So You’ve Been to a Common Core Training?


The words above seem true.  If you work in education, you most likely have heard about the math Common Core Standards.  Many educators have been given instructions and maybe even have had the fortunate experience of attending a PD session on the Common Core.  According to WAT, approximately 70% of teachers have received some type of Common Core training.  Maybe your district now has a Common Core “aligned” curriculum or manipulatives that will be utilized in the classroom that emphasize the main points of the Core?  Regardless of your situation, the content that you teach may be impacted by the Common Core Standards.  Many educators/administrators are asking questions about the Common Core and seeking answers on their own.  Common Core PD sessions have allowed teachers opportunities to ask questions and receive clarification on what is expected.  Here are a few statistics:

If you are like many educators, then you’ve been trolling to find additional information about the Core and resources that will enhance your instructional practice.  I’ve created a list below that may help us (as we are all in this together) unravel the Common Core and the changes that it will elicit over the next few years.  The links below aren’t listed in any prioritized order, but they are categorized to help you (and me) find and use the information quickly.  I have many of these sites already bookmarked, as I receive questions on the Common Core and it’s far reaching impact.

Blog Posts:

General Info on the Common Core:

Livebinders / Digital Newspapers:

Testing Questions / PAARC / Behind the Scenes:

“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.