The Common Core State Standards are a creating quite a conversation buzz in the education world right now. Adopted by 45 states, the mission of the Common Core State Standards initiative is to “provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers.” (www.corestandards.org)
Previously, every state has worked from its own set of academic standards, meaning public education students in each state are learning to different levels. The Common Core standards have been designed so that all students are prepared to compete with not only their American peers in the next state, but with students globally. Change is not easy and many teachers are lamenting yet another shift in the standards movement. But in many ways the Common Core State Standards are perfect for the 21st Century educator.
Not only are technology strategies included in the standards, but many are facilitated through the creative use of technology. For example, standard W.F.6 states: “With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others.” This goes beyond simply publishing a document by reinforcing the benefits of collaboration and authentic audience utilizing blogging tools and social media vehicles to enrich educational experiences. Other standards promote technology integration across the curriculum such as Including multimedia components (e.g., graphics, sound) and visual displays in presentations to enhance the development of main ideas or themes.
Teachers who have access to interactive whiteboards now have some great resources to utilize them as instructional tools and really engage students and meet the standards. One example is Math Lessons for the Smart Board for Grades 4-6. This book features ready-to-use lessons to teach grade-level math concepts using the interactive whiteboard.
Teachers who include project-based learning in their classrooms will be pleased to know that there are two specific standards, Research to Build and Present Knowledge and Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas, that develop fundamental ideas in project-based learning. For example, one standard states, “Conduct short research projects to answer a question, drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions for further research and investigation.” Almost every standard can be met and surpassed through the use of project-based learning.
Science is the perfect place to incorporate project-based learning. Science as Inquiry: Active Learning, Project-Based, Web-Assisted, and Active Assessment Strategies to Enhance Student Learning is a wonderful resource for teachers striving to include project-based, cooperative-inquiry Earth, life, environmental, and physical science lessons. Theoretical discussion of constructivist learning introduces the detailed lessons, many of which hinge on reproducible handouts to present a puzzling scientific phenomenon for students to investigate.
Common Core State Standards help promote students to the top of Bloom’s Taxonomy – creating. Ultimately, the goal is to equip students with the skills to “create a new product or point of view (i.e., assemble, construct, create, design, develop, formulate, and write).” The standards list numerous curricular skills but do not dictate the manner in which to achieve the skills. There are plenty of opportunities to encourage creativity and meet the standards at the same time.
Cross-Curricular Learning Experiences
Common Core standards are fundamentally cross-curricular. Reading and writing standards, such as, “Write opinion pieces on topics or texts,” can easily be addressed throughout the curriculum. A creative social studies project on civil rights including research, collaboration and presentations reaches across the curriculum silos and includes ELA, history and even math.
History, Social Studies and Science
Common Core standards do not have separate standards for history, social studies and science. So, on first glance it appears these subjects were left out. However, they are still in development. The current ELA standards include Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects.
Schoodoodle.com has the best selection of educational resources to meet the Common Core Standards and engage students in preschool through high school. Browse our selection of e-Books for Teachers, interactive whiteboard and differentiated instruction resources, teaching materials for elementary and upper grades across the curriculum, and early childhood resources.