Many physical workout programs place a great deal of emphasis on “strengthening your core” or strengthening the muscles located at the center of your body. This isn’t a whole lot different from the Common Core method of education. Utah has had its own core standards that stretch the state, but now we have joined the National Standards. The National Common Core is a hot topic, with 47 states having adopted the Common Core Standards (CCS) as of July 2013.
We have been particularly interested in CCS because we work to help our students realize grade-level accomplishments. It took only a minute to get online and look up the CSS of Utah, however, the documents themselves would take about half an hour to print. Stacked on top of each other, the CCS would be about as thick as a phone book! But the basics are this: Each grade, starting with kindergarten and going through high school, set benchmarks for math and language arts that should be met by the time the student completes each grade. If not, the student may not pass and move up to the next grade level. Math and language arts are emphasized because these are skills that are used in life outside of formal schooling, and they provide a good foundation for success in life after high school.
These new standards come with high expectations for all, so it’s important that parents are aware of where their child should be. We have outlined just a few of the Kindergarten and First Grade expectations.
Kindergarten Math Benchmarks
- Count to 100 by ones and by tens.
- Count forward beginning from a given number within the known sequence.
- Write numbers from 0 to 20. Represent a number of objects with a written numeral 1-20.
- Describe measurable attributes of objects, such as length or weight. Describe several measurable attributes of a single object.
- Directly compare two objects with a measurable attribute in common, to see which object has “more of” or “less of” the attribute, like taller/shorter.
- Classify objects into given categories; count the number of objects in each category and sort the categories by count.
- Add and subtract small numbers.
- Recognize and name 10 shapes.
Kindergarten Language Arts Benchmarks
- Writing the letters and knowing all of the letter sounds.
- Reading and spelling 100 sight words.
- Recognize and produce rhyming words.
- Count, pronounce, blend, and segment syllables in spoken words.
- Isolate and pronounce the initial, medial vowel, and final sounds (phonemes) in three-phoneme words.
- Add or substitute individual sounds (phonemes) in simple, one-syllable words to make new words.
First Grade Math Benchmarks
- Add within 100, including adding a two-digit number and a one-digit number.
- Understand that in adding two-digit numbers, one adds tens and tens, ones and ones; and sometimes it is necessary to compose a ten.
- Given a two-digit number, mentally find 10 more or 10 less than the number, without having to count; explain the reasoning used.
- Subtract multiples of 10 in the range 10-90 from the multiples of 10 in the range 10-90.
- Understanding word problems that involve adding and subtracting.
First Grade Language Arts Benchmarks
- Recognize the distinguishing features of a sentence (e.g., first word, capitalization, ending punctuation).
- Use phonic skills to read and write unfamiliar words.
- Identify the main idea and recall details in a story.
- Write about a topic with a good opening and closing thought.
- Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
- Read grade-level text with purpose and understanding
If you suspect your child may not be up to par with these standards, it may be time to put a “workout plan” in place in order to get your child into great Core shape!