Home » Common Core Standards » Unpacking Math Common Core Standards

Unpacking Math Common Core Standards

I    don’t  evenknow       if I    have   theener  gy  to writethis     post. 🙂

Today  I met with 2 of my colleagues to TRY and figure out the math common core standards. None of us have taught with them yet, and I’ve have never even taught math.

So the first thing we attempted to do was this little introduction activity that you can find at Achieve The Core. I would post the exact link, but I CAN’T FIND IT. I know-it surprises me too. 🙂

So here is what it looked like after we finished this activity.



We did it without looking at the standards-got about half right. 🙂 So there were 5 or 6 sets of colored cards (representing the strands)-we did THAT set and stopped!!

We then decided we would start reading the standards and discussing them. 4th and 6th grades because 2 of us will be in 6th and 1 in 4th.


Can we say RIDICULOUS??? WHY did they write the #ccss in such a DIFFICULT way??

OK-I’ll get off my soapbox now! I did get my memory refreshed a lot with math skills that I haven’t used since elementary/high school. But some of the stuff we had never heard of. So I’ll be googling away….

Oh yeah, one more thing I don’t understand. The common core is supposed to allow us to teach fewer standards in a deeper way instead of just skimming the surface.

6th grade has 29 standards with 47 skills. 36 weeks in school. Do the math. 🙂

HOW does that allow us to teach deeper? And what about those students who don’t even have the prerequisite skills for THESE skills? Or the fact that there will be a known gap for a few years?

Oooops…there went that soapbox again. 🙂

It helped that we went and ate Mexican for lunch. Brain break. Research based.

AND this helped!



Here’s an example of a 6th grade math standards:

8. Write an inequality of the form × > c or × < c to represent a constraint or condition in a real-world or mathematical problem. Recognize that inequalities of the form × > c or × < c have infinitely many solutions; represent solutions of such inequalities on number line diagrams.

Whaaaat? I swear a curtain falls down when I try to read something like this and INTERPRET it. Maybe I need a #ccss translator. Wait-strike the “maybe”. 🙂

With this being said, my next move is to dive into our textbook (that looks like a college textbook) and correlate the standards to the textbook content, create a pacing guide, and start WORKING OUT SOME PROBLEMS. 🙂

What are your thoughts on the Common Core Math Standards? Oh, you can’t think anymore since your brain is fried, too? Do I detect smoke? 🙂

21 thoughts on “Unpacking Math Common Core Standards

  1. The verbiage of the CCCS for Math 6th grade is why I opted to teach Lang. Arts & Social Studies rather than Math & Science…good luck!! I wish you strength & the translation machine you are so wanting.

  2. Oh how I miss teaching math…I’m not sure, however, that the requirements for the standards wouldn’t completely drive me to drink. To answer the above standard that is made so sophisticated that no one can understand it, they might have simply said, “Teach kids how inequalities work in everyday situations. (Get in groups of less than 5.) Explain that they can be written in 2 ways. (gg) Using a number line, demonstrate how there isn’t one right answer with inequalities (How many can be in your group? Can there be 4? How about 2? as you draw the arrow on the number line).” This will lead into when does it make sense for the line to stop? Is that number the same for every situation? Can you give me an example of when the line would continue into the negative numbers? Any way… it does go deeper by following this one “real life” problem that can be picked apart.

    I can’t wait to follow the journey of everyone working with CCSS math before I decide if I’d ever like to go back…for now science is more exciting!

    • Jennifer,

      You nailed it- their gaps have to be filled in or they have no hope. I feel like I struggled with math in high school and college even though I was abc student in math. So I want to do anything possible to make them feel successful!

  3. Breathe. Small chunks. Lots of identifying what students already know and take every PD on math instruction you can. CCSS for math is a smidge (mathematical term — NOT) easier when you look at the major strands. Several states have done an EXCELLENT job unpacking the standards with great examples which is especially helpful when you have no idea what all the CCSS blah, blah, blah is all about. http://www.dpi.state.nc.us/docs/acre/standards/common-core-tools/unpacking/math/6th.pdf and http://www.uen.org/commoncore/math6/ have been really helpful.

    • Dori,

      You’re a lifesaver!!! I had heard that NC had unpacked them so ill look at theirs and the others too!!! Thanks!

      Yeah, I can’t forget to breathe!! 🙂

      • If I can help in any way let me know. I am teaching reading only this year for grade 6 (soooo excited!!!!) Previously, for 11 yrs, I taught grade 6 math and ELA. I will share whatever I have. mooredcm@aol.com 🙂

      • Dori,

        I’ll be counting on you then!! 🙂

        I’m trying readers workshop this year in 6th AND trying something new with English/Writing- been reading Jeff Anderson’s books!

        Tell me about your plans!!

  4. This is why I’m teaching 6th grade reading and social studies, too. Reading cc math standards is comparable to reading a technical manual.

    • Sena,

      I know what you mean. And I don’t read technical manuals well. 🙂 I’m really hoping once I open the textbook it will make more sense to me!!

  5. I teach 6th grade math and we started using Common Core last year. I used an Interactive Notebook with my smarties and it really helped. Send me an email if you have any questions. Hang in there… I’m here for ya! Then you can help me with the one social studies class I have to teach!
    Coffee Cups and Lesson Plans

    • Michele,

      You don’t know what you just opened yourself up to by telling me I could send you an email if I have any questions. Lol! I want to use the interactive notebook too. There are so many things I need to research and plan out-I think I’m starting to feel a tad overwhelmed!! 🙂

  6. I’m glad I now teach middle school 6th and 7th grade language arts!! (I used to teach elementary.) Good luck, Shannon. Maybe there will be a translation site soon. Hopefully your text book follows the standards and that may make it workable. 🙂

  7. Rethinkmathematics.com has some great resources for pacing, etc. i went to a workshop they put on and it really helped!

  8. I teach 7th grade math and there were definitely standards that I read and thought “WTH does that even mean?” I do have to say that after teaching Carnegie Learning math curriculum (which is CC aligned) last year I have a much better understanding of what the standards mean. The scary thing to me is how many teachers who do not have a good CC aligned curriculum (and I don’t mean the texts that slap a sticker on and say they are aligned) are trying to interpret these themselves. I think it’s not such a big deal for math majors/minors, but so many elem teachers do not have a strong emphasis on math. This concerns me greatly.

    • Sherrie-

      I agree with you!! And what about the teachers that read the standards and decide they just don’t understand them so they don’t use them, they just use whatever book they have or have had?? Scary stuff!!

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