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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About the Contributors

  • Jessica Shyu

    Jessica Shyu

    Jessica Shyu is vice president of teacher excellence and leadership at Teach For China where she leads teams to train and develop more than 300 fir...

  • David B. Cohen

    David B. Cohen

    David B. Cohen is associate director of Accomplished California Teachers, and a National Board-certified English teacher at Palo Alto High School (...

  • Patrick Ledesma

    Patrick Ledesma

    Patrick Ledesma is a middle school technology specialist and special education department chair with Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia. A N...

  • Marilyn Rhames

    Marilyn Rhames

    Marilyn Rhames is a middle grades teacher at a charter school in Chicago and runs a nonprofit called Teachers Who Pray. Her Ed Week blog called "Ch...

  • Larry Ferlazzo

    Larry Ferlazzo

    An award-winning English and Social Studies teacher at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento, Calif., Larry Ferlazzo is the author of Helping St...

  • Lori Nazareno

    Lori Nazareno

    Lori Nazareno is a dually certified National Board Certified Teacher who is serving as teacher-in residence for the Center for Teaching Quality. A ...

  • Renee Moore

    Renee Moore

    Renee has taught English and journalism for 20 years in the Mississippi Delta region at both high school and community college levels. She is Natio...

  • Carrie Kamm

    Carrie Kamm

    Carrie Kamm is a mentor-resident coach with the Academy for Urban School Leadership's Chicago Teacher Residency Program. She is also a co-author o...

  • Dave Orphal

    Dave Orphal

    Dave Orphal is a teacher and small learning communities coordinator at Skyline High School in Oakland, Calif. In his free time, he serves as a mem...

  • Noah Zeichner

    Noah Zeichner

    Noah Zeichner is a National Board-certified teacher at Chief Sealth International School in Seattle, Wash. He also spends part of his day supportin...

  • Noah Patel

    Noah Patel

    Noah Patel is a 7th-year middle school math teacher in the Boston Public School District and a National Board-certified teacher. He received his ba...

  • Jessica Hahn

    Jessica Hahn

    Jessica Hahn has taught elementary grade children for six years in Phoenix and New York City. She has a master's degree in literacy from Teachers C...

  • Rebecca Schmidt

    Rebecca Schmidt

    Rebecca Schmidt is in her fifth year of teaching in D.C. Public Schools. She is team leader of the 3rd grade at Bancroft Elementary, and also runs ...

  • Bill Farmer

    Bill Farmer

    Bill Farmer has been teaching biology and chemistry for nine years at Evanston Township High School in Evanston, Ill. He is currently serving his t...

  • Ryan Kinser

    Ryan Kinser

    Ryan Kinser is a 2012-13 teacherpreneur at the Center for Teaching Quality. He divides his time between teaching English to sixth graders at Walker...

  • Dan Brown

    Dan Brown

    Dan Brown teaches high school English in Washington, D.C. He is the author of The Great Expectations School: A Rookie Year in the New Blackboard Ju...

  • Sarah Henchey

    Sarah Henchey

    Sarah Henchey is a National Board Certified Teacher and a 2012-13 Teacher in Residence at the Center for Teaching Quality. Sarah has taught middle ...

  • Marsha Ratzel

    Marsha Ratzel

    Marsha Ratzel is a National Board-certified teacher in the Blue Valley School District in Kansas, where she teaches middle school math and science....

  • Jessica Keigan

    Jessica Keigan

    As a teacherpreneur, Jessica divides her time evenly between teaching English at Horizon High School in Denver and supporting results-oriented effo...

  • Michael Moran

    Michael Moran

    Michael Moran is a former sixth grade teacher currently pursuing a Master of Public Administration degree at the University of Washington's Evans S...

  • Ryan Niman

    Ryan Niman

    Ryan Niman teaches English and Social Studies in the Edmonds School District north of Seattle, Washington. Ryan is a member of the Washington New M...

  • Megan Allen

    Megan Allen

    Megan M. Allen is a National Board-certified Teacher in Tampa, Fla. As a 2012-13 teacherpreneur, Megan spends half of her week teaching 5th graders...

  • Ilana Garon

    Ilana Garon

    Ilana Garon has been teaching high school English in the Bronx since she graduated from Barnard College in 2003. Her writing has appeared in The Gu...

  • Anna Martin

    Anna Martin

    Anna L. Martin is the resource teacher at Lee Mathson Middle School, a public school in an urban high-needs district in San Jose, Calif. A National...

  • Kate Mulcahy

    Kate Mulcahy

    Kate Mulcahy, a Boettcher Teachers Program graduate, has taught for five years as an English & English Language Learner teacher at Northglenn High ...

  • Ariel Sacks

    Ariel Sacks

    Ariel Sacks teaches 8th grade English at a middle school in Brooklyn, N.Y. An alumna of Bank Street College of Education, she is a co-author of TEA...

  • Linda Yaron

    Linda Yaron

    As an English teacher in an inner-city high school in Los Angeles, Linda Yaron has spent the last nine years working to increase opportunities for ...

  • Bill Ferriter

    Bill Ferriter

    Bill Ferriter (@plugusin on Twitter) carries about a dozen different titles around with him each day. He's a member of the Teacher Leaders Network,...

  • Robert Pronovost

    Robert Pronovost

    Robert Pronovost is a 2nd grade teacher and MOUSE Squad student tech advisor at Belle Haven Elementary in Menlo Park, CA. Robert has been a teacher...

  • Nancy S. Gardner

    Nancy S. Gardner

    A renewed National Board Certified Teacher, Nancy Gardner teaches senior English at Mooresville High School in Mooresville, N.C. She is also chair ...

  • Karl Ochsner

    Karl Ochsner

    Karl Ochsner is a 7th and 8th grade science teacher at Blessed Pope John XXIII Catholic School in Scottsdale, Arizona, and teaches classes on K-12 ...

  • Joel Malley

    Joel Malley

    Joel Malley teaches AP literature, along with mass media and film production, at Cheektowaga Central High School outside Buffalo, NY. He is an acti...

  • Jennie Magiera

    Jennie Magiera

    Jennie Magiera is a 4th and 5th grade math teacher and a technology and mathematics curriculum coach in Chicago Public Schools. A Teacher Leaders N...

  • Lauren Hill

    Lauren Hill

    Lauren Hill teaches AP Language and Composition and 9th grade English at Western Hills High School in Frankfort, Kentucky. A National Board Certif...

  • Todd Rackowitz

    Todd Rackowitz

    Todd Rackowitz has been teaching math for 21 years in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system in North Carolina. A National Board-certified teacher...

  • Alison Wright

    Alison Wright

    Ali Wright teaches Algebra 2 and AP Calculus at Lafayette High School in Lexington, Ky. A National Board-certified teacher with 11 years of experie...

  • David Ruenzel

    David Ruenzel

    David Ruenzel is an English teacher at the Athenian School in Danville, Calif. From 1992-2001 he was a senior writer at Teacher Magazine and contri...

  • Bill Ivey

    Bill Ivey

    Bill Ivey teaches 7th grade Humanities, French, and music at Stoneleigh-Burnham School in Western Massachusetts. He is a member of the Teacher Lead...

  • Cheryl Suliteanu

    Cheryl Suliteanu

    Cheryl Suliteanu has taught elementary school students in Oceanside, Calif. for 15 years. She is a National Board-certified teacher with certificat...

  • José Vilson

    José Vilson

    Jos Vilson is a math teacher, coach, and data analyst for a middle school in the Inwood/Washington Heights neighborhood of New York. A poet, web d...

  • Jennifer Barnett

    Jennifer Barnett

    Jennifer Barnett is an English and social studies teacher and technology specialist in Talladega County, Ala. She is a co-author of Teaching 2030: ...

  • Delonna Halliday

    Delonna Halliday

    Delonna Halliday is a Literacy Coach at First Creek Middle School in Tacoma, Wash. She has a background in TV/movie production, spent a year teachi...

  • Meenoo Rami

    Meenoo Rami

    Meenoo Rami, founder of the #engchat weekly Twitter chat for English teachers, teaches her students English at Science Leadership Academy in Philad...

  • Sarah Brown Wessling

    Sarah Brown Wessling

    Sarah Brown Wessling is a high school English teacher at Johnston High School in Johnston, Iowa. She is also serving as TCHr Laureate for the Teac...

  • Paul Barnwell

    Paul Barnwell

    A New Hampshire native, Paul is in his 11th year teaching in Kentucky public schools. He’s currently an English III and Digital Media teacher at ...

  • Dedy Fauntleroy

    Dedy Fauntleroy

    Dedy Fauntleroy is an ELL instructional coach in Seattle Public Schools. In her previous life, she served as an ELD specialist, mentor teacher, and...

  • Shannon C'de Baca

    Shannon C'de Baca

    Shannon C'de Baca has been a science teacher for the last 34 years. She currently teaches a blended online chemistry course. Shannon has written le...

  • Mark Sass

    Mark Sass

    Mark Sass has been teaching high school social sciences for 16 years, for the past 12 years at Legacy High School in Broomfield, Colorado. Mark is ...

  • Brooke Peters

    Brooke Peters

    Brooke Peters has taught kindergarten and 1st grade in Los Angeles and New York City for 10 years. As co-founder of The Odyssey Initiative, Brooke ...

  • Lillie Marshall

    Lillie Marshall

    Lillie Marshall (@WorldLillie on Twitter) has been a teacher in the Boston Public Schools since 2003, and is passionate about creative forms of tea...

  • Jessica Cuthbertson

    Jessica Cuthbertson

    Jessica Cuthbertson, a Colorado educator with 10 years' experience, teaches middle school literacy and has served as a literacy instructional coach...

  • Justin Minkel

    Justin Minkel

    Justin Minkel teaches second and third grade in northwest Arkansas at Jones Elementary, where 97 percent of students live in poverty and 85 percent...

  • Jane Fung

    Jane Fung

    Jane Fung is a National Board-certified teacher in urban Los Angeles, where she currently teaches 1st grade. She serves on the board of the Nationa...

  • Sandy Merz

    Sandy Merz

    August (Sandy) Merz III, a National Board-certified teacher in Career and Technical Education, teaches engineering and algebra at Safford K-8 Inter...

  • Silvestre Arcos

    Silvestre Arcos

    Silvestre Arcos is the founding 5th grade math teacher at KIPP: Washington Heights Middle School in New York City. He studied human development and...

  • Matthew Holland

    Matthew Holland

    Matthew Holland is a native of Alexandria, Va., and a product of the city's public school system, where he is currently an elementary school teache...

  • Jody Passanisi

    Jody Passanisi

    Jody Passanisi is a middle school teacher at an independent school in the Los Angeles area and a clinical educator for DeLeT's teacher induction pr...

  • Bud Hunt

    Bud Hunt

    Bud Hunt is an instructional technology coordinator for the St. Vrain Valley Schools in northern Colorado. He works with teachers and technologists...

  • Elizabeth Duffey

    Elizabeth Duffey

    After 37 years as a high school English teacher, Elizabeth Duffey took a position as facilitator of instruction in literacy in the Tacoma Public Sc...

  • Lhisa Almashy

    Lhisa Almashy

    Lhisa Almashy is an ESOL teacher at Park Vista High School in Lake Worth, Fla. A 2012 winner of Teaching Tolerance's Cultural Responsive Teaching A...

  • Darnell Fine

    Darnell Fine

    Darnell Fine is a multicultural thinker who facilitates education and creative writing seminars, as well as social justice workshops, around the co...

  • Ben Curran

    Ben Curran

    Ben Curran is a K-5 instructional coach at a charter school in Detroit. He is also co-founder of Engaging Educators, co-author of Learning in the 2...

  • Jennifer Martin

    Jennifer Martin

    Jennifer Martin is an English teacher at Wootton High School in Rockville, Md. During her 12 years in the classroom, Jennifer has taught nearly eve...

  • Casie Jones

    Casie Jones

    Casie Jones is an English teacher at Martin Luther King Jr. Student Transition Academy in Memphis. She is a Teach Plus Teaching Policy Fellow and a...

  • Ryan Prosser

    Ryan Prosser

    Ryan Prosser is an National Board-certified teacher in early adolescent english language arts and currently works as an instructional facilitator i...

  • Rod Powell

    Rod Powell

    Rod Powell, a National Board-certified teacher (social studies), has been teaching for 26 years. A CTQ Collaboratory member, Rod loves the challeng...

  • Pernille Ripp

    Pernille Ripp

    Pernille Ripp (@PernilleRipp) is a 5th grade teacher in Wisconsin, a proud techy geek, creator of the GlobalRead Aloud Project, co-founder of EdCam...

  • Elizabeth Stein

    Elizabeth Stein

    Elizabeth Stein has been teaching more than 20 years and is currently a middle school special education teacher and mentor-teacher program coordina...

  • Brianna Crowley

    Brianna Crowley

    Brianna Crowley teaches high school English in Hershey, Pa. She also serves an instructional-technology coach to implement her district's BYOD poli...

  • Julie Hiltz

    Julie Hiltz

    Julie Hiltz is a 2013-2014 CTQ teacherpreneur who helps Florida teachers personalize their leadership roles and works as an educational-media speci...

  • Carl Finer

    Carl Finer

    Carl Finer has taught in South Los Angeles for ten years, currently teaching English and journalism at Animo Jefferson Charter Middle School. He is...

  • Tim Walker

    Tim Walker

  • Margit Timakov

    Margit Timakov

  • Meredith Kohl

    Meredith Kohl

    Meredith Kohl is special projects manager for Project Tomorrow and lower elementary education director for Bridges Reading and Writing Institute, b...

  • Hillary Greene

    Hillary Greene

  • Brad Clark

    Brad Clark

  • William Tolley

    William Tolley

  • Kristina Holzweiss

    Kristina Holzweiss

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    Laura Thomas

  • Kathleen Melville

    Kathleen Melville

  • Cindi Rigsbee

    Cindi Rigsbee

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    Jackson Barnett

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    James Mann

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    Isabel Song

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    Garrett deGraffenreid

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    Fatima Khan and Muniba Siddiqui

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    Amani Bey

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    Scarlett Gaddy

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  • Val Brown

    Val Brown

    Val Brown is a 10-year educator who supports elementary school teachers as a teacher on assignment in Seminole County Public Schools in Florida. Sh...

  • Kim Ursetta

    Kim Ursetta

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    Carrie Bakken

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    Ayla Gavins

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