Real-World Math and Aligning with the Common Core

As part of the continuing task of aligning the TDS curriculum with the National Common Core Standards, grades 2-5 are participating in a half-year pilot math program series called “My Math” by McGraw-Hill. This series aligns with the Common Core by stressing problem solving, critical thinking, and a greater depth of understanding.

Two of our teachers, Stephanie Mullarkey and Jen Mitrakos, are spearheading the effort to pilot a new math program. Previously, TDS used a math program that was cyclical in design and reviewed past skills in each lesson. As the new series does not spiral automatically, teachers plan regular review of past lessons. One benefit of this approach is that students gain a deeper understanding are are less likely to become confused when a single skill is introduced and practiced each lesson.

With the “My Math” series, students are taught multiple ways of solving a problem and getting to the answer. This allows for flexible thinking and more emphasis on higher order thinking skills, as opposed to procedural knowledge. “Math vocabulary is stressed to a much greater degree, with the result being that students understand what is being asked of them, and how to do it,” said Stephanie Mullarkey.

The Common Core Standards aim for greater depth of understanding, as does this math program. “The students are becoming problem solvers—they work with real life situations during math,” said Jen Mitrakos. That’s a definite advantage that will work well for our kids in the real world!