# Blogs

## Common Core Blogs

Math is all around us. We use math to calculate the speed of the earth rotating about its axis. We use math to calculate the radius and height of a water tank to store enough water for a town. We use math to calculate the amount of carpeting material to purchase for our houses, and we use math to calculate the amount of fabric material to purchase to sew a pillowcase for our pillows. This means that you cannot run away from math. Even the dosage of painkiller medicine that your body needs depends on your weight and the use of math. I have another example of the applications of math in our everyday lives. Movie theaters like any other for-profit business, have a budget with expenses and income columns. In order for the movie theater to break even, it needs to sell a minimum amount of tickets. This movie theater needs to sell a minimum of 100 tickets as the sum of the of tickets purchased. Also it needs to make a minimum of \$100 from the sum of the tickets purchased in order to break... read more

I've seen many ads recently in which parents were looking for some tutors for the 4th, the 3rd, and the 2nd grades. As you may have heard, there are curriculum books available from the Barnes and Noble for each grade. Those book show and tell how to solve one problem or another. In my experience as a tutor, those books are liked by kids as they are common core compatible. There goes my buck; however, connecting parents with appropriate resources is a part of this tutor's job.

There has been a link circulating recently through social media (Link below). The link describes a story in which a teacher told a student that an answer was wrong on a common core math quiz. A very loud debate has erupted in regards to Common Core Math and it's role in the education system. Some stand to defend it, and others are very much against it due to its "confusing nature." I believe that Common Core is simply not being used properly within the education system, which is why such stories described in the article exist.   I am very passionate about the debate on Common Core Math and its role in the education system. Though it is the center of much confusion and debate, Common Core is not all together bad. The issue with Common Core Math is not that the methods themselves are bad; instead, the issue resides in the fact that teachers and school boards have not been taught the actual purpose of Common Core and have not been properly trained on how to use... read more

I hear so many teachers complain about the Common Core and I think it's more from a fear of the new and unfamiliar than what it promotes.  Common Core promotes thinking and making connections to the world we live it.  It means that teachers have to learn how to share the big picture, the concepts rather than rote memorization of facts.  In our age of technology students do not need to memorize the 50 states or the dates of battles, they have the internet, but they do need to know how the 50 states came about and how they're governed, they need to know the conditions that brought battles about...they need to know the big concepts and how they still apply to events happening in the world today.  I believe that the complaints about Common Core often are coming from a lack of confidence that teachers have that they can make the leap from the way they have always taught to this new way of thinking.  Common Core requires that we don't just teach, but that we facilitate... read more

With the school year winding down, arranging for summer break Math time starts! Why Math? Consider:    1) Not practicing newly acquired math skills will allow for knowledge to erode    2) Not practicing previously acquired math skills will expedite knowledge erosion    3) Not having other non-math course work will allow for           - focusing on math remedial work, or           - getting a jump on next year’s math academic growth. Math needs are the same per subject, whether the learning setting is for advanced placement, over-age/under-educated, middle school, high school, or Veterans.  BUT, the instructional approach should be different. Differentiating the approach to each student’s situation addresses learning styles (do we not all have different learning styles, which, if catered to, maximize results?). Also, a subtle,... read more

Having successfully completed a 30 year teaching career, I have seen the education pendulum swing back and forth. The concepts set forth in Common Core Curriculum are not as new as less experienced educators are led to believe. Appropriately applied, this curriculum concept has possibilities of helping students be successful. However, my concern is that because of the concept being so new, administrators are concerned about their own report cards on the success of their individual school districts. Typically, success is reported in measurable numbers, such as standardized test scores of various types, including criterion referenced tests. Concerns of administrators filter down to teachers. Concerns of teachers filter down to students. The result is not only test anxiety, but also performance anxiety. Anxiety impedes teaching and learning. Teachers can feel quite restricted in lesson presentation approaches allowed, that their lessons become stale and dry and do not insight... read more

1-4-2015 Happy New Year! As I begin this New Year, I am pondering what this year will bring. So I asked myself several questions: 1) How can I maximize my efficiency so my students get the maximum benefit? 2) How can I streamline the process of learning so the learning curve is greatly reduced? 3) How can I increase my communication efficiency so that my students not only grasp a concept, but retain the knowledge and put it into practice immediately. These are questions that demand answers. As anyone who examines my profile can attest, my main focus is on teaching the ASVAB test. A majority of my students have successfully passed my course and successfully passed the ASVAB test and are now in the military. Getting these students to pass the ASVAB is a daunting task. Why? well to begin with much of the prior learning that they (should) have attained has been forgotten by the time they come to the test. The most common... read more

When anticipating meeting a new tutor, one thing to keep in mind is to be yourself.  Everyone is anxious with an initial meeting, therefore it is better to be as relaxed as you possibly can to alleviate anxiety that sometimes comes when meeting new people.  Getting acclimated with each other is also an important step. Finding that "comfort" level is important to all parties involved, and produces a better outcome. It is also essential for the tutor, the student, and the parent/s to be well prepared for the lesson.  This helps alleviate any apprehension during the first time visit.  With all of these things in mind, a new comfort level will develop which will help develop an environment conducive to learning.

The summer is a great time for common core practice.  Students "as early as" third grade should know how to write essays and summaries.  Giving students a head start throughout the summer is strategic preparation.  Writing skill tools are essential to master essays for common core testing.

So the school year started and so did the changes in our educational system. It used to be simple back in the days - kids went to school, teachers gave homework and parents helped to the best of their knowledge. And now, all of a sudden all these fancy words like Common Core, Data Driven instruction, placement tests, standardized assessments come into play. How does one make sense out of them? Textbooks now look so complicated that many parents can't even figure out what should their child carry to school or bring from school for that matter. Well, luckily Engage NY is a great resource that tries to make a little sense out of this educational cluster. I have accidentally come across a little brochure called "Parents Backpack Guide to Common Core". This publication is priceless! It helps with understanding the basics of the Common Core ELA and Mathematics standards and gives suggestions on how to best help your child as a parent.   So, I felt I have to share it... read more

After several months of carrying some pretty heavy textbooks around with me, I recently decided to switch to a Kindle Fire and start using electronic textbooks. Although there are times when a good old-fashioned book really cannot be replaced, I'm very pleased with the weight of my tutoring bag now, and my students seem to be enjoying the switch as well.   I'm able to download textbooks for free in some cases ("Boundless" publishing), and I also have several different dictionaries and other reference books a tap away! Any other books I might find helpful for my students? Just a few clicks away. This also frees up my paper textbooks to loan to my students in-between sessions. Using a Kindle gives me the added benefit of being able to load educational applications to use for practice and reinforcement. Since we are in the 'computer testing' age, this also gives my students some extra practice in preparing for computerized exams. I'm sure you'll notice... read more