Monday, October 8, 2012

Common Core... A little background...

I just want to give you guys some background info about me! I teach in Kentucky, where we have fully adopted The Common Core Standards. I worked with The Common Core all last year, and I am continuing to work with The Standards this year, too. Two summers ago, I was part of the Curriculum Alignment Team which "broke down" the standards, created student learning targets and curriculum maps. We also created common assessments for our grade levels. During the entire year last year, I worked with Kim, our CIA at school. She's also a math person like I am. She was my "mentor" as part of a new program to provide support for 2nd year teachers. We spent a lot of time planning and working together to ensure that I was teaching the standards the way I needed to. With her help, I came to understand what the standards meant, and what the kids needed to be doing and showing me to show that they had mastered the standards. Now, I have a deep understanding of the standards, as well as how to teach them effectively.

Because the standards are so new, our school and district really have no texts, no series, no real resources that are strictly aligned to The Common Core--the standards are just too new! Teachers also interpret the standards differently, which results in some differences in teaching. Kim and I have decided that we are going to work with our teachers to find out what kind of resources they need to fully implement the standards into daily instruction. Our focus first is going to be math, but we will continue from there. Our hope is that we will create materials for all teachers to use that is clearly and explicitly aligned with The Common Core. We hope that we can not only reach the teachers at our schools, but also teachers across the nation. The Common Core is coming in YOUR state and district. We just want to provide teachers with the materials they need to completely understand the standards, feel comfortable with the standards, and effectively teach the standards to the kiddos.

We are currently working on creating "packs" of materials for each math standard. Included in these packs are a break-down of the standard, what the standard means, ideas to use in the classroom, student learning targets, journal entries, and assessments. We are also working on center activities and hands-on activities for students. These are coming very shortly! Our first pack is almost ready, and it focuses on place value.

Please let me know if there are specific standards that are coming up in your school and district that you need materials for. We will move these up on our list!

In the meantime, while we are finalizing the packs, I am going to share with you how my own classroom works. I plan to share Daily 5 ideas, small group reading ideas, classroom management ideas, and other "stuff" that may be helpful for other teachers. I STALK Teachers Pay Teachers and teaching blogs! I get LOTS and LOTS of amazing ideas from other teachers, and if I can offer other teachers some new ideas, I would be honored! I just want to attempt to pay back some of the inspiration other teachers have provided for me! :)

This is a novel, YIKES! I've got pictures of my Word Work tubs for Daily 5 that I will post next! Stay tuned! :)

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