Sunday, December 2, 2012

An elementary perspective on the Common Core

"I can't imagine what the graduate of 2025 is going to need to do after 13 years of formal education, but I do know that every one of those kindergarteners who come into our schools this year needs to know how to evaluate information, how to work with others, how to find answers, how to express their own beliefs, and how to develop their own wisdom. That is the core of the Common Core, as it has always been of education and learning." (Killeen, 2012)
I really like the way that Erlene Bishop Killeen focuses on the key aspects of teaching and learning in her column, Primary Voices, in the most recent edition of Teacher Librarian. Killeen asks us to think about how we can work with our elementary students to help them deepen their thinking, engage in research, and express their own ideas.

This fall, I have done many of the things Killeen suggested. Here is her checklist - let's see how my activities have matched up:

  1. Read the national document. Common Core State Standards Initiative,; Yes. Our staff began our year by investigating the CCSS at our fall retreat.
  2. Worked with a group of teachers on understanding what the standards mean, examining same test questions, text samples, and grade level competencies. No. Our staff is focusing mainly on the math standards this year. 
  3. Compared CCSS with current curriculum and projects that I am involved with, lead, or would like to be included in as a co-teacher. Informally. I am trying to do advanced work observing our existing (newly adopted) literacy program and noticing where it aligns. I believe that the literacy coaches will take the district lead with this, but I think the library can play an important leadership role.
  4. Reviewed the Library Media Center book collection related to some recommended lists of exemplar texts, fiction titles, and non-fiction topics. This is my next item to do. An important goal for the winter.
  5. Expanded my annual book order to include needed topics, titles, and texts. My book order will focus on nonfiction. I am in the process of analyzing the books I have been collecting on my wish list and seeing the areas of nonfiction that need expanding.
  6. Developed a section in our district website for links to CCSS! Yes!

Killeen, E. (2012). Ready to Learn?. Teacher Librarian, 39(6), 54. Retrieved from

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