Once an Understanding by Design Disciple, always a UbD disciple, and I’ve been thinking a great deal about Common Core Standards. In general, I’m quite impressed with the depth of learning they promote, however, I often believe questions can be more productive than the actual answers. Further, as an ex-UbD trainer, I am forever doomed to generate esential questions. So, this week, I’ve been thinking about my district as we move ahead with Common Core. I have a feeling some of these questions are being asked around the country. Are they being asked in your district?
- How do we know we are ready to begin?
- Do we fully understand their purpose and their relationship to current standards?
- How do we prepare for Common Core, while making sure to integrate the Critical Skills and the competencies of a 21st Century learner?
- How do we equip teachers to design aligned formative and summative assessments?
- What is the role of instructional materials at each level?
- Are there additional pathways that should be made available to students?
- What modifications should be made to material adoption rubrics to ensure powerful alignment?
- How do we ensure fidelity of implementation which maintains the sequenced narrative design of the math standards?
- What is the most effective and efficient way for each department to support site needs?
- How do we ensure fidelity of implementation that maintains appropriate ratios of reading and writing types, with particular focus on expository and informational communication?
- What essential and common vocabulary is needed for leaders and teachers?
- Does the level of content knowledge for teachers need to increase?
- How do we change standards without compromising our standards?
I will concede these are not true essential questions; there are even deeper discussions to be had, however these questions are critical. What did I leave off the list? Where is your district with Common Core? Do you feel ready? Are your teachers on a path for full-implementation?
Because ready or not, here they come.
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