Although the Common Core curriculum modules were only implemented at the beginning of the school year, teachers and students in the Fulton City School District have already begun to see the positive results associated with the new initiative.
“The new (way of teaching) is making it easier for me,” said second-grader Ethan Kelsey after using base 10 blocks and number discs to illustrate different numerals during a recent math lesson.
Students participate in “sprints” at the beginning of each math class, as they open a binder and complete various math exercises during separate one-minute intervals.
“The sprint teaches them to recognize patterns in math,” said elementary math specialist Kelly Stadtmiller, who serves as an Academic Intervention Services math teacher at Volney Elementary School.
“The sprints help me a lot,” said second-grader Leanna Rupert.
To build on the success of learning through repetition and practice, the Common Core also reintroduces the same concept from one module to the next in different ways.
“The skills spiral, so a lot of time if they didn’t understand the concept the first time, it will come back,” Stadtmiller said, noting that this helps keep everything the students learned previously fresh in their minds.
Seeing the new standards in practice, Stadtmiller said teachers and students are reaping the rewards of the learning method.
“The foundation with the Common Core is phenomenal. Our kindergarteners, first and second graders are going to have a tremendous foundation in math. I always understood math, but I did not understand math like I understand math today,” she said. “I think a lot of teachers are seeing that too. They’re like, ‘Wow, this totally makes sense.’ They see the grand scheme of things, and I think kids are catching on to that and having that same reaction.”
From a student perspective, although the math portion of the Common Core offers a different way of learning, all indications are that it will be the foundation for future success.
“It will help us when we’re in sixth grade or in college,” said Rupert. “And if you get a job as a math teacher, it will help a lot.”