Common Core Math: How “Deep” Do We Go

Canyons_wallpapers_14Rigor is a word receiving a lot of attention in regards to the common core state standards. So what does it mean in terms of teaching and learning? The 8 mathematical practices and the college and career readiness standards give us a look at what rigor refers to. Students should be challenged to solve rich, relevant problems that require effort and persistence. Problems should have multiple entry points and multiple solution paths and strategies.(M.P.1) Students should be encouraged to reason, explain, and make sense of their learning. (M.P.2)(M.P.3) Students will demonstrate independence and take responsibility for their own learning. Teachers will need to consider rigor when planning their units and lessons. Concepts should be introduced in contexts that are interesting and motivating to students and students will explore and discover solutions in their own ways. Tasks will build off prior knowledge and will not focus on just one correct solution path. Teachers will encourage productive struggle and will facilitate learning through effective open-ended questioning. Rigorous formative assessment will need to be used during a unit to inform the next steps in instruction. As always, teachers should consider where lessons and tasks fall on Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy and Webb’s Depth of Knowledge Levels. Most teachers have studied Bloom’s, which defines the type of thinking needed to complete a task, but may not be as familiar with DOK Levels. Webb’s refers to complexity and defines how deeply one must understand content to interact with it.

The following video gives a brief overiew of Webb’s DOK Levels.

The following documents give content specific examples as they align to Webb’s and Bloom’s.

Math Matrix:

Science Matrix:

ELA Matrix:

Social Studies Matrix: 

Other D.O.K. Information:

Teachers will need to “dig deep” into rigor to ensure the success of their students in the common core.

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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