The Common Core learning standards are being implemented by teachers in Western New York and all across the country, and if you did not understand math before, it is not likely that the Common Core will make it any easier for you.
As noted on wgrz.com, “The Common Core aims to teach strategies beyond memorization, focusing on pictures, numbers, and words. Some students find the math lessons confusing, and sadly, many parents can’t help them because the lessons are foreign to them.”
Eileen Klag Ryan, a fourth grade math teacher from Maple West Elementary in the Williamsville School District, explains how the ‘Homework Helper’ series can help parents teach their children how to do simple math problems.
While interviewing Eileen Ryan, news anchor Melissa Holmes had the following to say regarding the Common Core:
“When you and I were in school, we used to just memorize nine plus six equals 15. Not anymore. With the Common Core, students need to understand why that’s the case…”
In her example, Mrs. Ryan explained how one would add nine plus six using the Common Core standards:
“So, our young learners might not be altogether comfortable thinking about what nine plus six is. They are quite comfortable thinking about their friends ten. Ten is emphasized in our young grades, as we’re working in a base ten system.
“So, if we can partner nine to a number, and anchor 10, we can help our students see what nine plus six is. So, we’re going to decompose our six, and we know six is made up of parts. One of its parts is a one, and the other part is a five.
“We are now going to anchor our nine to a one, allowing our students to anchor to that 10. Now our students are seeing that we have 10 plus five, having now more comfort, seeing that 10 plus five equals 15. That’s much more comfortable than looking at nine plus six, an isolated math fact."
Later, Mrs. Ryan explained how a second grader would solve a subtraction word problem using the Common Core standards:
“So, we’re going to challenge our second graders with this particular situation:
Jerry had 37 baseball cards at the beginning of the summer. Throughout July and August Jerry gave 16 cards to his brother Sam.
“We want to find out how many baseball cards Jerry has left.
“So, the first thing we’re going to do is we’re going to build our whole, and our whole is the 37 baseball cards that Jerry started off with in the summer.
“So, our second graders know how to decompose the number 37. It is three ‘10’s’ and seven ‘ones’.
“When we go back into our reading of the situation, we find out that one part has been taken away, and that’s 16 cards have been taken away.
“So, we’re going to ask ourselves if we can easily take six ‘ones’ away from seven ‘ones’, and the answer is yes. So, we take them away. We look at the 10’s place. We ask ourselves, “What does the 10’s place say?” The 10’s place says that we have three ‘10’s’. We ask ourselves, “Can we easily take one ‘10’ away from three ‘10’s’, and the answer is yes. And we do that. Now we can see what part we have remaining for Jerry’s baseball card collection at the end of the summer.
“So, again, we ask ourselves, “What does the 10’s place say?” It says, “We have two ‘10’s’, for a value of 20. What does the one’s place say? We have one ‘one’, for a value of one. At the end of the summer, Jerry has 21 baseball cards."
Editor's Note: A similar piece was also published by The Heritage Foundation.