Making Over Third Grade!: I Made it Into the Educator Magazine!
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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

I Made it Into the Educator Magazine!

In the fall of the 2015-16 school year the president of my CTA chapter (FSUTA), emailed me to let me know that a reporter from the Educator would be contacting me. Sherry Goodwin contacted me about teaching with the Common Core. I actually like teaching even more with these standards. I teach at a Title 1 site and prior to the state adoption of the CCSS we were expected to teach our adopted curriculum with fidelity which didn't leave a lot of room for creativity or freedom as we have now.

There has been a lot of discussion about the Common Core and whether it is any good. Many teachers think that it is a lot more work to teach now and that it may not be worth it. I disagree, I think the work is worth it! The analogy that I love to use is that teaching with the Common Core standards is like cooking for Thanksgiving dinner. Anyone who has ever cooked, or helped cook, a Thanksgiving meal knows how messy and how much work it can be. Every year you may cook and complain, and wonder why you are doing this again, with the promise that you won't do this another year. Then, the dinner is served. The family gathers to eat and the joy you get from this is worth all of the hassle of shopping for and cooking the meal. That is what teaching with the Common Core is like for me. It is time consuming and messy but so worth it!

Sherry and her photographer, Scott Buscman, came to my class in October to see us in action. We discussed a math unit I created using the Toys R Us and Wal-Mart website to help teach adding 3 and 4-digit numbers, rounding, and estimating. Students also have to use their critical thinking and reading skills to ensure that they are buying just the right items. I give each group a set dollar amount
makingoverthirdgrade.blogspot.comand tell them they are not shopping for themselves but rather for my 3 year old nephew or my 5 year old niece. In both cases, they have to ensure that they are buying age appropriate toys, that the toys are not choking hazards, and that the toys they select already have good customer reviews. Once they select the toys (they screen shot the pages) they have to round the amounts to the nearest dollar or nearest 10 dollars. They then have to add what they spent and make sure that they do not exceed the amount they were given. I have taught this unit twice and each year the kids have LOVED it. I love seeing how they get so serious about selecting the toys they are going to "buy." (To see this lesson click here.)
Note: The first year I taught this, I gave the students a set amount but allowed them to shop for themselves. They take WAY too much time for this so I quickly revised it and told them they had to shop only in the clearance section. The following year I added the age range, reviews, and reflection. If you would like to see one student who was below/near grade level in math explaining his work the first year I taught the lesson.

Here is another example (the sounds quality isn't the greatest but she completes the full narration for the subtraction. (Again, this is from the first year I taught this lesson.)

I wasn't sure what the article in the Educator was going to be like but when I received the April 2015 issue there I was with one of my students on the first page and then again on page 29 along with a short piece about having "A Positive Impact on Students." I am extremely proud of my class, and the fact that I was selected to be part of this article.

What is one of your favorite ways to teach multi-digit addition and subtraction?

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