1st-4th Math Coach Constantly Searching for New Ideas
After 2 days of Scoring Training, 3 days of Scoring, an interview and a professional development workshop, I am finally back at school. When I walked in, I was greeted with a banner that said something about “Peace Day.” It’s a really cute school-wide day of different activities that deal with bullying and character ed which is definitely a necessity. The kids are totally burnt out from the tests so it has come at a pretty good time for them as well. Unfortunately for me, that meant no math groups today. I’ve gone into a few classrooms to help out with Peace Day activities, but no math today…
I interviewed at a school in Brooklyn on Tuesday which was great. It’s a middle school and has really positive, energetic people throughout the school. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for good news.
Onto the professional development from yesterday..
I think my opinion of it suffered because I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect, but it wasn’t what I expected. (If that makes ANY sense, let me know) It was geared towards colleagues of mine that use the EngageNY modules as their math program in their schools. I wasn’t aware of that, and my current district doesn’t use the modules so it wasn’t 100% designed for my needs necessarily. Either way, it still proved to be a useful experience because it is something I can modify for my needs.
For those of you unfamiliar, the modules are a strictly regimented set of lessons put out by EngageNY to help teachers align their thinking with what the state expects. As with any program, there are some drawbacks. It’s very scripted, literally down to the minute of your lesson. As a teacher, that is very limiting in what you can hope to accomplish with a class. These activities that I was exposed to are a component of these pre made lessons but have been repackaged as a way to free up time from the “script” of the modules for more content time.
Many districts have scrapped their former math programs and decided to move forward with the modules. While that’s fine, many LI districts haven’t been sending people out to be trained in EngageNY. If this is the case, those teachers have fallen into one of a couple categories. The first is Swimming, the second is Treading Water, the last is Drowning (or at least, their students are).
1. “I’m not the first teacher to be given something by my district without training. I’m going to use this to the best of my abilities and supplement it with things that I know work with my kids.” (SWIMMING)
2. “I’m going to follow exactly what this says and move at the pace they recommend to get through everything.” (TREADING WATER)
3. “AHHHHHHH, how does my district expect me to do this?! I can’t get through everything, I’m not going crazy over this unless someone gives me EVERYTHING that I need.” (DROWNING)
I think it’s a fair to assume that parents fall into these categories with regards to “common core math.” Speaking of which, when are people going to realize that there is not a common core way of doing math. There just isn’t. Those in the media that are reporting this as such should lose their credentials because it’s totally ridiculous that they can outwardly lie with no fear of retribution. People who support Common Core need to do a MUCH better job of voicing its merits.
I know I went off on a tangent, but the general tone of these weekly articles from Yahoo! like this one, or this one have driven me crazy. I want to go back and look at old text books to take things out of context and show how ludicrous these red bandana questions were. Maybe this isn’t perfect, I’m sure it isn’t…but the debate surrounding the Common Core is really starting to reach a tipping point.