Common Core Math from a Common Core Kid

I have been thinking about this topic for some time now.  My son is a child of the Common Core State Standards.  Good. Bad. Or indifferent.  He is.

Let me tell you a little about him.  He is in second grade at the school I teach and loves it.  He is an avid reader and reads a wide range of texts.  Once he learned how to decode, reading came naturally.  He does well in all subjects and is proud of his academic accomplishments.

But, in his mind, he is not good at math.  Math does not come naturally.  He has to work harder to understand the concepts.  Memorizing his math facts with fluency was a struggle in first grade.  There were many times where he cried when we practiced this skill.  That said, he knew enough to get by.

But this year, it seems to be changing.  He is beginning to "get" math.  How do I know? Well, it's the way he talks about it.  It's the way he has learned to solve a problem.  Both of which are different from how I learned math or how I taught math as a second grade teacher.

Here is an example of how a problem might be solved.

In the olden days, we may have said that this is subtraction by regrouping or "borrowing'.   We may have told our students to "go next door to borrow more."

But the way he tackles the problem shows me that he understands the Base 10 system, number relationships and place value.  Although, there are many more steps, I am amazed by the thought process involved.  He is learning that there is more than one way to solve a problem.

I must admit that as a mom, I struggle a bit.  It takes me longer to see the number relationships.  I want to revert to my ways to get the answer because I am familiar with it.  But, as a teacher, I am beaming with pride.  Thinking, "Wow, this is what common core thinking is all about."

What are your thoughts about problem solving and Common Core?

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1 comment

  1. This is so interesting. I don't know if my teachers taught me this method (my memory is not the best) or I made it up in my own mind. But when I was younger and didn't want to be bothered with "carrying", I used to subtract in that same manner! For that particular problem you gave, I would basically round 46 to 50 and 72 to 70. Then I would subtract 50 from 70. Lastly, I would add 6 to it.
    I like and dislike C.C. I don't like how it was rolled out and that we weren't given appropriate training on all the components of C.C. I do see the benefits in it though. But because we have been used to teaching in a certain way for so long, it will take a while to get accustomed to the "New way" (and most certainly the students).
    I'm glad that your son is thriving in Math now as well. :-)


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