Common Core has officially hit third grade in my son's school. This year has been a year of many education system changes. Aside from all the changes Common Core mandates (www.corestandards.org), he is also using Canvas, an online learning management system, and we are using Remind (www.remind.com). As a result, his learning life has changed.
Common Core means more time on the internet, more time on math, and more communication with the teacher. This is an excellent advantage of this new curriculum. Communication between teacher and parent helps the students do their best work. We also receive reminders via an app, Remind. I’ve actually become reliant on it. As a result, when there have been times that a reminder wasn't given, it felt as if something went terribly wrong.
My son definitely needs a computer now. The school uses “a flip classroom”, which essentially reverses the learning model. The lesson is at home on the computer. The review at school the next day solidifies the lesson through exercises, projects, explanations, and discussions. Students view the next day’s math lesson the previous night on the internet. The math lesson is a YouTube video prerecorded by one of the third grade teachers. After each class, there is a small quiz available on the Canvas website. The results of the quiz informs the teacher which students need more help with the next day’s lesson. It helps me as well to know what lessons my son needs help with day by day. Why is this so helpful? With so many required learning strategies, there simply isn’t enough time in the classroom to learn them all expertly. Hence, teaching, reviewing, and learning continue at home, more so than it did pre Common Core.
The Canvas website has also been a huge change. Canvas is all-encompassing. It has links to every math lesson from the beginning of the year. It has science lessons, writing assignments, homework assignments, and even encourages students to offer positive feedback to fellow classmates on their weekly writing assignments. Canvas also allows students to send messages to each other's inbox. It’s wonderful that this is all available in one place.
Some features of Common Core are very good. Math can be broken down into many strategies. These are strategies that I learned on my own over the years. It’s nice to know that my son is learning them earlier. However, simple math is more complicated because there are so many new strategies to learn. Since there isn’t enough time to learn them all in the classroom, parents need to be more involved.
The most important change this year has been the excellent communication between his school and us third grade parents. A special meeting explained Common Core to us. The third grade teachers work as a team to maximize children's success with Common Core. His teacher is amazing. We communicate in person and via email on how to make the most of his strengths through this growth period filled with so many changes.
My son has begun his journey with computer education, online lessons as "flip classrooms”, and intranet social communications between classmates. I feel like a dog learning new tricks, some of which I like a lot, and others, not so much. Either way, this old dog is learning the new tricks. The reality is that education changes are just one aspect of his life that is changing. At the end of the day, one thing is never going to change; I am a mom who is always there for my child. I will always support and encourage him to be and do his very best!