Friday, April 18, 2014

Common Core or Common Sense?



As I was trolling my facebook page one evening this week, I happened upon a post by one of the second grade teachers that I work with in my district.  She was expressing her frustrations with all the negativity surrounding the Common Core and gave a fabulous example of something that happened in her classroom which she attributes to the Common Core.  I just had to share:

I have read so much negativity about common core lately that it makes me want to invite all the Negative Nancy's to my classroom to see it in action. In my opinion, and it's only my opinion, common core would have gotten a better following if they had named it Common Sense standards...because that's what it really is. Common sense! The following is an example of Common Sense in my classroom.  
CCSS 2.OA.4 Use addition to find the total number of objects arranged in rectangular arrays with up to 5 rows and up to 5 columns; write an equation to express the total as a sum of equal addends. 
From the beginning of the year, my class sat on the floor in a rectangular array. They had no idea that was what it is called. I say "class, class please go sit four on the floor." The students move to the floor and sit four students across and five students back....20 students. We did this all year with no problems. Recently, we got another student. This happened right about the time we started learning about arrays. The students started complaining that it just didn't work out to sit four on the floor anymore. They always had an odd man out. So, I told them to see if they could come up with a way to fix our problem. And they turned to each other and communicated, they discussed, they planned, and they reported their ideas all while I sat there and watched and listened in amazement. They used the "smart part" of their brains and came up with two solutions 3+3+3+3+3+3+3=21 or 7x3 and 7+7+7=21 or 3x7. They also discussed which array would fit best on our carpet space. See Common Core really is Common Sense!

I just wish my teachers would have taught Common Core... I mean Common Sense standards, I might have enjoyed school a whole lot more.

The Common Core State Standards do not mandate HOW this teacher must teach in her classroom.  They do not require that her students use specific strategies to solve problems (until the expectation of the standard algorithms which come in the intermediate grades).  They do, however, expect that she develops innovative thinkers and problem solvers who don't have to rely on a given procedure to find the solution to a problem.  Kudos Amy Barnett for embracing the Common Core and preparing your students for tomorrow!

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