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Macey Colavecchio

Assignment #3
10.23.14

Teach the Way They Learn

Tropes are devices and conventions that a writer can reasonably rely on as being
present in the audience members minds and expectations. Think, word problems, addition,
and subtraction, which are common tropes used in teaching mathematics. Synecdoches are a
form of tropes related to metaphors that create play on words by referring to something with a
related concept. For example, referring the whole with the name of a part such as word
problem, for math situation, or carry the one, for regroup ten ones as a ten. These
synecdoches have recently become the new language in Common Core standards to create a
deeper understanding for students of numbers and their values to help build a foundation for
future math skills. The US is ranked 25
th
in the world for math skills and 20
th
in the world for
science skills. The US cannot be competitive in the world without having an internationally
competitive education system. It is clear that something needs to change but is Common Core
the right answer?
The idea of Common Core in learning math inside schools is to not just do it but to
know how and why we do it. The rhetorical device that educators now utilize is style often
words one chooses for communication. Math Common Core State Standards require greater
focus by teachers and deeper knowledge by students than many previous state standards. They
require more critical thinking, which is as ancient as Socrates 2,500 years ago. He established the
importance of seeking evidence, closely examining reasoning and assumptions, and analyzing
basic concepts. Socrates practice was followed by Plato, Aristotle, and the Greek skeptic, all who
trained the to be prepared to see through the way things look to us on the surface, the way they
are beneath the surface.
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Socrates highlighted the need in thinking for clarity and logical
consistency this will be a very importance concept in this paper.
The Common Core standards are focused on getting the student to think creatively, and
have found multiple ways to solve a problem. The new standards make sure students are learning
and absorbing the critical information they need to succeed at higher levels. According to the
Common Core standard: To deliver on this promise, the mathematics standards are designed to
address the problem of a curriculum that is a mile wide and an inch deep. 45 states in the
nation have so far adopted Common Core standards.
Several years ago, my fourth grade classroom was all about finding answers as quickly as
possible. I would wait for my turn to sit at my teachers table as she held a small stopwatch. A
row of multiplication tables was in front of her, and she sat there waiting for me to give her the
go ahead to start my assessment. I was terrified. I never scored well on those tests, but one thing
stands out to me today: I still have memorized all the multiplication tables and readily use them
daily. We were rewarded for answering multiplication tables in record time. But often, when
students would ask their teacher questions like why three times four equals 12, they would
simply get the answer, Thats just how it is. With the Common Core changes, students use
math status posters to explain how they solved a problem through pictures, numbers and words.
The Common Core provokes much anxiety and in order to understand why educators
have switched, its helpful to look at math before the new standards. Plug and chug, is what we
used to say just a few years ago. Math was a bunch of memorized rules that did not make much
sense. Follow the rules, and you will get the right answer. This was helpful for me, who is not
mathematically inclined and needed to know how to solve real world problems. I could look on

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http://www.criticalthinking.org/pages/a-brief-history-of-the-idea-of-critical-
thinking/408
my sheet of formulas and find the right equation for my math problem. There is limited need for
originality, explanations, or even genuine understanding. Learning enough rules will allow you
to solve the problems you are given.
The style of mathematical teaching has changed drastically: it is not just numbers
anymore. These numbers have value, meaning, and students need to understand what the value
and meaning is or they do not understand the math problem.
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Learning with the Common Core
standards is a social process now; educators have made classrooms more collaborative because
the curriculum encourages students to work together. The new standards are more rigorous and
require more of students, teachers, and parents. Knowing what you are doing, instead of just
knowing a set of rules, is the essential foundation for applying math to the real world, according
to Solomon Friedburg in a column for USA Today.
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According to Rethinking Schools, how the
standards were drived is this:
To arrive at college- and career-ready standards, the Common Core developers began
by defining the skills and abilities they claim are needed to succeed in a four-year
college. The CCSS tests being developed by two federally funded multistate consortia, at
a cost of about $350 million, are designed to assess these skills. One of these consortia,
the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, claims that students
who earn a college ready designation by scoring a level 4 on these still-under-
construction tests will have a 75 percent chance of getting a C or better in their freshman
composition course. But there is no actual evidence connecting scores on any of these
new experimental tests with future college success.
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Today, college means cutthroat competition to get in, mountains of debt to stay, and often, bleak
prospects when you leave. Yet college readiness is about to become the new AYP (adequate
yearly progress) by which schools will be ranked. The idea that by next year Common Core tests

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http://www.sfexaminer.com/sanfrancisco/sf-teachers-say-common-core-standards-
make-learning-social-but-challenges-linger/Content?oid=2909883
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http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2014/09/15/common-core-math-education-
standards-fluency-column/15693531/
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http://www.rethinkingschools.org/archive/28_02/28_02_karp.shtml
will start labeling kids in the 3rd grade as on track or not for college is absurd and offensive.
Substantive questions have been raised about the Common Core's tendency to push difficult
academic skills to lower grades, about the appropriateness of the early childhood standards,
about the sequencing of the math standards, about the mix and type of mandated readings, and
about the priority Common Core puts on the close reading of texts in ways that devalue student
experience and prior knowledge.
A decade of No Child Left Behind Act tests showed that millions of students were not
meeting existing standards, but the sponsors of the Common Core decided that the solution was
tougher ones. And this time, instead of each state developing its own standards, the Common
Core seeks to create national tests that are comparable across states and districts, and that can
produce results that can be plugged into the data-driven crisis machine that is the engine of
corporate reform.
The Common Core standards have caused much stir in the education community. Parents
are uncomfortable with children having multiple ways to solve a math problem. For example,
one way to figure out 34 minus 9 is to use a number line where children can see that 9 is one
away from 10 which is 20 away from 30 and 4 from 34.
1 + 20 + 4 = 25
34 9 = 25
Many parents would rather have their children use the traditional method where they
carry the 1 over and be done with it. Common Core emphasizes real life applications of
classroom material and encourages students to think critically: but in the real world, isnt
simplification best? Important to the Socrates method, the need in thinking for clarity and
consistency is critical to a teaching strategy. Homework for children is time consuming because
of this new method. Student who do not understand the new concepts quickly fall to the bottom
and parents have trouble that they cannot explain the homework to them.
I understand the lure of Common Core and the need to move from the No Child Left
Behind Act, but in the world of science, they have already figured out how students learn. Young
children are naturally curious and are naturally motivated to learn about the hows and whys
of the world. This is explained by research done by Tamar Kushnir in the Department of Human
Development at Cornell University. She sheds light on how young children learn about cause
and effect through everyday experiences. Children learn about people from statistical
information and they in turn evaluate evidence in the light of their developing social knowledge,
in an ongoing reinforcing cycle, she stated. By playing, children explore, evaluate, and learn.
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Two more studies, in the journal Cognition from labs MIT and UC-Berkeley, suggest that
while learning from a teacher may help children get to a specific answer more quickly, it also
makes them less likely to discover new information about a problem and to create a new and
unexpected solution. The Common Core Standards have decided to present children with
complex problems so they can answer them- the study mentioned above that direct teaching
makes children less likely to draw new conclusions, to make them less creative. These studies
prove that spontaneous learning is more fundamental.
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The Common Core is based on claims
that represent a set of smarter standards focused on developing critical learning skills instead of
mastering fragmented bits of knowledge.

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http://www.human.cornell.edu/hd/outreach-extension/upload/Learning-about-how-
children-learn-Kushnir.pdf
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http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2011/03/why_preschool_shouldnt_be_
like_school.html
How much people can learn at any moment depends on how they feel at that moment
about the task and their ability to do the task.
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When we feel powerful and competent, we leap at
difficult tasks. The difficulty does not discourage us; we think, Sooner or later, Im going to get
this. At other times, we can only think, Ill never get this, its too hard for me. Part of the art
of teaching is being able to senses which of these moods children are in. If the Common Core
Standards are already stressing students out, then they will fail. The standards are tough, as New
York and Kentucky
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, for example, have already discovered that surprising proportions of their
students are not meeting them. If anything, schools and educator reformers should know is that is
a child cant learn the way we teacher, then we need to teach the way they learn.
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RH: Honestly, your argument seems to strengthen the argument for common core reform.



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http://www.johnholtgws.com/how-children-learn/
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http://www.johnholtgws.com/how-children-learn/
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Quote from O. Ivar Lovaas