In an effort to improve math and literacy in American schools, state governors and the CCSSO are creating internationally benchmarked core standards, to be common among all states. 48 states, 2 territories and the District of Columbia have already signed on. This effort targets a widespread concern that existing curriculum standards are too narrow and disjointed. Instead, these new standards focus on fewer standards and stress coherence -- with an emphasis on key principles. The NGA Center and CCSSO have released a draft of Common Core State Standards for K-12
, which they aim to finalize by late spring.
What do you think?
Should all states share Common Core Standards?
Should schools sacrifice breadth of curriculum content for depth of understanding?
To connect math to current events, algebra teacher Brian Marks created "Yummy Math" with colleague Leslie Lewis and his students.
Their recent posts include downloads to activities on how to use iPad enthusiasm to introduce math concepts and on how trends in candy purchases differ among holidays, including Easter. Marks has been creating relevant math investigations for years and hopes that the blog will help bring current events and increased motivation into other math classrooms as well. Lewis is a retired eighth grade algebra teacher who now enjoys building websites for her math art projects so she joined forces with Marks and his students.
The site was launched just last month, and Marks excitedly made a plug for it this week at our teachers advisory board meeting. I thought I'd give it some love on the Math Hub as well!
Do you have favorite websites that give you inspiration for new things to try in the classroom? If so, we (along with other teachers, I'm sure!) would love to hear what those are in the comments section below.
While catching up on events in the world of education policy-making, I had the following quite unsophisticated ideas in the following order:
- There are an awful lot of smart people out there producing an awful lot of writing about what kids need and what schools and teachers must do.
- That's a large and knowledgeable work force.
- What's one thing that would benefit all kids, almost without exception? More time with talented adults who want to see them succeed.
- What if all this energy were somehow magically unleashed upon the students of America (sorry, students of America). That is, what if education analysts, bloggers of course, journalists, lobbyists, and policy-makers of every stripe all spent an hour a week teaching something to one kid or more?
- Any setting, subject, level, or number of students qualifies. (Teaching your own kids does not, I think.)
- First, it would be an unbelievable mobilization of talent, sort of like an educational Dunkirk.
- Second, you might see some shifts in opinions. Subtle? Radical? I don't know.
I'm not picking on the chattering classes and the policy-makers. They perform essential services. But now - and this is actually true - I must stop writing, because it's my day to go the community center.http://www.flickr.com/photos/nathanrussell/
/ CC BY 2.0
Perhaps one of the most famous movie teachers ever died this past week at the age of 79.
Jaime Escalante was known for his ability to connect with kids in a poor Hispanic neighborhood in East Los Angeles and turn them into calculus whizzes. He was the inspiration for the 1987 movie Stand and Deliver.
Through the words of his students, the Los Angeles Times provided a glimpse into how he was able to leave his mark. Themes that echoed in their recollections were high expectations, love, and lessons on how to achieve success in math and beyond.
His expectations were higher than the students' expectations: Garcia and his classmates expected basic math -- the low-expectation curriculum that had been good enough for who they were.
Escalante tossed out the lesson plans. He told them they were ready for algebra.
His students felt he genuinely cared about their success and their lives: "We tended to love the guy. Because he loved us."
And he taught students the steps to becoming successful: "I think his major achievement was inspiring students to put in the time and effort it takes to learn calculus. And helping them learn to break up a job into manageable steps."
Escalante reminds us that the recipe to turning out successful math students includes more than knowing the math and perfecting the instructional method for fractions, derivatives or integrals. Sometimes, faith and heart are the most important ingredients.
Read the full LA Times article.
Photo credit: http://www.nthf.org/inductee/escalante.htm
It’s official. Fraction Nation is now available and on its way to helping students and teachers tackle one of the biggest stumbling blocks on the way to algebra – fraction fluency. We’re so happy to share the latest math intervention program in the Scholastic family. Read the press release for more information on this happy milestone. Or, hear Chief Math Officer and fellow Math Hub blogger, Dr. David Dockterman, explain how Fraction Nation addresses the challenges of teaching fractions.
Find out more about Fraction Nation on our website or, better yet, email us to request a personal walk-through of the program. Discuss the ins and outs of this program with one of our math experts from the comfort and convenience of your own computer!
While we're happy to share this news, we sincerely regret that there's no cake left to share...