Monday, August 27, 2012

Common Core Starts Now - Assessments later

Great story that really hits home on the Common Core by Liz Bowie in the Baltimore Sun "School Year Starts with New Curriculum" (the title is actually a little misleading as common core is not a curriculum but we will let it slide). Maryland is on of our great PARCC Educator Leader Cadre states. 

The money quotes - 
"We are pushing rigor ... earlier than we ever have before," said Maryland Superintendent of Schools Lillian Lowery.

And I love this part on how a teacher is changing her practice - not recreating an entirely new curriculum but really going implementing close reading using some of her existing texts!

"Third-grade teacher Lauren Booth has always taught her students a story by author Mark Teague about characters who have wild adventures after falling into a lost-and-found bin. The teacher at Baltimore County's Colgate Elementary School would ask them to describe the differences among the characters as part of their lesson.
This year, she will still be teaching "The Lost and Found" but she'll also ask students to read a second Teague book, "The Secret Shortcut," and to compare the characters in the two books. Then they will write their own stories, incorporating the traits of the characters in the two books.
They will not only be developing narrative writing skills, she said, they will also have to use what they learned about character traits. This approach will take more time, and it will mean that she will drop another story from her lessons. But she said she also will be able to go into greater depth."
That really embodies common core implementation - taking what works, modifying it to go deep and build the right skills. 
The article ends by highlighting the one big issue for all educators - they are all teaching to the new standards but kids will be tested to the old until the PARCC assessments are completed for the 2014-15 school year. 
But it looks like Maryland students are getting a jump on college readiness!!