The 3Rs (Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic) traditionally thought of as three separate disciplines, have recently merged and now overlap. No longer are reading and arithmetic studied in isolation, and writing is projected to be a part of all disciplines. Students today are expected to not only learn each of these disciplines, but to explain their understanding. More emphasis on writing requires students to clarify their comprehension and clearly record that understanding.
Changes Brought about by Common Core
With the advent of Common Core Standards, the number of mathematical concepts presented at each grade level has actually decreased. What has changed is the depth of understanding required by the students. Previously, students were taught how to work an algorithm, example (4X6=24). Then the teacher would send home a page of computations to be completed. Much of mathematics was simply “arithmetic”, working algorithms. Today teachers teach how to compute the algorithm, and ask the students to explain in writing what the procedure represents in “Mathematical” terms. Students do far more analysis and writing. Their homework may be only two or three problems. However, those problems take just as much time as 25 or 30 simple computations. The old system was designed to have students’ repeat conceptual development of many ideas over a number of years. The new system requires students to master fewer concepts in a single year. In other words a third grader might be introduced to multiplication with single digit, then in fourth grade double digits, in fifth grade adding to that. That same third grader would also review addition, subtraction, geometrical shapes, and ten other concepts. This was called “scaffolding”.
Today a third grader might learn to multiply single digits, double digits, and more. He would also be required to explain in writing what multiplication means. He would analyze and apply given problems in a real life situation, and create the unknown but necessary algorithm to solve problems to other real life situations.
However he would only have six concepts to master at that grade level. More time and depth is spent on fewer concepts. This is called “mastery learning.”
Rather than mechanically following a process, students are asked to think.
Parents are often thrown by these new requirements, and feel inadequate to help students with their homework. This is not the way they were taught.
EZ Writing Math is the answer for many parents. It provides examples of how to accomplish what is required. It also gives direct access to experienced teachers that can help both students and parents.
At EZ Writing we deliberately include “Thinking Skills” as an integral part of each our writing courses. This assures that students develop those higher order skills necessary to clearly communicate their understanding in reading and math.
Notice that analysis is a major component of these math requirements.
Step by step instructions are clearly taught, with practice and constant guidance.
In mathematical terms, the higher-order thinking skills students at all grade levels need to learn are the following eight practices:
- Comprehend problems and persist in solving them. (Critical thinking)
- Reason conceptually and quantitatively. (Analyze and use mental math)
- Construct logical and sustainable explanations. (Analyze and record in an organized manner)
- Create models of mathematic concepts. (Analyze and go from the abstract to the concrete and from the concrete to the abstract)
- Know how and when to use mathematical tools. (Analyze and use technology accurately and appropriately)
- Focus on being precise. (Take time to check your work)
- Recognize and utilize mathematical structure. (Memorize properties and formulas. Analyze to discover and use functions)
- Look for patterns and repeated reasoning. (Analyze new situations and apply previous knowledge.)
Grade 5 – Math Concepts
- Place value system – multi – digit with decimals to the hundredth’s place
- Fractions – Using equivalent fractions to add, subtract, multiply, and divide
- Measurement and data – Convert like measure units in a given measurement system
- Represent and interpret data
- Understand and compute volume
- Use coordinate planes to solve problems classifying two dimensional figures into categories
Each problem in this EZ Writing course will include both a mathematical thinking skill and a grade level requirement.