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Scene: Middle school student doing math homework at the dinner table. Her parent is in the kitchen preparing the evening meal.
Student: Ugh. Why do I have to show the same thing three different ways?
Parent (comes over): Let’s see if I can help...what does this question ask us to do... Hmm...uh...huh?
Has this happened to you this year? You’re not alone. The “new” Common Core math is very different from the “old” math. Some of it makes total sense. Some of it can seem incomprehensible.
Thinking back to how I was taught math, I remember sitting in a desk, facing the front of the classroom while the teacher showed how to solve the algorithm/equation, then practicing what the teacher shared with me on my own. I remember forgetting half the things I learned within six months: once the test was over, I could push what I “learned” back into the far recesses of my brain. Common Core math aims to be different - it’s meant to “stick’ by having students look at math conceptually and struggle with how to tackle complex problems in various ways. Yes, there is the occasional oddly-worded word problem and typo, but this is to be expected with any beta product (there’s no denying it - we’re all figuring it out). And just like any beta product, user feedback is crucial.
The best resource for how to help your child is his/her teacher. Always feel free to contact them with questions. If you’re more of a do-it-yourself type, here are some resources that can help you make sense of the new math:
The Key Shifts in Math:
Engage NY Videos: This is a fantastic bank of videos that highlight everything from how math is different now, all the way to discrete ways to teach particular skills.
Special thanks to my colleagues Tyler Graff and Cyndee Nguyen for these links.
Winter Break next week: February 16-20
There will be no school next week. Enjoy the break!
Chaperones Needed: Sixth Grade Science Day Trip, February 24
The annual sixth grade science day trips are taking place in just a few weeks and we will need any available parent chaperones to volunteer! The trip is a whole-day event, approximately 8:00 am - 2:00 pm. Please call the school or email Ms. Bell to volunteer. We need your help!
It’s that time of year...Walkathon time!
The annual Panther Prowl Walkathon is the main PTA fundraiser of the school year. This year’s Prowl will take place on Friday, March 6, from 3:00-5:00 pm. The PTA helps enrich all of our students’ experiences by supporting field trips to local colleges, supplies for classrooms, various events such as Startup Weekend, teacher appreciation, etc. We have set fundraising records for each of the past three years ($8K in 2011, $10K in 2012, $15K in 2013) and this year’s goal is $20,000!
Students will be bringing home a Walkathon Packet this week containing specific information on getting pledges and donations from family and friends. If you prefer to donate online, CLICK HERE (and make sure you include your child’s name).
STUDENTS: START ASKING FOR DONATIONS FROM FAMILY AND FRIENDS NOW!
Khan Academy LearnStorm
A free, 3-month learning challenge designed to build a student’s ability to learn anything through mastery of math skills on Khan Academy. Points are earned by mastering math skills and also for taking on challenging new concepts and persevering. Anyone can sign up and help their school or city take the top spot on the leaderboards.
This is a pilot program for this year, and is open to learners in 3rd Grade through 12th Grade, who live or attend school in one of the following ten Bay Area counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, and Sonoma.
LearnStorm will begin on Feb.9 through the end of April. Incentives are offered by Khan Academy.
We would like to encourage students to sign up. Students can sign up with their google accounts.
For more information and to directions to sign-up, please visit the FAQ link at https://www.khanacademy.org/learnstorm
8th Grade Graduation Dance: Saturday, May 30
Families, if you can help with any aspect of this annual tradition, please contact Ms. Mogin (email@example.com) to volunteer.
Crittenden Night at the Movies!
Crittenden and Cinemark are proud to present the first Crittenden Night at the Movies. Come see INSURGENT Wednesday, March 18th, 6:30pm at Shoreline Century 16, 2 days before the rest of the world sees it. Tickets are $15 and include a small popcorn and a small drink. Tickets go on sale Tuesday, February 24th at lunch and after school outside room 301. Tickets are limited and will be a first come, first serve basis.