Published at Tuesday, December 01st, 2020 - 10:24:32 AM. 5th Grade Math. By Debora Weeks.
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.
The final stage of the learning model is wisdom. Wisdom comes from dialogue, demonstration, experience, and experimentation. For example, after making a dish a few times, I may decide to try altering the recipe by adding another spice or using different vegetables in the dish than are called for in the recipe. When I try these experiments, I learn what works and doesnt work for me, and that becomes my personal wisdom. Much of what it taught to young children never goes beyond Stage 1 of the model - data. They may find, for example, that the history of Native American tribes is interesting, but for most students the subject matter is neither relevant to their lives, nor does it have a purpose. In elementary and high school, these data are prescribed by the school system according to set curricula or what will be asked on tests. As adults, we self-direct our learning. Even if our employer requires us to take a course on some subject, we filter what is being taught for relevance and purpose in order to transform the data into information. When we apply what we have learned to our work or our lives, we transform it into personal knowledge. And as we gain experience in using our knowledge and skills, we may develop some personal wisdom around what works and what doesnt work for us in specific situations.
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