I have been a Common Core junkie since the beginning. 6 years ago I went out of county to get basic training. It was love at first site.
I was a rebel as a teacher. I ditched my textbook about the 4th year in my career. It was easy to see that the curriculum wasn’t doing anything for my students. And, to add insult to injury, when I sat down with the state standards, the text book didn’t cover the standards AND the text meant for my 5th graders was actually a 3rd grade reading level. So when Common Core came down the line, I was eager to re-energize my self-built curriculum with rigor and choice.
That, for me, was my beginning of understanding what Common Core was and what it looked like in the classroom. Despite all of the training that I’ve had since, and all of the practice that I’ve done, I still felt uncertain when someone asked “so, what does it look like?”
So, what does it look like?
This is the most fair question that I come across because it speaks so deeply to a common problem in education. Sometimes, awesome ideas, tools, resources, and programs are adopted at initiatives and teachers who aren’t part of the conversation are expected to change their practice, the practice they think has worked for them, sometimes for decades. Too many times I see teachers being given theory, when practice is really what we need.
Achieve The Core – Beyond The Lesson
There is no magic bullet. However, this little beauty is pretty darn close. It’s a single page, easy to ready, and easy to use, and it’s flexible for many uses. It can be used as a non-evaluative observation tool. It can be used by teachers as a lesson plan guide. The questions can also be used by teachers as a a way to guide the self-reflection that good teachers need to become great teachers. It’s also a pretty awesome discussion tool.
It Gets Better
Hopefully, you’ve taken a few minutes to click on the image, or the words above, to visit the Beyond the Lesson tool. If not, take a few seconds.
Isn’t it great?
Now that you’ve gotten a taste of how AchieveTheCore.org ‘s awesomeness. Get ready to dig in for the entire meal.
The Instructional Practice Guide
This little beauty is short, to the point, and makes creating lessons, reviewing lessons, reflecting on lessons, and everything in between a breeze. The Instructional Practice Guide (IPG) is split into 3 Core Actions.
Core Action 1: Focus each lesson on high0quality text (or multiple texts) Of course, this can also be media, primary sources, secondary sources, poetry, and much more. Don’t be fooled by the seemingly limiting word “text.”
Core Action 2: Employ questions and tasks, both oral and written, that are text-specific and accurately addressed the analytical thinking required by the grade-level standards. How much more simple is this? I love that it focuses the efforts of the teachers into a specific direction that will really give their students a real taste of what a Common Core Classroom looks and feels like.
Core Action 3: Provide all student with opportunities to engage in the work of the lesson. ALL students. This is huge. Your low kids, your high kids, your purple kids, your pink kids, your tall kids, your short kids, your EOs, your ELLs, your athletic kids, your techy kids. ALL kids have the right to learn. This Core Action speaks deeply to my philosophies and beliefs.
Each Core Action has a subset of skills with a rubric for ranking. Even though there is a rubric, it’s meant as a tool to measure growth, not as an evaluative tool that’s mean to to be scored and weighed.
No More Uncertainty
If you feel uncertain when someone asks “Ok, but what does it look like in the classroom?” I would encourage you to check out these resources.
What tools do you find the most useful when implementing the Common Core standards?
Tell me in the comments below. Life can get crazy, and busy, and can go by in a blur, but take a few minutes to reach out. I’d love to chat with you.
My name is Jenna, the EduSlayer. I’m writing this blog to give teachers shortcuts to getting the most out of their time. If you want to learn more about how I keep track of the many moving parts of my job, check out my post about how I use my Digital Bullet Journal and get your own FREE template.
Feeling stressed? Do you rush through your day, or you do live each moment? If you want to learn about how I decrease my stress and made healthy choices habitual and effortless (and lost 40 pounds in the process,) check out my post about the importance of routines.
Now, go out and EduSLAY!