Common Core State Standards


    The Common Core State Standards

    The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are a national set of standards that have been adopted in New York State, with full implementation took place in 2012-2013. These Pre K-12 standards were written with the goal of preparing students for college and careers upon graduation from high school.  These standards help teachers ensure their students have the skills and knowledge they need to be successful by providing clear goals for student learning. 

    Common Core Math by Grade Level 

    Dear Parents of Ellicott Elementary,

    Our teachers have adjusted in many ways to the new standards.  It is more than simply a change in what is being taught at various grade levels.  It is also a change in the way it is being taught, a whole new way of approaching content with an increased level of rigor that will challenge all students.  In the area of ELA, we have made the transition very well.  Our teachers and district have proactively looked at meeting the demands of the Common Core State Standards. 

    In mathematics, we find the changes in the new standards to require careful planning and thought. In addition to greater depth, the grade level in which concepts are introduced has changed.  What your child may have shared with you during homework might seem strange to adults and is definitely not how we did it when we were kids.  The new way of instruction is designed to develop a deeper understanding of numbers. I wanted to highlight some expectations outlined in the CCSS in mathematics by grade level. As you will see, each year builds upon the previous. 

    Kindergarten:  This year will focus on learning numbers and what they represent, and developing a keen number sense. Students will use a variety of pictures and models to understand and solve addition and subtraction problems within 10.  Students will work with numbers and learn to think of ten as a unit.  This is an important part of understanding place value.  They will learn to find the “partners” that make ten for any number.  If you have 8, it takes 2 more to make 10.  From there, students learn to think of ten as a unit and to break down numbers from 11through 19 to make a ten and some leftover ones.

    Grade One: This year will focus on working with whole numbers and place value. This will include grouping numbers into tens and ones as they learn to add and subtract up through 20.  Students will use pictures and diagrams to show addition and subtraction and to compare amounts.  The concept of 10 can be thought of as a bundle.  47 is the same as 4 tens + 7 ones.  This understanding of place value will be used to add one and two-digit numbers.  47 + 20 (You are adding two more tens). Telling time in hours and half-hours is taught.

    Example of word problem at grade one: Lucy has 12 apples. Julie has 9 apples. How many more apples does Lucy have than Julie?

    Grade Two: This year will include a focus on fluent addition and subtraction to 20.  Students will extend their understanding of place value to the hundreds place.  They will understand that 100 can be thought of as a bundle of ten tens – called a “hundred”.  Additionally, students learn that 250 = 2 hundreds and 5 tens, 25 tens, or 250 ones.  During this year they will solve one or two-step word problems by adding or subtracting numbers up through 100.  Example of word problem at grade two: Julie has 35 books.  Julie has 10 more books than Lucy.  How many books does Lucy have?  How many books do they have together?

    Grade Three: During this year, students will build on their concept of numbers and understand what it means to multiply and divide.  They will extend this to problem-solving with multiplication and division including numbers through 100. Students will work to fluently add and subtract numbers through 1000 using knowledge of place value.  They will also multiply and divide numbers up through 100.  During this year, students will work with fractions. It is important that students understand a fraction’s place on a number line is between 0 and 1 (or between any two whole numbers).  They will compare the size of two different fractions and understand that two fractions are equal when they are the same size or on the same place on the number line.  Geometry will give students an understanding that shapes can fit into different categories with shared attributes.

    Grade Four: This year students will use addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division to solve word problems.  Students will build on their understanding of fractions, creating equal fractions, comparing the size of fractions, adding and subtracting fractions, and multiplying fractions by whole numbers.  They will be asked to explain their thinking (why) as they solve these problems.  They will read, write and compare decimals to the thousandths place. They will divide fractions by whole numbers and whole numbers by fractions.   Students use the concepts of area and place value as strategies to multiply multi-digit numbers.  Students will explore a variety of strategies to deepen their understanding of multiplication.  For example, students learn that 649x18 is also equal to (649x10) + (649+8).  Geometry will include drawing and identifying lines and angles, and classifying shapes by properties. 

    Grade 5: This year students will continue to build upon their knowledge of place value by working with decimals up to the hundredths place.  Students use place value understanding to figure out that, based on where digits are located within the number, 0.115 is less than 0.151.    They will add, subtract, and multiply fractions, including fractions with unlike denominators.  Students will interpret a fraction as a division of the numerator (top number) by the denominator (bottom number).  Geometry will include concepts of volume and relate volume to multiplication and addition.

    Example of word problem at grade five: The Jonas family has a half of a large pizza.  There are three people in the family.  They want equal shares of the pizza.  What part of a pizza will each person get? 

    Of course, the above is not an exhaustive list. It is important to point out that CCSS has a dual intensity, depth of understanding and fluency.  Above, I included the major concepts and understanding needed at each level. The state has outlined specific math fact fluency for each level as well.  Automaticity in the area of math facts will free up “brain space” when it comes time to work on more complex problem solving. 

    New York State has developed a website that provides the latest information about the ELA and Mathematics Standards, On this site, you will find a section that provides resources for parents.  As always, feel free to reach out to your child’s teacher.  Parents are an important piece of the education process and we thank you for your support. 


    Diana Nigro, Principal