Nov 26 2013

My Daughter’s Kindergarten Common Core Math Workbook

The Common Core has hit home for me, literally.  I received from my daughter’s school a kindergarten common core workbook, and, as you might imagine, I have ‘issues’ with it.

My daughter’s school, like most schools, is having a budget crisis.  So when I think that these workbooks each retail for about $30, I question if this is the best use of scarce funds.

Now I will be the first to admit that I am no expert in early childhood learning.  When my daughter was three months old I devised a plan for her to break the world’s record for youngest person to solve the Rubik’s cube.  Using ‘incremental’ learning, I bought a Rubik’s cube and removed all the stickers except for two white stickers.  The idea is that I would have her learn to get the two white stickers together.  Then, as a reward, I’d add another sticker and keep doing that, adding a new sticker each time she mastered the new cube, until all 54 stickers were put on the cube before she turned four.  I didn’t force her to do the cube, knowing that she might resent it.  Instead I’d leave the sticker-less cube lying around in places where she might notice it and pick it up on her own.  Needless to say, she never showed any interest in the mostly black cube and is now nearly six years old and has no interest in the cube whatsoever.

I also don’t know much about what kindergarten math was like before the common core.  For all I know, what is in this workbook is not very different from what they have been doing before that.  I’ll be interested in hearing from people who are experts in early childhood education and who can tell me if I’m being overly harsh on what I see in this book.

A good teacher, like the one my child now has, does know how to take even a crummy curriculum and adapt it to make it appropriate for the class.  There could be inexperienced teachers who don’t yet know how to distinguish good resources from bad resources and who will do what the book says.  There also could be situations where a principal forces teachers to do it ‘by the book’ and not use their professional judgement — the principal at my daughter’s school seems to be more flexible than that.  But even so, when tens of thousands of dollars are spent on bad books and surely the interim assessments and analysis that go along with them, then that is just a big waste of money which I’d rather see a school use to offer more special events, programs, and field trips to make school a fun place for my child.

Each page of the book features in large letters the words ‘TEST PREP’ so any administrator who claims that they don’t encourage test prep for kindergarteners is lying.  Also notice that these kindergarteners are getting early practice in bubbling.  The directions for this are “Trace the number.  How many counters woul you place in the five frame to show the number?  Mark under your answer.”

The directions for this one are “Which numbers show the sets that are put together?  Mark under your answer.”  Clearly both 5+3 and 7+1 are correct, though I guess they want the students to write 7+1.

The directions are “Listen to the subtraction word problem about the animals.  There are ____ _______.  Some are taken from the set.  Now there are ____.  How many were taken from the set?  Circle and mark an X to show how many are being taken from the set.  Trace and rite to complete the subtraction sentence.”  These aren’t even the correct instructions!  It should say that there are ____ ____ and ____ are taken from the set, how many are left, I think.  So this is, as the title of the lesson says, ‘Algebra’ — for kindergarteners.  So for number one there are four sea horses and one is facing to the left and three are facing to the right.  It is not clear which ones are staying and which ones are leaving, but according to the problem the three facing to the right are leaving so this represents four minus 3.  But who says that moving to the right is leaving (or just facing to the right, really?)?

Here is another type of ‘algebra’ problem.  “Mark under the number to show how many are being taken from the set.”  This time the right facing turtles are circled with a big ‘X’ over them to represent they are being taken away.

“Tell a subtraction word problem about the beavers.  Trace the numbers and the symbols.  Write the number that shows how many beavers are left.”  Well it seems to me that there are three beavers while just one, not two, have left the raft.  There is one who is maybe starting to leave, but it is equally likely that he is actually climbing onto the raft.  Maybe there are one and a half beavers on the raft?

“Listen to a subtraction word problem about the birds.  There are some birds.  Four birds are taken from the set.  Draw more birds to show how many you started with.  How many birds did you start with?  Write the number to complete the subtraction sentence.”  Here is another type of ‘algebra’ problem.  Look at the wording of the oral prompt:  “There are some birds.”  There ‘are’, or there ‘were’?  “how many you started with,” seems like a strange way to say that.  The student didn’t start with the birds, so why the ‘you’?  What a way to make a five or six year old hate math (and penguins for that matter).

“Which shapes could you join to make the rectangle above?  Mark under your answer.”  I’m a big fan of manipulatives in the classroom.  At my home, my children (I also have a two year old son — his Rubik’s cube training has not begun yet.  I’m not going to make the same mistake twice.  He’ll start three months before his fourth birthday.  Guinness here we come!) love playing with magnetic shapes that can be made into three dimensional figures.  But it seems pretty feasible that the two triangles and the square might be able to be made into a rectangle, though the answer is the second one with the two right triangles.  I don’t think a question like this should ever be a multiple choice question unless the students are provided with the actual shapes so they can play around with them to see which one works.

“Which shape does not roll?  Mark under your answer.”  So first you have the explanation of ‘roll’ with the soccer ball and the arrows demonstrating the rotation of the ball.  There is no reason why a kindergartener who has not spent time trying to put together IKEA furniture by looking at diagrams like this would understand what roll means from this picture, though of course every child knows the concept of rolling.  And then look at the answer choices.  The cylinder doesn’t roll very well when it is upright like that so it isn’t clear if that is part of the answer though a cylinder will roll if it is on its side.  Then the sphere of course does roll, but what about the cube?  The answer is intended to be ‘no,’ I guess, but a cube most certainly does roll.  In fact, what do you do with cube shaped dice?  You ROLL them!

For the other three questions on this page, these seem more like physics problems.  I can argue that you can stack spheres for question 2.  Have they ever seen a can of tennis balls?  Cones can also be stacked.  Ever see a box of ice cream cones?  For number three, I’d say that all things can slide, even the sphere.  Put any onto an ice skating rink and push them and see.

I don’t know.  These seem pretty useless to me.  It’s not that they are so difficult, just that they are not accomplishing much.  My sense is that they have done ‘backward planning’ to get the students ready for whatever common core material they are expected to do when they are in high school so they are trying to set up for those things now.  But I’d much prefer my child to explore math at this young age in a way that is more like a game and less like a test prep manual.  This might make her good at bubble tests but not someone who likes math or will chose to study it further as soon as it is no longer required.  Fortunately I trust my child’s teacher to try to find some good in this material and to not waste time on the stuff that is pointless.

64 Responses

  1. Brian

    Having the same issue with my school and my students workbooks. We don’t have new textbooks, or an abundance of money. I like the workbooks but we only use them once a week or less. The rest of the time it is up to my creativity. I decided to make the move to interactive student notebooks to make the learning more personal

    • You are exactly right! It is a look back curriculum supposedly preparing them for the Algebra ahead. Math teachers know that the true preparation for success in Algebra is a deep understanding of numbers, especially fractions, decimals and percents. The parodying of algebra language during the elementary years does nothing to instill the facility with our number system that students must internalize. That is only accomplished through rigorous experimentation with manipulatives and reading materials that develop appropriate language skills for the developing mathematics.

  2. Meghank

    My kindergarten students appreciated the Common Core workbooks – I just let them use them as coloring books….

    • sixtiessman

      Ha ha ha aha ha!

  3. Glen Thielmann

    Wow… Brutal. It would seem that it is not a math workbook at all, but a tool designed to acclimatize students to accepting crap from people with fuzzy motives — a useful skill for when they become wage slaves. I’d love to be in the room with the workbook designers as they field test these logic defying questions on a multi-age group including adults. I also have a roll of paper towels that would like to talk to someone about cylinders. These BS questions and the test prep are antithetical to the concept of “kindergarten” — thank goodness that my kids (in BC, Canada) were not subjected to anything like this.

  4. David Smith

    I share your skepticism of this workbook, but this is not the Common Core. If the Common Core were to be implemented as it was written and intended, I think many of us who deeply understand the education of children would be happy with the result. But when the Common Core is interpreted by for-profit publishers for whom everything is a ScanTron, and schools and districts looking for bandaids and quick fixes, then this is what it looks like. It is unfortunate that Common Core is getting blamed for a vacuum of educational leadership and the venality of education publishers.

    • Iteach

      To David:

      “Common Core is getting blamed for a vacuum of educational leadership.”

      Isn’t that why we have Arne?

      Or the Broadie trained supers?

      Or the NGA, CCSSO? Remember “state led”?

      Aren’t they the national “leaders”?

    • David, CCSS is part of the Race to the Top package. So is high-stakes standardized testing, without which, presumably, we’ll never know if our kindergarteners can do algebra better than Kindergarten children in another state or country – hence workbooks like this.

      Without RttT (and Bill Gates’ funding and influence, among that of many other “philanthropists’), CCSS wouldn’t be such a problem. But as long as it comes as part of a package with testing to tell us how much our kids have learned, I mean how good our teachers are (so they can keep their jobs and all, which is the point of tying test results to teach evaluations), and as long as the expectations for Kindergarten students exceed “play without hurting each other” and “learn social skills” and “have fun while learning through exploration about mat, physics, art, music, and a gazillion other things because that’s how little kids are hard-wired to learn in the first place – NOT through worksheets!” then we’re going to have contrived [nonsense] (I really wanted to use an expletive here) like this.

      • David Smith

        Yes, states have to sign on to CCSS to qualify for RTTT, but that does not require states, or districts to use crappy materials like Go Math. There are very fine materials, rich in manipulatives and reasoning, that fully meet the CCSS, that are fully acceptable under RTTT, and that are readily available.

        My point, again, is that it is disingenuous to blame Common Core for poor selection of instructional materials. The blame for the presence of these materials in any classroom rests solely on the administrators and boards who approved their purchase, instead of purchasing something better.

        I defy anyone to show me a passage in the CCSS that says the equivalent of “thou shalt drill thy children unto death with bubble sheets.” In fact if you look at the CCSS Mathematical Practices Standards http://www.corestandards.org/Math/Practice the sample from Go Math meets none of the first 4 in any deep or meaningful way. Why is this material even allowed to claim that it is aligned with CCSS? This sample is an example of materials that are often purchased out of a fearful response to insane testing mandates.

    • Erin Tuttle

      I beg to differ. Many of these examples have the Common Core standard listed on the top left. This is exactly what the CC intends.

      • David Smith

        Standards are a guide to assessment, not a guide to instruction. Any math worksheet, no matter how idiotically produced can claim to address a Common Core standard. That’s because the whole point of the Common Core is to produce a uniform and rigorous baseline for assessment. The CCSS say nothing about curriculum or materials.

        The intent of Achieve and the NGA, who drove the creation of the CCSS, was not to create certain classes of materials or curriculum. The intent was to deal with states who were responding to NCLB by watering down state standards and state assessments, creating artificially high proficiency ratings, when compared to NAEP performance.

        CCSS create a common assessment framework for all states that adopt them. CCSS does not even control how states choose to test for proficiency. So states are free to create bad assessments, just as they are free to create bad curriculum and adopt bad materials. CCSS does nothing to prevent stupidity or venality. That’s up to districts and states, as it always has been. Some districts and states, for their part, continue to show themselves to be unable to resist the pull of the stupid and the venal.

        • Linda Schultz

          standards are direct guides to instruction, where are you getting this crap from. We take the standard and instruct TO IT. Especially with CC where everything is practically scripted…keep fighting for CC, you will be really happy in 2018 when CC gets its way and they replace all teachers with minimum wage “CC Certified Instructors” enjoy the unemployment line.

    • It is a mistake to somehow think there is a “common core” separated from the people who are pushing it. Many of us see common core being implemented AS intended. It’s like saying if only The Bible or The Constitution were implemented as intended.

      • David Smith

        Thank you, Norm, for raising this point and helping me clarify my own thinking. I have been trying to make the point that the writers of the CCSS were addressing assessment, not curriculum, but I think it is fair to consider whether, if a document is so widely misunderstood and misapplied, there might not be some fault fairly laid to the document itself.

        Because I have seen for myself, examples of schools (and also informal science and tech programs) that are using fully progressive approaches, that are not just student-centered, but student-led and interest-based, that do not engage in test prep, and that are fully aligned with CCSS (and NGSS), I tend to view implementation as separate from Standards.

        Your point, I think, is that CCSS does not exist as an isolated document, but as part of a system that generally drives an unproductive response to those Standards and that the CCSS should be critiqued not by the language of the Standards alone (which has been my approach), but by the behavior they engender in the system. Hmmm.

  5. Annie

    As a long time early childhood educator, this workbook gives me nausea. It is a really good representation of everything that KG should not be. I do agree, however, that it does not address the Common Core; it address the PARCC test. Which seems rather stupid since KG students won’t have to take that test for another three years. The amount of money being wasted in education on these test prep workbooks is a crime, and the young children are the ones losing out. Think of all the great experiences you could do with a class with that amount of money.

  6. sue kelewae

    Those poor children!!! That is absurd! They are 5 – yes, 5 years old!!!! They don’t have the cognitive, neurological ability to understand what they are being asked, the words, the problem, the numbers, the abstract thought, etc….. Do any of these “test makers” ever study child development or educational psychology?? Heaven help us all! These little ones will grow to hate school – with good reason.

  7. This is so plainly inappropriate…low-income kids often start Kindergarten without having ever held a crayon, let along having acquired the skills to do this level of work.

  8. bookworm23

    When I see examples like these, it’s almost impossible for me to grasp how something so poor in quality could come to be published, much less adopted by a district.

  9. Sheila Resseger

    Why would kindergarten children even know what a “set” means in this context? This work is inane and counter-productive. Who develops this crap? They must not have humans proof-read their materials. By relying on spell-check, they have written: “Trace and rite to complete the subtraction sentence.”

  10. Yvonne Siu-Runyan, Professor Emerita, University of Northern Colorado and Past President, National Council Teachers pf English

    This is NUTS! Kinders should be BLOWING BUBBLES rather than filling in testing bubbles. BTW, who wrote the math stuff? They are well…ridiculous. And YES, I have taught ALL GRADES K-12 and more.

  11. bernie1815

    The practice book is $5 not $30.

    http://www.amazon.com/Go-Math-Student-Practice-Grade/dp/0547588127/ref=pd_bxgy_b_text_y
    At the same time, I dislike the format of these questions.

    • Cosmic Tinker

      The picture of the book posted by Gary does not say “practice book” on the cover, as the one on Amazon does. On the Houghton-Mifflin website, it indicates that students can “write-in” the textbook “so students record their strategies, explanations, solutions, practice and test prep right in their books.” The reduced price listed there includes a textbook and a practice book for $28. 25: http://www.hmhco.com/shop/k12/Go-Math/9780547444215

      • M Norris

        And guess who owns the publisher? Pearson. The same company doing the testing….$$$$$$

      • Cosmic Tinker

        So much for the district saving money by reusing those textbooks with students in successive years –and good news for Houghton-Mifflin for selling a textbook that is consumable and has to be purchased anew each year.

    • retiredbutmissthekids

      It is a general practice for school districts to order texts (test prep materials, as well, of course!) from actual book publishers, not through Amazon. (After all, where would the profit–to Pear$on–be?) So, naturally, the districts spend more of our (taxpayer) money.

    • Schoolgal

      I doubt our school districts buy from Amazon. So much for watching the budget.

    • jackiebass

      It might be $5 on Amazon but schools don’t usually buy from Amazon. The supplier will charge $30. It’s like the military buying something at an inflated price that you could buy I a retail store for a small fraction of their price..

  12. bookworm23

    Bernie1815, are you certain that’s the price the taxpayers pay?

  13. If this is a CCSS workbook, it will change.
    ALL of the curriculum of CCSS is a “Living Document”, so the Socialists and Educrats in Washington D.C. will change it to suit what THEY think your Children SHOULD learn…Socialism. Communism.

    If Common Core Lives, Freedom Dies.

    http://www.killcommoncore.com

  14. Kteacher

    As a kindergarten teacher way out in Oregon, I am horrified. Horrified at the content and concept of this book, and more horrified that this madness will quickly be making its way out west. I can assure you that, while you may not be an expert in early childhood learning, your doubts, questions and criticisms are right on target. This is why many K teachers are so miffed about the absence of early childhood teachers and experts in crafting the common core.

  15. NYC teacher

    Unfortunately many schools are now filled with new teachers who are unable to detect a bad program when they see one.

    Even if they did, some principals bully teachers into implementing it.

    Most teachers don’t want any trouble and will do what they’re told.

    Thankful PARENTS are now seeing it!

  16. David Smith

    Gary,

    I think you and I would both agree that educational leadership is most important and effective at the school level and that telling teachers to do something differently does not make you an effective educational leader. I have found Arne Duncan to be one of this administration’s disappointments. There is a great organization in Chicago that is implementing truly effective education for youth and it is not CPS – Arne and his pals could learn a lot from YouMedia and the research coming out of the MacArthur Foundation (who pulled out of CPS.)

    • Third Grade teacher

      A lot of school districts purchase consumable math books for K-2 because it is very hard for young kids to transcribe from a book to paper. I actually wish our district would quite buying math books all together, since they never line up with Virginia standards and we are actually discouraged from using them in favor of hands on learning. The ones we bought just two years ago are collecting dust on a shelf, along with all of the other text books I NEVER use. If an administrator came into my room and saw me teaching from the book, I would be considered a subpar teacher. No kidding.

  17. Christine

    I’m a homeschool mom, and I was given this book by a friend whose child just finished public school kindergarten. The teacher gave it to her, along with a bunch of small workbooks, because they were being phased out. I used it with my son for about 3 days. The instructions were confusing, and he didn’t like it. We ended up using a program that uses manipulatives and discussion, which has been instrumental in his ability to add and subtract, as well as making him fascinated with the subject (Mommy, let’s do math!). At this age, they are concrete thinkers and can’t handle abstract thinking yet. This book would have stifled his enthusiasm, as many of the problems just didn’t make sense.
    As a side note, we homeschoolers have to watch every penny, try not to print more than we need, and don’t have many materials that are full color. I cringed when I saw that every page was full of color print and wondered how much the school district paid for it. Colored pages don’t make smarter kids.

  18. retiredbutmissthekids

    BTW, Gary, I love that not only are you a TFA Alum, a respected educator and blogger
    and a successful author, but also that you are a parent–of a KINDERGARTEN student!
    We’ve hit the trifecta!
    Thanks for keeping us all updated on the nonsense, giving us evidential grist for our arguments in favor of EDUCATING (rather than endlessly testing) children!
    Good luck to you and the other moms & dads in putting a stop to this at your school & in your district (we know that if anyone can do it, you can!).
    &–Meghank–I love your comment, as well. Here’s another good one:
    “Kindergarteners should be blowing bubbles, not filling them in.” (Seen on a sign held at a CPS rally.)

  19. Camille

    When my daughter was in kindergarten in NYC, she also had workbooks with test prep bubble questions on every page. This was before the CC, about six years ago, but NYC was well into Bloomberg’s test and punish reforms. I’m also a teacher, and I was very uncomfortable with how things were going for kids in the city. We saved our money and moved to the suburbs. Since RttT and the CC, the test prep in the suburbs is on steroids. It permeates every aspect of my daughter’s school. At least we can now say that all children, urban and suburban, are being equally tortured.

  20. Teresa

    I have a stack of those books on my window sill in my classroom. I am hoping to remove them to the trash bin soon. We were given these books without instruction by the district. That in and of itself fascinates me. Our district does a good job with early childhood. Why would they pay for a program that they don’t support using? My classroom is a Tools of the Mind Kindergarten class. We have excellent math activities that do not require a text book, practice book, test prep, bs. Our math curriculum is aligned with CC. I don’t think CC is horrible. I think the materials that are developed by profit mongers is what is horrible and a disgrace. Pushing the use of developmentally inappropriate materials like Go Math is what is wrong.

  21. Gary, Since our kids are in the same class, I viewed your posting with more than my usual amusement. I agree with you wholeheartedly that I’d prefer our kids going on more outdoor and indoor fieldtrips, and more hands on science and spanish language instruction would be much more valuable use of limited resources and our kids time in school. But imagine if parents like us can’t leverage our knowledge to shift our children’s schools priorities – imagine what it must be like for the thousands of parents in even worse off schools and higher need communities. The forces and powers that need to be bucked and the kind of political courage it takes to jump off the bandwagon (and in the case of the DOE, the administrative monster overseeing everything) – well its simply too much to expect of our principal, or our teachers. They can’t do it – there jobs are literally on the line.

  22. Donna Brumlow

    Common core standards and curriculum are two different things. This workbook is the curriculum the school decided to purchase for the school. The activities are determined by the textbook company, not the common core standards.

    • ann reagan

      EXACTLY!

  23. Patty Johnson

    The confusing addition/subtraction problems are supposed to develop a child’s flexibility in understanding word problems. They just confuse my ELL/high poverty second graders, too.

  24. Mary

    Gary, You are exactly right about backward planning and Common Core. That’s exactly what happened and my understanding is that the select few that wrote the standards were not even educators, much less educators who were knowledgeable about early childhood education. As a former kindergarten teacher, I don’t think much of the appropriateness of the standards for our youngest students. How fortunate that your child has a teacher and principal that are creative and flexible when it comes to implementing these standards. How sad for the students who don’t have that. I’m afraid we are going to take an entire generation of kids and turn them off to learning with these standards.

  25. Susan Brotherton

    And tell me, are most kindergarten children able to READ these directions?

  26. retiredbutmissthekids

    Great comments, Gabriel–yes, you parents need to do it–your teachers & administrators would, indeed, be fired (or severely punished) for speaking out.
    Should you need some additional help/expertise, get hold of some retired
    teachers to help (especially those who taught ECE & K). Retired teachers can speak from experience and without fear–we’re mobilizing throughout the country! Good luck–you WILL stop the craziness!

  27. Fifi

    I had to use this series with my k students last year, my last year of teaching. I hated it. Go Math took all the llife out of what had been a very hands on, It feels like play, interactive, exploratory, fun,
    math curriculum, turning it into a dry, I must use the smart board race to the clock. I believe that Pearson is behind this new venture.
    If you look at the teacher’s guide, we are instructed to say, “The chairs are full.” when lining up four chairs with one child sitting in each chair.
    Given that 23 of the 25 children in my class were double service ESL, I did not want to be modeling any “The chairs are full.” language.
    Where did they find the people to write these things?

  28. jekill

    My children’s school uses Go Math as well. It absolutely IS aligned to Common Core. I don’t know why David Smith seems to think otherwise. Or is he just a puppet? http://www.mybookezzz.org/houghton-mifflin-go-math-common-core-edition/

    • David Smith

      Puppet? Really? Would you like to provide some evidence to back up that claim or do you just engage in libel as a hobby?

  29. writetoread

    This makes me want to drop out of school. In 1st grade (instead of 10th).

    Prior to recently working with students in elementary schools, I had taught middle school, high school, and GED prep for years. Now I understand how we plant seeds of apathy.

  30. Martha

    I am a retired kindergarten teacher. Five-year-old children should be learning math from “playing” with objects (manipulatives), not from workbooks. Abstraction and the writing down of math symbolism is reading and writing, which for many children doesn’t get really rolling until they’re 7 or 8 years old. All this does is make them hate math, reading and writing. People who write these texts and the tests have no sense of what’s developmentally appropriate.

  31. Join the opt-out movement — deny them the data they want — that is the only way to take control and push for a progressive, child-centered learning environment

  32. Sorrel

    The general education teacher brought a 1st grade common core math assessment to show during a recent IEP meeting. One of the questions that the student got wrong was of a hand with only a ring and pinkie. The student was supposed to indicate how many fingers were missing, but he instead counted the fingers that were there. The picture shocked me. What kind of person would write a math test question about a chopped up hand?

  33. Fed Up!

    I became an early childhood teacher because I understood how kids developed and was fascinated by it. I wanted to instill learning at a young age and help children develop the skills they needed to be successful in life. I wanted EVERY child to feel successful, competent and inspired. I wanted to add creativity to their lives, help them resolve conflict in peaceful ways. I wanted to inspire parents to help their children achieve all of these things. So, I became a kindergarten teacher. Notice the past tense verbs in the previous statements?
    Presently- I have sold my soul. I am herding high poverty, non native speakers into content that is TOTALLY inappropriate and lacking meaning in their lives. I am pressured to use the data from online assessments to group students accordingly and provide instruction based on their needs as identified by these assessments. The problem? These assessments are totally unreliable! What barely 5 year old wants to sit at a computer and answer question after question for 3 50 minute sessions? The majority have never even controlled a mouse! Ludicrous! I want out! I wish “opting out” and closing the door and teaching the way I know my students need were options. Sadly, I am reminded by administration that “Big Brother” is watching! I wouldn’t last long if I instructed my students the way i would want my own kids instructed, but, why fight it? This job is turning into something I don’t want anyway. Sorry for the ramble……….

  34. Mike Standridge

    I think many of the comments here make sense, and it is evident that everyone here is passionate about education and our children.
    I would like to point out that most qualified teachers understand that any series or program needs to be treated like a guide, rather than scripture. I have pulled lesson ideas from go math that have been very successful, and engaging for students. You won’t see those lessons at home, as they are in the teacher’s edition.
    Are there things in GO Math that I do not teach? Of course. If I have a better resource or lesson idea, do I use that instead of the prescribed lesson? Absolutely.
    I teach in a county where we have no textbook, resources, or prepared curriculum for students. All we have are “unit assessments.” Teachers in my county are going home every night and creating materials, and guessing at “the best way” to teach these standards.
    All I am saying is some nights, it’s nice to have the option to consult a series like GO Math and determine for myself the best method of instruction for my kids.
    Love the discussion. Thanks for your passion.

  35. Laura

    Thank you, thank you for bringing the obvious ridiculousness of kindergarten common core to people’s attention. My daughter also in kindergarten brings home those oh so imaginative dominoe dots almost everyday. Must be that dots are engaging for children…not. Oh and the summer interns that put together this junk that our districts spent a fortune on must have been out drinking and missed their classes on early childhood development. Three, four, and five step questions in kindergarten. Vague questions that have to be read three and four times by parents just to figure out what the question is. Pre algebra? The developemental level for kindergartners is descibed as concrete not abstract. Algebra has no business being in kindergarten. You see i think what happened was the creators never really believed that the states would adopt this curriculum hook line and sinker. Then one day at the end of spring the office head came in and said, “we aee going to be rich, really really rich “. Almost every state bought this. We are golden. They all high fived a d when they got their bonus checks the next day they all went out drinking and left the development to the new summer interns. These materials were then forwarded to the states and given to teachers a out two minutes before classes started wigh a note that said, “teach this, you will be graded on well your students learn it, love the summer interns.”

  36. ann reagan

    I’m a kindergarten teacher (12 years 1st grade, 10 years kindergarten) and was very hesitant about transitioning to the common core. But WOW! I see a tremendous improvement in the students Math skills already. It’s really pretty amazing to see their capacity to learn. They are already finding sums to 10 using pictures, drawings, tally marks, ten frames. In the past, it took them until well after January to even begin writing equations. Not only are they writing them, but demonstrating an “understanding” of numbers. I think the biggest problem with the common core is that schools are not educating the parents about WHY it’s being done. We would never be able to compete at a global level at the rate we were going. My kids could literally do the pages in their “old” workbooks with little or no help from me. They complain that it is “baby work” and LOVE using their critical thinking skills to work out problems. I feel like an old dog learning new tricks myself, but I couldn’t be happier with the results!!!! Parents need to be more educated about the common core….like it or not, (it’s DEFINITELY A LOT more work for the teachers and parents alike) but don’t our children deserve to be on an equal playing field with the rest of the world when it comes to global enterprise? Their future depends on good teachers (and parents) willing to accept the fact that our kids are way behind the rest of the world with the current math standards and that even students as young as 5 and 6 really are ready for more of a challenge.

  37. Common Core State Standards linked to this post.
  38. Martin Brooks

    The issue is not what they’re trying to teach the kids (although I don’t necessarily agree with trying to teach this material in terms of “sets”). The issue is that the workbook pages shown are extremely poorly written. They sound to me like they were written by a person for whom English is not their native language. The instructional design is also very poor. A depiction of an animal who is facing the opposite direction does not mean that the animal has been “subtracted”.

    What does “Mark under your answer” mean? Mark WHAT under your answer? It should read something like, “fill the bubble under the correct answer.”

    There’s so much that is wrong here, it’s making me ill. If anyone thinks this is the proper way to teach mathematics to very young children, many of whom are not reading yet and many who may already be “behind”, they are really fooling themselves. I can see a disaster.

  39. The problem is not Common Core, per se, but the textbook publishers who do their best to create the crappiest materials under all circumstances. You can read about my “Go Math!” thoughts here: http://www.bltm.com/blog

    • T

      I’m not a math teacher, but I’m inclined to agree about this…

  40. Amy

    My daughter has the same workbook and doing her homework is infuriating!!! The vocabulary is beyond the comprehension of a kindergardener. I’m consistently reading the instructions and simplifying the text for her comprehension level. Our most recent task was to identify the difference between two dimensional and three dimensional shapes although she doesn’t know the definition of dimension. I tried to show her physical examples but her reply was, “but mommy the paper is flat.” And technically she is correct!!! Why not stick with the damn basics instead of confusing these poor kids??? AND the worksheets are ridiculously ambiguous!!!

  41. Amy

    My daughter has the same workbook and doing her homework is infuriating!!! The vocabulary is beyond the comprehension of a kindergardener. I’m consistently reading the instructions and simplifying the text for her comprehension level. Our most recent task was to identify the difference between two dimensional and three dimensional shapes although she doesn’t know the definition of dimension. I tried to show her physical examples but her reply was, “but mommy the paper is flat.” And technically she is correct!!! Why not stick with the damn basics instead of confusing these poor kids???

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By a somewhat frustrated 1991 alum

Region
Houston
Grade
High School
Subject
Math

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