“Aligned” to the Common Core

Image by:  Felixico


Now more than ever it seems that educational leaders are being encouraged to align their curriculum to the Common Core. Currently, 45 states and 3 territories have signed the Common Core initiative.  National tests are now being developed to evaluate how well students understand the math and reading Common Core standards.  Seeing that the majority of the United States supports the Core, new “Common Core Aligned” products seem to be popping up everywhere. Workshops, seminars, webinars, and PD sessions are dedicated to communicating how the Common Core standards impact curriculum.  In general, I believe that the workshops mostly benefit teachers. I also believe that the Core will give opportunities for educators to positively change the way that they deliver math and reading instruction. What I’m concerned about though is how the “aligned” resources are being utilized.  I in no way endorse/oppose the products below, but the images & links contribute to the notion of how publishers (McGraw Hill, ASCD, Pearson, etc.) are marketing Common Core resources to educators and administrators.

I’m finding that teachers are being pressured into purchasing these “aligned” materials to prepare their students for the upcoming accountability testing.  I’m not against the Common Core materials being produced or used in the classroom.  I’ve actually read many “aligned” resources and have found them most beneficial.  To be honest, most educators that I know have already viewed a number of the Common Core materials.

Don’t get me wrong, educators should be aware of the new standards and adjust their instruction accordingly.  The over reliance on “aligned” published materials can cause teachers to take less risks as they focus only on items located in specific published books.  In these cases differentiation may occur less as the teacher uses whole group Common Core instructional techniques to cover specific content that’s found on future standardized assessments.  I view the “aligned” resources as important and another tool in an educators tool belt.

“Aligned” materials and other supplemental materials should not be viewed as a magic bullet in raising test scores or in teaching in general.  Instead of impulsively purchasing “aligned” materials, school districts around the country should collaborate with each other to share resources that will benefit all stakeholders involved.  I believe some states are attempting to use this model and I applaud their efforts.

Utilizing teaching strategies that work for educators and their students instill an appreciation for learning and give students an opportunity to show their learning in new settings.  Using solid pedagogy along with supplemental resources allows teachers to differentiate their instruction to meet the needs of all students.

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