Sunday, January 27, 2013

Common Core and Belief Statements

As we are diving right into the Common Core Standards in our district I often find myself struggling to see the deeper meaning in the standards. The standards seem vague and don't offer much support to spark my teaching or understanding. I am not clear  where we are going and I find my teaching is not as intentional as I know it should be. 

Recently, Patrick Allen of All-en-A Day's work posted an interview with Debbie Miller discussing her motivation in revising her book, Reading With Meaning.Toward the end of the interview Patrick asked Debbie about what positives she sees in the Common Core Standards. Debbie's words gave me a new perspective and permission to follow what I believe about good teaching. 

Debbie:  … —now higher-level comprehension work is emphasized for all children, even our youngest readers.  Reading, in the common core, is all about making meaning!  And thankfully, it focuses on results, rather than means, leaving room for teachers to determine how these goals should be reached and what additional strategies might be addressed.

I read Debbie's words over and over working to make sure I understood her message and not just what I want to believe. I want to believe I have permission to follow my kids and take teaching and learning at their pace, in a way that allows the kids to think deeper and develop skills of life long learners. (In a previous post I shared my belief statements in detail)

With this mindset I went to the Key Considerations section of the Common Core. (In Patrick Allen's interview Debbie promises reading this will make you feel better). These words gave me the permission  to follow what I believe about good teaching.
...there are multiple ways to teach these standards, and therefore, there will be multiple approaches that could help students accomplish the goals set out in the standards.
I am beginning to see I can follow what I believe about best practice and the Common Core. Thank you @coloreader and Debbie Miller for helping me to find perspective.

I would love to hear your perspective on the common core and best practice, please share your thoughts!


Shannon said...

We haven't dived into the standards at my school and probably won't. My principal is an administrator- not an instructional leader. So I'll be on my own, with my bloggy/twitter friends hopefully.

I've only looked at the 5th grade standards as this applies to me right now. I agree with you-they are vague!!!!! Meaning I will interpret them how I see fit and use best practices as you said.

Finally-permission to TEACH! :)

Katie said...

I teach in a state that doesn't use Common Core, so I hesitate weighing in here. But after having done some research on them, talking to teachers all over the country and then reading this, I feel like I have to say what my, perhaps "outsider", perspective is. It appears to me that it is HOW the CCS are being interpreted and mandated by admin., etc that is the problem. I can't find anywhere in the documents where it says there are specific titles you must use. However, I hear from many teacher friends that they have been given a list of titles that they cannot stray from. My state standards were recently revised and are very item-based. However, that doesn't change how I teach. I continue to integrate the item-based knowledge that is required into my teaching in meaningful ways. What Debbie says and quotes here is good teaching - responsive to student needs, taking children from where they are and using best practices. "Multiple ways and multiple approaches" says to me that teachers are the professionals who know their children and will best meet their needs. I think this absolutely gives you permission to follow your beliefs about good teaching.

debf said...

I am glad you took time to weigh in and share your thinking. We are fortunate to not teach from programs in our district. (I fear that would put me over the edge!) My struggle is the lack of PD on the CCS. I to believe the standards trusting us as professionals to teach in a variety of ways using various strategies which- I celebrate! My fear is that without PD and these vague statemetns teachers will interpet the CCS in different ways, loosing the Common in Common Core.
I am fortunate to have a PLN to help support me along the way!
Thanks Katie!

debf said...

This wonderful PLN is amazing! The best PD ever!
Good Luck and thanks for stopping by to share your thoughts!

Debra said...

Hi Deb,
The lack of quality PD has always been a great concern of mine. Here in NY there is so much emphasis on the new evaluation system that we spend meeting time discussing testing, training on testing, and all the other evaluation plethora, otherwise known as the Appr in NY. Our district has turned to publishers to provide our Pd - how to use the new reading series or math series that were purchased that align with the common core. I don't remember the last time I attended a pd that involved best practice. School districts are under such pressure to test and evaluate teachers that they have no money left for what is important. Gone are the days when we learned about reading and writing workshop. I am thankful for my PLN and an administration that respects my workshop classroom. I am not sold on the common core - after all educators did not write them. I worry that so many educators latched onto them so quickly.

Anonymous said...

We have great admin and have been meeting weekly to study CCS (merging them next year with our current Sunshine State Standards, then full implementation the next year. What we are hearing is that they do encourage depth of teaching for understanding on multiple levels, not just spit it back out on the standardized test in spring! The feeling right now is excitement that we 'get' to spend more time, more cooperative learning and projects, more child-centered with common core. Just hoping that those in offices in Depts. of Education don't step in and ruin it :)

Anonymous said...

We have a great Central Office staff and our Adminstrators at each school level that have studied and keep us informed of new insights into the CCSS. We began implementation in our district with a team of teachers from each grade level from each school in our district that has developed units. After teaching from the units and as more information is given to us about common core we found things we needed to revise. This year we are still meeting as a district team to revise skills as needed. Thank you to our supportive leaders that allow us the meet each student at their instructional level and not just teach a skill to cover it. I teach in the Hospitality State and we are usually known for being behind, but not in our district. We have some really dynamic leaders, teachers, and High Performing students! We are excited that our hard work is paying off in the success of our students!