Common Core offers different methods, some confusion - WNEM TV 5


Common Core offers different methods, some confusion

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“It’s another way of seeing addition, just you have to do it in the 1000s,” Jacob Kaercher said.

Jacob is a fourth grader in Bay County. It’s his third year learning math from Common Core methods.

His mom, along with other parents across the country, is struggling to help him with his homework.

“He starts getting really frustrated and something that should take a half hour turns into an hour and a half,” said Amanda Kaercher, Jacob’s mom.

She said many of the problems just don’t make sense.

“There’s really not much you can tell your son when you’re barely understanding it yourself,” Amanda Kaercher said.

The Common Core standards were created by non-profit groups and state education departments. They were adopted in Michigan in 2010. The goal was to focus more on critical thinking and less on memorization.

According to education week, at the start of this school year 43 states and the District of Columbia had adopted common core standards. Four states have not adopted them and three have repealed common core.

At Clara Bolen Elementary School in Tawas first grade teacher Nicole Plank has been teaching common core for nearly four years.

“We provide the kids with many different ways of tackling or doing a different problem,” Plank said.

Common Core is not the way Plank learned to teach, but she’s starting to see students in her classroom succeed with it as they solve problems beyond a first grade level.

“One kid might understand it one way, but another kid might really understand it a different way. We’re showing them all the ways, we’re expecting them to practice all the ways and then they get to choose from there which math way of thinking works best for them,” Plank said.

She understands her students who didn’t start learning Common Core in kindergarten might have a more difficult time trying to pick it up now.

However, she thinks once they grasp it, it will better prepare them for college and future careers.

“Those are some of the traits they’re looking for, critical thinking, thinking out of the box,” Plank said.

Meanwhile, Kaercher is worried their problems tackling tough homework will only get worse as her 9-year-old son gets older.

“My son loves school, but he’s to the point where he doesn’t want to be there anymore. He breaks down because he gets anxiety from just having to go to math,” she said.

Mobile users can take a Common Core practice quiz here.

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