Common Core Explanation

You may not like common core. You may not like Bill Gates.

But this is one of the simplest explanations I have found out there about Common Core.

So for all the haters and lovers……………….. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚



Biggest shift of Common Core

I ran across this SHORT little article on twitter the other night about the biggest shift of common core. It probably needs to be shared with ALL teachers across America. It might put an end to the regurgitation style of teaching that is so prominent in many classrooms. You know where we teach ALL of the content to the students, give them a study guide, and they take a test on what we poured into their little brains. GUILTY as charged of having done this in the past.

This year I am REALLY trying to change HOW I teach and HOW they learn. Is it hard? YES. Do I want to give up sometimes? YES. Am I doing it completely right? NO.

Am I trying? Yes. πŸ™‚

How have you changed your practice since the adoption and implementation of common core?

Here’s the link to the article:

CCRS Training

There are a few of us at our school that are new to the implementation team for our College and Career Readiness Standards. We went to our first training session today.

It. Was. Great.

We talked about the 3 big shifts.


And oh lordie- the writing we are supposed to be doing! πŸ™‚


I will say that we are doing more writing than we have ever done before, but I still need to beef it up even more!!! πŸ™‚

The state coach showed us how to take an objective and really break it down for the students and keep referring back to it through out the lesson. She used an example with a literacy standard in a history lesson.


And of course rigor was discussed. πŸ™‚


It was a very productive day that gave me a lot to think about!

Can’t wait for our school to hopefully collaborate!!

Math, math, math

I have officially decided to start using the math textbook on Monday and ditch the teacher made curriculum I had been using since school started. Here are the reasons why:

Common core, analyzing, common core, reasoning, common core, applying, solving, common core, etc….

Need I say more?

However, I’m feeling overwhelmed, agitated, and frustrated. Look at what 1 page of our 800 page textbook looks like. Eeeeek!


Does anyone else out there use Glencoe McGraw Hill Math Connects??

Please help a girl out if you do! Would love to collaborate!! πŸ™‚

The Real Reason Behind CCSS

There’s been a lot of talk about the common core standards. Rigor. New levels of thinking for our students. Rigor. Getting our students ready for college or a career. Rigor.

I’m putting a new spin on all of this. MAYBE the makers of the common core standards just wanted to shake things up a bit with us teachers!

I mean- think about it. How much have YOU discussed the standards? How many times have you had to REREAD a standard to REALLY understand it?

Maybe this “close reading” of texts begins with a “close reading” of the standards. Maybe they just wanted us to see how students feel during a first reading of a complex text.

For example, look at this 6th grade math standard below!

I may just be speaking for myself here, but without prior knowledge, multiple close readings, and many discussions, along with quite a bit of research, I wouldn’t have any idea what the new math standards say. I still don’t. Teehee. πŸ™‚

So think of how our students must feel sometimes. Especially our struggling ones.

All I’m saying is that I’ve developed a new appreciation for what I expect my students to do each and everyday in my classroom.

And maybe THAT is an underlying theme or goal of what common core is all about.


Unpacking Math Common Core Standards

I Β  Β don’t Β evenknow Β  Β  Β  if I Β  Β have Β  theener Β gy Β to writethis Β  Β  post. πŸ™‚

Today Β I met with 2 of my colleagues to TRY and figure out the math common core standards. None of us have taught with them yet, and I’ve have never even taught math.

So the first thing we attempted to do was this little introduction activity that you can find at Achieve The Core. I would post the exact link, but I CAN’T FIND IT. I know-it surprises me too. πŸ™‚

So here is what it looked like after we finished this activity.



We did it without looking at the standards-got about half right. πŸ™‚ So there were 5 or 6 sets of colored cards (representing the strands)-we did THAT set and stopped!!

We then decided we would start reading the standards and discussing them. 4th and 6th grades because 2 of us will be in 6th and 1 in 4th.


Can we say RIDICULOUS??? WHY did they write the #ccss in such a DIFFICULT way??

OK-I’ll get off my soapbox now! I did get my memory refreshed a lot with math skills that I haven’t used since elementary/high school. But some of the stuff we had never heard of. So I’ll be googling away….

Oh yeah, one more thing I don’t understand. The common core is supposed to allow us to teach fewer standards in a deeper way instead of just skimming the surface.

6th grade has 29 standards with 47 skills. 36 weeks in school. Do the math. πŸ™‚

HOW does that allow us to teach deeper? And what about those students who don’t even have the prerequisite skills for THESE skills? Or the fact that there will be a known gap for a few years?

Oooops…there went that soapbox again. πŸ™‚

It helped that we went and ate Mexican for lunch. Brain break. Research based.

AND this helped!



Here’s an example of a 6th grade math standards:

8. Write an inequality of the form Γ— > c or Γ— < c to represent a constraint or condition in a real-world or mathematical problem. Recognize that inequalities of the form Γ— > c or Γ— < c have infinitely many solutions; represent solutions of such inequalities on number line diagrams.

Whaaaat? I swear a curtain falls down when I try to read something like this and INTERPRET it. Maybe I need a #ccss translator. Wait-strike the “maybe”. πŸ™‚

With this being said, my next move is to dive into our textbook (that looks like a college textbook) and correlate the standards to the textbook content, create a pacing guide, and start WORKING OUT SOME PROBLEMS. πŸ™‚

What are your thoughts on the Common Core Math Standards? Oh, you can’t think anymore since your brain is fried, too? Do I detect smoke? πŸ™‚

Can computers grade writing?

We’re all familiar with Common Core. BUT-have you thought about how the standardized tests are going to be graded? How are they going to grade the critical thinking if the answers aren’t given in multiple choice bubbles but written out?

Enter robo grading. Computerized grading. Hmmm…..

Visit NCTE’s website below to read their take on it. You’ll find it interesting at the least. You’ll find it scary at the most. See how the Gettysburg Address measure up with this idea of robo grading.

Machine Scoring in the Assessment of Writing

Then if you’re feeling spunky today (and I know you are!) head on over to this site to protest the grading by computers!!!!

Thank you for playing. πŸ™‚

Common Core Workshop



I’ve been at a conference all weekend and went to a couple of common core workshops that gave a general overview of our new common core standards.

Here are some highlights from the sessions:

1. There are GAPS in the standards where certain standards have been moved to other grade levels. It is the teacher’s responsibility to find these gaps and teach them. Yeah, that’s going to be a doozy! πŸ™‚

2. The common core calls for more rigor. This translates into the kids not just knowing or memorizing the content but being able to EXPLAIN verbally and in writing how they arrived at the answer or why they know it. They will have to APPLY their knowledge.

3. The new standards are a NEW WAY OF TEACHING. Students will have to be able to communicate effectively so this means lots of partner talk, group discussions, and writing about their learning.

4. Then of course there are the 8 mathematical practice standards which are basically “habits of mind” and the 10 literacy strands that are to be implemented in all core subjects.

Here’s the common core website:

Common Core

Here’s a great website that the Alabama State Department has created with the standards, resources, etc. on it. Sort of a central go to place.

Alabama College and Career Ready Standards Website

What kind of training have you been to for these new and rigorous national standards???