Fewer, clearer and higher standards are one focus of the Common Core Standards initiative. 21st century skills are included when possible. I feel that developing standards that are common among states can be most beneficial to both students and educators as we become more fluid in delivering instruction. Many of our high schools offer virtual learning and/or blended learning opportunities for students and often times are taught by out of state instructors. Not all states are on board though. What do you see as the biggest obstacle in this initiative? What do you think will be most beneficial? Do you think teachers will embrace this initiative? Do you think teachers who have taken an Intel Teach course would embrace this more than others?
Deborah- it is hard for me to see an obstacle in this initiative because I think this will be better for teachers and students. I have spent a lot of time working with districts in Curriculum Mapping and one district in particular in working with Power Standards - and how beneficial that was for that district.
I think that all teachers would embrace having less standards that were more clearly defined - in fact "old" standards could become unit objectives.
Is anyone in the community an active supporter of Core Standards? I am curious what others think as well.
I embrace the idea of common core standards for all states. Previously each state has determined their own set of standards and objectives that may correlate to the national standards. However I think it is difficult to rank states based upon their own accountability measure if each state's standards are different. In order for our country to stay globally competitive and truly embrace being 21st century learners and thinkers, we should adopt set of common standards to help close the achievement gaps throughout the nation. These standards will allow teachers to narrow their focus to what students are expected to learn and we can have a true measure of the high-quality education that is occurring in our schools. I am attaching the website that further explain the iniative along with a presentation about the standards.
I am disappointed that not all states will "be on board" with common core standards. My opinion is that common core standards could and should be implemented - including my favorite subject science! I know the National Science Frameworks has been created and is being used to create a draft of national science standards. I await these standards with great interest. State science standards are currently varied in how and what students are to learn. As I discuss science standards with people from other states I often find middle school science covers a lot of "memorization" concepts. Utah determined middle school students should learn "concrete" concepts and my core matches this quite well. Rather than memorize a lot of "organelles" found in cells, my students must learn the cell parts visible to them through a light microscope. Obviously student interest is quite high as they use the microscope and work to find each of the parts assigned by our state core. (Students complain "class can't be over yet" as they work to complete this kind of an activity.)
How can we encourage individual state leaders to adopt the common core standards for all subject areas? What benefit is there for the politicians to make such a decision? How can we help teachers become interested in teaching common core standards?
American Educator dedicated most of the winter volume to Common Core Curriculum. I found it pretty interesting and on target for what we are talking about.
In Colorado, the Common Core Standards were introduced at about the same time that the state standards had just been updated. It has created some confusion and frustration as school districts are uncertain of which standards to incorporate within their districts. As for myself, I believe that each are similar to each other and both could be incorporated without all the confusion and frustation that it is causing. Most states have incorporated the ISTE standards and that was a positive move as it was in our state. At the recent Essentials course that I taught, I had the teachers use both the Common Core Standards and the stae standards. The teachers just felt it was more of a personal choice as each are very close. They felt it gave them more ownership in a way. I'll let everyone know what is finally decided in our state.
What do you see as the biggest obstacle in this initiative?
The biggest obstacles in Louisiana are awareness and professional development. The state will make decisions on curriculum and the teachers find out about it much later and they are not prepared. I was at a meeting with all the librarians for high/ middle schools in my district (which is one of the largest) and I was the only person who knew the progress of the common core standards in our state. The only reason for this is becuse I did work at the state. My other concern is professional development with the standards. We no longer have a professional development team at the state level so it will be up to the curriculum folks to create something for the districts.....YIKES.
I share Susan's concerns about how Professional Development may (or may not) help teachers with the Common Core. My state dramatically cut their Professional Development budget this past year. Trainings were cut by about 70%. I am concerned this kind of cost cutting may make implementation of the Common Core very difficult.
Are LA and UT unique? Are other states facing PD cuts? What can/are you or others doing to help teachers in this regard?
Glen and Susan,
I, too, share your concern about the lack of PD that's available to support teachers in the implementation of the Common Core Standards. Our school Curriculum Coach, Media Coach and myself met today as we do every other Monday to discuss how we are supporting teachers at our school. This is a topic of concern for us today as we move forward. We are going to take the present standards and the Common Core and compare them, looking first at how they are similar. Then taking those that are different and looking at the key words or terminology to determine exactly what its asking us to do. We thought this would be a start.
Is there something we can do as educational leaders to support teachers in this area? Could we create a document and compare the Common Core to different state standards?
I think you identified an excellent starting point. As technology leaders (knowing NETS-S and NETS-T) we should lead in comparing the Common Core to current standards. I think it would be fun to help document similarities and differences between the Common Core and state standards. I'm sure I will be more successful in this area when the National Science Framework has been formulated into standards. I've had the opportunity to train teachers in Utah on our current science core and feel fairly confident comparing this middle school curriculum to national standards.
Is a document (like a shared Google doc) sufficient for this endeavor? Would a wiki perhaps serve the needs of this purpose?
This is an excellent discussion! Teacher professional development around common core is critical and as you mentioned, Glen, it's helpful for teachers to see that Common Core is not so completely different from current national and state standards. In fact, the ELA Common Core looks entirely familiar. The important added feature in the ELA CC is the literacy standards in social studies and science. I would suggest a Wiki or other discussion-based tool for teachers to share their understanding of the CC in the context of their own classrooms.
I wonder how many teachers do not realize the relationship of literacy standards for social studies and science in the common core. This, however, brings out the importance of designing a good wiki to help explain these relationships. With an excellent guide, teachers may see and be comfortable with using the common core in their classrooms.
Exactly! Unfortunately, because the literacy standards are part of the ELA Common Core (which is, of course, where they really belong), science and social studies teachers may not adopt them, leaving it up to the ELA teachers to implement. Helping teachers adopt all the standards that apply to their content, wherever they are placed, and implementing them in their own classrooms might be a challenge. A wiki would be a natural place for information, resources and discussions around these issues and other topics. The wiki needs to be monitored and managed effectively, and outreach will have to be part it.
The ELA Common Core sounds like an excellent introduction to Project Based Learning in collaborative settings. Why not have science, social studies, and English teachers all together to create learning experiences for their students. Wait ... now we're back to the when and how will these teachers become trained to do this? My experience is that teachers do not naturally know how to collaborate in developing collaborative group activities.
I think a wiki would be great to use for this because of its collaborative nature. However, I also think our Teachers Engage community would be a great place to start. Could we set up a group and use the tools we have access to here? We could also dedicate a series of webinars for discussion along the way and bring in other experts. I think this topic could really bring our community alive. What are your thoughts?
I just came across this LiveBinder of state resources. Many have already aligned their standards to the Common Core Standards. Check your state to see how it might compare. What are the similarities and what is different?
Also, be sure to read Benna Kallick's Blog Post on the implications to curriculum, instruction, assessment, and professional development as we transition from current state standards. Much of this we have discussed here in our thread.
I got excited to check out your LiveBinder link. (You know how I appreciate that Web 2.0 tool!) I was disappointed to find it is a Private Binder. I've attached a screenshot so you know what the access problem is.
I like the blog post you included. I think it is important we all recognize the role of the common core for our future as teachers. I was thrilled to find Utah's State Office of Education has an official blog. About a week ago, our State Superintendent defended the common core against unfounded attacks from legislators. It is a very interesting read. Just yesterday our Governor completed a similar defense of the common core. (I should preface this with information that some individuals in Utah have very strong feelings about the role of government - especially the federal government.)
So sorry...didn't mean to get you all excited only to get a message that you can't access it. I guess that's how folks feel when they try to open something that is blocked. I'm glad you opened it immediatley after I posted so I could fix it.
I edited the link to send you directly to the binder. Like I did with another post, I copied the binder to my collection and didn't realize that changes the URL. I learn something every day.
I love how this discussion is getting others in taking a proactive approach on how we can better inform all teachers about the common core standards. I am sure we have enough subject specific experts that are in the community to launch a series of professional development workshops. The more resources are available the better opportunity for buy in. I am an elementary math coach in NC and I love how the math common core standards documents give more details on each standards. Any teacher new to a grade level or new to teaching in general can gain a better understanding of common core standard expectations. I have found that our state standards are not writing in teacher friendly language and we spend a lot of time unpacking each objective every school year. If we can a get series of webinars together, count me in! Go Teachers Engage Community!!
I am attaching a coy of the common core standards for mathematics.
Thanks for providing a copy of the National Math Core Standards. This discussion did seem to take a twist and move toward Language Arts. I think there are many teachers as concerned about the coming math changes as they are concerned about the coming Language Arts changes.
Like you, I am excited this discussion has moved into how we can educate and prepare teachers to implement this core. I am very excited about the possibilities. You hit a home run in mentioning the breadth of content specialists we have in community. This group can and should lead in discussions for all of these proposed national changes.
I have also found state standards can be difficult for teachers to comprehend. How much more difficult is it to ensure students understand what they need to learn in this situation? My district has been working to develop benchmarks based on our state curriculum. Many teachers now understand their core well enough to put it into student friendly language. This is one example of a benchmark I use with one standard I teach to 7th Grade science students.
Thanks Glen for sharing your science benchmark information! I am excited about how I can use it for math. Currently our teachers use "I can" statements to help break down our objectives into student friendly language. I love the discussions about collaborating and mobilizing the community around the common core standards. When it all comes together, count me in...I will be there.
I'm glad to know the Benchmarks might help you. Our math teachers looked at the science benchmarks and decided to write their slightly differently. I only have a little prejudice about them. I look forward to hearing how your math department uses the concept to make the statements easier for students to understand. There is a beauty to collaboration and sharing ideas.
I believe that getting the Engage community "mobilized" on this topic would go a long ways to addressing the concerns we all have regarding the common core standards. From there, a wiki would be a very valuable resource in the development and implementation of the common core standards.
We have had severe cuts in PD in NY state. We have a statewide organization for Teacher Centers across the state that has been funded by our state legislature and this year they cut all funding to 132 Teacher Centers that provide PD. PD is key to having the discussion and to develop understanding of the Common Core Standards. Some teachers that have been in the field for a long time get numb to yet another change in the standards and don't invest the time to understand them because they will be changing in the near future anyway. We have had so many changes in our math curriculum over the past 10-12 years in NY it is difficult to keep up with all the changes.
NY state is looking to change assessments so it will be interesting to see what they come up with and if it really tests understanding of the concepts. But with budget cuts they have eliminated some of our state testing so we'll see.
I also think a wiki would be a great idea to have a discussion and have a link to a google doc that we could collaborate on and edit.
Joanne, I was upset to hear about the cut to teacher centers and wonder how the BOCES model schools programs will address the instruction of Common Core to districts.
Glen, I would be interested in helping developing the training wiki as well. I am a supporter of the CC standards and advocated for it. As education moves forward, and the learning environments change, CC will help students by allowing them the choice to select the kind of education they want. If standards are the same across the board, who's to say that a child in NY can't take a course in another state and get credit? Right now students are using Virtual School for credit recovery but it should be allowed for more. That's my own opinion of course but I believe it's the future. Whether it's 5,10 or 30 years down the road is another story .
I'm not an expert in CC so I'll continue the chant....Bueller? Bueller?
Blanca, I understand how important it can be for students to be able to earn credits from another institution or state. I am considering the importance of a Common Core from a different perspective. Growing up, my family moved 16 times before I graduated from High School. I attended three different High Schools during this time. During my senior year, I was informed I would not graduate with my peers. My counselor informed me I was missing an English credit. (This despite me taking and passing every class I was assigned.) Had a Common Core been in place, I should not have faced this challenge.
Continue the call ... "Beuller?"
Wow, Glen, how similar our growing up is. I also went to about 15 schools growing up. I, too went to 3 high schools but my situation was different in that the previous high schools attended required more credits than necessary to graduate my final year and I was able to get out early each day. Had I moved from the last high school to the previous one, it would have been different and I probably would not have had enough credits. I also attended 4 schools just in 4th grade. Again, lucky for me, as I moved schools the previous curriculum was some what behind and I did not get behind. So, I agree that Common Core Standards would make transitions such as this much easier on students.
You obviously understand my concerns and feeling of need for the student who moves. As I moved, some schools were ahead of where I had been while others were significantly behind. There were grades that I wondered if I had learned anything before arriving at my new school. I would like to know no other student has to go through such frustration in the future.
Deborah, here is a link to the West Central Regional Service Center site in Arizona. We have been researching Common Core trainings. I don't know if these will help, but please feel free to look them over. Training - West Central Regional Service Center Also, here is a link to the resources page. Resources - West Central Regional Service Center
You will notice that NY has really gotten into this big time. Also, Pearson is another provider.
In New York, it is a district by district approach. I work in several and some are dealing with Danielson and SLO for 2 years now while others are just doing it now! PD has been reduced because of budget cuts, so everyone is stressed. Remember, Principals are being evaluated also, and they are just learning about it.
As an ET/IT person, I see the level of stress is reducing the need for using technology because the teachers do not have time to breath. One district I work with still hasn't acknowledge that they will have to test digitally soon!
How are other schools dealing with the digital testing?
Stacey, what I see in districts especially in NY and NJ is a rush to buy computer equipment to get students "digital testing" ready. We need to do more to ensure our students not just reap the benefits of having access to technology but that they truly understand what access to the technology means. Greater ability to use information to inform good decisions, access to others around the world that they can collaborate with, opportunities to become publishers of authentic work and provide and receive feedback to others.
I have observed what you have as well - districts who have been working on SLOs and CCLS for a few years and others who hadn't as of April decided on a teacher evaluation rubric (well hopefully by this point they have!)
Schools are confused about what to do to get prepared. Better communication from the state and/or testing centers would help. Perhaps we should become advocates for others through an Intel initiated call to action?
I'm curious to know what other districts are doing to prepare as well.
After reading many of the posts, I truly believe that the education of the Common Core Standards should be part of Intel trainers, ISTE, and as part of the Courses that are offered. (Elements, Essentials, and Thinking with Technology)
I also believe that the administration needs to educational training as well. Encouragement to take the lessons and courses needs to be extended to them so that they truly understand as well.
How much time do you think would be needed in any Intel Teach course to include Common Core Standards? Common Core Standards could possible make it easier for teachers to have appropriate standards when they write their Unit Plans.
Do you think instruction on the Common Core could / should also be included in the Leadership Forum?
I think the time factor when including Common Core Standards will be more initially until teachers get more familiar with them and they have more conversations in their schools. As time goes on it will be important to have it a part of the training but I don't anticipate it taking as long.
I definitely think it should be part of Leadership and a good discussion there about how and why we are including it in other trainings.
We are currently transitioning into the Common Core Standards. In NC teachers will not be implementing them until 2012-13; so until then, they are still being tested on the old standards. I think it is important to introduce the standards to the teachers, because they need to be aware that they are just around the bend, but until they are apart of the testing program, teachers may be a little hesitant in moving completely in that direction.
Last week we received notification on how and when your state will implement the Common Core State Standards. I hope Utah takes sufficient time to help teachers understand these standards. We will also start teaching with the Common Core while testing with tests related to the old core. I am concerned that teachers will see test results and conclude they do not need to include technology. (In Utah, technology has not been a part of our Language Arts core yet.)
I also hope we have time to discuss the Common Core. I am familiar with the proposed National Science Framework - but am not as knowledgeable about the Math and Language Arts core.
Who is our "resident expert" capable of training the rest of us? Volunteers? "Bueller?... Bueller?... Bueller?"
Glen, I also hope we have time to discuss this and where we might include it in our training. And, like you, I want to hear from the experts. And this is most certainly the group to make that happen.
It definitely needs to be added to the discussions in the Leadership Forum training as well. We've got to get our admin's on board to effectively support instructional staff as we move forward in implementing the common core standards.
The good news from my school has to do with my principal. He is a former Language Arts teacher. We have discussed the Common Core and I believe he is ready to implement it as soon as our District adopts it. My principal also understands and wants to encourage other teachers to connect subject matter through projects. I'm not sure if/when we will see other teachers being willing to do Project Based Learning - but he knows I am willing and understand how important it is. Nice to know he is supportive .
When the state decided to do away with the technology requirement for certifying teachers, many teachers stopped taking technology courses. One of the many things that the common core does is embrace seamless technology integration. For teachers with minimum technology skills, it may be difficult to embrace teaching a curriculum if they are lacking the very skill that is necessary to do so. The good news is . . . . for NC it is not going anywhere! In order for teachers to keep their jobs, they will have to make the commitment to grow not only in technology, but in teaching 21st century skills because they too are seamlessly integrated in the common core standards. Many of the schools in GCS are making a commitment to take the INTEL training; I am currently teaching 2 and have recently scheduled another. Hopefully schools will not wait until 2012-13 before beginning to prepare for the Common Core Standards.
Gail, I think the seamless integration of 21st century skills within the Common Core Standards will force those who have been reluctant to change to seek out professional development in ways they have never done before. Although 96% of all my teachers at my school have been through the Essentials or TwT, not all have embraced this way of teaching. It's going to be important as educational leaders to have a plan in place to support teachers as these standards become the way we do business. I think we, as educational leaders in the community have begun the planning process in this discussion thread by sharing ideas and having this discussion.
I agree the Common Core State Standards are infused with Technology. I hope states do not try to reduce the importance of Technology in teaching the core. Students have a need to learn appropriate use of technology. I am surprised how many experienced teachers think students inanely know how to use hardware and software. I often find my 7th grade students are familiar with downloading media, using Facebook, and use of Chat/IM. These students, however, are very limited in knowledge of how technology can be used to enhance learning or demonstrate understanding. This is where I see Intel Teach playing an important role.
That is the case with many pre-service teachers as well. They are comfortable with the hardware and the social networks but lack the curriculum integration skill, because in many cases, they did not experience the practice in their educational process. I am trying to find tools that are not blocked in my county and attempting to use them to guide teachers in using these resources to create student centered activities and allow students to have more control of their learning.
I think you and I dealt with the same Pre-service teachers. I hope we both are able to help them realize how to implement Web 2.0 tools into lessons and help their students. Last week I used Wordle with my 9th Grade science class. I had two Pre-Service teachers in my classroom that day. One had never seen Wordle before. The other asked me "how are you going to use Wordle as a teaching tool?" After the lesson, both young ladies said they were impressed with student engagement and how Wordle helped students demonstrate understanding of the concept. When technology is the best tool, I love to pull it out and let students use it!
This is a good use of wordle and the important thing is the pre service teachers can see how easy it is to integrate it into the lesson. Another tool that I have found useful when working with students is vocaroo. I use it to allow students to assess and enhance their reading skills. Students record while they are reading, play back and assess their strengths and weakness. I have seen huge improvements as a result. The teacher can allow students to complete the vocaroo activity while continuing to work in small groups on other tasks.
I work with a lot of preservice students and I am always amazed at their very limited use of technology and how they don't really think a lot about using it in the classroom settings. Most of them don't think students should have access to a lot of technology because they will just get distracted. I try to help them understand that it, in part, is the design of the lesson that will determine how distracted they get but they would rather they just not have access to technology than have to deal with it. They want them to go to a computer lab where the teacher has control over the computers. We have talked a lot about mobile technology and it is just not anything they feel comfortable dealing with in the classroom. They just seem overwhelmed with everything they need to do and adding the technology is just not something they seem ready to tackle. At our local state university, technology is a separate course in the education program but I think it would be better to have it integrated in all the classes they take but the faculty is just not ready for that. I think a team teaching model might work but not sure if college faculty are ready for that in some cases. It is great when they see it happening in their field experience or student teaching. Great job, Glen!
It appears we travel in a parallel universe . I have almost the Team teaching situation you suggest. My local state university science methods professor is a good friend. He contacts me EVERY semester and asks I be a guest lecturer. My focus is on different technologies that can be used with students. I show quick examples then remind the pre-service teachers they must ask "can technology enhance the lesson?" I remind them that the answer might be "NO!" Typically our scheduled hour becomes 90 minutes as they begin asking a lot of excellent questions.
MacBook $999.00, Internet Browser $0.00, demonstrating Intel Teach Thinking with Technology tools to TWO preservice teachers with both 9th grade classes today PRICELESS! There were a few questions by students who had not used the tools before. Once we began, students were very focused and engaged. The preservice teachers came up and started asking me questions. I think I just sold them .
I have taken advantage of the Intel community to have them come into my classroom "virtually" to share some of their knowledge. I do it to expose them to how they can bring the outside world into the classroom at little to no cost. The other is of course the expertise that they bring. This semester they are working on developing interdisciplinary units in groups of 4 preservice students per group and they will need to have access to a person or group of people that they can work with and get feedback for their units. In some cases the people they connect with will have content expertise and in other cases they may have technology integration expertise. My hope is as they learn some of the tools and how they can promote higher order thinking and allow students to create content they will be able to share these ideas with teachers that are currently in the field that may not have as much expertise. Also on the flip side content specialists will help them to make sure they are addressing the standards.
I am always looking for more people to work with my students and give them feedback virtually!
So glad you are there for the students, Glen. They need good role models.
You got me with the idea of having student groups work with "experts." I'm glad they get experience with teachers who know content well and are also exposed to teachers who know "technology." I always appreciate feedback from non-science teachers. They identify mannerisms I use or ways to use technology more effectively.
Gail, have you seen the Common Core Curriculum Maps yet? They are extremely helpful in the move towards CCSS. The Maps include suggested texts, assessments, essential questions and more. http://commoncore.org/
They have both a free edition and an updated one that costs $20 for elementary, middle or high school maps. Totally worth it!
I purchased access to the updated ELA maps a while back and I'm still digging through the content - there is so much there! I agree that they are worth the cost. One thing I notice so far (perhaps I missed something) is that the Maps appear to focus more on literary text than informational as the Common Core Standards do. Do I just need to look deeper or am I missing something?
I have been trying to keep up with the changes in NYS for the rollout of Common Core Standards. We had a statewide webinar recently throught the NY State Ed dept and I liked what I heard but I'm still not sure how we are going to get there in the classroom before the National Assessments are in place. It requires a lot of conversation about how you teach and what you teach and as teachers we are not really given that time to make decisions on what and how to teach. I found this article interesting about the complexity of what to teach http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2011/03/16/24text_ep.h30.html?tkn=WUCFPqsLPnsLc%2FKw7qUuBz%2Bj11k8BA5Q%2Fdno&cmp=clp-sb-ascd
I also found this graphic on a 3 part model for determining how difficult a text is to read.
There is a lot of discussion about science, SS and math teachers at all levels spending more time teaching specific reading strategies for the type of text they encounter in their discipline.
I'm wondering what continued conversation and work is being done in your districts?
Like you, I have heard Science, Social Science and Math teachers may be asked to teach more "content specific" reading strategies as the common core standards are implemented. As one attempting to meet the requirements of my already large science core, I have some questions:
As we collectively prepare for the Common Core implementation, how can we help ensure all teachers are comfortable with any changes in their core?
I can't speak for science but I know in math and English the standards do call for a lot fewer topics but much more indepth and fluency in that area rather than just moving on to the next topic. There appears to be a time lag between the change in what the CC standards ask you to cover and what the assessments cover. I see that as a real problem.
I have the same questions regarding the specific training that non-Language Arts teachers receive to help them instruct students in reading strategies. I think some people assume that as a science teacher you have developed certain reading skills to understand the information you read in science journals and charts and graphs but then to teach that, I believe is a different set of skills. From what I am hearing in NY, the time you put into teaching the students to better read science information will dramatically help them when it comes to assessment because if the student becomes fluent in reading the information in science then when the student is presented the situation and that level of reading on an assessment they will be able to use that knowledge to be successful. I think in theory it sounds good and if teachers start this in the younger grades then the students will have some of these skills as they move up but it is a process. We have been trained to cover a large amount of material in a small amount of time and now they are saying we need to cover fewer topics but to a fluency level and not dumb it down to be able to cover it.
On top of these changes, in NY state test scores will be 40% of a Teacher's evaluation (possibly starting in Sept 2011) so how many chances are people going to want to take if so much of their evaluation depends on these scores.
Our state education department had a webinar with David Coleman and it was very good and took you through what teaching a topic much look like in this new climate of CC standards. If you have time much of it would be appropriate for any state that has adopted CC. http://usny.nysed.gov/rttt/resources/bringing-the-common-core-to-life.html
I'm just not really sure how the professional development will occur quickly enough for teachers to change and be prepared to teach these topics in this manner and the disconnect of when the assessments will be ready and what they will look like to match the standards.
So much to think about!
I have long supported and advanced the idea that "less is more,'' Early reading of the proposed National Science Benchmarks shows a deeper study of topics. Wahoo! I agree that a different skill set is needed to teach students how to read and interpret science text. I have concerns on how test scores can reliably show good teaching. I teach at a Title One School. Most of my students lack parental support. My students will work well with me in class-but few complete homework due to low parental support. I could transfer to a school in a "well to do" - area. I, however, love the opportunity to help these students. If my students do not perform as well as peers in other schools does this mean I am a poor teacher? How can we encourage good teachers to work with these students?
Glen, I agree with you about what schools and students teachers are going to work with based on these new rules. In NY the Regents just adopted a policy that districts can use the state test score (given 1-3 days depending on the test one time a year) for 40% of the teacher evaluation. It has to be used for 20% of the Teacher Evaluation but districts can chose to make it 40%. That is a terrible burden, in my opinion, to put on a 1st grader or 3rd grader never mind the teacher. I love to work with those children who have a difficult time learning or grasping a concept but if the child's score on that 1 test makes up 40% of your evaluation and they have to do well on it for you to keep your job then it becomes a difficult choice.
We can do so much better for the students we work with and I really don't understand this approach.
On another note, how are your districts rolling out the Common Core Standards? Have they been doing it for awhile, will it be summer professional development, turnkey training? Has your state testing changed yet to reflect CC?
This year I worked closely with a first year teacher. She is fresh out of college and had never taught Middle School Science before. We collaborated on lessons, activities, labs, tests, and test results. When I obtained the results from our state testing I was surprised. It was impossible for me to identify her classes or mine without seeing the teacher name associated with the class. Our students performed very similarly on their science test. All these students scored an average of 15% higher than last year's students did. At first I was surprised with the data. Then I realized I helped her and her students (thus my influence was felt school wide.) Could should or would all experienced teachers put the same effort into helping a new teacher if scores are tied into teacher pay?
We are preparing to implement the Common Core standards this year. I have not learned of any planned summer PD nor trainings. I was told that state testing will use the same tests next year and then creation of new tests - correlated with the Common Core will be written and implemented. I think it will be interesting to see how this nationwide rollout changes education (hopefully for the better!)
I think it is awesome that experienced teachers like yourself are helping the "newbies" and I too am afraid that the present policies will not support collaboration and team building. I would rather things taken as a whole rather than as individuals.
I think teachers will be very concerned about changing their practice until the tests the students take reflect that change. NY seems to be moving along quickly on paper but I'm not sure what is really happening in the buildings themselves to prepare everyone. I hope people will share some of the ways their districts are preparing teachers and administrators for these changes ahead.
Glen, it is so important to have that parental support behind you. I know that you will be successful in your mission to make sure your students are able to recognize and reader higher leveled text. I've tried the following approaches which you probably have too. They're just meant to be starting points:
One of my favorite pieces of the CCSS is being able to connect the text to the arts and culture. Are you using any outside resources in your lesson planning?
I received an email today with a Common Core app for the ipad and other devices
We've made it easy to access the standards from any mobile device and have synthesized the College and Career Readiness Standards for Lanaguage Arts and included the Traditional and Integrated pathways for Math.
I have the apps in pdf on my ipad but this looks interesting. Has anyone tried it?
I checked out the Common Core Standards for fourth-grade math and compared them with the fourth grade math TEKS (Texas standards) and there is a lot of overlap. An example of one difference in math standards is in fractions: CCS includes adding, subtracting, and multiplying fractions, whereas the state standards do not.
I looked for Science CCS but only found them embedded in the language arts. Are there separate CCS for science?
I have not really looked at standards from other states, so I don't know by how much they differ.
I do not have any problems with Common Core Standards or State Standards provided they represent educationally sound decisions. I do believe that even if we had Common Core Standards, there should be some flexibility to allow for some additions that reflect local differences (for example, differences in geography and ecology).
The common core science standards are just now being written. My understanding is that these standards will probably begin in 2014. One aspect of the "framework" used to develop these standards is the enclusion of "Engineering." I like this addition to science - it is a natural fit.
It is interesting to review the development process of the framework and how it will be used in creating standards. You can download a free pdf copy of the "framwork" being used with the National Science core!
This is an amazing discussion! I'm so energized by the dialogue spanning months here. The role of technology, the importance of professional development (KEY for any shift in standards and assessments), and the opportunity to share in a collegial way as you tackle this are so important.
Quick clarification: the new Science Standards now in development are not considered to be "Common Core." The development of the new Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) is a separate process from the Common Core standards for Mathematics and English Language Arts. As if it weren't complicated enough already, right?
The two-step process for development of the NGSS is designed to lead, similar in a way to Common Core, to a new set of standards developed collaboratively by the states themselves that are voluntarily adopted by states (these are NOT developed by the Federal Government, e.g. NOT "federal education standards" ~shudder~).
Check out the September 20 press release at the ACHIEVE website http://www.achieve.org/states-lead-effort-write-new-science-standards :
"The development of the Next Generation Science Standards is a two-step process. The first step was the building of a framework that identified the core ideas and practices in natural sciences and engineering that all students should be familiar with by the time they graduate. In July, the National Research Council released A Framework for K-12 Science Education, developed by a committee representing expertise in science, teaching and learning, curriculum, assessment and education policy."
"The second step is the development of science standards based on the Framework. The 20 Lead State Partners will guide the standard writing process, gather and deliver feedback from state-level committees and come together to address common issues and challenges. The Lead State Partners also agree to commit staff time to the initiative and, upon completion, give serious consideration to adopting the Next Generation Science Standards. In order to be considered, states had to submit a letter with the signature of the Chief State School Officer and the chair of the State Board of Education."
Twenty lead partner states have begun this work, including Arizona, California, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia. There will be more than one opportunity for public input, with a goal to release the new standards in 2012. See http://www.nextgenscience.org/
You are invited to participate in this process!
I am looking forward to the Common Core switch over. I like the idea that we aren't going to be a mile wide and an inch deep any longer with current standards. As far as embracing...people are people some will, some will moan and some will be defiant about it. I just like to be quiet and do as I am told. We knew when we went into education that it would be a career of constant change.
Many of us have touched on the importance of professional development in helping teachers transition to the common core and state essential standards. It's a great time to be in education in North Carolina as we embark on an entire curriculum change. Much support is needed in making this happen smoothly. In our state we had summer institutes in 6 regional areas in the state to begin this support process. This will be a blended approach beginning with the 2-day face to face with district PD leaders and several state department divisions. It is truly a collaborative effort to bring this together.
These institutes provided an overview of the new standards, instructional support tools for implementing them and resources for those leads to provide training and support in their districts and schools. Those PD Leads are now responsible for working with district and school leaders to develop a plan for rolling out the training to teachers prior to the 2012-2013 school year. They will develop expectations for how their disticts will be trained, and lead in a series of online modules to help teachers understand the new CC and ES.
Our state has provided and continues to develop resources to support our teachers during this change. ACRE, North Carolina's Accountability and Curriculum Reform Effort is our state's initiative to redefine the Standard Course of Study for K-12 students, the student assessment program and accountability model.
I would love to hear what other states have provided in support of this curriculum change. What other states are initiating an entire curriculum ovehaul? Are you feeling that you have the support necessary to make this change successful? If not, what is not happening that should be?
Deborah, one of the biggest obstacles I see with this initiative is all teachers getting on board. It is my experience that many teachers around the country simply do not understand how teaching practices will NEED to change in their classrooms. Will they embrace change? Many will, but I do believe that many of the more experienced teachers may simply choose to retire or change careers than change how they teach. Change is hard, but necessary!
As to what will be the most beneficial, that is easy. The curriculum will be more student centered and less teacher centered, and yes, I absolutely agree that teachers who have taken an Intel Teach course will be much better prepared than those that have not.
I am a fan of common core. Parents are more mobile than ever and it is important for children to be able to settle in to any school and continue working where they left off in their previous school. Common Core is a start in that direction. This helps to place the focus on student mastery.