MentorMob is so useful in my classroom! Being able to hit a concept or problem from two, three, or ten different ways is wonderful. Building on concepts one step at a time in a student-friendly platform is priceless. It allows us to work up to the rigor that we need to achieve without our students shutting down. I love this freedom and ability and I know my students will love it too!
How to Make the Most of Common Core Standards
- Read your standards! The introduction may be the most important place to start, so don’t skip it. If you haven’t read a Common Core intro before, take a look at this one for sixth grade math. Everything you teach should reinforce the main goal of instructing kids how to “reason abstractly and quantitatively,” and “construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.”
- Find assessments that clarify what the standards are asking teachers to teach students. The best site I have found for math is Illustrative Mathematics.
- Decide on a scope and sequence. You will notice that many of the standards fit together quite nicely. Let go of what you don’t have to teach and find as many ways as possible to show your students how to understand the concepts you do have to teach. There is a condensed version of the standards by grade level that can help you get started. There are also sample scope and sequence suggestions for Kindergarten through Algebra 2 at the Mathematics Common Core Toolbox under the resources tab.
- Notice when standards are placed into more than one place within your units. You need to decide how that one standard is going to progress through your class. For example, A.CED.1 is found in five different units within Algebra 1. I found it necessary to place the samples into my units near the beginning of my organization to help me see where I was going with my students within each standard throughout the class. This one is for A.CED.1., and will give you a better understanding of what your goals are!
- Organize your great lesson plans into units and give away the ones that fit into a different grade. (I know this is hard.)
- Find or create lessons to fill in the holes. You will find that you will not need to start over, but you will probably need to create more depth in your lessons. For example, showing students the “nines trick” on their fingers is great, as long as they understand why it works. Or better yet, have the students come up with their own theories about why it works and let them discuss it as a class to resolve misunderstandings and improve mathematical communication. The younger grades may figure out that multiples of 9 always add up to 9, but older grades can use simplifying polynomials to investigate and finally prove that this works! For a detailed look at this concept, please reference this article by Sidney Kolpas, Let your Fingers do the Multiplying.
- Get specific. For example, In Grade 6, instructional time should focus on four critical areas: (1) connecting ratio and rate to whole number multiplication and division, and using concepts of ratio and rate to solve problems; (2) completing understanding of division of fractions and extending the notion of number to the system of rational numbers, which includes negative numbers; (3) writing, interpreting, and using expressions and equations; and (4) developing understanding of statistical thinking.
Jeanette created algebra1teachers.com to help teachers understand and implement the Common Core into their algebra 1 classes.