By Beverley Shannon. 5th Grade Math. Published at Monday, November 23rd, 2020 - 05:36:19 AM.
Its true, "The weakest ink is more enduring than the strongest memory." I confess; today, I am thankful for that boondoggle assignment which gave me strength and a coping technique I used while waiting in the hospital. My husband had successfully battled congestive heart failure for six years until a sudden and severe infection violently attacked his already weakened heart. After the fourth time in the hospital during a three month period, he was officially put on the heart transplant only eleven days after he was admitted. While he fought for his life, I battled the silence and the waiting. I read magazines and newspapers. I listened and watched people. I prayed. With the attention span of a gnat, I decided to memorize a Bible verse which had caught my eye as a car with a personalized license plate drove by. I was not familiar with the verse, "Rom. 15:13." I counted the number of words in the verse, Romans 15:13, thirty-one words to be exact. "Not too many words; quick to write; at least it would keep my hands busy." I purchased a journal in the hospital gift shop and returned to the intensive care waiting room. I began writing the verse over and over again.
With much wringing of hands and agitation, the Common Core Standards entered the scene. Very much like the "national" standards, these act as a guide, a format so that teachers in Colorado teach algebraic computation requirements and so do those in Alabama and New York. If we even want to discuss and then live a level playing field, common expectations for teaching and learning are critical. Again there were no day-by-day declarations on how to teach or specific methodology, just to make sure that students were being taught essentials. Guidelines and techniques are available, but as far as I know no school or district has created a verbatim script that teachers must follow. Astute teachers also recognize that Sally is ready for Step B while Tommy is off and running on Step D. And Susie needs enrichment to support her as she learns and masters difficult concepts. Adjustment for every child is indispensable to excellence in learning.
The first stage of learning is the collection of data. We are all inundated with data - every page we read, every email and text message, everything we hear - in fact, everything that is taken in by all of our senses -- is data. Elementary school students are taught a lot of data. Adults are also inundated with data, but while the students are expected to absorb everything they are taught, adults look for relevance and purpose within the data - they filter the data according to their needs and interests. Management guru, the late Peter Drucker, said that when you give data relevance and purpose, you get information - the second stage of the learning model. Adults seek information. Children dont know what will be relevant and purposeful to their lives, so they absorb all the data they are given. As they mature into adults, a lot of the data they learned in school is laid aside in their brains so that they can focus on what is relevant and purposeful to their lives. For some people, much of this data gets buried deep within their long-term memories and can be recalled - these people become the trivia experts and the Jeopardy contestants. But for most people, much of the data absorbed in school is lost - thats why adults have such a difficult time on the television show.
5th grade parents, now is the time to help your child get organized for middle school success. The demands on a childs organizational skills increase dramatically. Why is the 2nd semester of 5th grade such and important time in a childs development? The big jump is coming! That leap from the cozy classroom of the 5th grade will seem like a distant memory when your child hits the hallways of the new middle school. The noise, the confusion, the complexity. While most of todays middle schools put a valiant effort into smoothing the way for 6th graders, it is often at the beginning of this transition grade that any issues a child has with organizational skills will quickly come screaming to the forefront.
The Common Core Standards, at first glance, are a bit overwhelming and frightening. While I feel comfortable navigating the English/Language Arts since it is my specialty area, I do find them lengthy and somewhat overpowering on my first study. With examination and reflection I recognize that expectations such as "Describe a character... " runs K-12 as a common expectation, it is the complexity of the text that changes. Knowing this I can run the gambit of standards and integrate them quite simply regardless of grade level and student achievement level. Thus this magnificent list (98 pages, in fact) becomes less wieldy and eventually my friend.
You will want to practice as many of these academic organizational skills as you can with your child as 5th grade comes to an end. Also it is very important to set up situations with your child over the summer to practice these skills, even though s/he is not actually in school. First, keeping track of your belongings should be a habit that is worked on daily. Second is the skill of getting places on time. Many parents miss the wonderful opportunity of using the summer as a learning and practice time for these critical organizational skills. You do not have the pressure of getting to school every day and activities and getting the homework done in the evenings. If your child even partially masters just these two skills, it will go a long way toward smoothing the path into 6th grade. Another important skill is getting papers and books from school to hoe and back to school. You will want to have a great working system for handling this challenge.
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