I’m sure you have heard your kids complain about how math is useless and they are never going to need it in real life. Who cares what time one train coming from the west and another coming from the east will pass each other? But really, middle and high school students need real world math skills, including lessons on business, finance, savings, taxes, insurance, credit, paychecks, budgeting, etc. We have experienced tutors who can teach business/math life skills to all ages from as young as 3rd grade through 12th. Please inquire for more info and feel free to look at some of the curriculum online.
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Consumer Math- Real World Math Skills for Middle and High School Students That They Can Actually Use in Real Life
Students may no longer be able to get away with 3 years of math and an easy senior year. The CSU system approved a resolution this spring changing the current requirement of 3 years of math to 4 years for incoming freshman.
It is recommended that the 4th year may include a course in mathematical reasoning such as statistics, computer science or coding, which helps students create computer software.
CSU figures point to the need for more rigorous math requirements. Last fall 27% of freshman, or 17,653 students, needed remedial or “developmental” courses in mathematics. Almost the same number had not taken a fourth year of high school math.
The UC system is also looking at changing their math requirements to 4 years but since most of their applicants already take 4 years, the issue is not as urgent.
We already have a high demand for math tutoring in elementary and middle school with our current system, so as more emphasis is put on math and Common Core Math, we will be expanding as far hiring even more highly qualified math tutors who can help students excel in math.
I know what you are thinking. Math instruction sure has changed since I was a kid. More and more parents complain that they can’t even help their own children with elementary school math problems. So what’s the difference?
If you have heard of CGI math, but don’t know what it meant, you are not alone. CGI stands for Cognitively Guided Instruction.
So how does it differ from math instruction of the past?
In the past math classes focused on calculation and rote memorization of specific formulas to solve a problem. However, with CGI instruction, students are asked to think about the many ways they could solve a problem and explain how they got their answer. There is NO LONGER ONE CORRECT METHOD only. In addition, students are not first taught any strategies. They are expected to develop them on their own and then justify why they used them to solve the problem.
What are the Pros and Cons of CGI Math?
- Students can use their own creativity to find solutions to a problem
- CGI puts more responsibility on the student to publicly explain and justify to their friends and teacher their method to solving a problem.
- Teachers can encourage original thinking and guide each student according his or her own developmental level and turn of reasoning.
- Students have to come up with their own ways of solving the problem without any instruction first. This can be very frustrating for many of our students with learning differences and for students who do not have a strong mathematical knowledge base from earlier grades.
- Students who thrive on explicit (direct instruction) feel frustrated and are struggling. They may give up on math or develop negative attitudes toward the subject.
Wondering what jobs will be the fastest growing in the US by 2020?? If you guessed jobs in computer science, you are correct! These jobs are growing two times as fast as the national average for job growth. By 2020, there will be 14 million jobs but only 400,000 computer science students. So how can you get your kids involved in coding at an early age? Participate in “Hour of the Code.” Seek computer science tutoring. Build confidence in girls in math and science as in 2013, only 19% of girls took the computer science AP exam. When it comes to choosing a college major only .03% of girl select computer science. Also, ask your high school counselors what the prerequisites are for Computer Science AP. Even some middle schools offer classes in coding… Culver City Middle School… Go PanthersJ!
Below are some great resources to help your kids with coding at home!
Hour of Code and Beyond at http://www.code.org
CSUunplugged at http://csunplugged.org/
15+ Ways of Teaching Every Student to code
Teaching Kids to Code, an EdSurge guide
Harvard’s Scratch Curriculum Guide
Since this seems to be our biggest area of need. I have posted these resources to help you prepare for Common Core Algebra and Pre-Calculus tests. I hope they are helpful.
Common Core Pre-Calcalculus Practice Problems
In case, your kiddos have a bunch of energy from the Halloween candy. You can put it to good use with this site:)!!! I found it as I was looking for interactive Ancient Egypt stuff but it has EVERY SUBJECT:)!!! It’s great as it is very interactive AKA NOT BORING for your K-5th graders:)
It includes all subjects from Spanish, to English, to Math, Science, Social Studies and even typing. I definitely plan to use it in my class but you can have your child use it at home. The best part is that the lessons are fun!
Just because its summer doesn’t mean that your kids should not practice math. In fact, in order to retain their skills from the previous year they should continue to do weekly practice. Here are some great sites that offer math practice. I highly recommend Tenmarks as I used it this year with my class.
1. Tenmarks.com- This program offers a diagnostic assessment and also allows the parent to hand pick specific standards/concepts to work on. In addition, the program offers video lessons and hints for each problem. As your child completes the exercises you can monitor their progress and choose more exercises in their areas of weakness. This program usually costs $39.95 but it is free for the summer.
2. Leap Ahead- This program is geared for students entering grades 3 to 9. It provides 4 assignments per week for a total of 8 weeks. It includes interactive worksheets that are aligned to the Common Core State Standards and students can find their mistakes and scores right away. Leap Ahead also offers an online report to track progress and scores and a printable certificate upon completion of the program. The cost is $24.95 for the first child and $19.95 for additional siblings.
3. Math.com-This site is organized by math subject and then by topic. It includes all levels of math from basic math to Algebra to Geometry and even Calculus. I really liked it as it as every topic is defined in simple terms, in more specific terms, with examples and then finally the student can practice the concept. This site also includes unit quizzes, games, and calculators. This site is more self directed so if you have a son or daughter who is self motivated, this site is an excellent source.
4. National Council of Teachers of Mathematics- This website offers a variety of math games as well as paper based games to improve students’ math skills over the summer. These games are free.
5. Homeschool Math- This site is geared for homeschooling; however, it is a great summer resources for all grade levels including high school math. It includes free math worksheets, lessons, online math games, ebooks, reviews and more. The resources focus on students’ understanding of concepts rather than rote memorization.
Here are some more Common Core Standard Resources to help teens! I will continue to update this list and provide more information.
English Language Arts Resources:
A common practice these days is not to return students’ math tests nor allow students to take the tests home. This prevents students from studying areas in which they are weak and does not allow the tutor or parent to help the student to correct and understand their errors.
Perhaps this comes from teacher laziness because by not letting students take their tests and sometimes quizzes home they can recycle the tests year after year. However, I think students have a lot to loose by not being allowed to review their tests and make test corrections.
In teaching Algebra for special education students, I go over the homework and give my students the correct answers so they can check their work and ask questions on how to solve problems that they missed. This is another practice that many math teachers do not do. There is no point in assigning math homework for the sake of assigning it if students are not able to learn from this practice.
In regards to tests, I give small quizzes almost daily on every section we cover and grade them. I allow students to make quiz corrections, but in order to earn points that can help their original quiz score they must explain the cause of their mistake. This is an essential component that students can analyze their work and understand their errors to prevent them from continuing to make the same errors. This can also help students learn to slow down, show their work and see if their errors come from carelessness or lack of understanding how to solve the problem.
These practices are nothing new; but as a teacher and tutor, I see the frustration of parents who want to help their children, but can’t because never see their child/teen’s test. Hopefully, more teachers can see extreme benefits of learning from our mistakes and begin changing these harmful practices. I know teachers are under a lot of stress and pressure, but in the best interest of our students, allowing them to see their weaknesses and learn to analyze their errors can not only help them in math, but in life.