Posts Tagged ‘Common Core’

Parents Struggle with Modern Day Math Questions

April 4, 2016


If this is supposed to make the Common Core look great and parents old-fashioned, it didn’t work. The parents, in their own way show up the Common Core to be a ridiculous way of teaching math.


Click on the link to read Teachers Deserve Blame for Maths Disaster

Click on the link to read Proof that Maths Can be Cool (Video)

Click on the link to read How Kids Learn Maths

Click on the link to read A Father’s Priceless Reaction to his Son’s Report Card (Video)


Redirect Your Frustrations About Common Core

January 23, 2015

common core

Whilst the Common Core and standardised testing may grate, they owe their existence to the need for teachers to do their job satisfactorily. Instead of branding such initiatives as “child abuse,” consider that horrible teachers who are not held to some basic standards also perpetrate a form or “child abuse”.  As much as I can’t stand our standardised testing policies, I see it as an opportunity to showcase my students’ knowledge and ability to perform under pressure.

Shirking the issue altogether is simply not workable:


An 8th grade science teacher at a Long Island, New York public school is refusing to administer Common Core tests, comparing the state-mandated exams to “child abuse,” The Long Island Press reports.

Comsewogue School District teacher Beth Dimino belongs to the “Teachers Of Conscience Movement,” founded by a group of public school teachers in New York City who identify as “conscientious objectors” and say they’re concerned about “‘market-based” education reform and the “standardization of public education,” according to the Press. The Common Core sets national standards for maths and English and involves a series of mathematics and English language arts/literacy tests at the end of each academic year.

The standards have been controversial both for their perceived infringement on states’ rights by the federal government, which established the Common Core, and their implementation. Critics say the standards use confusing language and overly complicated methods to teach students.

“I believe that it is child abuse. I believe that giving these tests to my students makes me culpable in the abuse of children and I can no longer do that,” Dimino told the Press.

The local newspaper reports that Dimino has the support of Comsewogue superintendent Joe Rella, who also opposes the Common Core tests. Here’s why the two educations are fighting back against the state-mandated standards, according to the Post:

Dimino and Rella harbour a host of reasons why they’re so opposed to Common Core, ranging from what they deem as a lack of focus and an erroneous substitution for actual hands-on, in-the-classroom, traditional teaching, to myriad issues with the actual exams themselves, which utilise problem-solving and reason-centric approaches to not only answering but understanding subject material questions.

In a position paper — formatted as an open letter to New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña — the Teachers of Conscience echo many of the complaints Dimino and Rella make about the Common Core:

We have patiently taught under the policies of market-based education reforms and have long since concluded that they constitute a subversion of the democratic ideals of public education. Policymakers have adopted the reforms of business leaders and economists without consideration for the diverse stakeholders whose participation is necessary for true democratic reform. We have neglected an important debate on the purpose and promise of public education while students have been subjected to years of experimental and shifting high-stakes tests with no proven correlation between those tests and future academic success.

What seems to be at the heart of the teachers’ opposition, though, is the sense that they were not included in the design of the Common Core standards, a subject they should arguably know more about than any other group.

“I’m not telling you that I’m opposed to raising standards, or making standards better,” Dimino said to the Press. “What I’m opposed to is not having any educators be part of the process of making those standards better.”


Click on the link to read Perhaps There Should be a Standardized Test for Teachers

Click on the link to read Reasons Why I am Forced to Teach to the Test

Click on the link to read There is Nothing Wrong With Testing Young Children

Click on the link to read The Negative Effects of Standardized Testing are Exaggerated

The Questions that Great Teachers Ask Every Day

December 11, 2014


Courtesy of the wonderful Mark Barnes. I particularly like question 3:


1-What if my homework assignments are a waste of time?

Facebook is rife with parent complaints about homework. There are numerous Facebook pages and groups dedicated to abolishing the horrible homework practices that contribute nothing to learning and ignite a hatred of school in many children. Here is one example of traditional homework that a friend recently posted; oh, it’s worth noting that this homework was for a seven-year-old:

Tuesday homework: 1. Math worksheet 2. Read aloud 1 page story, answer 3 comprehension questions and have it signed 3. Put 14 spelling words in ABC order 4. Sort all spelling words by noun, verb, adjective, or “other” 5. Pick a word from each category and write a sentence, underlining the spelling words 6. Read 26 page storybook aloud, have sheet signed 7. “Optional homework” read silently for 20 minutes.

Great teachers recognize that burying a second grader in piles of senseless homework serves no purpose. Spelling homework is one of the biggest wastes of time in the history of bad homework. The only useful part of the above assignment is the optional part–voluntary reading. This homework assignment is a crutch for either an ill-prepared newbie or a tired veteran who lives in a that’s-the-way-I’ve-always-done-it world.

2-What if my students use mobile devices?

A fantastic, fearless teacher understands that learning simply can’t be measured.

Today’s classrooms are filled with iStudents. Kids who come to school with billions of resources in the palms of their hands, only to be told by teachers and school administrators to leave these powerful assets in their lockers or, worse, at home. Great teachers realize that we live in the digital age, and they are not threatened by the idea that students can become amazing independent learners, using mobile learning devices, web tools and social media. The best teachers realize that embracing mobile learning is the future of education.

3-What if my planned class activity is boring?

Far too many teachers rely on ancient textbooks, dusty worksheets, canned lectures, and last year’s multiple choice tests as their go-to teaching tools. “Kids need discipline, and learning doesn’t have to be fun,” they argue. Great teachers, though, say “Learning should always be fun.” Great teachers envision lessons and class activities and say, “If it isn’t going to be engaging and fun,” I’m throwing it out.

4-What if my room is noisy and chaotic?

A teacher walked into my classroom one day and said, “Wow! It’s kind of crazy in here.” When I informed her that we liked it this way, she shrugged, shook her head and quickly disappeared. For a very long time, my classroom was quiet and orderly. Students wouldn’t dream of leaving their seats without permission, and most would consider peeing their pants before asking me for a bathroom break. Fear and control were the order of the day, and learning was at best a rumor. After one amazing summer of change, I rebuilt my attitude and my classroom. Students worked collaboratively, moved about freely, talked openly, laughed, jumped, shouted and, best of all, had fun. Show me a silent room, and I’m betting it’s a place that is bereft of real learning.

5-What if I don’t grade this?

The thought of a class without traditional grades makes many teachers shudder and scoff. A fantastic, fearless teacher understands that learning simply can’t be measured. It’s impossible to effectively assess with numbers, percentages and letters. The best teachers give their students objective feedback. They observe and ask questions; they provide alternatives. Most important, they encourage students to revisit prior learning and rework activities in an effort to achieve mastery. The best teachers help kids understand that failure is necessary and should never be punished with a low mark.

6-What if the Common Core is just another bad idea concocted by bureaucrats?

Even if they think the Common Core might be a good thing (there’s no evidence right now that it is), the best teachers question Common Core State Standards and high stakes testing every day of their lives. Great teachers may see how the Common Core can be successfully integrated into some classes, but they always wonder if their own standards and learning outcomes that their students want are the best standards for our children. The best teachers know how to teach. They don’t need a prescription dreamed up by nonprofits to tell them what is right for their students.


Click on the link to read Learning as an Experience

Click on the link to read I Love it When Teachers are Excited to Come to Work

Click on the link to read Every Science Teacher’s Worst Nightmare (Video)

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