By Lacy Mack. 5th Grade Math. Published at Sunday, November 29th, 2020 - 09:05:25 AM.
I will not talk in class. Write this sentence 100 times; it is due tomorrow! The homework assignment punishing my entire 5th grade class angered me. The teachers stern words pierced my heart. I remember thinking, "This is ridiculous to spend time after school writing a useless sentence." I realize now why I dreaded school; today its called attention deficit disorder. I spent many hours each night laboring over homework assignments. "How am I going to complete this stupid assignment in addition to my daily homework?" Internally, I protested the boondoggle assignment. Little did I know that punishment in 5th grade would transform into a gift. After writing those 6 words 100 times, I learned how to memorize anything, although unapparent to that 5th grader.
The math standards are a bit more complicated, especially because I have not taught K-12 Math (whereas I have experience with K-12 English). Knowing that concrete thinkers suffer with abstract reasoning and that that is the basis of algebra, student maturity becomes a serious issue when determining why Benny gets it and Sally cannot get it yet. Also with math, it is not just repetition with complexity increasing, but individual concepts. You cant simply skip multiplication and expect students to automatically divide. But once I laid out the K-12 standards and divided, grouped, rearranged, and created a total picture, I felt much more at ease. The science standards, while difficult for a non-science teacher, really depend on State X and State Y agreeing to teach certain concepts and scientific areas at specific grade levels. Science also has that wonderful magic called a lab. Students who go to lab with a hypothesis and then experiment following specified steps, draw conclusions and finally prove or refute their original hypothesis are actively engaged and so they remember and are able to replay and apply their knowledge. This makes uniting concepts, units, and areas of study far easier. While many insist that is time to abandon the Common Core and move back to state and local expectations or to reinvent with a new plan, this presents the problem of continuity in education and offering equal and ample opportunity for learning for all students everywhere. I believe it is totally possible to understand and implement the Common Core and still teach with strategies and technique that reach and teach every child. They supply commonality and continuity that benefit every learner.
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.
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.
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.
It is said that the average newspaper is written on a 5th grade level and that the average online reader is at that or below. There is common misconception about this belief and why it is so. This doesnt mean that only 5th graders are using the Internet or that everyone reading online content is uneducated. Instead, it refers to the state of mind that the average reader is in when they are using the Internet. The Internet is now something we turn to in a hurry when we need to find info fast. Even if you are just browsing around, there is so much to see that it is easy to get distracted, caught up or swept away from one site to another and another and... so on.
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