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keepcalm27's Message:

I'm interested to know why you don't like common core?

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Discussion Review (newest messages first)
allier 02-27-2014 07:19 PM

I appreciate your response. It sounds so well organized. We seem to do everything half-you-know-what here. We have very disjointed training, and basically no one to do interventions. The area "failing schools" (I worked at one, and I believe it was one of the most dynamic and intelligent group of teachers I've ever worked with), have so many more resources, trainers coming in, etc... although it's been completely overwhelming in terms of staff time. It is also not a sustainable situation, because once those supports go, it's going to be extremely tough to maintain the gains. At my current school, we in theory have an "interventions block", but there is exactly 1/2 time math intervention person for 525 kids. Our ed. techs are assigned to work with special ed. students who are in our classes, which we all support, but there is NO ONE left to work with anyone else. My friends at the failing schools have part-time subs come in so they can collaborate weekly. We are most definitely overwhelmed. Three teachers were in tears today....that never has happened before. The school is transitioning from middle class type students, to more diversity, and many more kids who arrive with zero English. I love working with those kids, it's my job, and I think I'm good at it, but our district admin (I'm guessing with pressure from state and fed.) want kids to achieve to an unreasonable level given their educational and language backgrounds. It's a wrong-headed approach, and we are very frustrated. This is a school that had strong standardized test scores in the past, but are now going down. Why? Kids can't read the test, or those children who are still doing very well, are not able to get the attention they need because we have to work with needier children. Very little support. We are in the Northeast. The budget is strained. Sadly to say, I'm sure our situation isn't unique. I'm glad to hear there are some successful schools. It gives me a bit of hope for the future of education.

Karyn3rd 02-27-2014 08:21 AM

Hi Allier,

My school is far from perfect but I will say we've set up a few things to make this transition easier. We've had very consistent and thorough training in the CCSS for the past three years at the state, district, and school level. The teachers in our building understand what the standards require and utilize the vetted materials we have access to via our district and state. We have several state level trainers who are also teachers at our school. These teachers have been able to mentor, model, and provide direct support to our staff. We also have embraced a school wide approach to intervention. Every teacher in our building, including special area teachers receives ongoing training in reading and math interventions, and provide intervention to students during our school wide intervention time. I think in order for this transition to be successful teachers must have a strong understanding of the standards, time to collaborate, quality training, access to vetted materials, and consistent, ongoing support. Without those key elements to transition will seem disjointed and overwhelming.

allier 02-26-2014 04:02 AM

Can I get a job at your school, Karyn3rd??? My ELL students, many refugees, are not feeling this level of love with the common core. I can see what you are saying though, there has been some effort to keep kids moving, but "filling in the gaps" for kids requires lots of coordinated effort. We just don't seem to have that at our school, and we have almost no ed. tech/para-professionals to speak of. I hope I'm not making excuses, because I often embrace new improvements, but I'm just not seeing this work right now. I really liked your post. It truly sounds wonderful at your school.

Karyn3rd 02-23-2014 03:32 PM

I'm going to preface my post with saying I've served as a trainer at the state level for Common Core for the past two years while working as a classroom teacher. I've received extensive training in the standards and know them well.

I believe the CCSS have been transformative for myself as a teacher and my students. My students are stronger readers and writers. The renewed focus on foundational skills in grades K-5 has been wonderful for students. Teachers in my school are able to backtrack and fill in gaps for struggling students while accelerated students are exposed to upper level foundational skills including Greek/Latin roots. The standards outline specific foundational phonics skills through grade 5 which is essential for reading fluency.

The focus on speaking and listening has fostered an environment for accountable talk that is phenomenal. Students discuss texts in a respectful manner. We've always talked about texts but the fact that the standards specifically speak to speaking and listening says a lot.

I like the focus on providing students with a balanced diet of challenging texts while still meeting students where they are in small groups. Just Friday my students began working on our culminating task for our most recent reading unit. I watched in awe as my students began to compose opinion pieces about the texts we'd studied over the past two weeks. Students were able to synthesize information from five different texts to support their opinions. This didn't happen by magic, but because students had engaged in an integrated unit of study in which they read, discussed, and wrote about texts over time. Upon leaving class one of my students approached me and said, "Well Ms. B, all that reading and writing paid off." It definitely did pay off. All of my students, from my most accelerated writers, to students receiving Tier 3 intervention services amazed me with the work they were able to produce.

My favorite quote as of late is, " Provide an uncommon experience and your children will reward you with uncommon effort." I'm seeing this quote become a reality in my classroom and I know it's because I've shifted my approach and embraced the CCSS.

I know that change can be scary for all involved, but I strongly believe that this change is for the better. I'm seeing it in my students every day.

P.S. I've been posting objectives on the board for the past 5 years. The students often refer to them throughout the lesson.

Rockguykev 02-23-2014 02:25 PM

<<My nine year old will be memorizing 40 science definitions (which are not watered down at all) for a big deal scan tron test on Monday.>>

Your nine year old's teacher has a poor understanding of the Common Core, especially since the science standards don't actually exist yet.

TeechNKidz 02-23-2014 11:09 AM

I hate the Common Core! There I said it. I agree with the things the pps have said.

But also,
1. Testing - It was bad enough to have a big test at the end of the year, but now that is all I am doing! Pretests, Posttests, formative, summative, soon PARCC...when do they actual learn anything?
2. There is a commercial that shows all of these wonderful products that were created in garages. Was this because these people took tests in elementary school? NO, because they were doing something that they loved. How do students get exposed to anything besides the standards and learn to love science, math, etc.?
3. Has all brain research been forgotten? Many of these tasks are so developmentally advanced for students, they are just frustrated. The higher students have even had enough.
4. The lie that this is delving deeper into fewer topics. I am teaching everything I used to, plus more, at a higher level.

Yes, there are a few good points. The biggest being that each grade level is learning the same topics. But this is a weak positive considering all of the negatives.

allier 02-22-2014 01:03 PM

You both sum up my feelings. I do believe there is good scholarship behind the common core, and the idea that we need to make sure all kids are getting a good education with similar curriculum is something most of us agree with. The problem I have with it is that the folks writing it fell in love with the process, and seemed to forget about something called "developmentally appropriate". At my school, we had to read sections and the associated scholarship, and you'd think it was the Magna Carta or a treatise on the genome! It goes on and on with so many appendixes and notations. I'm sure it cost a bloody bundle to produce it. Can you imagine the countless meetings it took, the many working luncheons, and amount of flying back and forth by notables from various "think tanks"? I wish we could have taken all that energy and money and put it into children, fixing school facilities, hiring more reading teachers, fixing up science labs, addressing issue of poverty, etc.. Yes, kids have to know stuff, and we need to agree on what stuff, but after that, I feel much of this is so much b.s. which has been contorted by text book companies, the educational testing system, and other big businesses. They are running education. Not teachers, not we who actually do the work.

chickpea 02-22-2014 06:12 AM

She has gotten all As, and hates school. Tells me it is nothing but one big tread mill of work work work.
How can you be bitter and burned out at 4th grade
This is how my DC feels.

I don't blame the teacher, I blame insane, not age appropriate testing. People are making tons of cash promoting this nonsense.
Exactly. Are teachers supposed to risk their jobs by not preparing the students for these test? Their hands are tied.
edugal 02-21-2014 06:43 PM

And, by the way, our venerable state of Florida has now determined that Common Core standards will not be foisted upon our children. Oh, no. Instead, we welcome "The Florida Standards." No PARCC, either. Testing company is up in the air, but my district is still peddling as fast as it can so our children can be tested to the point of absurdity. No sense in compromising our economy.

I am soooo sick of the phoniness, I can't begin to express it. Posting our standards. Are you kidding? There are teachers around my school whose walls are laden with posters of standards. WHo is looking at those and why? Instead of a little brightness and joy added to our walls to lift our children's crumbling spirits, posters filled with nonsense.

We are doing no favors to our children. I think it is literally criminal. Argggg!

funkster 02-21-2014 01:30 PM

at the level I teach it is not developmentally appropriate. Not one early childhood educator was involved in creating these standards. Several well known and well respected experts wanted to be a part of the creation of standards and were not allowed to be part of the process.
Posting the standards on the board or in the room is a total waste of my time. I have the standards in my plan book. My children can't read. The parents don't understand most of the objectives as written. Many don't care.

Education is now forcing teachers and students to learn what will be on the test and in the common core standards. There is very little real education going on. We will be turning out a generation of people who managed to learn these specific things but never learned a true love of knowledge or a joy of learning.

In the past my administrator used to always remind us that we were doing a great job and that our goal was not to turn out a group of students who could read well, but to turn out a group that loved to read. With the passages they read "deeply" they are less and less willing to spend their free time in the library reading. It just doesn't turn them on like it used to.

Tawaki 02-21-2014 11:25 AM

What common core means to me...

My nine year old will be memorizing 40 science definitions (which are not watered down at all) for a big deal scan tron test on Monday. Her class has been bombing the tests so bad her teacher has resorted to stuff I did in Organic chem to survive exams. Flash cards. I know I learned about the Kreb cycle, can't tell you much else. Lol..

Don't even get me started on Math. Just about any kid that is doing well is in her class is either an ex pat, goes to Kumon, or has a parent with a strong math back ground.

She has gotten all As, and hates school. Tells me it is nothing but one big tread mill of work work work.
How can you be bitter and burned out at 4th grade? DD gets about 90 mins of homework (M-F) which is figured into the subject's final grade. She must do it, so she does. Reading is considered a chore. Thank you reading logs. The front and back page of story problems, which are fairly wordy, she hacks at them. (About 10 of those questions), and home work in either Science or Social Studies.

Her teacher is in her first year. I don't blame the teacher, I blame insane, not age appropriate testing. People are making tons of cash promoting this nonsense.

There has to be some middle ground between fluffy fun and grind them until they just about break. I know many parents have just stopped doing some of the homework. No one wants a battle for 3 hours with a kid every night.
I'm lucky my DD will do it and not fight me. I consider myself blessed.

GLNUT 02-21-2014 09:54 AM

I never saw the point of posting objectives. The kids never look at them. I think they're more for the admins.

keepcalm27 02-21-2014 06:13 AM

I'm interested to know why you don't like common core?

TheTrunch 02-21-2014 05:54 AM

What you have described is the current madness that has been foisted upon children and educators. You do know that public education is owned by the 1% population. Right
Your 5th graders are in their last year of childhood. By 8th grade it's all gone. Should the last year of their childhood really be dominated by nbt, nf, md, etc. ?

Who Dat 02-21-2014 05:29 AM

We are required to post our standards on the board or in their notebooks. My students know that curriculum has changed and I expect so much more from them to be prepared for the 6th grade. They know that the 5 means 5th grade and what the different abbreviations mean; nbt, nf, md, etc. We break down the standard into "kid" friendly terms. It helps them focus on what they are being graded on. I give them copies of their standards and they check off all standards as they meet them. We then meet at the end of two weeks to review their progress. Students need to what they are learning so that they can be engaged.

mom23kids 02-21-2014 05:01 AM

I tell my students all the time that "this is a 3rd grade common core standard that all 3rd graders need to know by the end of this school year."
I don't see anything wrong with telling them the expectations.

Emmy 02-20-2014 11:46 PM

Sounds to be that the teacher was trying to inform the parents. I don't think that is weird at all.

shansh 02-20-2014 10:17 PM

Why would it matter to the students what the standards are called? Weird, they have enough to worry about.. LEARNING!

TheTrunch 02-20-2014 08:44 PM

My ten year old g-daughter told me about a very important note the students had to copy to the parents.
Me: What was it?
She: About the Comcore.
Me: What is Comcore?
She: About going deeper in reading.
Me: What does that mean.
She: Sometimes we won't get homework.

WHAT is this big frenzy about the common core? Why are we bothering our kids about it? JUST WEIRD

EDIT: The teacher isn't weird: She is wonderful and one of the best ever. I'm sorry I wasn't clear in my rambling. What is weird is the fact that people have to post standards on the board at all. What is weird is that suddenly Common Core is being treated like it's a cure for cancer. I do not like Common Core. I don't want my grandkids to have to hear about Common Core, like it's something important in their lives. Does anybody outside of education or politics care? No, and the weird part is where everywhere parents are being informed like it's some kind of miracle.

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