Greetings, parents, students, and fellow math geeks! In case you haven't heard, the new edition of Everyday Math (or "EM") is upon us and will be implemented in school districts (such as Evanston/Skokie District 65) this fall. It's aligned with the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM), and, as such, there are some key changes to the curriculum. I've spent long hours examining the Standards, and comparing this edition of EM to the previous one, so that you don't have to! Isn't that nice of me? I'll tell you what I found, starting with what's in store for incoming fourh graders.
Why fourth graders? Well, partly because I have my very own adorable fourth grader at home, and partly because one of the more important changes affects this fall's incoming fourth graders. Here's the nutshell version: the standard requiring students to memorize their multiplication facts through 10x10 has been moved from the end of fourth grade to the end of third grade. So, if incoming fourth graders are to keep pace with the new curriculum,they should know their multiplication tables through 10x10 the day they start fourth grade. But because they've been taught from the old curriculum up until now, many of them don't have their tables memorized.
I think this is a big deal. In my experience in the classroom teaching math, I have too often seen students struggle to keep up with the new material being taught, because they're bogged down by troubles with basic computation skills, such as multiplication. So, you'd better believe that I'm going to spend this summer making sure that my son knows his multiplication tables forwards and backwards, in his sleep! From what I've seen, kids who struggle with the facts that should be committed to memory get understandably frustrated, discouraged, and bored.
So, maybe you can take advantage of some of these unseasonably cool summer days and cozy up with your kids and some multiplication flash cards, or pop-quiz them on a road trip. There are all sorts of fuh ways to use incentives to coax your kids to do school-related work over the summer. In one summer math enrichment class I am running, my students are keeping track of the tables they've memorized this way (the ice cream cone graphics are from a company called Unique Teaching Resources):
When they've memorized all their tables, we'll celebrate with some actual ice cream (sprinkles, too!).
I'll be running affordable and fun summer "Math Camp" classes for all ability levels in grades K-8, all summer long. Interested? Just click here.