Common Core Standards and How to Prepare for the Change

Common core standards is the hot topic in education today. Google “common core standards” and you retrieve 32,000,000 results. For me it is mind boggling. Not being a regular-ed teacher I am left a bit out of the loop and have some deficits in knowledge on the subject. I feel as though I should be against the common core standards, but I am not. I share the concerns of many that the new standards may further standardized testing, narrowed curriculum and hierarchical control of what happens in the classroom, but I think that the standards represent the greatest opportunity for all subjects to be re-imagined as global subjects. I am excited about their mission statement to “be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers.” I am excited that the standards demand very high levels of performance from all students, as I think our nation has become too settled in our mediocrity. I am excited about students having to apply their knowledge to real-world situations with high level thinking through performance events beyond the usual multiple-choice and short-answer low level thinking. The truth education in the U.S. is behind. In reading we rank 14th in the world, in math we rank 25th in the world, and in science we rank 17th in the world. This is outrageous. If we expect our students to compete globally post-graduation then we need to revamp our education system and start preparing to implement to core standards.

So how do teachers begin to align their instruction to common core standards? Educators should:

  • Focus on content depth
  • Integrate the concepts and skills from reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language into instructional units.  Avoid teaching skills in isolation
  • Use formative instructional strategies and assessments K through 12
  • Develop the students’ ability to view themselves as effective readers and writers-as effective communicators.
  • Use resources that connect the English Language Arts concepts and skills in the classroom to the outside world, which adds relevance to what is being taught.
  • Become familiar with the Content Elaborations and Enduring understandings found in the model curriculum that is posted online.
  • Promote performance-based assessment.
  • Plane and implement appropriate professional development for both teachers and administrators, building both content and pedagogical knowledge for students as well as educators.

What does this mean for a sub?  If you are in prime job hiring time like me then it is likely that they will ask questions related to the common core and how you will prepare students.  These are some suggestions.  I hope you can find ways to support the common core as a sub.  Peace be with you!

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