The most positive change I see is for students like me. I moved 16 times before I graduated from High School. Most years, I changed schools mid-year. I usually was frustrated trying to figure out what I was supposed to be learning. We often were farther along than I had been (or learning something I learned previously.) Personally, I hope no child ever has to be in the same situation I was in .
One of the challenges I have already heard about is strange... I just heard an English teacher say she and the other Language Arts teachers at her school were teaching BOTH the previous core and the new Common Core. Apparently, they are not yet ready to give up something to make the adjustment. I hope most teachers are willing to make the change (even if change is difficult.)
I agree that one positive aspect is that children who have to move year to year will find more consistent instruction. I'm not sure I understand how teachers can teach both the previous core and the new common core.
Carolyn, Glen, one of the challenges I see is that teachers have to include more non-fiction into English classes. I've often heard the following, "I teach Science, I'm not an English teacher." Change can be difficult but I see the move as complementing and supporting curriculum in many areas. For example, I have observed children in a science classroom struggle when reading a research article. I am glad that there is a genuine move towards more non-fiction in school and I hope it includes purpose. However, I also hope that we don't do away from classic literature, which for me provided a way not only to learn vocabulary I would have not otherwise learned but also to discover the joys (and struggles) of life: The Pearl, Of Mice and Men, The Great Gatsby, Pride and Prejudice, The Odyssey, etc.
I'm also excited for the inclusion of Non-fiction into the new core. One problem I've observed occurs when non "language arts" teachers have been told "you are now teaching the new language arts core." I've seen major resentment when these teachers think they have been told they must change what they teach. The idea seems to be "why do I have to teach your core?"
May I propose another way to approach these non "language arts" teachers. Asking a shop teacher how important it is for students to accurately measure and cut materials for class. I'm confident these teachers would easily support aspects of the common math core if it is presented this way. How about asking science and social studies teachers how important it is for students to read and comprehend graphs, charts, and diagrams. I think these teachers need to understand they are promoting their own core as they support the language arts common core. When teachers have this concept, I think they will quickly ask "How can we do this together?"
I love the way you so elegantly proposed a different approach. I think it's wonderful!
I've done a little work with teachers on aligning lessons with common core standards and had many conversations about different ways to approach curriculum. I'm finding (as I work with teachers and administrators) that there is a genuine excitement that comes from "doing something different" or "mixing it up". For example, recently in a conversation about legends, several folks proposed including primary source documents about astronauts and Neil Armstrong. I thought it was a fantastic idea! It helped that many of us were alive to remember the excitement of the NASA space program in the 60s and 70s. For me its about making school more relevant and helping children see the connections between english language arts and their own lives.
Thank you for sharing your thoughtful idea. I think it'd be extremely useful if others too, could provide ways in which they are approaching CCSS in their schools!
Wahoo - I think that's the first time I've been told a comment is elegant . As you note, helping others see ways they help (without really doing a LOT different) may promote collaboration. I hope in my small ways, I am capable of helping teachers develop and use the same 21st Century Skills their students need to learn.
Like you, I look for ideas others have about how to approach CCSS collaborative efforts in their schools and districts.
I learned this month that I have been assigned a three day ELA Common Core training this summer. The interesting aspect of this training is the attendees will be Science teachers in the district. I am so grateful for the Common Core discussions we have in this Engage Community.
I'm looking for major help! What would you say if you could suggest only ONE thing to share with these teachers?
I have been working on a website called Common Core Conversation http://www.commoncoreconversation.com where educators can find free resources, strategies, lessons, ideas, information, and assessments for addressing the Common Core standards in the classroom. I welcome comments, questions, and suggestions. Kristina Holzweiss, The Laptop Lieberrian (firstname.lastname@example.org).