March 26, 2021

Teaching Others to Embrace Common Core

Early this fall Teaching Channel began an extended commitment to bring you new resources to help make sense of the Common Core State Standards. Now that we’ve been at it for a few months, we thought it would be helpful to remind you of the resources we have as well as some that you can look forward to.

And as a special “extra” I’m sharing a very thoughtful response to our inaugural piece from the series, “A View from 30,000 Feet.” I’ve been having an ongoing and invigorating conversation with Anne Ostholthoff who does The Ignite Show, about the Common Core State Standards. Not only does her response to the webinar add some external research to the conversation, she also gives an enthusiastic voice to how our larger education community sees the standards.

Here’s what Anne has to say:

“Sarah, I really like the “big picture” perspective you shared on your blog post titled “Let’s Chat CORE: A View From 30,000 Feet”. This provides such helpful introductory information about these standards, where they came from and why they are so important to getting us all on the same page.

I particularly liked one of the  “Ah-ha” moments you shared as you’ve worked to interpret them for your use, and I want to hone in on the fact you shared in #3 about how the CCSS are internationally benchmarked. This reminds me of a presentation I recently heard at the “Student Driven Education: National Summit on Education Reform” on Nov 27-28, 2012 in Washington, DC put on by the Foundation for Excellence in Education.

It was prepared by Dr. William Schmidt of Michigan State University, an expert on CCSS, sharing that these standards are “truly world class standards!” This is important knowledge for us as teachers (and all community stakeholders) to reference if/when we find ourselves justifying the CCSS to someone unawares.

What we Know: We now have world-class academic standards that will inherently “level the curriculum field” for ALL our students. No matter what state or city, these provide guideposts for content for all teachers to follow to be sure all students receive the same information – to the same degree!

Dr. Schmidt has done significant research on this subject and shares in his video presentation how up until now, we have been very far off the mark — teaching irrelevant content, or teaching topics too early rather than helping students gain deep, fundamental path that builds on learning from kindergarten to 12th grade which other countries do so well. He demonstrates this with a chart of overlap where we measure with the high standards of top-achieving countries by grade and topic saying that we try to teach every topic at every grade level.

We have 800 page text books where other countries have 200 page textbooks for the same grade!” At this point during the conference – many state and local leaders were gasping with the same kind of “ah-ha” you had upon learning this. This was clearly a new and very strong point of reference everyone felt was valuable to help others appreciate the right steps we are taking as a nation!

Sharing the Ah-Ha! It appears we have students (and perhaps some parents) who do not fully embrace the CCSS leaving the implementation of them difficult – which opens the door for our influence! From his research, Dr. Schmidt shares that there are some within our larger school communities hesitant to embrace the CCSS.

Teachers are starting to implement the CCSS in their classrooms with gratitude given the relevance and pace of learning to what mirrors the real world. However, it could be that one parent or group of students we run into who don’t embrace the CCSS and might offer push back. (There were lots of nods of “yes absolutely” in the room at this point!)

Perhaps we now have two very easy action steps to take when faced with anyone pushing back against our enthusiasm for the CCSS! We point to your blog where you focus on the CCSS — and to this presentation by Dr. Schmidt to help others have their own “Ah-Ha” as to why the CCSS are such a great step for student success!

– Anne Ostholthoff/The Ignite Show

Anne, we’ll keep our conversation going!   And, if you want to join in, just take a look at all of the installments of our Let’s Chat Core series, and tell us what you think! We have much more planned in the weeks ahead, we realize there is so much ground to cover. Next up in the series, the focus is on Common Core Mathematics.

Learning to Read the Core (video)

Implementing the Core: Where to Begin? (video)

Core Changes and Their Impact

Unpacking the Standards (video)

A Go to Toolbox for Teachers

Simplifying Text Complexity (video) 


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