Thursday, September 18, 2014

Have You Heard of the Common Core?

And the outcry behind it?  Here is an example from G's homework.  This is the CC example printed on the page for G to use on her problems:

Problem:  6 x 89=

Solution printed on page:

6 x (90-1)=
(6 x 90)-(6 x 1)=
540 - 6 =
534

First thing G said was, "Where did they get the 90?"  So basically, what common core does is forces kids to write out all the steps they do in their heads automatically.  The problem is this working in the heads has a foundational basis in math facts.  The common core likes base 10 problems so they work with children to force a base 10 solution to the problems.  Simplest and fastest to the problem would be to rewrite it as:

    89
  x  6
    54
+48  
534

Or if they wish to find the base 10 then:

6 x 89 =
6 x (80 + 9)=
(6 x 80) + (6 x 9) =
480 + 54 =
534

But in the example printed on the page, they have introduced 90, 1 and a subtraction that is utterly unnecessary.  In the "old fashioned" way the only addition to solve the problem is the addition.  The foundations are laid.  Conceptually, the final problem I laid out is the better explanation because the child can see the 10s place being multiplied where it is not as easily seen in the second problem (simplest) I completed.

G's problem is that she does the math in her head and doesn't write down the steps.  Of course they don't really give children room to write all the steps down either.  I think what common core is missing is foundation.  If the kids don't know the math facts then when they look at a problem like this they can't see how to break the numbers down into 10s in the first place.

Another CC example is:

5 x 12 x 2 =

What they are looking for is to demonstrate associative multiplication understanding with base 10 helping to solve the problem.  So the correct written answer would be:

(5 x 2) x 12 =
10 x 12 =
120

G looked at it and just wrote the correct number down but didn't write the in between because honestly she didn't have too.  But since I understood what they wanted I asked her to tell me what she did first in her head and had her write the step down.  I told her that CC likes to speak of numbers as friendly; ie, base 10 or unfriendly; ie, anything else.  I told her to always look at the numbers to see if she can find the base 10 first.

The other problem with the whole write every step and break all problems down to base 10 is there are so many steps that the children will make simply stupid mistakes that will not demonstrate understanding but will demonstrate a hurried-ness and lack of clear thinking.

We always had to write down the steps of solving problems so the teacher could make sure our answers were not guesses but we still solved the problems in the easiest way or with as few steps as possible.  I am not a fan of common core and I despise Arkansas Education Dept for adopting it without understanding it.  It is awful, untested and will set our children back behind their peers around the world.  This is dangerous overreach of federal government control backed by large wealthy donors who themselves will not subject their own children to this kind of teaching.  This common core will not aid in getting kids to college unless the aim is only a 2 year so the elite can remain at the Harvards of the world.

If you follow the money, you will see a very scary trail to people who have their own best interests at heart, not the best interests of our children.  If common core remains a generation of guinea pigs (our children) will be lost!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Shutterfly

If you use this link to order from Shutterfly for the first time you will receive 101 free prints, no expiration storage of photos and I will receive a small thanks for the referral.

 I personally love Shutterfly. They did not ask me to write this.  These are 100% my own thoughts about Shutterfly

I usually get all of my Christmas cards from them as well as photo books for trips or school year or whatever I happen to wish to make. The storage alone is worth ordering as most photo storage sites either charge or the storage is for a limited time. Projects sometimes will remain complete so you can re-order but sometimes the item may no longer be for sale. They do allow you to transfer project styles for like photo books.

 And cards and books are all I can speak to really. I have ordered regular pictures for regular photo albums or G's art projects but nothing else. So if you are interested, hit the links I have provided.

Thank you,

Saturday, September 13, 2014

5k race

This morning G and I ran a 5k in support of a ministry here in town.  It was a color run and very cold. But we did it and I walked it talking to a lady that goes to my mom's church.  She finally figured out who we were and how she knew us.  It was fun.  Before we left the house see I made sure we both pottied up but just as soon as we picked up the packets, I had to go.  I was able to get through the wait and the race but still had to use the portopotties anyway.

G ended about 30 minutes before I did which was fine by me.  Over in just under 1 hour.  We did warm up so G was glad she didn't overdress.    Home again, homemade pizza for lunch, another pot of coffee for me and settled in for a movie.

 Laundry is taking forever it seems to me.  Regular Saturday stuff, you know.  Fixed dinner for my parents last night mainly to finish off the butternut squash soup G and I made from scratch last Saturday.  Perils of grocery shopping with a smart phone and butternut squash on sale.  I had nothing for the recipe I looked up while at the store at home except salt and pepper.  It was really good soup but then Sunday I decided what was really needed with it was sausage, cheese and sour dough bread.

The soup also took about 4 hours total.  While the squash roasted G and I organized my recipe collection. I love collecting recipes and recipe books though I don't ever have the stuff to make a recipe when I am hungry for something.  My collection looks nice and would be helpful for someone who loved cooking, heh.

So my parents did get the fire phones and of course my mom doesn't know nor will be able to learn how to use it well.  Dad will figure it out and help her along but she tried and couldn't call me this morning.  I spoke to her after the race and she told me how she was going to call me but picked up the old phone since she forgot about the new one already.  Of course the old didn't work and she panicked and couldn't even think how to call me.

Tomorrow is Sunday and our Bible study in Acts begins in earnest.  So excited.  Off to finish this movie now.  Have a great rest of the weekend from G and me.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

So How Fun Is This

Back in July, G and I (against everything I ever said about it*, shuddup) purchased new smart phones via Amazon.  We got "the deal" and have been fairly happy about it.  I not as much as G since she has been able to figure out a WHOLE LOT MORE of the phones and what they do than I have.  As I told my mom, the phone is way too smart for me.

Anyway, we have had the phones in our hands less than 60 days and the company dropped the price to basically free.  SAME DEAL: 2 year contract mandatory, free this and that.  Oh, I was fit to be tied until I called them last night and you know what?  They made it so very right.  We are even more happy now with the company's customer service.  They bought our loyalty.

I don't know how long this deal will go but if you have ATT already and are ready for a new phone then jump to the Amazon Fire phone.  I am not an i-phone type and don't really care for apple products per se, so this none apple phone fits us well.

My dad is even ready for a new phone so I encouraged him to purchase one for him and my mom.  I told G she could fix mom's phone to be able to see only what she needs, the address book, text and phone symbol.  The price is right and they are ATT customers already.  Another 2 years won't hurt much.  Maybe my mom doesn't need one.  They can share or she can have my dad's old phone.  She may or may not be in her right mind in 2 years so there is that.  My dad, I think, would be able to work it well and enjoy it.  Since we turn the data off and on when outside of wi-fi or not using the phones, we can manage the data costs better.  Dad would be able to do that as well.

*Now about the whole I said I would never buy G a phone, well, the words were bitter when I ate them.  I will admit getting her a phone has basically just turned into another game playing station.  So far she has been very careful with it thankfully.  And no she doesn't call or text anyone but me not even her grandparents for whatever reason I don't know.  They did come in handy when she was in VA so we could text and she could send me pictures of her adventures.  So the lesson to be careful what you say because you may eat those words is still being learned by me!

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Today is my Birthday

du dun nunnunah...

Oh well, you get it.  I woke G with a very loud and rousing rendition of Happy Birthday To ME!  She gave me many excuses of why she wouldn't be singing it to me so I thought I would invade her nightmares with my own song.  And yes, she had nightmares and fought me all night until about 5:30am when she started crying in her sleep.  Sadly, she doesn't remember any of them and even asked me what she was crying about.  "Yeah," I said, "I dunno."

So I have been reading John le Carre novels.  I watched, a while ago, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy with  Gary Oldman playing George Smiley and Colin Firth playing Bill Hayden.  I will not spoil this if you have not seen it but if you choose to see it please be warned not to watch with children present unless you wish to spoil their innocence, and that is all I am going to say about that!  I will add that had they held true to the book for the characters, it would have made a better movie, IMHO.

Anyway, this year, I decided to look into the books that prompted the movie so I purchased TTSS from Amazon and now I am mainly hooked.  I finished the trilogy and started on The Spy Who Came In From the Cold.  So I have the main character in the hands of a Russian being taken to East Germany and then I decided I had better check the ending to make sure I will not be too disappointed.  Sadly, THE BOOK DOESN'T END RIGHT!!!  but now I am hooked and have to figure out how the character gets from where I am to the end.  And, no, reading the end of the book doesn't ruin the story for me because it isn't the ending but the journey I enjoy.

I have some other of his smaller books that came in yesterday that gives the background of George Smiley and since reading the trilogy I know he peacefully retires sort of.  G doesn't like to read the back of the book first.  For her the reading comes to the end.  She is re-reading the 6th HP book that she didn't get finished last year.  She also is reading a book for school, The Phantom Tollbooth or something like that.

So work is going to take me for lunch at the restaurant of my choice as they do for all employees.  I have had several people wish me happy birthday already which is nice but also in the back of me it is causing me to want to go hide in a hole.  I don't like attention though sometimes I act like I do, I really don't.  

So yeah, 44, middle aged, looking and feeling every bit of it.  I truly do not mind.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

I Love When A Plan Comes Together


Busy weekend, got everything done or about 95% of everything done.  Starting with Friday night's visit to the Wally World to purchase the paint, drop clothes, tape, rollers and roller pan, G managed to get the correct color even though I didn't have the sample I was carrying around with me forever actually with me when I needed it.  Friday night we took things out and taped up some of the kitchen.

Then Saturday morning we went to pick my mom up for her hair cut that my dad didn't think she needed.  Look how happy she is?  Yes, she did need it and now she looks 10 years younger.  Then since mom was with us we headed to get cleats for G for soccer.  We went to next largest city to us and struck out.  Then we headed down past big city into 3rd state to the SA which is always a dangerous place to go as far as I always spend too much money on "bargains."

We did however need help getting shin guards, and now they fit G well.  Apparently, left to my own devices the guards I would have had her buy would have been way too small.  And that is to point out just how un-sports-y I am.

While there we found a pair of new balance shoes on clearance, size 8 1/2 that G could wear.  My mom and I wear 8 1/2.  The shoe itself which G wore this morning really doesn't feel from the outside of it too big.  Maybe a little long but not much.  Width wise they fit well.  I told her if she didn't tear them up too much I would be able to wear them after she outgrew them.  She is really hard on shoes as she doesn't like to untie them to take them off or put them on.

We found a pair of cleats for under $50 YEA!  Yeah, cleats, that will be worn for 2x week for about 8 weeks or so  because if she plays next year she won't be able to wear these 6 1/2s.  And we saw a New Balance jacket for clearance $13.97 normally so very much more.  She should get two seasons out of it or wear it all year at school in the cold (to her) rooms.  Four things that cost way too much but in the overall scheme of things two were true bargains and two were necessary.

Then G and I took my mom to lunch at our fave restaurant then off to get cookies which was rather amusing, and had all three of us laughing over the un-decorated cookies of which we received 2 for free.  It was fun and a great inside joke that we told Grandad about when we made it home.

After returning to our home we completed the floor cleaning, clearing out and taping down of the kitchen and around 4:30 or 5 G said she wanted to paint.  This is Saturday night mind you, but we did it and finished it by 7:45 or so.  We even got the drop clothes picked up and I made dinner.  We ended up getting to bed after showers etc about 9:25pm.  All that painting and we even had almost 1/2 gallon left over.  I took the high part and G took the low part.  Over the cabinets were the worst due to the reach and standing on covered cabinets.

I took the picture of the colors together on Saturday night.  I hung up G's picture but that was all that we put up.  Sunday afternoon we cleaned out all the Tupperware I had from when I sold it and have a huge garbage bag to either sell or donate to a ministry.  Some of it has never been used and most are still matching sets.  I have vowed to store nothing over my cabinets again.  I love my color.  I love my kitchen it feels all new.

Monday we purchased a shelving unit to continue to get stuff put out of the way.  I emptied one three tiered drawer thing and organized quite a bit of stuff.  I got rid of a bunch of stuff too.  We now have 7 rooms left to paint.  Everything is so much more organized but I have to actually make the delivery of the stuff I have cleaned out.  We bought a new toaster oven because ours was just not cutting it.  I think I am going to dump the toaster as well.  I don't need it and haven't used it in over a year.

I even broke out the small cast iron skillet, cleaned and seasoned it to use to give us some iron in our diet.  I only typically cook bacon for G and sausage patties for me in the morning.  I haven't been using it since we had pets due to trying to keep it cat and dog hair/dust free, particularly since you aren't supposed to wash them.

Oh and the 5% I didn't get complete was my nap.  I really had planned to take one but ended up not doing it.  And now it is September my 44th is tomorrow.  YEA!  I feel that I have accomplished stuff with the painting and so I think celebrating this year will be worth it.  I don't feel like quite the failure I have in the past so I am looking forward to turning 44.  And yeah, I can't believe it is already September.  Where has the year gone?