Saturday, February 23, 2013

Will The Real Common Core Please Stand Up?

The Common Core State Standards officially go "live" in 2014.  In the meantime, teachers are working diligently to understand the CCSS and are trying their best to create lessons that are fully aligned - now.  Yet, are the lessons that are being created really...truly... specifically...Common Core?

Will The Real Common Core Please Stand Up?

I recently took notice at the material that is on Teachers Pay Teachers as well as in and about the internet world and I found that although teachers are calling lessons "Core" - they may not be "Core" at all.  Core lessons use questioning techniques that are deep and meaningful.  Core lessons also expect students to be able to explain their thinking and reasoning.  Additionally, Core lessons foster collaboration and the use of technology and students need to make sense of problems and need to be able to show reasoning with those problems.  Administrators and teachers alike need to sit down and take a good, hard look at the definition of the Common Core and fully become aware how to not only implement a CCSS lesson, but how to design it using multiple facets of the CCSS. That's what makes the CCSS rigorous and multi-layered.

A few weeks ago at PS101Q in Forest Hills, NY, an event was held to address the Common Core: A Common Core Fair Night.  The event was a success - but not without the efforts of the PS101Q staff.  The night showcased what a CCSS lesson looks like for parents to expose them to the rigorous work that their children are doing and will be expected to do for years to come.

One teacher in particular, Mr. Stabenau, who teaches visual arts at the school, jumped in to also demonstrate a CCSS lesson.  He wasn't teaching a CCSS Math lesson or a CCSS Reading lesson, but what he did was truly, 100% Common Core.  With his reading of Happy by Miles Van Hout, Mr. Stabenau elicited emotion from his [parent] students while showing them the illustrations as he read the book to them.  The parents were asked to express an emotion that they connected to while Mr. Stabenau read the book aloud and then to illustrate a fish of their own with pastels.  The emotion that they came up with was written on the back of the paper.  To tie up the demo lesson, Mr. Stabenau asked his parents to hold up their pictures to the rest of the group to see if they could guess the emotion by studying the illustration.  The group tried to guess each other's emotions that were being transferred to the paper in what was a very entertaining portion of the lesson.  Mr. Stabenau was able to connect CCSS literacy, communication, and a hint of writing within the visual arts world - and it worked amazingly well.
Happy by Miles Van Hout

The point here is that the Common Core can be interpreted in numerous ways.   It's how teachers are able to connect multiple disciplines to one another in order to get the most out of their lessons.  For example, the use of SMART Boards and a Social Studies lesson with video clips and informational texts....the use of a document camera and interactive whiteboard hooked up to a microscope in Science with a journal to write down what is being observed....students in a technology class that are creating interactive timelines for Women's History Month using an online web service like TimeToast...these are all Common Core lessons and projects - all designed to dig allow students to find out more...and to connect one curriculum area to another.

Take a look at your "Common Core" lessons and projects and see if what you have created really is "Common Core"...or just an impostor.

Check out MasteryConnect, it's simple to share and discover common formative assessments and track mastery of state and Common Core standards. They have a free CCSS widget that can be placed on your school's web page, or on an app for your mobile device.

Find Adam on Teachers Pay Teachers for Common Core aligned lessons and projects and follow him on Twitter @ps101hyman.

No comments:

Post a Comment