Even though it's just two years old, the Common Core has made a profound entrance into our teaching lives. As you get ready for another school year where understanding and implementation of the standards has become even more pressing, Teaching Channel has been developing helpful, free resources for you!
I continue to ask myself framing questions: How do I use the Core and keep my students in the forefront?
How can my teaching brain (that "I have 30 kids all who needs different things at different times" brain) hold these shifts in authentic ways?
Well, Teaching Channel knows that this is on your mind and so we are working hard to organize videos and resources that we hope will help you make sense of this CCSS work. And to get you started with the new school year, I've composed a white paper that shares 10 of my big "ah-ha" moments of working with the Core. One of those epiphanies you'll find below.
1. Common isn't same: the standards are not curriculum.
So often, we educators hear the word "common" and assume this means the same. But having common standards does not mean that we have common curriculum, or that we should be common teachers. Certainly there are advantages to consistency in what students are learning, but that need for steadiness does not translate to everyone turning to the same page in the same textbook at roughly the same time. In fact, the Introduction to the CCSS reminds: "Teachers are thus free to provide students with whatever tools and knowledge their professional judgment and experience identify as most helpful for meeting the goals set out in the Standards." The standards purport what students should achieve, leaving the materials and means to school districts and teachers.
My other nine "ah-ha" moments dig deeper into the standards with some specifics about math and literacy. If you're just getting started with the Core, or just need a "refresh," I hope you'll find the full white paper useful. I've also included several key web resources at the end of the paper, so you have all the essential CCSS links in one place.
Sarah Brown Wessling is a high school English teacher in Johnston, Iowa. She is the 2010 National Teacher of the Year and is the Teacher Laureate for Teaching Channel. Connect with Sarah on Twitter – @SarahWessling.