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Bill Roper's Journal
Uncommonly Dumb 
15th-Oct-2015 08:41 pm
My fondness for Common Core math (which was never that strong to begin with) has ebbed to new lows as I watch Katie sobbing as she is trying to figure out why she is required to solve a problem using some stupid method when she knows how to get the right answer.

And I can confirm that she does know how to get the right answer, because I've checked. However, drawing little bar graphs is making her insane.

Which is making Gretchen and I insane.
16th-Oct-2015 03:58 am (UTC)
Can you teach her the trick of "Do the work, then go back and do the stupid"?

Or... can you have her show her work the OTHER method and then go to the teacher and say, "She got the right answer, she got it this way, she showed her work, and you will accept this as correct because these graphs are not how she learns and are making her HATE MATH. And as a parent, I will not accept any answer that makes her HATE MATH for sheer busywork." ?

Disclaimer: I have dealt with my kid being in school -- and having a low tolerance for busywork -- for 11 years now, and I have become a were-grizzley with no F***S to give anymore. I'll even advocate a kid doing the work the way she knows best, getting the right answers, and the parent(s) filling in the Stupid.

Because. Stupid. Sucks.

Anyway, good luck. I know what it is to have schoolwork make the kid crazy -- which then makes ME crazy. (And then I turn into a giant bear. If anything goes wrong THIS semester, I am going to level up to Godzilla and kick over the school building, I SWEAR. Most of the special ed people are good (...well, except the paras, who range from barely acceptable to my god why can't I get them fired?), and SO FAR this set of teachers are not (now that we have transferred from the horrible one's class) annoying and may even be cool, this semester. But I have no more effs to give.)
16th-Oct-2015 07:26 pm (UTC)
As a teacher, they explained to me when we started adopting Common Core that getting the answer to a math problem right is only the first step. Students must also grok the mathematical principles at work in the problem.

Many of us know great algorithms to solve a math problem, as well as simplification methods like crossing off zeroes when you divide (like 4,000 divided by 200 simplifies to 40 divided by 2).

If correctly applied, the methods always result in the correct answer, but our trainers say they allow students to skip the sort of conceptual thinking the standards are trying to encourage in students.

Watching my autistic daughter do her math, I worry the standards are throwing out proven computational techniques in favor of overly complex methods. I've read many articles online that say new, convoluted approaches are turning kids off of math. I see that, too, and hate the tears as well in my own house.

The problem is that Common Core assumes children under the age of 11 are capable of conceptual thinking when in fact many are still concrete thinkers. I didn't learn algebra until adulthood, because I, like many teens, didn't develop the thinking skills for it until much later than Freshman year of high school.

I would agree with archangel beth above, to have your daughter first solve the problem the way she knows, and then make a game of how to do the graphing work to show multiple ways of solving the problems.

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