Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Common Core- friend or foe...Opinions needed

So this is something my inner self has began to question and struggle with.... Is Common Core your friend or foe? Seriously...

I remember last year when me & my kindergarten team had learned that our school would be starting something new called the Common Core. We were like "Oh no! Here's another new thing we have to do and now we have to change up our lesson plans all over again." When we first looked at the standards we thought to ourselves and out loud--- "Yes our kindergarten kids will definitely be able to master this, this & that, and maybe this and maybe that... Hold up! Teach place value to 4/5 year old kids?! Say what? Okay leaving kindergarten knowing and understanding long vowels, yep that's teachable. You want us to teach 4/5 year old kids how to decompose and actually understand what that word means?!" Or were we the only ones who thought this at first? We definitely stressed out at first, but then as the school days went on we learned that our students are capable of learning place value, how to decompose numbers and what the term means, etc. Now like in every classroom, while some students got it and even went above and beyond there were others that just didn't understand. Most of it had to do with what they learned in preschool though. At first I was nervous and over whelmed when it came to Common Core and then it really grew on me. "Why not hold students to higher expectations if they are capable of meeting them, right." Well... now I am in a whole new country where they don't know what Common Core is. I guess I can't say everyone but the principals and faculty members I did ask did not know what it was. The school is a fabulous school and I really like it a lot. It is just a lot different from my old school. Where at my last school we were a blue ribbon school, ranked #1 in our school district, had the highest state scores, and strictly focus on reading, writing, and math.. Academics all the way, no talking in the halls, no talking in the class unless allowed to whisper, no getting out of your seat without permission...Focus, focus, focus. COMPLETE 180 on the school I am now at--- While they do focus on academics, it is way more relaxed and not very strict. I like that part! The students are getting a little bit of it all- character education, health, science, social studies, math, building things, writing, reading, etc. They involve a lot more play. Kids are getting to be more of kids I feel like but I can tell a big difference in what they  know academically.
I love kindergarten and always thought that would be the grade for me but I am not 100% sure it is here. The first grade classes seem more like how my kindergarten class was. Maybe it's because in kindergarten they only go twice a week here, Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday. I guess after teaching Common Core I feel like it might be hard to not teach to that, but I guess I could just sort of combine it to the curriculum at which ever school I teach at next year. Any Canadians out there that teach Common Core in their school?


  1. In Australia we are faced with a 'new' curriculum called National Curriculum and this is a first for us Aussies. We have had all states with their own curriculum. We are facing the same issues you are and having to rethink what our beliefs and understandings are about teaching and learning. Those of us that question will get more out of change and then manage what is best for our students. Good luck.

  2. That's so interesting! Well, I think the biggest thing is that kinders only go 2 days a week. That's crazy- I 've never heard of that! I think finding a nice balance between the super strict and more relaxed learning environment is important. I think everyone needs to be on board for common core (Can't believe they haven't even heard of it!) and its' a learning curve from what everyone is used to and slowly incorporating what you can! Good luck! :)

    Smiles from 2nd Grade

  3. Wow! Only 2 days a week.....I also have never heard of this before. I am shocked! I think as Katie said that if the students are only there two days a week that is part of it. Hoping you can find the right balance between the two schools. I can't imagine how hard it was to start teaching in a new country! It was hard enough for me to move to a different school within the same school district!! Keep us updated on how it goes.

    Mrs. Pauley’s Kindergarten



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