Charlie Chaplin can teach STEM subjects under Common Core

March 26, 2013 6 Comments

Towson University’s School of Education, is excited about their new Common Core aligned program for their school of education. Through a partnership with the College Board, led by the architect of the Common Core, David Coleman, they are transforming how educators are taught by aligning it to the Common Core. Of course, there are incentives for them to do so, like MONEY!

What I found refreshing about this article is that it flat out says the Common Core dictates a curriculum. Thanks for your honesty, Towson University. In fact, she elaborates how states will no longer determine this for themselves as they are now COMPULSORY!

“Former Maryland State Superintendent and current Presidential Scholar at Towson Nancy Grasmick, who is heading the charge, said many of these efforts are compulsory. The state and University face compliance with the new national Common Core standards, which is a national curriculum for the school systems. No longer are education initiatives developed state by state, but through a model similar to European countries, Grasmick said.”

Here’s my favorite part of the article:

“Other initiatives include a TU Masters program in which teachers can learn to integrate arts when teaching STEM subjects. “I saw a demonstration this summer from a math teacher who was using mime to teach the concept of infinity,” Loeschke said. “These are ground breaking things.”

Besides the fact that I think mimes are creepy, it seems as though our future teachers are being instructed using unorthodox methods. I would rather burn my money in fire pit than pay for a graduate program teaching this kind of bologna. Besides, I think you can get it free on Nickelodeon.

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  1. bLaKouT says:

    did the mime demonstration get across the concept of infinity? or did it leave you guessing? I think that is the bottome line… does it work or not. if not, then it is just another ‘experiment’ on our children, if it does, maybe there’s something to it. Instead of just trying to make it sound foolish, (fulfilling your *own* agenda?) why not provide a video of this demonstration so we can evaluate it for ourselves instead of hearing just your own obviously biased opinion?

    • Erin Tuttle says:

      I’m sorry if I appear bias, but I believe most people find it ridiculous that Common Core math standards, applicable to STEM classes, encourages incorporating art into its instruction. If a teacher wants to try this, so be it, but standards should never incorporate this much pedagogy. As far as most math teachers are concerned, the only credible application of art in mathematics instruction would be in Kindergarten.

      • Cris Sheffel says:

        Respectfully I ask you, Do you know much about math?? “The only credible application of art in mathematics instruction would be in Kindergarten”???? …”Let’s get back to drill n kill, now kids… you know you’re not supposed to be creative, have fun, or do anything “unorthodox” in mathematics class!” This is the very attitude about math instruction that has driven student success and interest in mathematics into the ground! Only the strong survive! Your arguments are sentimental (“mimes are creepy”) and lack academic evidence. As far as pedagogy goes, the standards do NOT explicitly incorporate pedagogy, but here’s the catch: teachers need to understand sound, research-based pedagogy to teach math effectively! The majority of elementary teachers in this country did not go into teaching because they LOVE math – in most cases, the opposite is true. On top of that, our education colleges have not historically equipped these teachers with the pedagogical tools they need to help students succeed in math. (Want some evidence? Check out the report from the from the National Council on Teacher Quality at )
        One of the great things about Common Core is that the careful, coherent, research-based design of the standards emphasizes the need for sound pedagogy. There is no compulsory component to the CCSS in regard to HOW teachers teach. After all, in teaching, we work with living, breathing, growing human children and, as professionals, our job REQUIRES that we build a vast pedagogical repertoire and be flexible with it – even if it means being creative and teaching outside the text on difficult concepts like infinity. The Common Core does NOT call for uniformity of teaching. On the contrary, your derogatory remarks (and dramatic headline) about anyone who would dare teach math in “unorthodox” ways does just that. Unfortunately, it’s a uniformity that hasn’t worked for decades – as a rule, we’ve just been uniformly BAD at teaching math. Oh, there is so much more I could say as a lover of mathematics and mathematics education!

        • Erin Tuttle says:

          I have no doubt that schools of education need to be revised. Many ed reformer have considered that raising the bar on the entrance exams into these schools of ed will be the most effective way to raise the quality of teachers. The open door policy of many schools of ed allows unqualified people to teach. This was discussed at the Indiana Board of Trustees open forum on education which featured Arthur Levine, president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation; David M. Steiner, dean of the School of Education at Hunter College; and Sandra Stotsky, professor of education reform at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. The NCTQ is an organization which has many problems and does not have any transparency in the methods they use to evaluate schools of ed. Please see this article by Mercedes Schneider.

          I would also suggest you read the comments of John Shuls on Jay Greens’s blog. Here is an excerpt:

          It is clear from documents on the Common Core website and from the discourse throughout the country that these new standards encourage constructivist teaching practices. Take for example these two quotes from a Key Points in Common Core Math document.
          Common Core developers themselves are saying that traditional methods of math instruction aren’t working and students should be learning through “hands on learning.” It is reasonable to assume the tests will likely favor constructivist teaching practices.

          I don’t know what school of ed you attended, but most are taught that constructivism is indeed a pedagogy. Standards should not prescribe the methods that teachers use to teach. Like I said in my post, teachers who want to use mime should be able to do so, if they are getting good results.

          Watch this video by Vern Williams who was the only math teacher on the Common Core writing team. He claims there is an intentional push for conceptual knowledge over procedural knowledge. At one point they didn’t even want to include the standards algorithm!

  2. john says:

    Take a look at a fractal. Art and math. listen to Bach. Art and music.

    Harmonics, differential equations.

    Read the I ching. There is a relationship to 21st century physics

    • Erin Tuttle says:

      As an accomplished pianist, I do understand how the principles of art, music and mathematics are related. I believe the fundamentals of both need to be understood- seperately- before any student can take away any knowledge from the relationship. To understand how a fractal incorporates art and mathematics in a meaningful way would take a fairly high-level of understanding in both subjects. In fact, a level beyond most elementary teachers and grade school students knowledge.

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