Many of my students' parents have asked me to suggest websites to help their children practice the common core math standards. I work in a very rural school and many of my students are from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. The ones I have seen have required a fee. Can anyone suggest a common core math practice site that is free?
I think it is great that the parents are asking for resources. Generally, the more involved the parents are, the better. They may need to help the students on any website, at least in the beginning.
As others have said, the Common Core is a set of standards. They are intended to make instruction more rigorous, which means to increase the depth of understanding. When students practice alone, they are mostly reinforcing computational skills. I can recommend a couple of sites where some new learning may also take place.
Maria Miller’s Freebies page has worksheets, video lessons, written lessons, assessment tests, and printable children’s activities, for elementary and middle school children. All are free; no registration required.
The Singapore Maths Teacher site gives step-by-step instructions on solving word problems primarily using the block models that are taught in Singapore Math, but also using the following strategies: draw a picture, look for a pattern, guess and check, make a systematic list, logical reasoning, and work backwards. These problems are similar to those used in Singapore Math grades 3 to 6, and can be accessed without even registering.
To increase understanding, students need to reflect on the math that they have done or are doing. This often occurs in small group or whole class discussions when students are trying to resolve differences of opinions, or solve a problem as a group, sharing, evaluating, and building on each others’ ideas. Unfortunately, group discussions don’t apply to students working alone.
One way that students can reflect on math when working alone is by writing. The teacher can give writing assignments that students can do as homework, or the parents can prompt the child to write about math. Using Writing in Mathematics gives teachers and parents guidelines on getting students to write about math. Here the parent’s involvement is important. Can parents discuss the children’s writing with them? Do the parents understand the math concepts enough to help the students refine their writing (without telling the students what to write)? Even if the parents do nothing to help the students evaluate their writing, the process of writing will be beneficial for the students.
Parents helping students at home should know what math topics their children are learning, but I don’t think parents should be concerned about aligning with specific standards. Alignment with standards is technical, and too much focus on it could lead to a mechanical treatment of the standards. Parents should focus more on the intent of the Common Core. Do their children like math rather than dread it? Do they understand the concepts? Are they confident? Can they justify their answers with logical explanations, not just list the procedural steps used to calculate the answers? If the answers are “No” then the standards are not being met. Parents should be pleased with “Yes” answers to these questions for the content that the students cover in class.
Another place to look around for resources would be
The Art of Problem Solving