There seems to be a huge controversy about the implementation of Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Some people are totally against CCSS, where others are totally gung-ho about their enactment in schools.
Now you've checked out the actual CCSS website, now check it's time to research the standards a bit deeper. Here are a few articles that might help you develop a better-informed opinion:
Thinking About the Common Core Standards: Pros/Cons
Parents For Public Schools: Common Core State Standards Pros/Cons
Washington Post: Common Core reading Pros and Cons
Teachhub.com: The Pros and Cons of the Common Core State Standards
Nonprofit Quarterly: Understanding the Pros and Cons of the Common Core Standards
About.com: What are Some Pros and Cons of the Common Core Standards?
I love how our superintendent, Cindy Marten, addresses the controversy in this video
A friend of mine asked me about CCSS because he heard that Common Core told middle school teachers to re-write the second amendment. Here is my response to him:
So I think we start with what Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are and aren't. CCSS is a list of rigorous, deep standards that teachers across the country should meet when teaching their classes. It's a list of WHAT to teach. It isn't a list of HOW to teach it. Here's a link to the middle school history/social science standards. If you notice, it doesn't even mention the 2nd amendment: http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/RST/6-8/ The CCSS is NOT lesson plans. So, when you say you've seen middle school lesson plans, that's some teacher interpreting WHAT they're supposed to teach by deciding their way of HOW to teach some standard. That was a teacher's choice, not the actual standard.
So to make this more at my level, I'll give you a better example.
Here's a 4th grade math standard in Operations and Algebra: "Find all factor pairs for a whole number in the range 1-100. Recognize that a whole number is a multiple of each of its factors. Determine whether a given whole number in the range 1-100 is a multiple of a given one-digit number. Determine whether a given whole number in the range 1-100 is prime or composite."
Now that doesn't say, 'Hey Amy, I want you to teach this specific lesson on this day in this specific way.' What it says is I have to teach factoring and prime/composite numbers.
So I did some research online and found a game called "The Factor Trail" where the kids have to roll dice and move their marker on a game board, and depending on the number on the square they land on, they have to list the factors of that number to move forward (or something like that). We will play that game next week, well, when we get back from Spring Break. Then, to teach prime/composite numbers, I found an activity called "The Sieve of Eratosthenes". We're going to play that two weeks from now.
Here's the rub: there are two other 4th grade teachers at my school: my buddy Shaun and my pal Kelly.
Shaun is a pretty straightforward guy, and he doesn't really do games like I do in math class. He's just going to lecture, have the kids take notes, do a worksheet about factoring, and they'll probably have some factoring homework. Then, later, he'll lecture about prime/composite numbers. The kids'll take notes during his lecture, do a worksheet about prime numbers, and then they'll probably have some prime/composite homework.
Kelly, she's our tech whiz at Loma Portal Elementary. I know she's found a prime/composite video on LearnZillion.com (kind of like Kahn Academy) and she'll have the kids watch the video in class on their laptops (all our kids have laptops in 3rd and 4th grade at our school). Later, she's probably found a factoring game on Mathgames.com or Sumdog.com that she'll have the kids play in partners.
Now here you have three teachers. All are meeting the CCSS, but in different ways.
Again, the CCSS tells us WHAT to teach, not HOW. I hope this makes sense.
Here's the home page for the CCSS initiative: http://www.corestandards.org. There's a ton of information on the page. Of course, please feel free to forward me articles you find about CCSS. I'd love to read them and see what they have to say. Usually, I've found that people who are against CCSS haven't actually TAUGHT Common Core. Most teachers I know (and again, I'm at the elementary level) are stoked about it. It really pushes our students to think deeper and more critically. I know I've been teaching CCSS math since February, and I'm already a better math teacher. I'm getting better in ELA, too.
Thanks for contacting me!
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Thank you to 4th Grade Loma Portal teacher, Amy Kinseth, for creating this page of Teacher Common Core Materials. Please email her with questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org