Naomi

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On Thursday, February 18, 2016, maayan torah day wrote:

> tmcdanielmaayan posted: “K/1 students did such beautiful art with shapes! > —————————————– K/1 students have created Flat Me > to send to a family member. The students will map all of the Flat Me fun, > and where they all went! Look for more to come! ——” >

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]]>I always like hearing your take on things like this. I have always loved math, almost any way it was taught, but have seen students struggle with math more than any other subject during my 22 years of teaching elementary. I don’t think any system is perfect, and Go Math is no exception. That is why we have teachers to fill in or explain further, etc. I do know that as a nation we are struggling to have students graduate from high school with passing grades in ninth grade algebra. I think Common Core is an attempt to remedy this by starting students on it much earlier, and you are right, it remains to be seen how well it will work. We know what we have been doing is only working for a small percentage of the population.

I am so glad that you are happy with your children’s education overall. We do take it very seriously. And to clarify, we haven’t “adopted” common core, all current curriculum is aligned with common core. We look at the standards, as well as what we know our students are capable of, and create our education from there. Our students are never limited by what the standard is for that grade, but we make sure that they are not below that standard. We have standards, without being completely standardized. That is such a blessing, as a private school, that we can use standards as a guideline, but we can also go beyond those basic standards to give our students so much more.

Thank you for taking the time to read the article!

Thank you for sending/posting this. It’s great to see what the kids are up to at school (and to see the pictures!).

I read the article about Common Core and I agree with the points he states. Math should not be learned by rote, but understood. The problem I’ve found with Common Core, though, is the methods it incorporates. For the past few years my children have been using the Common Core curriculum I’ve noticed them understanding what they are doing even less than before. Instead of answering based on their understanding of the material, they are memorizing the steps to come to that answer.

For example, take the problem 188+62=X. The old method was to line the number one on top of the other and solve it. The new method forces the student to find a number to round (Step 1), then to subtract the difference from the second number (Step 2), then add them together (Step 3). In theory, it’s much easier once they get the hang of it, but I don’t think they will. They’ve gone from memorizing one was to do math to another.

I’m not an educator (at least not in a formal school setting), but my educational philosophy is to first do it – whatever “it” is – and do it right. The more times you continue to practice and exercise what you are doing the more you will unconsciously pick up new and easier ways to accomplish that same goal. Instead of allowing dynamic learning to take place organically in the student’s brain, Common Core is building static highways which (at this early stage) don’t make sense to them.

I’ve heard many adults say that they never enjoyed math because of the way it was taught and Common Core is much more intuitive. Again, in theory it is. But as the late Yogi Berra said, “In theory there is no difference between practice and theory. In practice there is.” It *could* make math more enjoyable, but from my limited scientific sampling that theory has yet to be proven empirically.

Just the other day I was helping Dina with her homework to solve for *n*. For the problem 4*n*+*n*=X. I was trying to help her understand what she’s looking for and describing what a variable is. She wasn’t interested and insisted that she knew what to do by copying what she was taught in class. She wasn’t wrong (her math was, just not her thinking to ignore me), but it was clear that she was less interested in understanding versus just getting it done. Again, this is only from my limited experience.

Please don’t misconstrue this message to be a complaint on the school or its teachers, but on this curriculum. My kids are growing and learning beautifully and we couldn’t be happier with their teachers. I just hope that you seriously consider whether Common Core is a standard that was worth adopting or perhaps it would be better to revert back to “old ways”.

All the best,

*Rabbi Michael Kaplan* Mobile | 503.610.3850 Office | 503.227.0010

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]]>The general studies, online program, is supported by a learning coach who is able to answer questions, deepen thinking, and assist in time management. The girls also have PE, Art, and dance.

We look to have our high school program expand to between 10 and 20 students over the next 5 years. It has been an exciting addition to Maayan, and our students are enjoying being able to continue to learn in this warm environment.

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