Sunday, July 15, 2012

Math, Common Core, and the SOLs

In Virginia, we have the SOLs.  Yes, I know what you're thinking.  At times, we think that too! :)  However, we're referring to the Standards of Learning, something Virginia's had in place for...well, a long time.  I've noticed many blogs referring to Common Core.  Its very similar to our SOLs.  

Don't get me wrong.  I think having set standards across the state, from grade to grade, is very important!  We test the standards in 3rd, 4th, and 5th in Virginia.  What I don't like about them is that sometimes the tests are, well, frankly....hard.  Years and years ago (well, about 12) when I taught 3rd grade, I was told those tests were written on an 8th grade reading level.  Not sure if it was true or not, but after looking them over as my students tested, I could believe it.  I'm sure they've made changes since then!

Okay, to the meat of this post.  Looking over everyone else's great ideas these past few months about Common Core, I finally looked them up to see how they matched with our standards.  Virginia loves their standards - we are not looking to change anytime soon.  I was curious, though, to how they lined up.  If you are a VA teacher like myself, you can click on this link to the VDOE website where they have documents comparing the two.

I was pleasantly surprised at how well they lined up.  That's why I doubt we'll be switching over anytime soon.  It was a little disturbing, though, to see how some things won't be introduced till third, while others were introduced in first.  You'll have to check it out.

Now, to the reason for this post (for those of you who know the other meaning of "SOL" in addition to the VA teachers)....there is this great site I just found out about from some other bloggers:  K-5 Math Teaching Resources.  Not only do they "unpack" the Core, they offer activities, suggested books, and other resources for each standard.  You'll have to check it out!

Our school does Investigations (don't get me started!), but we've been told that if we have a better lesson, we can teach it outside of Investigations.  I think I've mentioned before that I have fit this program into small group learning, and we do a rotation of center/seat/math group.  My own version of Guided Math.  So, I'm very excited to find new resources!

Does your county do Investigations?  If so, I'll add another link on to this post.  It's our county pacing guide (I'm linking to the main page with the grade levels).  It has some great resources on it as well, including SMARTboard lessons that align with Investigations.

Okay, well, I'm off to get inspired by "Craft Wars" on our DVR.  Hope these resources help! :)


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