Are You Prepared for the Common Core Standards?

Are You Prepared for the Common Core Standards?

To date, all but four states have adopted the Common Core State Standards, designed to prepare students for success in college and the workforce. The common standards aim to increase rigor, critical thinking, and communication skills in America's classrooms.

Many believe the standards offer unprecedented opportunities for teachers to collaborate on refining instruction. But states and districts are struggling with the tension between imminent plans for Common Core implementation and awareness that teachers need professional development and resources to adjust instruction.

As a practicing teacher, what are your hopes for implementation of the Common Core Standards? How will your own planning and instruction change? What kinds of support and professional development will be necessary for transition to the standards to be successful? What should district and building administrators understand about that transition? How do you think the Common Core Standards will (or will not) help teachers better prepare students for the future?

Roundup Post: Getting Ready for the Common Core

By guest blogger Leanne Link, communications assistant at the Center for Teaching Quality This month's Teaching Ahead participants tackled the tough topic of the Common Core State Standards. The teachers found much to be hopeful about, including: • Opportunities for Collaboration: Nearly all the teachers mentioned the potential for national collaboration that the standards could bring about. As Jessica Keigan suggests, teachers should "accept this challenge and see what great things can come from sharing our classroom expertise." • Focus on 21st-Century Skills: Sarah Henchey notes that the Common Core emphasizes skills, such as writing, that will help students thrive in the ...


Follow-Up: Common Core on the Ground

Ali Crowley In my previous blog, I wrote about how the Common Core-based mathematical practices have improved my teaching methods in my Algebra 2 class. I said: "For the first time in my teaching career—:I feel the students really understand the connections between an algebraic equation, the graph of that function, and its complex roots. The problem-solving approach makes a difference." A commenter asked for more detail. Earlier this year, after students had solved quadratic equations, I tried out a Mathematics Design Collaborative lesson. I hoped "Forming Quadratics" would help my students understand what a solution actually is. At ...


Follow-Up: Could Common Core Transform Assessment?

Todd Rackowitz When we talk about assessment, people think of multiple-choice tests. After all, today's students spend a good bit of time filling in bubbles during testing season. And for teachers, a lot is riding on how our students perform on these "summative" assessments. But ultimately they don't tell us much—the results give only a hint at students' troublesome and successful areas, not specific detail. Formative assessments are far more useful. Teachers' daily efforts to gauge student learning can include simple questioning, observations, group activities, tasks, quizzes, and other methods. What we learn from it guides our teaching, showing...


Follow-Up: How Common Core Is Like a New Set of Cookware

Lauren Hill The old story goes like this: A daughter is watching her mother make brisket. She watches her mother cut off the end, and then asks her why she does this. The mother explains that she watched her mother do it. So, they call up Grandma and ask the same question, receiving the same answer. Luckily, Great Grandmother is still alive, so they call her. "Why do you cut off the end of the brisket?" they ask. "Well, without cutting off the end, it would not fit into my pan." How much of what we do everyday is done ...


Follow-Up: With Common Core, Finding Hope in Working Together

Jessica Keigan In my last post, I discussed my need to clean up my instructional storehouses to make way for the implementation of Common Core. I look forward to starting fresh and with a new lens by which to judge my practice. However, to truly be successful with this, I recognize the need to work with my peers in the process. The common standards push our students to think more collaboratively, and we have a unique opportunity to model this as we work to solve problems of implementation. As many commenters have pointed out, plenty of corporations and publishers will ...


Follow-Up: Teacher Leaders Build Ownership

Linda Yaron The best resource to shift education paradigms and build investment is already in schools: the teacher leader. Teacher leaders are those who are invested in education beyond their classroom walls and work to improve educational institutions. And they are the best leverage point that districts have to build teacher ownership of the Common Core. We can maximize the opportunity that the Common Core brings if districts can identify teacher leaders to learn about the standards and be a resource to peers at their school sites. Districts can strategically identify a cadre of teacher leaders, perhaps department chairs or ...


Follow-Up: Tackling the Common Core Together

Sarah Henchey We are all stakeholders in education. When big changes are discussed, we must set a number of places at the table—for teachers, policy makers, researchers, state and local leaders, and members of the community. In my first post, I described conversations I've engaged in with colleagues. These teacher-to-teacher conversations are valuable, but they're not enough. All stakeholders must communicate with each other if we hope to successfully transform our schools into the system our students need. Here are a few conversations I'd like to see and take part in: Teachers working with administrators to enhance collaboration within...


Common Core: What's Ahead for Teachers

Todd Rackowitz I'm not shy about it. I have a lot of hope for the Common Core Standards. They ask students to think critically, solve problems, and communicate effectively—and they've already inspired me to change how I teach mathematics. As part of the Implementing Common Core Standards project, I've been test-driving Common Core-aligned curriculum and assessments this year—so I have a good sense of what's ahead for my students and me. Student-Centered, Task-Oriented Classroom I confess that I enjoy traditional teaching: being at the interactive whiteboard and lecturing about the topic, explaining the vocabulary, and modeling the problems....


Common Core: Letting Go of Control

Lauren Hill The philosophy underpinning the Common Core Standards demands that teachers let go of control in the classroom and give it to students. I love this. It is exactly the right thing to do. Can't you remember your own teachers ardently reminding you that they will not be with you at ... the testing center, college, work, the supermarket? As educators, we value independence but teach in ways that foster dependence. We must stop. I adore explaining a new idea and watching students gain understanding of it. But it's even more rewarding when they can explain that idea to me. ...


Mathematical Practices Make a Difference

Ali Crowley I'm a high school math teacher in Kentucky, a state that not only adopted the Common Core Standards but also began full implementation of them in math and English classes this year (currently 46 days away from high-stakes testing!). To be honest, I have had no choice but to welcome them with open arms. And yes, the lack of professional development and resources cause daily frustrations. Yet I can also report that my students are learning mathematics this year at a higher level than ever before. Every math teacher should understand what the common standards promote: 1) greater ...


Cleaning Up for the Common Core

Jessica Keigan Ever watched a reality T.V. show about hoarders? They are horrifying. Piles of magazines from multiple decades. Bedrooms filled with polyester clothing and cats. These shows always shock my system. They send me straight to my clutter to spend time determining what is worth saving and what is not. With the impending implementation of the Common Core Standards Initiative, I feel as though I am watching a different kind of hoarding show—educational hoarders. And I have to admit I'm a part of it. Even though I know that the common standards require increased rigor and creativity,...


Common Core: Let's Talk About It

Sarah Henchey "The Common Core will have little to no effect on student achievement," Tom Loveless asserts in a recent Brookings Institution report. His argument revolves around the notion that rigorous standards alone will not increase student achievement. This is not a surprise to teachers. In fact, the "standards" themselves are not what will make a difference for students. Change will come as result of teachers reflecting, collaborating, and facilitating this vision into a reality. As teacher leader Darren Burris pointed out last week, the common standards create countless opportunities for teachers to "share our experiences about what's working, how ...


Common Core: It's All in the Implementation

Linda Yaron Even the most brilliant piece of education reform would be irrelevant unless it is properly implemented. In fact, improper implementation can even have a detrimental effect. That is why it is crucial that as states and districts roll out the Common Core Standards, that they do so carefully and thoughtfully in order to maximize the opportunity that it can potentially bring. This means deliberate examination of 1) Sequence, 2) Pace, and 3) Support Resources. Sequence: In order for standards and learning goals to have true impact, they must be aligned with instruction and assessment. Districts must intentionally structure ...


The opinions expressed in Teaching Ahead: A Roundtable are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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