Fifth graders and their teachers are finding that Common Core math integrates fun with learning. Changes have been made to make math and reasoning more accessible to students. While Common Core Standards require that students show their work and problem solving strategies, it is not the same approach their parents learned.
For example in a recent lesson, fifth grade teacher Clistie Pollock at Cheyenne’s Bain Elementary, led students in a series of songs that went through the multiplication tables. Some of the number sets were sung to familiar tunes, such as “The Addams Family” theme song and “The Hokey Pokey”.
In addition to singing, students use hand gestures with the songs. “When you do something with your hands and you’re saying it and you’re looking at it, it makes it a lot easier to remember it,” Pollock said to students.
Students clapped and sang along,, giggling. They also asked to watch companion videos for the songs. Student Samantha Magee commented “They’re fun and silly and an easy way to remember math. I always go home with one stuck in my head.”
Schools in Laramie County aligned their curricula fo the Common Core Standards, also known as the Wyoming Content and Performance Standards in English language arts and math. There were some concerns by teachers and changes to the content that is taught in the classroom. However, the district still uses the same math program.
According to fifth grade teacher Magen Seeley-Marotz, teachers still have control in their own classrooms. “I can’t say that Common Core has made my teaching practices different or changed anything in the district. I would say it’s more refined it,” Seeley-Marotz said. “It’s just very explicit on what the standard is, and that’s always what we’ve taught is what the standard is, and we’ve used different programs and curriculum and methods to get there.”
While learning math facts and studying prime and composite numbers, the lesson is aligned to Common Core, however the songs and other materials are entirely their own, say the teachers.
Read more about Common Core Standards