Task #3: Common Core

By: Amanda Falko

For this task, I talked to my mentor teacher, Ms. Clark, about the common core. The questions I asked as well as her responses are below.

Has moving to the CCSS been challenging and/or easy for you?

I asked Ms. Clark if moving to the Common Core State Standards has been challenging or easy for her. She replied by saying that moving to CCSS has been very challenging for herself and other teachers. She said that the biggest challenge for her has been incorporating the new CCSS into the current existing curriculum. As time went on, it has gotten easier and she feels that these new standards are really benefitting the children because they are becoming better problem solvers. She went on to say that she has found it easier to focus on one subject a year. For example, last year, the second grade team at Joppatowne Elementary School focused on working really hard to change the reading curriculum to match the CCSS. This year, the focus has been on updating the Math curriculum. Finally, she said that each year they learn more about the CCSS and are able to adjust their lessons accordingly.

Do you have Professional Development in regards to the Common Core? If so, what kind?

Ms. Clark said that they have had professional development through the school system, but she said that she believes it has not been enough. She said that she feels that they need more professional development for the CCSS. She said that this past November, the county put together a two day Professional Development. Each teacher was expected to select sessions to attend. She said that their were many (hundreds) of options, but each teacher was only allowed to attend six sessions. However, she said that they were very helpful.

What resources do you find helpful (people, websites, books, etc.)

The internet is one of Ms. Clarks greatest resources. She said that she frequently is able to find resources and tasks on the internet that is related to Common Core. Just by simply searching for specific standards has provided her with a ton of resources. Ms. Clark also said that she took many graduate classes over the past few year, which allowed her to talk with other colleague throughout the county and this has really taught her a lot. One book that she has found extremely useful when planning math lessons is "Teaching Student-Centered Mathematics", by Van De Walle.

Addition Question and Comments

~Why is Language Arts and Math standards the only two subjects to be developed? Why haven't they changed the Science or Social studies standards?

~I never understood why they implemented the CCSS the way they did. It was so sudden and I feel like a lot of children suffered and are still suffering. I think they should have finished the standards first, as they are still in draft form, and then implemented them starting in Kindergarten. I feel like the students in elementary and middle school were thrown into the middle of something and they had to completely change their mindset. I feel like most of them were completely lost because they were not using the CCSS from the very beginning.

~I really like the CCSS because I think it is important for children to problem solve, but I think it was implemented way too quick and many students who are currently in school are suffering from it.