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You Don’t Have to Be a Common Teacher to Use Common Core Standards

written by: Patricia Gable • edited by: Carly Stockwell • updated: 6/12/2013

What are the advantages of the Common Core Standards? Do you have to change everything that you taught before? Here are some specifics for first grade classrooms.

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    438 3047805 If you are currently teaching, there is no doubt that you have heard about the Common Core Standards that have already been adopted by forty-five states. What this means is that the schools in forty-five states have a set of common goals. Each school district can write their curriculum based on these goals mindful of the students in their district. Currently the standards are for English Language Arts and Mathematics. Science will be the next set of standards to be implemented.

    Critical thinking is at the heart of the standards. Students will have a deep understanding of what they are studying and be able to share their thoughts with facts to back it up. Students will realize that there can be different processes used to solve a problem. They will learn to share ideas with peers and be open to other ideas and opinions.

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    Advantages of CCSS

    • Teachers and students moving to a different city or state or even to a different school within a district should be able to assimilate easily.
    • Textbooks are being created to correlate with the standards.
    • Thinking is based in textual evidence.
    • Computer grading programs are available which align with the standards.
    • Standards provide college and career readiness.
    • Everybody in the building is responsible for literacy.
    • Common Core Standards provide the “what". Teachers provide the “how".
    • A set of practices will be used throughout the grade levels to build in good habits
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    English Language Arts Standards in First Grade

    There are four categories:

    Reading (Foundational skills, informational, literature)

    Writing (narratives, informative, opinion pieces, research)

    Speaking and Listening (Developing effective communication skills)

    Language (grammar, letter formation)

    The standards in the categories are integrated. For example the students may read a nonfiction book (Reading), write about what they have learned (Writing) and then share it with the class (Speaking and Listening).

    How is it Different?

    • You will now be expected to use more nonfiction materials in your classroom.
    • There will be much more focus on the text.
    • More writing will be done to demonstrate understanding: Opinion pieces with facts to support, informative pieces with details, narratives using temporal words to show understanding of the sequence of events, functional writing such as friendly letters or directions, research projects gathering information from several sources.
    • Students will be asked to describe character, point of view, setting and key details to demonstrate understanding in fiction material.
    • Students will listen and discuss topics, share their thinking with peers, verbally describe people, events, etc.

    Math Standards

    There are four categories:

    Operations and Algebraic Thinking (developing understanding and learn strategies of addition and subtraction within 20)

    Number and Operations in Base Ten (developing understanding of whole number relationships and place value)

    Measurement and Data (linear, time to the hour and half hour; organize, represent and interpret data)

    Geometry (attributes of geometric shapes, composing and decomposing shapes)

    How is it Different?

    • Here’s the big change! In addition to the standards there is a list of eight “Mathematical Practices" or habits to develop. The same list of practices is used throughout the school career.
    • There are fewer requirements, which allows time to thoroughly understand the concepts.
    • Students will develop a deep understanding of addition and subtraction. You will not only be asking 2+3= ___ but also 2+___= 5.
    • Students will share the process of how they solved the problem. There is more than one process that can be used to find the solution.
    • There will be more hands-on working with manipulatives.

    Remember that the standards tell you what to teach and you must decide how to teach. Add your own style to help you embrace this new concept. There are many resources for teachers to use to better understand the Common Core Standards. States that have adopted the standards are providing extensive training, materials and support. Work together with your teaching team by trying new techniques and tweak them as necessary. In time you will see the benefits, as children become critical thinkers and problem solvers.

References

  • Common Core State Standards Initiative - http://www.corestandards.org