In the News
With the rollout of the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics happening across the state and the country, math is in the news. Here are some especially relevant articles:
The National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics and TODOS: Mathematics for ALL have just published a new position paper entitled, "Mathematics Education Through the Lens of Social Justice: Acknowledgment, Actions, and Accountability.
In this paper, they define a social justice approach to math education and provide recommendations for how to work toward that approach. One of those recommendations is to "eliminate tracking systems that sort children based on perceived ability and demographic profile" (p. 4). Read the full paper.
Jo Boaler talks about the importance of the messages we send to girls about math in this article from CNN.
Also, check out her new video on number sense! More videos about math concepts can be found here.
Jo Boaler's Editorial in the Hetchinger Report - Memorizers are the lowest achievers and other Common Core math surprises mentions SFUSD's course sequence among reform initiatives.
We need to 'revolutionize' how we teach math says Stanford's Jo Boaler
Is math an inherently challenging subject or are we making it more difficult than it needs to be? Jo Boaler talks to KQED's Michael Krasny on Forum and points to SFUSD's program and course sequence. (At about minute 50 of the program.)
From the NY Times "Well" blog comes this story Square Root of Kids’ Math Anxiety: Their Parents’ Help about how parents do (and don't) pass on their math anxiety to their kids. Tips for SFUSD parents who want to help their students with math are here.
This post from SF Public School Mom and Blogger Alison M. Collins: How Many Ways Can You Multiply? talks about the shifts in the Common Core and what they mean for parents.
How to Get Students to Work Harder
"The good news is that students can be buttressed psychologically to tackle academic challenges." Find out how in this article from the Atlantic.
This piece from the NY Times describes teacher-researcher Madeline Lampert who "...rather than starting each lesson by introducing the main idea to be learned that day, she assigned a single “problem of the day,” designed to let students struggle toward it — first on their own (You), then in peer groups (Y’all) and finally as a whole class (We). The result was a process that replaced answer-getting with what Lampert called sense-making. By pushing students to talk about math, she invited them to share the misunderstandings most American students keep quiet until the test. In the process, she gave them an opportunity to realize, on their own, why their answers were wrong." Find out more!
Common Core standards bring dramatic changes to elementary school math
from Edsource, January 20th, 2014, By Lillian Mongeau
In a kindergarten classroom at Robinson Elementary in Fresno, Juh’Ziyah Atchinson helps Aubrey Blancas, both 5, create a row of dominoes so they can practice counting... The new Common Core State Standards require students to demonstrate a deeper understanding of math concepts, which means teachers will have to change how they teach those concepts too...Read the whole article.
SFUSD in the News
Encouraging students to make mistakes to improve math outcomes
In this article in EdSource, SFUSD Math Supervisor Lizzy Hull Barnes discusses important tenets of the SFUSD Math Core Curriculum, including fostering a growth mindset, promoting mathematical discourse, encouraging flexible approaches to problem solving, and honoring mistakes as opportunities for new learning.
No algebra before 9th grade? SFUSD clarifies the misconception (Chinese)
Journalist Han Li reflects on the changes to the teaching of Algebra, both the course and the content, in World Journal. From the article:
"Algebra education being too difficult in California is a heated topic and some education experts have been advocating to reduce the amount of algebra teaching and lower requirements. Meanwhile, many Chinese parents ask the school district to keep a challenging math curriculum in order to maintain the competitiveness for students.
"In an earlier interview with NPR, Eloy Ortiz Oakley, Chancellor for the California Community Colleges, proposed to take an honest look at math requirements in community colleges. Many people cannot graduate because they failed a math course, with algebra being their biggest hurdle. He also said that algebra is a civil rights issue, as more minorities students failed the course than white students.
"According to CCSS, all public schools in California need to teach algebra across many grades from K-12. At SFUSD, 8th grade math covers over 50% of the algebra content, as well as content not previously taught in middle and high school math, such as statistics and mathematical modeling.
" 'It is a misconception among some parents that students aren’t learning Algebra until ninth grade when, in fact Algebra is woven throughout the new Common Core aligned curriculum from elementary school on up,' said Brent Stephens, SFUSD’s Chief Academic Officer. 'In addition, Students and families who wish to reach AP-level math by their junior and senior years have many options available to them.' ”
Read the full article here.
Looking at numbers in a whole new way: Families of elementary students gain new insight into the Common Core State Standards at a site-based Math Night. From the San Francisco Chronicle.
Why groupwork could be the key to English learner success: Teachers at SF International High School engage English Language Learners in rigorous learning using groupwork.
How A Strengths-Based Approach to Math Redefines Who Is "Smart" KQED's Mind/Shift reports on the use of Complex Instruction to support students' beliefs in themselves as math learners.
Read more about Complex Instruction in SFUSD.
Lesson Study: When Teachers Team Up to Improve Teaching
A report on Sanchez Elementary School's use of Lesson Study to improve Math.
Another article about Lesson Study here at KQED's Mind/Shift reports. Check out the Math Department's use of Lesson Study too.
SFUSD moves beyond textbooks: Former Superintendent Carranza comments on how the new standards influence what student materials look like.
SFUSD visited Chinese media outlet Sing Tao Daily and clarified misconceptions the Chinese community has about Common Core math sequence and Math Validation Test. James Ryan from the Math Department presented a variety of pathways that family can choose from.
Read the full story in the Sing Tao Daily:
SFUSD clarifies mathematics curriculum (Chinese)
SFUSD is recognized in this article from Education Week: Common-Core Algebra Seen as Tougher Standards could challenge trend to put 8th graders in Algebra 1
Superintendent Carranza and Argonne teacher Kim Towsley talked to KALW's City Visions about the Common Core and the recent CAASPP results. Listen from 7:50 through 18:30 for a great summary of our approach to the Core Curriculum and how it is changing teaching.
STEM Executive Director, Jim Ryan, is quoted in this article from EdSource about testing and the Common Core:
Now, students work in pairs or groups, arguing about what the right approach is to a problem, Ryan said. They have to explain their reasoning and justify it to one another. “It’s a much noisier classroom,” he said.
Read Superintendent Richard Carranza's feature in the Examiner: There's a New Way to Learn Algebra.
Read the Open Forum piece in the April 2 S.F. Chronicle by Board President Emily Murase and Superintendent Richard Carranza.
SFUSD outpaces state averages and other large CA cities on state tests. Read more in the SF Examiner: SFUSD at the head of the class.
Superintendent Carranza's comments to the School Board at the March 10 meeting addresses concerns about the Course Sequence.
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan visited SFUSD in October, 2014. Listen to our math teachers talk about how their classrooms are changing with the new curriculum!
Listen to a KQED report on a recent parent night at Alice Fong Yu School, where parents learned more about the Common Core shifts and how to help their kids with homework.
A New Approach to Learning Math
- KRON reports on changes in SFUSD and around the country
New Common Core math standards add up to big changes. Common Core ushers in new educational methods that veer from old concepts of rote learning.
- San Francisco Chronicle, September 6, 2014
"SF schools rolling out new Common Core math curriculum this year"
- The Examiner, August 10, 2014
"SFUSD is using a better way to teach math"
- The Examiner, February 11, 2014
"Math is getting a major makeover."
- San Francisco Chronicle, January 9, 2014
Common Core in the News
In this report from The Education Trust - West: Changing the Equation: Ensuring the Common Core Math Standards Enable All Students to Excel in California Schools
SFUSD is recognized for our leadership in reducing tracking, an exemplary instance of Best Practice #1: Creating a culture of high expectations for all students.
Answering Parents' Questions About Common Core Math - KQED MindShift reporter Katrina Schwartz answers questions about California's Common Core math curriculum. Reporter: Katrina Schwartz
Common Core Math is not Fuzzy - by Solomon Friedberg
Real fluency is an improvement on traditional math's plug-and-chug, mechanical approach.
Five Myths about Rigor and the Common Core
by Barbara Blackburn
Jo Boaler discusses the shifts in the Common Core State Standards:
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SFUSD's own blog featured this story about our rollout. (August 28, 2014)
Math in the News
The Power of Dots Keith Devlin discusses the distinction between old-style procedural mathematics and the 21st-century need for mathematical thinking in this blog post about the Common Core.
Math and Mindset: Toss out those negative misconceptions we’ve cultivated that we’re not good at math. Kathy Liu Sun discusses three of the most damaging misconceptions about Math and ability.
The Stereotypes That Distort How Americans Teach and Learn Math
Speed doesn't matter, and there's no such thing as a "math person." How the Common Core's approach to the discipline could correct these misperceptions. - Jo Boaler
Can A 250-Year-Old Mathematical Theorem Find A Missing Plane?
A 250-year-old mathematical theorem developed by an English minister might be able to do what a small armada of satellites, planes and ships cannot — provide a location (or at least a guess) of where the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 plane might be. - NPR News
Why Kids Should Use Their Fingers in Math Class
Evidence from brain science suggests that far from being “babyish,” the technique is essential for mathematical achievement. Read about this and the importance of visual engagement with mathematics in this article in The Atlantic.