The toolkit is designed to support parents in understanding the mathematics progression in Poudre School District and the Colorado Academic Standards. It can be used as a reference for helping your child with their homework and seeking additional resources. Please recall that your child's teacher is the number one resource for what your child is learning and the means of instruction in the classroom.
The instructional shifts in the mathematics standards call for teachers to teach every standard for conceptual understanding, procedural skill and fluency, and application with equal intensity. Traditionally in America, teachers have taken what we think are difficult subjects for students and tried to make them easier for students to understand, because we want all students to be successful. Unfortunately, what we have really done is taken mathematics and reduced it to procedures, and we teach those procedures to students. This isn’t teaching mathematics.
Teaching mathematics requires creating a classroom where students get to engage in rich mathematics and discover patterns and the why behind the mathematics. Students get to do the thinking. Why do we invert and multiply fractions instead of dividing? Why do we do the order of operations in the order that we do them? Why can’t we divide by zero? Answering the “why” questions through discovery will transform our classrooms into places where students engage in and have discourse about the mathematics in a meaningful way.
Do students still need to learn and practice procedures? You bet they do. But learning procedures without knowledge of why and how they work will produce students who are lacking conceptual understanding. These resources will help you to help your child to gain understanding of all three components of the standards: conceptual understanding, procedural skill and fluency, and application to an unfamiliar situation.
The toolkit is designed around the following five areas of support:
Grade Level Overview
The Grade Level Overview is a list of Parent Roadmaps. Parent Roadmaps are a resource developed by The Council of Great City Schools and include an introduction to the shift in instruction, a list of the activities specific to the learning in the grade level, questions to ask the teacher, a vertical understanding of how the standards build, tips for helping your child learn outside of school, and links for additional resources. Each of the roadmaps is provided in English and Spanish.
A comprehensive list of questions is provided for parents to assist their children with homework.
The Online Resources reference section of the Parent Toolkit is a compilation of support for parents. Resources include access to the standards, adopted textbook resources, parent guides for success, and resources provided by the U.S. Department of Education and Achieve the Core.
The final component of the Parent Toolkit is a comprehensive overview of the Colorado Academic Standards, Common Core State Standards, and the Standards for Mathematics Practice. Resources are provided to understand the vertical articulation of the standards as well as an indepth analysis of the standards at each grade level.
Theory and Research
The Theory and Research components of the Parent Toolkit is a resource list to support the instructional practices taking place in the classroom. These resource will echo the instructional shifts and include articles, books, and videos.