Sunday, January 12, 2014

One More Thought on Common Core

This past week, I received an overwhelming, and mostly positive, response to my last post about Common Core State Standards.  It was so wonderful to hear from so many teachers who are providing for the needs of their students and facilitating change with a positive attitude.  I loved seeing that teacher leadership is alive and well in many school districts.  I don't typically address "hot button topics" like CCSS on the blog, but after noticing so many negative reactions, I really felt the need to reflect on how we teachers can work within our establishment to create better classroom environments and rigorous, engaging instruction that meets the needs of all of our students.

I do want to say that the views expressed in that entry, and in all of my blog entries, are my personal views, and not the views of my district, or any other organization with which I may be involved.  They are simply the musings of a middle school teacher, my attempt to reflect on my work and decompress each week.  I was thrilled to have so many new readers this week, and I hope that people continue to read and find pieces of "wisdom from the middle" that are applicable in their own lives. I would also love to hear from other teachers who are currently implementing CCSS.  Our work for students can only be made stronger by connecting and sharing with fellow educators.  Please email me or tweet me! I'm always looking to grow my PLN.

I also want to share a resource on Common Core that I think can provide a lot of clarity.  There's a lot of misinformation about the CCSS floating around the Internet and being discussed in the media.  One of the 21st century skills that my students and I focus on throughout the year is evaluating the truthfulness and usefulness of print, web, and media sources.  In an age when it seems like the loudest and most adversarial opinions get the most screen time,  I want my students to be able to evaluate the practicality of the arguments they hear.  I want them to be able to sift through misinformation to find strong resources.  In the case of Common Core, the best source of information about the standards is the standards themselves.  If you click on this link, it will direct you to the Key Design Considerations in the Introduction to the Standards.  This past week, my friend and colleague Dr. Dixie Keyes directed me to the last section of this part of the document.  It's subtitled "What is not covered by the standards."  If you're interested in what the CCSS are, I think it is equally important to understand what the standards are not.  Whether you are a teacher or a parent, whether you feel like you agree or disagree with CCSS, your particular argument can only be made stronger by going to the source.  I'd encourage you to read them.  It may change your opinion, and it will definitely provide you with more clarity.  It was good for me to revisit them this past week with my team, as we looked at ways that we could continue to strengthen our own ELA curriculum for the greater benefit of our students.

This past week, my students analyzed speeches delivered by Martin Luther King, Jr. and Abraham Lincoln.  We discussed the importance of rhetorical devices in persuasive speaking and identified common themes in both speeches.  Both speakers were striving for liberty, equality, and unity, values our nation was founded on. One of my favorite Martin Luther King, Jr. quotes says, "the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."  I've worked in education for only a short time, but it seems to be an area that is sometimes surrounded with "challenge and controversy."  Let's rise to the challenge for the benefit of those we educate.  


  1. I saw your post on someone's facebook last week, but didn't notice that you're from Arkansas! Found you on the AWB linky. My blog isn't about teaching, but I teach 2nd grade in Bentonville. Love what you're doing!

  2. Thanks for reading, Katie!! I look forward to checking out your blog! I just got started with AWB, so I'm excited to connect with other Arkansas writers!