Pathways to Common Core has been on many of the summer PD reading lists, and I had already ordered it so I was pleased to see it getting so much attention on twitter also. Last school year, I spent time reading the CCSS (Common Core State Standards). I have been printing different articles and saving them for this summer to study in more detail. So my summer PD begins…As I read Chapter 1: An Introduction to CCSS it really helped me understand the background as well as some great strategies about starting to unpack the standards.
*CCSS represent the most sweeping reform in K-12 curriculum in the history of American education. "Teachers are free to provide students with whatever tools and knowledge…that is most helpful for meeting the goals of the standards." I felt better after reading this because I can continue the best practices in my classroom and align them to CCSS. I don't have to change everything I just will have to choose which practices support the new CC.
*"There is a shift in our country. There is an urgent call for learning to shift because twenty-five years ago 95% of jobs required low skills. Today low skill jobs are only 10%. With this major shift, we need to provide all students with a thinking curriculum with workshops, book clubs, research, debates, and think tanks." Again I agree with these practices, and I am already incorporating many of them.
*Emphasis on higher-level comprehension with students analyzing text and different levels noting similarities and differences including different points of view. "Students need to move away from simply reading for information, toward reading for much more of an analytical stance." This concept was important for me to read because I don't typically go deep enough in this area, and I will need to focus more on strengthening higher-level comprehension. (on a side note this connects wonderfully with #cyberPD ).
*Finally I was very excited to see how much reading and writing are intertwined throughout the CCSS. "It is suggested that students become fluent, fast, structured and proficient writers. Supporting the writing across the curriculum may be one of the most potent ways to help all teachers in a school." This was huge for me because I will continue to link writing in all areas but if you only teach science then CCSS must be integrated into your lesson planning. I would hope that Common Core could pull ALL teachers together for strong conversations about weaving CCSS into all curriculum areas.