News from Central 2 Region
Laura Godfrey, Central 2 Regional Director
Summer 2011

Common Core State Standards - What does it mean for us?

Not every state in the Central 2 Region has adopted the Common Core State Standards. That doesn't matter! Minnesota and Nebraska, this is for you too. The big shifts articulated in the CCSS mathematical practices are important for everyone! The mathematical practices define mathematics in the 21st century.

They are the marriage of 21st century thinking skills, mathematical proficiencies from Adding It Up (National Research Council, 2009), and the process standards from NCTM's Principles and Standards for School Mathematics (2005). Look for workshops in the Mathematical Practices in your state and regional conferences.

Look for lessons and investigations that will facilitate the knowledge and skills of the eight mathematical practices, or find ways to incorporate and focus on the practices in lessons you are already teaching. One exciting initiative from NCSM is the development of "Great Tasks", a handbook of sample activities of lessons that illustrate the standards for practice. New activities at all grade bands and content strands are being added continually. To look at sample Great Tasks, go to the CCSS section of the NCSM website. (You may even want to set this page as your home page to keep yourself updated on the latest and greatest NCSM news.). At the NCSM home page, click on the "CCSS" button on the top bar and you will find several resources for working with mathematics educators.

The standards for practice are mathematics! Read the CCSS Practices summaries to fully realize what each of them encompasses. We will teach students to:

  1. Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
  2. Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
  3. Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
  4. Model with mathematics.
  5. Use appropriate tools strategically.
  6. Attend to precision.
  7. Look for and make use of structure.
  8. Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.

The simple fact is that if your students are engaged and improving in these eight practices, they will be strong mathematicians. This is the essence of mathematical thinking in the 21st century.

"All young Americans must learn to think mathematically, and they must think mathematically to learn."

- American Research Council

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