I do a very poor job of staying informed about current events. I'm typically unplugged and clueless, but even I have noticed the bad rap Common Core Math is receiving these days. The bashing I've seen on Facebook actually hurts my heart. It feels personal, as if my own philosophy of teaching is under investigation.
Some very hurtful things are being said about math instruction, and the tone is an angry one. I know it's because society wants the best for this young generation of mathematicians, and that desire brings out the passion. I'm passionate about my mathematicians too, but I believe the changes I've been making to my math instruction, which actually began before I was even aware of CCSS, are not only beneficial but essential.
The people, in essence, who are questioning what I'm doing to my mathematicians, grew up on a different method of math, as did I. They simply don't understand yet. They're coming from a place of ignorance, and the educational system is asking them to make a rather uncomfortable paradigm shift. I believe we teachers have a responsibility to educate the public. We can't leave it to the media or social networks. I can't reach everyone. My sphere of influence is a small one, but if we all educate our parents, we'll make a significant impact on our most important clientele.
When I first began making significant mathematical shifts, I created a math wiki for parents. I shared weekly pictures of math strategies that my students were creating, and I explained the strategies as well. Last year, I stopped using the wiki, created a class website, and designed a page on my site specifically for the same purpose which I've continued using this year.
Here is one example from my site. If you're interested in more, click on the picture to visit my math page.
I'm not insinuating that all of our Common Core Math issues can be solved by something so simple, but I do believe it's a step in the right direction. I want parents to see that my students and I are not at the mercies of CCSS, being forced to submit to practices I don't believe in because a curriculum or test says so. I want them to see that I'm willingly making shifts in the way I teach because I believe my mathematicians will be better off because of it. If I don't repeatedly share this message with real live examples of student work, who will?