A Whole New Look

or teachers who are proficient at navigating their current state standards, the Common Core Standards may have a completely different look.  In the area of mathematics, the content of the document is divided into domains, clusters, and standards. Domains are the overarching term and refer to a large group of related standards.  Clusters are groups of related standards.  Because mathematics is a connected subject, standards from different domains and clusters may be closely related.  Finally, the standards define what students should understand and be able to do.  An example from fourth grade would be:  Domain – Operations and Algebraic Thinking; Clusters – Use the four operations with whole numbers to solve problems (three separate standards), Gain familiarity with factors and multiples (one standard), and Generate and analyze patterns (one standard).

Within the document, each grade level does not necessarily have the same domains or number of domains as the preceding grade.  However, the standards are aligned vertically from one grade to the next.  Unlike some current state standards, the Common Core State Standards do not spell out every step in the instructional process and some do not have example problems.  Therefore, educators are going to have to investigate the new standards thoroughly and translate them into new instructional practices.

“Sum” thing new to think about!

Hi, I am Renee' Smith and I began teaching math in, of all places, a maximum security prison. “I was 21 years old and 99 lbs. soaking wet. Some of my students were convicted murderers and as scary as it sounds, it was incredibly sad. Many of those men had failed in the school system and then turned to crime.” That early experience with public school dropouts, cemented my resolve to help future students understand and succeed in the area of mathematics. To that end I dedicated 16 years to the classroom, teaching 5th grade math through algebra. After obtaining my Masters in Education from Baker University, I joined the ESSDACK team in 2007. I have presented at the local, state, and national levels but my most worthwhile experience at ESSDACK has been working to take the fear out of math for teachers and students alike. Although my primary focus has been providing professional development in mathematics, I also devote time to podcasting and creating materials for teachers to use in their classrooms. My podcasts include, By the Numbers, Just Desserts and Math Snacks. Working at ESSDACK has provided me the opportunity to do many of the things I love. “I have the time to research current educational practices, I get to be creative, collaborative, and I meet tons of new people."

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