Yes, This Will Be On the Test

Writing, Reading, Laughing

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

View From the 5th Grade Trenches: Common Core Standards #3 - Break it Down - Math

The Common Core State Standards for math are sliced into two distinct halves: 
Mathematical Practices and Content Standards

Together they offer:
Explicit instruction on grade level concepts
Linking/extending previous learning and new information
Conceptual understanding/procedural skill/application

This is the kingdom of problem solving techniques. The practices are consistent across grade levels. The italics are my "translations."

Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them
 Stick it out through all the steps in a mathematically sound way.

Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
Use number sense, picture sense, charts and graphs.

Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
Explain WHY and HOW you or someone else came to an answer.

Model with mathematics.
Equations, expressions, proofs  

Use appropriate tools strategically

Attend to precision.
Don't panic - be systematic

Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning. Patterns/Connections

Here are the strands for fifth grade. Strands may vary at different grade levels, especially in the early grades or when you cross over into middle school and beyond. 

This is where I am doing the happy dance. Have you ever tried to teach a ten-year-old to calculate the surface area of a rectangular solid with fractions and decimals, or to subtract negative integers in several permutations? It's no picnic. With Common Core the shift in concepts (pushing more difficult ones to older grades) is more in line with my students' developmental abilities. 

Operations and Algebraic Thinking - OA
Expressions, Equations, Prime Factorization, Order of Operations, Input/Output Boxes

Number and Operations in Base Ten - NBT
Whole number and decimal operations, Place Values

Number and Operations - Fractions - NF
Fractions and Mixed Numbers

Measurement and Data - MD
Charts and Graphs, Volume

Geometry - G
Two dimensional figures, The Coordinate Plane

Freak Out Alert - 
Many of my colleagues in the primary grades are concerned about the heightened expectations, especially in problem solving for the younger kiddos. 

Double Freak Out Alert - 
During the transition to Common Core, we teachers have to figure out where to fill gaps that may occur between grade levels to make sure students are ready to tackle certain concepts. 

Yes, it is going to be boatloads of additional work for we underpaid and overworked educators as we transition to Common Core. 

Is it worth it?
I think so.

This link chats about the technology tie in to Common Core. Scroll down to Page 2 for the quick list. Digital Literacy

This week's video is a speedy fly-by of Mathematical Practices.

Keep those questions coming. Have a great week.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

View From the 5th Grade Trenches: Common Core Standards #2 - Break It Down ELA

Welcome to the second installment of wrapping our heads around the Common Core State Standards. I'm going to aim binoculars at the English Language Arts - ELA- standards this week.

Below are the 6 ELA standard strands and a few examples of what fall under each. A key factor in Common Core State Standards is added academic rigor for the students. Please know, my scant examples do not do the complexity of each strand justice.  

If you are itching for more detail - you can go to your state's Department of Education website and they will have a Common Core Standards link with a plethora of information.

And now - English Language Arts... 

Reading Literature
Structure of literary forms (fiction, drama, poetry), figurative language, themes, tone, author's purpose, comprehension, inferencing, quoting accurately from a source

Reading Informational Text
Structure of non-fiction texts, comparing sources across media for relevancy, extracting information, judging with criteria, proving with evidence, comprehension, drawing conclusions, citation of resources

Speaking and Listening 
Oral presentations, cooperative group strategies such as negotiation and task completion, academic conversations (I will be focusing on these in a future post)

Application of learning from both Reading Literature and Reading Informational Text standards, purposes for writing, writing across forms such as narrative/informational/opinion pieces, use of multi-media to express ideas and information

Conventions of language, grammar, punctuation, parts of speech, etc.

Reading Foundational Skills
Phonics, decoding, syllabication, morphology

In grade K-5, they are embedded within the ELA strands.

This weeks video is a quick overview of the purpose and benefits of national standards. And the doodler in me loves the graphic style of the presentation.

Common Core Link of the Week: Engage NY - Shifts for Students and Parents
This is the link I share with the parents in my class. Don't be put off by the length of the PDF. Each slide is a mini-poster of info. not a barrage of headache-inducing verbiage.

Question from last week:

Are standardized tests going away? 
The style of the test is changing. It will be online and include both individual and group tasks/assessments. I will focus on this topic in a future post.

Next week: Common Core Math Standards and Practices