NYS Test Scores Inch Up

The results of this year’s Common Core-related standardized tests show scores for New York’s schoolchildren inching up.  About one-fifth of the children boycotted the tests altogether because of continued controversy over the Common Core learning standards. State Education Commissioner Mary Ellen Elia said she’s pleased with the progress made in the 2017 test results. While scores improved by nearly 2 percent from last year, the results show that only about 40 percent of students in grades three through eight are considered proficient in English and math. Elia said she’s keeping her eye on the big picture and trying to see the positive in the results. “We are on a trajectory of moving forward and upward,” Elia said.

Making Sense of Money

In fourth grade, your child will use the four operations to solve word problems involving money. In order to do this, she will first learn to decompose, or break apart, one dollar into smaller units. We call these units: quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies. Ask your child: How many quarters make up one dollar? How many quarters make up two dollars?

Decomposing Fractions

To decompose means to break apart. Your child has already decomposed whole numbers with number bonds, tape diagrams, and place value charts. In fourth grade, he will decompose fractions. Three-eighths is a fraction. We can decompose three-eighths into parts using a tape diagram as the visual model.

Units of Measure

In fourth grade, your child will use the metric system to measure length, mass, and capacity. Length refers to the measurement of something from end to end. Long lengths are called distance. Mass refers to the measure of the amount of matter in an object. Capacity refers to the maximum amount that something can contain, commonly called volume.


NY Ed Commish Reports Progress On New Standards As Exam Boycotts Continue

New York state’s education commissioner said Tuesday that new state-specific learning standards will offer several improvements over the controversial Common Core standards.  Commissioner MaryEllen Elia’s report came on a day when large numbers of students in some parts of the state were expected to once again boycott the required third- through eighth-grade math tests. Elia said the timing was pure coincidence. “This is about standards,” said Elia. “This is not about opt-out.” The education department has been working on developing the new standards since late 2015. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who initially supported the controversial fast-tracking of Common Core, issued a report in December of that year. It recommended slowing things down and carefully revamping the unpopular Common Core standards.

Partial Products

When your child first learns to multiply two two-digit numbers, she will use the area model. This visual tool illustrates how to decompose numbers and find four different products. As her skills improve, she will move from this pictorial model into a concrete method called partial products. Using partial products to solve forty-three times fifty-six, looks like this. She will start by multiplying tens times tens.

Area Model

When first learning to multiply two two-digit numbers your child will use the area model. To start, your child will use her knowledge of place value to decompose into tens and ones. To decompose means to break apart. Let’s decompose these numbers by the value of each digit. The value of two tens is twenty.

Multiplication Fluency

Your child’s introduction to multiplication is through repeated addition. He will draw an array to visualize, or see, five groups of four stars. He will count the stars and find the total. As his understanding improves, he will skip count to find the total more efficiently. Your child will use a variety of visual models, to represent multiplication as he works toward developing multiplication fluency.

Rounding: Nearest 10 or 100

Learning to assess the reasonableness of an answer is an important mathematical skill. It’s your child’s way of seeing if she’s on the right track when problem solving. Sometimes we use rounding to estimate a solution. In third grade, your child will round whole numbers using a vertical number line and round to the nearest ten or to the nearest hundred. Let’s round seven-hundred sixty-two to the nearest hundred.

Solving 2-Step Word Problems

In third grade, your child will solve two-step word problems using addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Let’s try one: There were ten adults and five children at the movies. Each adult ticket costs $8.00 and each child ticket costs $3.00. What is the total cost of all the tickets? What is this question asking us to find?

Fractions on a Number Line

In third grade, your child will represent fractions in pictures, number bonds, and on a number line. These drawings, or models, allow your child to develop a visual understanding of what fractions really are. Remember, the fraction one-third means that three equal parts make up one whole. How do you represent fractions on a number line? In third grade, your child will begin by placing fractions between zero and one.

Fractions: Modeling with Number Bonds & Tape Diagrams

When a whole is broken into equal parts each part is a fraction. Each part of this fraction is one-half. Your child will draw tape diagrams as a visual tool to help him break apart one whole. In third grade, your child will break one whole into two equal parts, three equal parts, four equal parts, six equal parts, and eight equal parts. Let’s solve a third grade word problem: Braydon had pizza for lunch.

Local Teacher Center to Host Common Core Parent Night

Have you ever asked yourself what is a number bond or a ten frame? Have you ever thought why this multistep process to solve a math problem is so important? Come spend a night engaging in exactly these discussions. Learn about the strategies being taught as a part of common core math. See how the skills begin in kindergarten and develop step by step, building each year.

Foundation of Multiplication and Division

Your child sets the foundation for understanding multiplication and division in second grade. The first layer in building this foundation is a concrete understanding. He will use objects as counters to create equal groups. Ask your child: Can you make groups of three? Yes!

Tape Diagrams: Modeling 2-Digit Addition and Subtraction

Your child continues to use tape diagrams as a visual tool to solve word problems. Now, he solves for an unknown in any position. Here’s a second grade word problem: There are twenty-three students in Miss Nord’s class. Seventeen students are present today. How many students are absent? Let’s draw a tape diagram to see what this problem asks us to find.

Number Forms

Part of using base-ten numbers correctly is understanding how to express the same number in different forms.

Let’s use: 273. This is the base-ten numeral written in standard form. Next, let’s express 273 in unit form. To help, your child may label with a place value chart. Hundreds column, tens column, ones column.

Connect: NY | Funding

The Connect: NY series explores statewide issues of critical importance with monthly, one-hour panel discussions about education issues including: Common Core standards, teacher evaluation, school financing, achievement gaps, testing and opting out, and legal challenges. This episode focuses on the funding of New York’s schools. We visit a school in the Utica Central School District and speak with its superintendent as well as teachers. The program will also focus on the methods our state uses to finance education. Guests who will join State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia and host Susan Arbetter include:

Dr. Rick Timbs is Executive Director of the Statewide School Finance consortium
Andy Pallotta is Executive Vice President of New York State United Teachers
Michelle Brantner is the Superintendent of the Moravia Central Schools in upstate New York
Suzanne Slack, Chief Financial Officer of the Syracuse City School District
David Flatley is the Superintendent of the Carle Place School District on Long Island

The show aims to give stakeholders across New York State a better understanding of education issues.

NYS Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia discusses receivership on 'Connect: NY'

This series explores statewide issues of critical importance with monthly, one-hour panel discussions about education issues including: Common Core standards, teacher evaluation, school financing, achievement gaps, testing and opting out, and legal challenges. Susan Arbetter, host of “The Capitol Pressroom” serves as show host, and moderates a panel conversation with NYS Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia. The show aims to give stakeholders across New York State a better understanding of education issues.  Connect: NY is produced by WCNY (Syracuse, NY), and WSKG TV will air this education series throughout 2015-2016. Preview the show, airing on November 12 at 8:00 p.m.


Have Thoughts On The Common Core? Air Them At BU Tonight

Parents and community members will have a chance to share their opinions on New York’s Common Core standards tonight. Binghamton University is hosting one of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s regional public forums.

The forum is the first presence in the Southern Tier for Cuomo’s Common Core task force. Cuomo created the task force in September, following a massive spring boycott of state tests. It launched just after State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia started her own effort to review the standards. Elia is also serving on the governor’s panel.

My parents opted me out

Path To Graduation: Testing
Written & Produced By Nathan Schwed, Grade 8, Oneonta Middle School


With 22% of students in New York State not finishing high school in 2014, is now a good time to start testing against new standards? I asked two community leaders their thoughts on Common Core standards. Senator James Seward represents the Oneonta-area in the New York State Senate. I asked Senator Seward his opinion. “Well, I have some grave concerns about the Common Core, in particular, the way it has been rolled out here in New York State,” says Seward.

Connect: NY | Common Core

New Public Affairs TV series explores critical issues in education with NYS Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia
The new series will explore statewide issues of critical importance and begins with six, monthly, one-hour panel discussions about education issues including: Common Core standards, teacher evaluation, school financing, achievement gaps, testing and opting out, and legal challenges. Susan Arbetter, host of “The Capitol Pressroom” will serve as host on the new show, and will moderate a panel conversation with NYS Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia. The show aims to give stakeholders across New York State a better understanding of education issues.  Connect: NY is produced by WCNY (Syracuse, NY) and WSKG TV will air this education series throughout 2015-2016. Watch a Preview


Cuomo’s Common Core Review: Promise Or Politics?

New York’s Common Core is about to get another hard look. Earlier this year the state’s Education Commissioner started a review of the standards. Now Governor Andrew Cuomo is forming his own panel for the same purpose. He says Common Core implementation was flawed and that he sympathizes with parents who opted their children out of state tests. But some educators are skeptical about Cuomo’s effort.


NY Education Official Tapped For Top RI Job

A senior New York education official is set to leave for a new post. Ken Wagner, Senior Deputy Commissioner for Education Policy, was nominated Wednesday to Rhode Island’s top education job. Wagner oversaw troubled times at the New York education department. He helped hand down multiple revisions to the state’s controversial Common Core rollout, and he’s been even more prominent over the past few months since Commissioner John King left for a job in the federal government. Wagner’s nomination still needs approval from Rhode Island state officials, who are set to consider it next week.

Good to Know | Classroom Guide

Good To Know is a digital video series for adults that introduces the methods, vocabulary, and processes their child learns at school. These short, clear and fun videos will help to explain math topics that are taught in Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten and Grade 1 Common Core curricula. The videos will help develop a conceptual understanding of how math practices build on previous knowledge and empower parents and caregivers to help their children learn foundational math skills! Learn more about Good to Know through this intro video!:

Visit the full Good to Know collection online at PBSLearningMedia


Modeling with a Tape Diagram

Tape diagrams are another visual strategy your child will learn to show addition and subtraction. If this strategy works well for your child, encourage her to use it when solving story problems! Remember RDWW? Read, draw, write a number sentence, and write an answer statement. Let’s solve the same addition problem we did when learning RDWW but use tape diagrams as our drawing instead!

Understanding Place Value

A very important concept your child learns in 1st Grade is place value. Let’s look at the number 13. What does 13 really mean? We can write 13 in a place value chart. Now we see that 13 is 1 ten and 3 ones.

1 Fact Family, 8 Number Sentences

Number bonds help your child “see” math facts and fact families. They can help show that the equals sign can be at the beginning or at the end of the number sentence! When the number bond looks like this, read it this way! Four plus three equals seven. When the number bond looks like this, read it this way!

Fact Family Photos

A fact family has three family members which are numbers. They can be arranged to make number sentences. These three numbers are related. Help your child see number sentences when they look at a number bond. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZzrfuAomn8

Let’s use this number bond to write four different, but related, number sentences.

How to Solve a Story Problem

Your child came home from school today and insisted, “No! You have to do RDWW!” How do you even respond to that?! Not to worry! This will help. RDWW is a memory tool used by elementary teachers to help children solve story problems, or word problems.

Here is a first grade example: First, we read.

Mental Math: Make 10

Here’s a math problem: six plus eight. Your child will learn many mental math strategies to solve this, instead of memorizing. Here’s one strategy: You can break apart a number to make a ten. When you make a 10, you break apart one number to make a 10 with the other number. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ftST1Uzcpr4

Use your Magic Math Fingers!

Modeling with 10-Frames

One of the visual tools your child will use in Kindergarten is the 10-frame card. Your child will know a 10-frame card has five on top and 5 on bottom. It is important he understands five without needing to re-count each time. Let’s count out 5. One, two, three, four, five.

More, Fewer, Same

Your Kindergartener will not use greater than, less than, or equal to symbols, but he does need to learn how to compare numbers. Help your child to compare groups with up to ten objects. Using a number line that shows how many objects are in each number will help your child learn to compare. Remember: greater means MORE, less means FEWER, equal means the SAME. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ciJ_qM5rnv4

Which group has the greater number of hearts?

Counting On

In kindergarten, your child will learn to count all the way to 100, by ones and by tens! But wait—Can he count to 100… starting from 29? Twenty-eight… Twenty-nine… Umm… twenty-ten? Counting forward beginning at a given number, like 29, is a different skill than beginning at 1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9ZQu8Im8dc

Numbers that end in 9 need 1 more to make a new group of 10.

Using Number Bonds to Show Subtraction

Number bonds show part, part, whole. Your child will use number bonds to solve take-away problems.

Let’s try one. Here are 5 apples. Five is the whole number. A hungry pig comes along and eats three apples!

Number Bonds

Number bonds help children to visualize addition. Learn how to practice with your kindergartener! There are many terms your child will use when learning addition in 1st grade. Let’s talk about one — Number Bonds! A number bond shows part-part-whole.

Number Partners of Ten

Your Kindergartener will learn to add to 10. Help him learn these number partners! Ten is a very important number. Finding the number partners that add to make 10 is a very important skill. In Kindergarten, your child will find the hidden number that makes ten.

Describing with Relative Positions

Up, down, beside, below… Your child has many new words to add to her math vocabulary! Help her practice relative positions as you play. Relative positions are words that describe where objects are in an environment. For example: top, behind, or next to. Look at the beautiful butterfly!

Shape Hunt

Shapes are everywhere! Learn how to talk about their special properties with your child. Go on a shape hunt at home or at the store! There are lots of ways to practice identifying shapes with your child. I spy a circle!

Adding To & Taking From

Your child’s must first develop an understanding of addition and subtraction. Help him as you play! Your preschooler will not have pages of addition problems to solve, but she does need to develop an understanding of addition! The same is true of subtraction. How do you talk about adding and subtracting with a 4-year old?

How to Make a Rekenrek

Easy instructions to make this counting tool at home! Having a rekenrek at home will help your child learn outside of school. Luckily, a rekenrek is simple to make! You will need a piece of cardboard, some yarn, and 20 large beads. An empty cereal box will work well as the cardboard.

A Parent's Guide to Rekenreks

Learning to count requires some visual tools. Meet the rekenrek! Your child will use a rekenrek at school. You might recognize a rekenrek as a small abacus. Move all the beads to the right.

Magic Math Fingers

Help your child learn to count from left to right. THESE are Magic Math Fingers! Your child reads from left to right. It’s important that they count left to right too! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qiUiB1v8Xuw

Let’s count one at a time with our magic math fingers!

Zero the Hero

How do you talk about the number zero with your pre-schooler? Faster than a speeding bullet, amounting to nothing… iiiitttt’sss Zero the Hero!!! When learning to count, you must never forget about zero. He is a very important number. How many blocks do you see?

Concept of Number

Your pre-schooler will learn that the number “3” refers to three objects, such as his 3 fingers. The most important topic your child learns in Pre-K is developing the concept of number. You can help your child understand that number words refer to quantity. The number “1” refers to a single object – in this case, one balloon. The number “2” refers to two objects – two balloons.


Full Speed Ahead For Common Core As Education Commissioner Steps Down

New York’s Education Commissioner John King is leaving Albany to take a job at the U.S. Department of Education. King had a controversial tenure, overseeing the implementation of the Common Core Learning Standards and new teacher evaluations. But although King is leaving, the Regents say the policies he championed are here to stay. During his three-and-a-half-year term, King stood up for New York’s Common Core Learning Standards and new teacher evaluations. He took intense criticism from parents, teachers and legislators who opposed both initiatives.