and you’ll see why that was emphasized.

    If you’ve mastered telling time and are capable of thinking somewhat abstractly,
    you could do this. 8 and 9 year olds are concrete thinkers.

  27. Kelli permalink

    Here is a problem from our daughter’s first grade math homework.
    “Josh has 18 peanuts. He feeds 6 peanuts to a squirrel. Which addition fact can help you find out how many peanuts Josh has left?
    A= 18-9=9
    B= 10+2=12
    C= 6+10=16
    D=12+6=18

  28. Nidal al dabbas permalink

    Pearson ( International Mathematics For the Middle Years 2) was assigned by my son school as the Math Book for his 7th grade in an IBMYP certified school in Jordan. Unfortunately the school math has decide since the beginning of the Year to totally ignore the Math book and she is asking student and parents to use the Web ( internet ) to search for learning materials and practice problems.Because of this I have noticed that students are becoming less interested in the math material because of difficulty in searching the web for learning materials and practice problems unlike the math books which covers all the elements of the MYP mathmatics course.

    I can understand when teachers can use the book material as a resourse to build on and as they can further develop their own sheme of work. But to totally ignore the book, this That I cannot understand and for this reason I kindly ask you to help in advising me with reference guidelines or procedures which math teachers should follow in teaching math.

    I have checked on sample schools (IBMYP) and all of them were using a reference math book for teaching .

  29. LAteacher permalink

    re: Nibal al dabbas. Like your son’s teacher, I shelved all of the new Pearson math text books. After going through the book, I saw that it was fragmented, rushed lessons etc. It just didn’t make sense at all to me. I asked permission to not use it and was told that as long as I covered the standards it was ok not to use it. Unlike your son’s teacher, I was the one who found all the resources I wanted my students to use. We had short lessons, then they practiced skills with mostly activities, task cards and concrete materials. I tried to use some activities that had similar formats that they would see on standardized tests, but that was not my focus. I did not use the supplied workbooks either. My students had a good year, enjoyed math and also tested well.

  30. Michele permalink

    I’m burnt out after spending 3 hrs trying to help my 3rd grader complete her math homework sheets. Granted that it has been over 35 years since I took 3rd grade math. But, come on! When I cannot understand what they are asking my child to do & there are no examples given, how do I teach my daughter HOW to understand math concepts when they’ve skipped the basic math facts, then send them home with work to do that the teacher has no time to cover this in the classroom?
    Now. I’m an artist & art framer. I have dyscalculia (math dyslexia). I learned math by finding the fastest & easiest way to the answers. Most people have no idea that I’m unable to recite my times tables. I cannot do math in my head. Yet, I am able to balance my budget & never bounce my bank acct. I can calculate math fractions & decimals to find measurements for matting & framing.
    Yet. I cannot explain to my child how to do math in an easy way since she is being taught the LONG way around & in a language that is based on algebraic conceptual ideas. THIS IS 3RD GRADE!!!
    I have only confused my child further by teaching her the methods that i understand.
    Her father is a math genius in my eyes. He can calculate 6 digit problems in his head & spew them out like a computer. Yet! HE CANNOT UNDERSTAND MOST OF HER MATH HOMEWORK EITHER!!
    Political agenda? IDGAF. Parents are parents no matter WHAT their political affiliation is. We ALL want our children to succeed in school. This Common Core has NOTHING to do with who I vote for when I never voted on this issue & at the end if the day MY child is having meltdowns & I am having meltdowns & we are all frustrated.
    Our children are struggling. I’m not the only parent at my child’s school who is yelling about this.
    Our children are going to fall behind if they cannot learn basic math facts.
    Common Core with No Child Left Behind will give us children who are unable to pay their bills, balance their budgets or even calculate their grocery shopping.
    My child has become depressed & thinks she’s stupid for not understanding. She hates math & I’m not going to punish her everyday after school with hours of crazy math that makes her cry anymore.
    THIS IS WHAT COMMON CORE IS ABOUT IN MANY HOUSEHOLDS.
    It’s causing havoc & discord on a daily basis to many.
    Is this what we want our children to grow up under?

  31. I am an older mother with a 3rd grade daughter. It has been more than 40 years since I was a 3rd grader. When I was in school, the most important milestones for 3rd grade were memorizaton of times tables, long division, and cursive writing. We were each assigned a math textbook that we brought home every day. Our homework assignments were given directly from exercises in the book. The material we learned was always covered by our teacher in class before we were given a homework assignment. We then had to write the problems on our own notebook paper and give the answers, showing all of our work.

    My daughter started working with Common Core in 2nd grade. She brought home a worksheet because there are no books to take home for this Common Core indoctrination. Apparently the parents are supposed to be kept in the dark about what their children are learning because the more the parents know about it the less they like it and the more likely they are to complain. Most parents would protest it if they really knew what Common Core does to their kids. This worksheet for 2nd grade math went home early in the year. In order to get to the final answer to one of the word problems on the worksheet–it was a multi-layered problem–the student needed to know how to divide.

    At this point, the children in my daughter’s class had not yet been taught (at school) how to multiply, but the worksheet required them to know division in order to get the correct answer. I taught my daughter the “old school” way, and she wrote the answer on the worksheet showing her work the way I taught her. When she came home the next day, after turning in her homework, the teacher had written on her paper that she did not follow the instructions and had marked a big red “X” on her paper.

    I immediately scheduled a meeting with the teacher and gave her a piece of my mind about this Common Core garbage. I told her that for the rest of the school year my daughter would be doing math the way I was taught and that I personally would check her answers. I also told her that I better not get anymore papers marked wrong if the answer is correct just because my child did not work the problem according to Common Core strategies. It worked. She did not attempt to override my decision as a parent. Maybe I am one of the lucky ones. This year my daughter’s 3rd grade teacher is anti-Common Core. She told the students in her class that they could work the problems the way their parents knew and she would mark it correct as long as the answer was correct.

  32. anonymous permalink

    Last night my 2nd grader had a problem that stated if you had a group of pennies how can u tell by looking whether it’s even or odd? We had to spell out the sentences her her to write the answer. How is that teaching her if I have to answer it? How about teach the basics….my 2nd grader is still learning spelling and sentences. How can she explain something like that grrrrrrr

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