Yes and No. First, define appropriate methods. What is appropriate for one child is not for another.

CCMS standards dictate what concept is to be taught & often how it is taught. If that is not working in any given class, the teacher still has to cover it. The kids are assessed on every standard. The teachers then have to find alternatives* and* a time to fit them in.

*““they hadn’t been taught to read word problems and identify trigger words that indicate addition or subtraction.” puzzles me. I thought that the “strategies” that you mention being taught – that I mentioned above in my first paragraph – do exactly this. So now I’m totally lost as to what you’re discussing. Can you clarify?” *

I see where you might be confused. Strategies are like templates for solving a problem. The rationale behind them is never explained. Basic building blocks in solving math problems are different than strategies. An example of such a building block is being unable to find the trigger words in a word problem – it isn’t part of a strategy being taught. I can’t speak for all NC schools, but from what I have seen in various places in Wake county, this is the case.

Look back at this example in my tweet: https://twitter.com/LadyLiberty1885/status/596629116977283072/photo/1

That is teaching a strategy; it is not teaching the actual math concept of subtraction.

By the time the kid expands the problem out, they have in many cases run afoul of using the correct numbers and then further get in to trouble having to represent it in a pictoral format. These are 8 year olds. Tell me how this is helping them understand how to do basic subtraction.

BTW – I timed my kid doing this one. It took him over 3 mins 25-30 seconds to do it this way– and he got the wrong answer.

I agree that for 1-2 grades that concrete representations can help, hence the use by many teachers of manipulatives/manipulables. I don’t know if those words are in the CCMS, but many people have published examples of using these methods to meet the required CCMS results. If a teacher refuses to use appropriate methods (either due to ignorance or stubborness), is that a fault of the CCMS?

“they hadn’t been taught to read word problems and identify trigger words that indicate addition or subtraction.” puzzles me. I thought that the “strategies” that you mention being taught – that I mentioned above in my first paragraph – do exactly this. So now I’m totally lost as to what you’re discussing. Can you clarify?

]]>1 – These kids are not being taught math. They are being taught strategies — MULTIPLE strategies.

2 – Whether or not the kid gets the strategy or whether or not it works for them is irrelevant. They are all taught multiple strategies and they

3 – These are math problems for 1st and 2nd graders. They are children ages 6-8. They are concrete, not abstract thinkers.

This past Spring, I witnessed three children doing their math homework. All three were 2nd graders. One was my child.

The problem was a word problem and the numeric representation ended up being “126 – 73″.

Neither kid knew where to start until I told them what strategy to try.

One of them couldn’t even pick out that it was a subtraction problem because they hadn’t been taught to read word problems and identify trigger words that indicate addition or subtraction.

You know who got it right away? My kid, who I taught myself to ID the issue in a word problem and use the basic carry method.

I said I would elaborate on getting past the strategies.

The strategies confused him and frustrated him. He learned to mimic what strategy the assignment asked for, meanwhile he does it the “old” way in a split second. In his own words “this way is much faster and easier”.

But 29+17 is easy – and the real difficulty is going from easy one to difficult ones,

e.g. 27 – 19 where “borrowing” is necessary.

This item doesn’t show how 29+17 requires lots of steps, and the worksheet shows *subtraction* where borrowing is necessary 326-147 It then shows how borrowing is justified 326 = 300 + 20 + 6 and then the first step is to move to

326 = 200 + 120 + 6 and then to

200 + 110 + 16 at which point the subtraction is now “easy” place by place

So this is showing the reasoning behind “borrow” and it doesn’t take a bunch of steps.

For 29 + 17, doing it in steps would add place by place (i.e. add tens place and ones place separately) to get the two totals

3 0 + 16 and then since 16 in the units place = 10 + 6 we get

40 + 6 which equals 46 (the child should already know from place notation that 46 means 4 tens plus 6 ones)

and then we can learn to “carry” which is obviously the same thing in a shorter/faster way, but no longer a mysterious procedure. Is this “carrying” what you might call the “most direct method”? If so, then the child who can see through to the justification will get it. But many children may end up puzzled by this “trick” and simply have a memorized method which makes no sense to them and which won’t form a solid basis for future topics.

What about a teacher who marks a problem wrong because the student uses the “direct” method, and do they have to do that because “Common Core says so!”? (I’ll abbreviate Common Core Math Standard as CC from now on.)

First of all, the CC doesn’t say they have to do it all the time/forever. It says they they should be able to do it and understand the relationship to place values – such as the hundreds/tens/ones positions as shown above. Also they should be able to explain what they are doing based on place values. (I’m looking at the linked 2nd grade Subtraction Strategies page.)

If a child adds 29 + 17 by showing

2’9

17

—-

46

and says that that “tic mark” (by the 2 in the tens place) represents carrying a “10” into the tens place – I would argue that the child is doing what the CC says the child should be able to do, and so has met the requirement of that standard. If the teacher says, “No! The child must block this out in the format that I block this out.” then the teacher fails to understand the basics of arithmetic and is just bureaucratically insisting on a format, and *needs* more training!

A digression – when I was in K-12 I was taught that it was a terrible thing to split an infinitive! (Weren’t you taught that?) More recently I loved a TV series (later movies) which proclaimed, “to boldly go where no man has gone before” – which violated that rule I was taught! Umm – I don’t think they teach that rule any more – and one of the reasons is that there really is no basis for it. : -)

]]>http://stopcommoncorenc.org/parents-being-trained-to-do-basic-elementary-math-under-common-core/

]]>Let me go to one item in the Math Standard for Grade 1 – in the area of Numbers and Operations, “Count to 120, starting at any number less than 120.” What is so horrible about this? Is it that in NC, first graders should only be capable of counting to 119? I know that this last question is a bit silly, but it is honest – What is bad/wrong/horrible about the Math Standard?

And please don’t tell me that it has something to do with NC’s involvement in Race to the Top! Whether or not that was a good thing to do – it really in not relevant in discussing the quality of the Common Core Math Standard.

A final note. Do I think that the Common Core Math Standard is perfect. No, I don’t. But I think it’s quite good, that experience with it will lead to improvements, and that it is a step forward in improving the math capabilities of our younger generation.

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