How many of you are still confused about Common Core? I just learned this week that my state will not test on Common Core for a couple more years. My students will still be tested over the old state standards which I'm no longer teaching. CRAZY! I think the thing that concerns me more than anything is the differences I'm seeing in implementation. The literacy seems to be consistent across the board BUT the MATH is has me very concerned. I've been trained exclusively in the Problem Based Learning (PBL) method. This is a stark difference from the old way of teaching. Before you had a set of standards that you taught and checked off the list. (By the way, I've seen numerous checklist for Common Core on TpT.) The PBL method is the complete opposite of the checklist method. The skill and drill is definitely OUT with this method. Students are asked to solve real-world problems. Students will use various methods for solving the problem and no one way is correct. Teachers will no longer teach students a set of rules or algorithms. Students will "discover" these on their on by being immersed in student discourse. The teacher's role will be that of a facilitator. The problem I've been faced with is there is absolutely NOTHING on the market to help with implementing this type of approach, so I was forced to create my own. While spending numerous hours looking at student work samples, I noticed the lack of consistency. In many cases it was hard to even know what answer the child came up with. Even among trained professionals there was disagreement over what the child was thinking. In the PBL method student thinking is the key. Again I came up with a method to help reduce the confusion. I needed to create a standard for solving problems, so we could put our focus on the more important things. That's how the A.L.I.E.N. method came about. The students choose their own method for solving the problem but are then asked to make sure it is in A.L.I.E.N. format, so we get a clear understanding of their thinking. A.L.I.E.N. stands for Answer, Label, Isolate, Explain, and Number Sentence. I love it, and it has helped tremendously when it comes to math discourse.
I've had the opportunity to look at several examples of student assessments for the Common Core Assessment that is coming sooner or later. If these examples are anything like what the real assessment will be like, those teachers not teaching the PBL method are doomed. Seriously these assessments are ridiculously hard. A child will need a lot more than the ability to add, subtract, multiply, and divide to score proficient. I'm very curious to know if any others states are being trained in the PBL method.
In my freebie for you, I've given you everything you need to implement this method in your classroom. simply click HERE or on the picture above for your freebie. You can create these problems all on your own. If you are interested, I've created a TpT product with 110 problem sets (3 problems per set) for a total of 330 problems. This is enough problems for an entire year of teaching.I've also included an overview of the method and given you question stems for conferencing with students. I'm also having a 24 hour Flash Sale for my readers. If you want to pick up a copy from my store, click on the picture below.