Thinking and doing…a common core experience

Voila! A thinking and doing task that combines many common core standards, and blends technology.  Was it a teacher, parent, sibling or friend who encouraged this child to think and work independently on a task that requires intense concentration?  Oh – and motivation? No one had to force this task, it had it’s own intrinsic and extrinsic motivators.  Piaget would have loved this scene, discovery learning at it’s best!


The rainbow loom has made it’s impact!  In my day it was the potholder loom, in my daughter’s day it was lanyard, and now my grand daughter’s have introduced me to the Rainbow Loom!  I heard math vocabulary terms bantered about as the decisions were made about what type of bracelet should be made…six point? rhombus? diamond pattern? As the girls discussed shapes and patterns one went her way to construct a bracelet….independent of her older sister.  She was offered assistance, and she replied, “Thank you, but I have the instructions.”  With her mini ipad and loom in hand she made her way to her room where I later found her busily and independently following a very detailed and intricate lesson on her ipad as she constructed her bracelet.  Occasionally she returned to the living room to consult with her sister, and then went her way towards achieving her self-set goal.

This learning experience should be welcomed into the classrooms.  As models do the instructing, patterns are followed, and intricate mathematical operations are occurring in the midst of a meaningful and skill building task.  This type of problem solving invites the use of self regulating strategies, such a self monitoring and self evaluation, to complete the task successfully.   These are tools for life long learning, and that is what the common core is all about.

The shifts in the common core include students evidence practice and understanding. In mathematics, students are moving beyond practicing and understanding in isolation. The core encourages more than than a balance between these two things in the classroom – both are occurring with intensity (Shift 6 Dual Intensity).

Common Core’s English/language-arts and math standards leave much of the decision making to the local school districts regarding how to follow the outline of the body of skills and knowledge that students are expected to develop each year in kindergarten through 12th grade.  The ultimate goal, not the proximal one, is to ensure our children will be ready to succeed in college and eventually the workforce after they graduate from high school.


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