Why I don't want my daughter to be like me.

This is where she got stuck and cried tonight - and it's where she stops every night.
She whips through the majority of the page with no problems, but when she gets to that last question that asks her how she did them, watch out! Tonight's episode involved an hour-long dinner break while she calmed down and was able to listen to my questions about her process. 

This is why I like Common Core. Sure, I'm not happy with the testing (I'm sure you can imagine the gasps and groans from the staff at my school when we saw what the kids will have to do this year!) but if you take a look at the Standards themselves and especially the Math PracticesI hope you'd agree. I don't like the drama of that last homework problem but I like that she has to think about what she's doing. 

Would I have liked them as a student? No way. I was one of those "Just give me the assignment and let me start the 50 problems and I don't want to do the group work" type of kid. It worked for me. I made it through all of my schooling not understanding (or caring) about the "why" and just doing the rote memorization of the process. But I don't want that in my kid. I want her to be able to think, to generalize, to look for patterns, to communicate her thinking, to understand why she's wrong. 

And (unfortunately in her way of thinking), this kid's mom isn't going to let her (or her big brother) be like me. 


  1. Thanks for sharing this! I wish that last problem had said, "What did you use to help you think about problems 3 and 4? Can you make up a problem for someone else that they could answer with the same strategy? How would you teach them to do it?" That would give a parent the opportunity to say, "Why don't you make up a problem for me and teach me how to use the tally marks I see you using here? Then we can write down what you explained to me." I always like starting with the kid's strategy, not naming a strategy and forcing them to think it's useful.

    Sorry -- I know this is ignoring the main idea of your post which is way more important than this one problem, but I still think it's frustrating when our "higher level questions" don't invite kids to start with their OWN thinking.

  2. I love that, Max! We actually did something similar; we talked about the previous two problems and why she'd solved them differently. What were the changes in the problems? Why did you know to make two lines of tally marks instead of just one? Then she was able to explain what she was thinking in each problem. It just took her tears and some freaking out to get there.

    I feel like other parents wouldn't think of asking questions like this. Or concentrating too much on the words "comparison bars" (which we didn't know anything about and didn't address in her answer). So that worries me a bit. But I'm confident that my girl will get there!


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