Saturday, August 10, 2013

Grasping the Common Core

Are you implementing the Common Core this year?

I was super excited to be included in an ebook that encompasses many fabulous (tons are free!) Common Core resources. For my own participation, I chose to outline ways to "grasp" the CCSS for teachers new to the standards (for more info on Grasp Levels click HERE).  This post is similar to the page you'll find on my resource page from the ebook, but it also contains more helpful links!!!
The 1st level of truly grasping, or knowing and using the standards for your classroom is . . .

The link for the Common Core State Standards is
They are grouped into Math and English Language Arts standards with domains in each for every grade level.  Good info includes:

While many people are trying to align their current curriculum to the CCSS, after having helped pilot them for our district last year, I know there are standards listed that require additional supplemental lessons.  A great idea is to start organizing the resources you find.  
 This specific example includes file tabs with the numbered standard and short description, a printed shipping label of the full standard, and an extra label for listing resources that match the standard but don't fit in the file folder (websites, game lists, books, etc).  The folders are color coded for math, reading, and language standards.  Many labels can be found online but here's quick links to some for 3rd-5th grade: 3rd grade file tabs and standard labels, 4th grade file tabs and standards labels, 5th grade file tabs and standards labels.

The next step I suggest is . . .

The top 3 places I would suggest you look for resources for the CCSS:

And . . .
here are the ebooks that I was super excited to be a part of and share (see the 3rd-5th ELA for When Inspiration Strikes page)!! Each contributor had to include a freebie on their page!

Common Core Math: Free Back-to-School eBook for Grades K-2  COMMON CORE ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS FREE BACK-TO-SCHOOL EBOO 
K-2 Math      K-2 ELA
 Common Core Math: Free Back-to-School eBook for Grades 3-5  Common Core English Language Arts: Free Back-to-School eBo 
Common Core Math: Free Back-to-School eBook for Grades 6-12Common Core English Language Arts: Free Back-to-School eBo

There are actually other subjects for grades 6th-12th as well but I am keeping to Math and ELA for this. :)

 Woah!! So now you have tons of lesson ideas!!! Synergize with some team planning guides that are Common Core aligned to help you focus on the standard, what it means to the students, what resources you have collected for it, and how you will assess it.
Once you have your overall plan, check out CorePlanner which is a FREE lesson plan creator that links to the CCSS for your daily schedules.  (I'll be trying it out this year!). Fabulous!!

And . . . there's always the grading, BUT I have used this FREE CCSS gradebook JumpRope and loved it!!  You can easily track data that's color-coded and print or send progress reports to colleagues, administration, students, and parents!! More fabulousness!!

On to the next level to grasp the Common Core . . . 

Have you heard of Plan, Do, Study, Act boards?  They are large displays that help students know what CC standard (or any learning objective) they are focusing on, how they will learn it, and how proficient they were to celebrate or improve. To learn more and get fabulous examples, click HERE.  The bottom line? Let everyone know (yup, parents and administrators are impressed to walk in and see this info as well!) what is expected for college readiness success!!
And . . . want a cool way to also display Common Core learning?  Check out these bulletin boards where students add objects from themes of your choice (sports, leaves and fruit or nuts on a tree, space objects, etc.) to a board every time they have covered one of the standards. Awesome!!

When you're ready to grasp the next step . . .
It will take time to interpret and plan for the main "common" standards (it took our team all of last year).  However, the standards were designed to increase the proficiency of students so they do not just include a checklist of things to know (what does this mean according to the CCSS? Read more here).  Once you know what to teach, revisit the Common Core site to see the process standards for developing critical thinkers in your classroom.
Standards for Mathematical Practice and
Anchor Standards for Reading with links on the left for writing, speaking and listening, and language
CCSS R&R is not Rest and Relaxation!!
Buzz words also include increased rigor and relevance for students. Here's a great place to grasp what this means: Rigor/Relevance Framework (make sure to also click on the "More About the Rigor/Relevance Framework" link at the bottom!)

Last but not least, make sure you talk about everything you have done because so many of us are in this together!!  The end measure will be either the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC) or the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC).  Our district is focusing on the PARCC and I had signed up last year to receive the latest news and have seen where they often give updates and ask for feedback from teachers.  I encourage you to be involved as well!

Then relax, by this time you will achieve the last grasp level . . .

 Good luck this year and thanks for stopping by!! :) :) :)

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