The story behind this picture

You probably have seen the picture to the left somewhere and wondered about how this could possibly be helpful in teaching Math. At some point in the future, I am hoping to write something coherent about the Common Core, both from the point of view of its strengths and its weaknesses. (It has both.) The father in question is a man named Jeff Severt, from North Carolina, and he published this on his Facebook page on March 21, 2014.

— For the Record —

A little context might help in understanding the “Letter to Jack.”

Our ASD kid is pretty awesome in math. Reminds us of Rainman sometimes. At nearly age 7 he can barely read and write. This is symptomatic of his learning disability and ADHD.

So, he brought the assessment home on Wednesday and we were to go over it with him. We did. After an HOUR of trudging through the alternative and yet valuable problems designed to teach Base10 number concepts like counting by blocks of 100-10-1 (an hour that included the full range of motivational techniques under our belt to keep him on task – which resulted in tears & flailing about on the floor – a normal occurrence during homework time), we then turned to Page 3, the page in question.

One problem. An application of the previous 2 pages. Fair enough to from concepts and rubrics to application. He knew the answer immediately in his head–111. But this problem required a narrative answer utilizing another valid way of visualizing Base10 math. This confused him greatly. While he knew the actual math answer easily by mental version of old school subtraction, he melted down with the word problem being a writing assignment also–his greatest anxiety. To him, it might as well have been a doctoral dissertation.

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