Most of the fifty states have now adopted the Common Core Standards, with full implementation for the 2014-2015 school year. This means that most schools and teachers are busy preparing to make the transition. Teachers have to revamp what they teach and how they teach the material to meet the demands of the new Common Core.
The Common Core standards place a significant emphasis on standardized testing and teaching to the test. The new assessments focus on higher-order thinking skills and critical thinking, which can be challenging for students. To prepare students to excel on these tests, lessons will need to place a more significant focus on real-world examples, integrated and crossed curriculum, supplemental material, rubrics, use of technology, classroom discussions, writing, and problem-based learning.
Ensuring teaching lessons meet and teach to the state standards is a criterion when writing any lesson plan. First, look at the state standards for that subject area as a starting point for beginning your lesson. By starting from the state standard and working outward, you will be more apt to successfully meet and teach the state standards in each of your lessons.
As the standards only describe the goal of the schooling – the destination at which students should arrive at the end of a unit or term – it is the teacher’s job to ensure that they successfully get all their students to that destination. In other words, the standards tell you what your students need to learn, and it is your job as the teacher to ensure that your students are taught efficiently.
Employing standards-based instruction will help you to meet and teach to the state standards effectively. For instance, implementing many high-level activities in the form of questioning, reflecting, analyzing, experiments, discussions, and writing will encourage the development of high-order thinking skills.
This will result in students developing a deeper understanding and better retention of the material. Additionally, when preparing a project or assignment, you can display an evaluation rubric to the class before beginning the assignment. Let your students know what is expected of them to meet or exceed the state standards. Effective communication is paramount to achieve excellent results.
Although the transition to the Common Core State Standards can be challenging and involves implementing many changes, it employs similar methods to current state standards to help ease the transition. By focusing on standards-based instruction, problem-based learning, and integrated curriculum, you will be able to meet the Common Core and prepare your students for rigorous state testing.
How do you ensure your lessons meet and teach to the state standards? Let us know below in the comments.