There has been a great deal of discussion in public media about the Common Core State Standards. We at Westminster have developed our own Essential Learnings for all our courses, but are keenly aware of what the Standards say. I believe that at the center of them is the need for some kind of common national mathematical curriculum that serve as a guideline for local curriculums. That at least as how we view them and use them in evaluating whether our curriculum meets the needs for our students.
I do think that no matter the curriculum taught, the way in which it is taught becomes far more important. I do like the Standards for Mathematical Practices and am striving to include more of them in my daily instruction. Here they are:
Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them. (MP1)
Reason abstractly and quantitatively. (MP2)
Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others. (MP3)
Model with mathematics. (MP4)
Use appropriate tools strategically. (MP5)
Attend to precision. (MP6)
Look for and make use of structure. (MP7)
Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning. (MP8)
These are each worthy practices that encourage student growth in their ability to be successful with mathematics and to appreciate its beauty. The challenge is how to get students to grow and understand where they currently are with their thinking. Jill Gough and Jennifer Wilson have begun developing learning progressions to help students see where they are with each of the Practices and what they need to do to reach the Level 3 target. Over the next few blogs, I will be reflecting more on each of the Math Practices and how their use is impacting my class.