If you do a search on Google for "Crazy Common Core Math" you will see this image and others like it. I have seen this image circulating among stakeholders in our district. All of the publicity regarding the Common Core Standards has certainly elevated the concerns of many. We need to understand that the Common Core is not a curriculum, it is a set of standards. It does not dictate how we teach, it only provides a set of standards that teachers work to meet at each grade level.
Our work as a district has focused on unpacking the standards into student friendly terms or what we call "I can statements." We have targeted the following areas as part of our implementation of the Common Core:
- Formative Assessment - using formative data to inform our future instruction and guide early interventions.
- Establishing a scope and sequence for when "I can statements" are covered and assessed.
- Developing common lessons when appropriate.
- Implementing standards based learning processes.
- Vertical alignment - communicating with upper grade levels and developing a curriculum that flows from one grade to the next.
I will say that we do not teach subtraction and addition this way at Rugby Public Schools. The method above is a way that some mathematicians use to help students gain a better sense of how numbers work. It is no different than when my wife was in school and there was a focus on touch math (which I struggle to understand and it makes perfect sense to her). I will say it again the Common Core does not dictate our teaching methods. It only sets a standard and our teachers are free to teach how they see fit.
I encourage you to reach out to your teachers and administrators at your local school if you have any questions or concerns regarding the Common Core.
Katie Couric does a nice job in this clip explaining the Common Core.
Links to our student friendly "I can statements" based on the Common Core.