Dec. 19, 2012
Dear Brookside Parents,
There are exciting things happening with mathematics in our school, district and state. You may be aware that we are working with a new core curriculum and several new instructional practices. Our goal is to help students think deeply about mathematics, and promote problem solving and perseverance. Unfortunately, our society has accepted that some people just don’t “get” math. We hear all the time things like, “I never got math”, or “I am horrible at math”. Society does not accept these statements in literacy. We have done everything possible to make sure every graduate is able to read on grade level. This is our vision with math. Our focus is to create a balanced math that draws from the varied talents and learning styles of every student. Classroom instruction will focus on the “how” and “why” of mathematics, rather than just completing a series of steps in a process to get to the answer. Students are encouraged to use multiple strategies and reasoning to justify their thinking and solution method. Classroom discussions about mathematics are a critical part of helping students learn to articulate their thinking.
Homework may not look the same as it has in the past but it is designed to be meaningful and relevant to your student’s success. When your child is solving problems on their homework, encourage them to start with what they know and use a strategy that makes sense. Also be sure to have them show their work so teachers can understand and assess their thinking. There are additional suggestions for how parents can help at the end of this letter.
This website is designed to help you as a parent navigate the new core curriculum and instructional practices. There are links for each grade level to:
- Parent Guide to the big ideas in K-4 (still working on the 5th/6th)
- The new core curriculum written in detail
- Vocabulary with definitions and concept building illustrations
- Conceptual foundations pages for each mathematical concept including explanations, diagrams, possible solution strategies, common misconceptions and descriptions of what students will need to know in the grade level to come as well (these pages were designed by the Utah District Consortium – Jordan, Granite, Davis and Salt Lake)
- Grade level curriculum maps which indicate what concepts/topics are taught when throughout the year and the order in which they are taught.
- Lists of quality math websites available
- Posters explaining the Standards for Mathematical Practice (see below)
The Utah Core State Standards for Mathematics addresses Standards for Mathematical Practice and Standards for Mathematical Content. By using the Standards for Mathematical Practice, students make sense of problems, persevere in solving them, and attend to precision. They look for and make use of structure and express regularity in repeated reasoning. They reason abstractly and quantitatively, and they construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others. Students model with mathematics and use appropriate tools strategically. These Standards for Practice are each explained on the “posters” link here on this site.
The Standards for Mathematical Content define what students should understand and be able to do in their study of mathematics. The Parent Guide gives an explanation of these standards along with examples, illustrations, and tips for homework.