Much has been said and written about the use of Common Core standards in today’s classrooms, particularly when it comes to CCSS math standards.

Case in point: some educators claim that mastering multiplication tables is less important in the Common Core. But is this claim really true? Let’s take a deeper look.

### Multiplication and the Common Core

When it comes to multiplication standards, here’s what Common Core has to say:

CCSS.Math.Content.3.OA.C.7 Fluently multiply and divide within 100, using strategies such as the relationship between multiplication and division (e.g., knowing that 8 × 5 = 40, one knows 40 ÷ 5 = 8) or properties of operations. By the end of Grade 3, know from memory all products of two one-digit numbers.

In a nutshell, the more you care about developing higher-order mathematics, the more important fluency becomes.

Now, let’s deconstruct a few Common Core assumptions as they relate to math. Read more »

### A guest post by Ashley Porter

7th-grade math teacher, Webster Groves School District, Missouri

Imagine Learning now publishes monthly guest posts in order to stimulate conversations about K12 education across the country. Opinions expressed herein are those of the individual author and may not necessarily reflect the official opinion of Imagine Learning.

Think back to the college years when you were choosing your major. Education? Check. As to age group, you would have noted four basic categories: early childhood, elementary, middle, or high school students. Each had its merits, but you could only pick one. Check.

I chose the math path–middle school first, followed by high school math later. I decided on math because it was in my comfort zone. That’s what most middle school and high school teachers do; they choose the area they’re most comfortable with. Yay! No more science, world studies, or English for me, right?

My first teaching assignment was at a high school, teaching all levels of algebra. There was a big push, as there should be, to get students to graduate on time. Some teachers were assigned as “graduation coaches,” and I was one of them.

It was my job to work with students, build a relationship, help them catch up, and get them to a timely graduation. These students were struggling, behind on credits, and risked not graduating at all (or certainly not on time). So, as a graduation coach, I was encouraged to help students in all their areas of struggle.

At this point, I received some of the best advice I ever got as an educator. Read more »

If you’re a book lover, you can answer that question in the affirmative, thanks to our book-inspired Halloween costumes!

### Costumes from Childhood Books

When seeking inspiration for a literary Halloween costume, no need to look further than the books you loved as a child. Here are a few basics:

• Fairytales (Jack and the Beanstalk, Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, and so on)
• Dr. Seuss (Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, The Lorax, Horton Hears a Who)
• Roald Dahl (Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach)
• Shel Silverstein (The Giving Tree, Where the Sidewalk Ends, etc.)

In a 2011 Scientific American article, behavioral therapist Andrea Kuszewski reinforced a concept that continues to gain traction today–namely, that it’s possible to improve one’s native intelligence.

In the past, even respected scientists assumed that intelligence was purely genetic and unlikely to change over time.

Nowadays, neuroscientists and cognitive therapists recognize that fluid intelligence (e.g., the capacity to learn and process new information) is the reality.

More importantly, people can boost their fluid intelligence by improving their working memory. But how?

### Five Principles

According to Kuszewski, you don’t have to be a genius to improve cognition. Even those with low IQs can grow in fluid intelligence. To quote the author, “what doesn’t kill you (will make) you smarter.” Read more »

Peeked inside a typical classroom lately? If so, you’re likely to see one teacher surrounded by an increasingly diverse group of students–each with unique learning needs.

What’s more, that ‘typical’ classroom is filled with students who are anything but typical.

For one thing, there’s really no such thing as an average student.

Each class might contain students who struggle with reading or math, students who don’t yet speak English, and students with disabilities. On the other end of the spectrum are the gifted students who may need more challenges to stay engaged.

How on earth can one teacher meet the needs of all these diverse learners? Read more »