Archive for February, 2014

CCSS Math Resources

February 26, 2014 Leave a comment

It seems as though everywhere you look you can find Common Core math resources.  This is both a blessing and a curse.  I remember years ago (before Common Core) trying to search the internet for resources on math topics such as imaginary numbers or adding rational expressions.  I think that is why blogging drew me in and I started this blog.  I was having a hard time finding great tasks, and using vetted tasks from teachers like me was a blessing.  I wanted to share!

But now we have the CCSS and that means there should be a lot of great resources out there.  Be careful!  I have come across a lot of resources labeled CCSS and PARCC, only to find weak content and revamped activities.  Not everything has to be new, but everything should be aligned.  I wanted to share one of my new favorite sites for finding great resources for CCSS in mathematics.  It has become my ‘one stop shop’.


Here is why I love this site:

  • This site take the best resources and organizes them in one location.
  • It is easy to search by standards to find tasks.
  • You will find links to all the curriculum maps released by states.
  • There is no password or login required!!

Here is part of the mission statement from the site:

“There is so much that has been created by so many and it is out there free to the public via the internet. However, it remains difficult to sift through it all to find the best things for our children to use. This site will hopefully allow teachers to spend more time teaching and give kids more of an opportunity to learn both at school and at home.”

You will find resources from

  • Khan Academy
  • Learn Zillion
  • Mathematics Assessment Project (MAP)
  • NCTM Illuminations
  • Science Net
  • Texas Instruments
  • Dan Meyer
  • Hot Math
  • and many more…
Categories: Common Core, PARCC Tags: , ,

Common Core & PARCC Sample Items

February 18, 2014 1 comment

I have been working on planning professional development for my district on Common Core State Standards and the PARCC assessment.  There is so much information on the PARCC website and it can be overwhelming for a teacher to navigate it.  My goal is to try and weed through the information and present only what is necessary and beneficial to teachers.

PARCC recently released sample questions in their intended environment.  This means the computer-based tools such as drag-and-drop, multiple select, text highlighting, and an equation builder are all active.  It is a great opportunity for teachers to see what computer skills are necessary and how students will navigate the assessment.  This sample assessment does not reflect a complete PARCC assessment.  The questions on the online assessment are all previously released sample items. The one frustration that I have is that  the questions are separated by grade bands and not grade levels.  In my experience, teachers want to focus on their grade level, although I think it is important to be aware of what comes before your course and where students are heading.  To help teachers and administrators, I have created the following documents to support teachers while they are looking at the online PARCC environment.  The documents address each questions content standard(s), grade level (course), and math practice.  Detailed scoring guides and explanations of the questions can be found on the PARCC website under the respective grade band.  Please feel free to provide feedback in the comments.

PARCC Computer Based Samples Grades 3-5

PARCC Computer Based Samples Grades 6-8

PARCC Computer Based Samples High School




Why My Son Needs Common Core

February 3, 2014 7 comments

I know that there is a debate regarding the “new” math common core state standards.  I understand parents are frustrated with children having to learn “new” ways to add, subtract, multiply, or divide.  I understand that parents are frustrated with children having to show work and defend an answer, even when the answer is correct.  I understand your frustration as a parent.  I have a child who is off the charts in math.  He consistently scores in the 90th percentile and above on all standardized assessments.   He just “gets” math.  (His mom is a math educator.)  He is always frustrated when I ask him to defend his answer.  His typical response is, “because I know it’s right.”  I used to think common core was not written for children like him.  He does not need to draw a picture or learn a “new” way to divide.  I was wrong!  My son needs common core.

A few weeks ago we sat down and worked several TCAP (Tennesse State Assessment) type problems for math homework.  They were all division problems similar to the one below:

John has 12 apples.  He wants to share them with 3 friends.  How many apples does each person receive if John gets the same amount as all his friends?

My son was flying through these problems.  After a few moments of watching him, I realized he wasn’t even reading them.  I stopped him and asked him what he was doing.  This was his explanation:

“Mom, the lesson is on problems with division.  I just divide.  The bigger number always comes first, so I take the bigger number divided by the smaller number.”

Something inside my math teacher heart died.  I wanted to scream, “The bigger number doesn’t always come first!” and “What if the problem was multiplication and you assumed wrong?” and then I realized that our curriculum and check list standards have reduced real life mathematics to this.

A week later my son’s need for Common Core became evident.  We were at Publix grocery shopping and we came to the juice aisle.  Orange juice was on sale, 3 for $6.00.  At Publix, you do not have to buy all 3 to receive the sale price.  My son started to put three juice cartons in the cart.  I stopped him and explained we only had to buy one.  I then asked him, “If they are on sale for 3 for $6.00, how much is one carton of juice?”  Remember, my son was in the 98th percentile last year in math and he “gets” it.  His response, “$2.50? $3.00?”  What?!  We stopped in the grocery store and got out paper and pencil and I made him show me how he arrived at his answer.  He drew a picture.  Through this process, he realized his mistake.  He told me he didn’t realize it was a division problem.  He said, “Mom, I know 6 divided by 3 is 2, but I didn’t realize this was a division problem.”  So yes, my third grade son sometimes needs to draw pictures.  Memorizing his math facts is not enough.  He needs to understand the situations that necessitate the memorized facts.  He needs to be taught strategies to solve problems when they seem unfamiliar.  He needs Common Core.

Categories: Common Core, General