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# Common Core?

I'm learning that this is a heated topic, so let's keep the responses civil. Could some of you educate me a little on the Common Core? There's a lot about it online, but I'm interested in hearing from moms who share some Natural-Family-Living values. My LO is facing it in school, and I'm not sure what to think. What are your thoughts? Good, bad, ugly, pretty? There's just so much to learn in parenting...

My daughter is only in first, so take this or what it's worth.Â  In a lot of ways, the common core is going to be easier for her because she's starting with it from the beginning.Â  She's not used to another approach.Â

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I don't love it.Â  I feel like it moves too fast and heavily favors children who are good readers.Â  A child can be good in math but not great at reading and struggle in math.Â  I also think the pace is too fast for a lot of kids.Â  The teachers hate it.Â  The math is a mile wide and half an inch deep.Â  Same with English.Â  The material covers too many topics with very little depth.Â  Why is my first grader working on fractions when they haven't memorized basic addition facts?Â  Half the kids in her class can't remember punctuation at the end of the sentence but they now need to know the difference between adverbs and adjectives?Â

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My daughter is doing fine with it but I'm hearing from a lot of parents whose kids are really struggling.Â  Months ago, as part of her homework, the last question was something about writing different ways to make ten and how do you know that's true.Â  Her answer was, "one way to make ten is four plus six and I know this because I can count."Â  Apparently that wasn't quite what they were looking for.Â  I mean come on, you're asking a six year old the WHY of 4 +6 = 10?Â  But that is pretty typical of my experience with common core so far.Â

Subbing...with absolutely nothing to add. I thought it was a new curriculum but am just totally confused now after speaking with my DC's teacher. Thanks for a great topic!Â

I'm no fan of the CC. However, a set of standards is not a curriculum. What will still matter is the curriculum the districts choose and the quality of the teachers teaching them.

As standards, they are shallow, and so curricula chosen to meet the standards and nothing more will be limiting to high achieving kids. The standards don't include much spiraling of material, so curricula chosen to meet the standards without review of previous years will fail kids who weren't 100% solid before.

NiteNicole, I've read the CC math standards in detail as I've had to work with my kids' school for placement issues. You aren't describing 1st grade topics. From my perspective, the standards are a inch wide and an inch deep. The school attests that the standards are a mile deep. My daughter in CCM7 is seeing the same topics in less detail than she did for her self-study 6th grade math last year.
OK, this is a good start. Thanks. I'm feeling a little frustrated with it but didn't want to mention it in my first post. :om I also understand that CC is going to be really hard to get away from, Homeschoolers are telling me that some of their favorite textbook companies (eg Saxon math) are turning to CC.

If anyone has favorite links for me, pro or con, please feel free to post them.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TurquesaÂ

OK, this is a good start. Thanks. I'm feeling a little frustrated with it but didn't want to mention it in my first post. :om I also understand that CC is going to be really hard to get away from, Homeschoolers are telling me that some of their favorite textbook companies (eg Saxon math) are turning to CC.

If anyone has favorite links for me, pro or con, please feel free to post them.

Interesting. I have no idea what the CC is outside of the Wikipedia page I just read. I am a bit worried about how this will affect the Singapore math books I use.
Quote:
Originally Posted by EmayeÂ

Interesting. I have no idea what the CC is outside of the Wikipedia page I just read. I am a bit worried about how this will affect the Singapore math books I use.

Our district chose Math in Focus as a K-5 curriculum compliant to the Common Core, so you're probably ok on the Singapore math. As far as I can tell, the sequence and scope is pretty similar to the Standards Edition.

Again, it's the curriculum that really matters. The district also chose Pearson digits for 6-8 Common Core math. It's round 2 of Everyday Math, but made worse by being entirely online.
The director at the tutoring center my DD attended told me it is shallow and fast paced which can cause a lot of problems with math instruction specifically because a lot of what solidifies the concepts is time and practice. So far my DD is doing okay but I have noticed the fast and shallow at times and that has made some math concepts hard for her to grasp fully.
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeofizzÂ

I'm no fan of the CC. However, a set of standards is not a curriculum. What will still matter is the curriculum the districts choose and the quality of the teachers teaching them.

As standards, they are shallow, and so curricula chosen to meet the standards and nothing more will be limiting to high achieving kids. The standards don't include much spiraling of material, so curricula chosen to meet the standards without review of previous years will fail kids who weren't 100% solid before.

NiteNicole, I've read the CC math standards in detail as I've had to work with my kids' school for placement issues. You aren't describing 1st grade topics. From my perspective, the standards are a inch wide and an inch deep. The school attests that the standards are a mile deep. My daughter in CCM7 is seeing the same topics in less detail than she did for her self-study 6th grade math last year.

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To meet the standards, the curriculum has to necessarily be fast-paced and shallow.Â  There's just no getting around it.Â  My daughter's school is fantastic, it is the best public school in our state.Â  The teachers are wonderful...but the curriculum is too fast for a lot of kids.Â  It also leans heavily on reading skills for math, and that is also core driven.Â  There's no time for any real practice to thoroughly grasp a topic.Â
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NiteNicoleÂ

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To meet the standards, the curriculum has to necessarily be fast-paced and shallow.Â  There's just no getting around it.Â  My daughter's school is fantastic, it is the best public school in our state.Â  The teachers are wonderful...but the curriculum is too fast for a lot of kids.Â  It also leans heavily on reading skills for math, and that is also core driven.Â  There's no time for any real practice to thoroughly grasp a topic.Â
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It's interesting to see how perceptions and practice vary so much.Â  The scuttlebutt on the street in our district is that the new curriculum is deadly slow.Â  It's hard to evaluate if this is a broadly perception or just what I hear from the group of parents that have approached me -- we're "out" in the local math world and I'm generally seen as a go-to person who understands the school system when things aren't going well.

I volunteer in my daughter's classroom a lot and I check over her homework.Â  She never has the same topic twice.Â  I mean, they may be working on time but every day it's a new skill.Â  My daughter is doing fine, but I worry about next year.Â  This year gifted is just a 90 minute pull out enrichment class, but in second it's all day gifted academics.Â  They skip second grade math and go straight to third.Â  I think at this pace, it's going to be a challenge.Â  She has been given a second grade math book.Â  I'm glad she's interested in working in it independently, maybe she won't be behind.

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A lot of my daughter's classmates' parents are really frustrated that their kids can't seem to nail a topic before it's time to move on.Â  I know people used to complain about having to go at the pace of the slowest learners in the class, but there are SOOO many topics to cover, there's no time to spare.
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Our state adopted the Common Core this year but is continuing to use the same math curriculum (enVision Math.) So, I haven't really noticed much change. I do notice that my kindergartner is doing way more than my son did in kindergarten, but she's doing well with it. My son is continuing to struggle in math but his resource teacher helps a lot. He has attention deficits and auditory processing problems so all the word problems, and explaining how he got an answer,make things really difficult.

Polliwog, I'm not sure dd2 is using EnVision in 3rd grade. They used it last year in 2nd and she knew that was the name of it and was bored stiff with it and now bemoans how bad EnVision is. I don't think her class is using it this year or I'd be hearing from her about it. She's recycled all her homework work sheets so I can't check them.

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The Common Core math isn't an issue for us so far. Dd2 was bored with math last year (and actually bored with most of 2nd grade) and is much more challenged this year. I think that has everything to do with the teacher, though. One thing I don't like about CC is the emphasis on non-fiction reading at the expense of fiction. Seems a little bit like prepping kids to be good little cogs in the system rather than letting them develop an appreciation for the arts.

I am a high school English teacher who is now using the CCSS. One misunderstanding is the amount of non-fiction. CC calls for a 70/30 split. However, it is assumed that students will be reading in every single class, so the 70/30 split means that out of the total reading, 30% will be fiction, which will obviously take place in English class. The history reading- non-fiction, science-non-fiction, etc. All of our core teachers use non-fiction articles in their classrooms and that includes shop classes (They just read about how graduates of technical colleges earn more in the first five years that graduates of 4 year universities). When we use non-fiction, we teach the students to question the validity, detect bias and motive- I don't see how that is creating cogs in the system. If anything, we use it to create critical thinkers.

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I have been using the outcomes for CCSS this year with the same curriculum I have always used. Next year we will be using the Springboard workbooks for everyone. My level is losing everything we teach except two pieces because we are currently not a true World Literature course- we are a cultural literature course. I am looking at about 250 hours of prep work this summer.

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Last I heard, 45 states have adopted the CCSS, but I am sure it will still look different in different schools. Since so many states have adopted it, pretty soon all textbooks will be aligned with it. We were told it will be two years, which is why we are using the Springboard workbooks for the next two years.

Our state adopted new standards in ALL curriculum areas, not just literacy and math. Every teacher in the district is juggling new standards.

I know for sure that my second grader isn't reading 70% nonfiction material. Not even close. Which was a good thing when his teacher moved him back to Level C in reading. That nonfiction was along the lines of "I have a pet. My pet is a cat. A cat has a tail." At that time, DS was comfortably reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid and similarly leved books. She couldn't get beyond her assumption that he couldn't comprehend more complicated text, when really he has trouble with his working memory and had auditory processing problems.

The new CCSS was adopted throughout all subjects at the elementary level, but not at the high school level. Also, the CCSS has been in some schools longer than others. Keep in mind that the 70% non-fiction includes textbooks- science and social studies textbooks and workbooks with any type of reading needed are considered in that number.

As a Canadian I am not familiar with the Core Curriculum, but what is the reasoning behind prescribing a fixed proportion of fiction vs. non-fiction across all stages and grades, regardless of interest and inclination? Why would the optimal proportion for 2nd grader still learning to read and an 11th grader with engineering or pre-med aspirations be the same? What about high schoolers who want to pursue languages and literature at the post-secondary level? Are they too required to limit their literature reading to fit within that 30%? I really don't understand the point of sweeping "standards" like these. Perhaps someone can shed some light on it for me...

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Miranda

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At my level, we have simply added one non-fiction piece to each unit. For example, we are currently reading the play Antigone. One theme is that of civil disobedience. We found a couple of articles about students who have protested the dress code at their schools or those who chose to defy the ban on prayer. We will do a reading of the articles, hold a Socratic seminar about civil disobedience, etc. The students love the open class discussions and we have easily full filled the requirement.

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As far as elementary school, I am not familiar enough with the non-fiction available at that level to really explain it, but there are books available with readings for different units.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mar123Â

We are not reducing the number of fiction pieces we teach and many novels are counted as non-fiction (Night, Anne Frank) and many readings we were already doing are non-fictionÂ

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I was wondering about this. I'm pretty sure my DC have studied biographies, autobiographies and non-fiction essays and news articles as part of their language arts/English courses almost every year. Also, I can think of a few examples of well-researched but fictional representations such as the Dear America and Royal Diaries books, The Seeing Stone and other Arthur books by Kevin Crossley-Holland and so on that provide afterwords or supplementary non-fiction information along with the stories, as well as references for further resources. Â I vaguely recall a social studies series (I hesitate to call them textbooks) that mixed fictional anecdotes and short stories along with non-fiction information. It all seems like typical curriculum fare. I wonder if 70/30 is simply an approximation of a fairly standard curriculum, taking into account all subjects not just language arts, before it became annointed as capital-C "Core".Â

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