For most of us, math is a collection of rules and procedures to be memorized and mastered, esoteric equations, proofs, and formulas.70% of Americans admit that they either dislike math, or that it gives them anxiety - I argue this is largely because of the ways in which math has been traditionally taught – emphasis on following rules, computation over problem solving, and correct answers, rather than thinking processes that lead to both correct and incorrect answers.Listen, copy, memorize, drill (passive activities)
AND WHY DOES IT CHANGE SO MUCH???Just about any change in curriculum is directly associated with global competitiveness. For instance, in 2007, an international comparison of industrialized nations showed that American 4th graders ranked 11th overall in math achievement. The area in which where we consistently get outperformed is cognitive reasoning – the ability to make draw inferences, make generalizations and justifications, and solve novel tasks. About 10 years ago, employers and colleges started to realize that our high schools weren’t producing students with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in college and careers. The solution to the problem according to them is a common set of rigorous standards.
In CC, we have two different types of standards. The content standards, which describe the math topics your children learn about, like adding fractions, or calculating volume of a prism. You also have the Standards for Mathematical Practice, which get at the process through which students acquire and use mathematical knowledge. These are what really make Common Core different than curriculum standards we’ve used in the past.For our students to be mathematically proficient, they must:1) Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them (ex: 225 students are going on a field trip; each bus holds 25 students. How many buses are needed in all? Student sees “in all” as hint to add, gets 250. Moves on to the next problem without making sense of this one)2) We want students to be accurate and precise w/regard to quantities and units of measure3/4) Think abstractly and connect abstract thinking to mathematical symbols; decide if mathematical arguments make sense, defend one’s thinking with justification – How do you know? 5/6) Represent mathematical thinking using pictures, drawings, tables, graphs, diagrams, etc; use a variety of tools (e.g., calculators, technology, pencil/paper, manipulatives) not just symbolically with numbers and symbols. Research shows that we learn abstract skills/concepts more effectively when we demonstrate with drawings, pictures, and hands-on materials.7/8) Math is all about patterns and relationships. Students must have opportunities to actively analyze these relationships and generate theories/observations.
The best thing you can do is ask questions. Encourages thinking rather than reciting. If your child can tell you specifically what is confusing them, they are much more likely to improve than if they just say “I don’t get it,” or I’m confused.What questions can you ask your teacher? Jot them down on the homework to serve as a reminder.Master basic facts - When using flash cards, make two piles – a mastery pile and a needs work pile. This is motivating. Play beat the calculator. Be patient with basic fact recall – research says that some kids just never take to memorization. Focus on strategies for figuring out facts that aren’t known from memory. EX: 8 x 6 = 7 x 6 + 6 or 8 x 6 = 5 x 6 + 3 x 6Support math HW - Empower your child by giving hints, not answers… Research on cognitive development supports this.
Mental math– so important, builds understanding of place value and estimation ability and overall number senseSelf-advocacy – big in middle school, students often shy away from asking questionsWord problems – rereading, highlight key information, practice paraphrasing, what is the story asking you to do, draw a model or pictureEveryday life – involve them in cooking and measuring, ask them to estimate the cost of something when you are out, determine discount or approximate tax.
Click links above (hyperlinks)
Common Core curriculum represents a more balanced approach to learning mathematics. Built on 4 principles:Focus on fewer and more central topics; standards are narrow enough so that students can learn content in-depth rather than simply skimming the surface. 2. Sequence is logical and research-based; Standards are coherent, meaning learning is carefully connected within and across grade levels, so students can build new understandings on prior knowledge.Academically more rigorous overall;a rigorous set of learning expectations that reflects a balanced approach: a) conceptual understanding; b) procedural fluency; and c) application.Standards are made to be relevant to the real world reflecting knowledge and skills needed for success in college and careers.
So how do I help my child?
Brian Lack & Donna Price
It’s Not the Math I Learned!
What is Mathematics?
Negative Attitudes and Perceptions
Rules and Procedures Concepts and Big Ideas
Computation Problem Solving
Answers Thinking Processes
One “best” Way Alternative Strategies
Listen, copy, memorize, drill Explain, predict, justify, represent
What is the curriculum?
Why the changes?
Global economic concerns
College and career readiness
The Standards for Mathematical
Overarching Habits of Mind
Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
Attend to precision.
Reasoning and Explaining
Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
Modeling and Using Tools
Model with mathematics.
Use appropriate tools strategically.
Seeing Structure and Generalizing
Look for and make use of structure.
Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.
How Can I Help My Child?
What exactly is confusing you?
What do you think?
How do you know this? (Show me.)
Why do you think this?
Can you tell me more?
What questions can you ask your teacher?
Help them master basic facts
Support math homework
Avoid “doing it”
How Can I Help My Child?
Teach them to do math in their head
Look to a teacher’s website, the student
work book, or ask the teacher if your child
does not understand a concept.
Help them understand math vocabulary
Help them solve word problems
Make math a part of everyday life
• Video/audio (searchable by topic/standard)
• Interactive & adaptive (searchable by topic)
• Virtual tools (for modeling math concepts)
Interactive Math Learning Sites
K-8 online learning, common core aligned, adapts to student’s individual
strengths/weaknesses; free access with school account
K-5 online learning, common core aligned, heavily focused on visual models; adapts to
student’s individual strengths/weaknesses; free 14-day trial available
Math lessons, demonstrations, interactive activities and online quizzes on all areas of
Free math lessons and math homework help from basic math to algebra, geometry and
Multimedia resource that includes interactive math activities, print activities, learning
strategies, and videos that illustrate how math is used in everyday life; most
appropriate for grades 4 – 8.
National Library of Virtual Manipulatives
– use this site for concrete/pictorial
Interactive fractions with visual models –
great for visual learners
Video/Audio Math Learning
Requires a login, but free to sign up; Review,
Common Mistakes, Core Lesson, Guided
Practice, Extension Activities, and Quick Quiz
Thousands of free math videos that are
categorized according to grades and topics
Thousands of free math videos covering all
Text-based Math Learning
Contains practical math lessons demonstrating
useful techniques and pointing out common
Math explained in easy language, plus
puzzles, games, quizzes, worksheets and
Easy-to-follow math lessons, cool math
games, parents and teachers areas too
Detailed, fun, real-world math activities to do at home with your
Parent roadmap to standards by grade level
Parent guides to student success, by grade level
A platform for asking questions about how children learn
NCTM – How to work with the school; parents share tips