Tag Archives: common core

Reflections on: Trying to Teach a Common Core Curriculum

My good friend and former colleague Dan is one of the best math teachers I have ever known. As an Independent School teacher, I do not implement standardized curriculum; never the Common Core. His reflections here are thoughtful, albeit open ended. I hope you will join the conversation if this is something that sparks your interest.

Mathy McMatherson

I’ve spent this year trying to teach a genuine Common Core Algebra I curriculum to high school freshman (my first time doing either of those) and I keep trying to find a way to write about with my experiences, but it’s hard not to get lost in all of the moving pieces that’ve happened this year. As the year winds downs (edit: did wind down. This post has been in the ‘draft’ pile for a few months and its already summer), I guess the biggest thing I feel is: the Common Core shift is real and I feel it and I have to rethink a lot of how I used to think about curriculum. This post is about me wrestling with what it means to try and genuinely implement a Common Core curriculum and trying to know where the wiggle room is.

In an effort to be proactive and give guidance to…

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Free Common Core Resources via iTunes U

ASCD iTunes U content screen capture.

ASCD iTunes U content screen capture.

If you are looking for professional development and content focused around the Common Core, then check out ASCD’s (Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development) courses and other resources via iTunes U. Courses cover a variety of content for Grades K-12 and are entirely free for teachers and other educators.

Teaching Tolerance Releases Robust Common Core Curricular Content

Teaching Tolerance has just announced its new Common Core aligned curriculum, “Perspectives for a Diverse America.” This is a literacy based curriculum that teachers students to read text deeply and meaningfully while incorporating the experiences of a diverse set of Americans.

The Curriculum is entirely free and can be found here.

NYT offers Free, Common Core Aligned Content

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The New York Times blog, the Learning Network, is up and running for the new academic year. If you’re unfamiliar with this tool, the New York Times offers free lesson plans and content for Social Studies and Humanities teachers covering current events. Every week, they post a new Common Core aligned lesson plan include multi-media resources (all entirely free). They also offer monthly “Text to Text” lessons “in which [they] pair an often-taught work in history, literature, science or math with a piece from The Times that illuminates it in some way.”

In addition to lesson plans, they provide a variety of interactive features (quizzes, student contest, and more) for educators and students. All of this material is offered entirely free for educators and students.

Check out the inaugural post “How to Use This Blog” for the NYT Learning Network, or follow them on Twitter or Facebook.

Common Core Lessons & Material for English & Humanities

V. Donaghue, “September—Back to Work, Back to School, Back to Books” [1940]. WPA Poster Collection, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C.

V. Donaghue, “September—Back to Work, Back to School, Back to Books” [1940]. WPA Poster Collection, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C.

Edistement!, a division of the National Endowment for the Humanities, has released a series of Common Core Lesson plans for the 2014 school year.

The resources are organized into categories of Literature & Language Arts, History & Social Studies, and STEM/Humanities. They are common core aligned and include objectives and activities.

These are great resources for educators going back to school! You can check out the catalogue here.

Have Students Make & Analyze Treaties via the National Archives

Docs Teach from the National Archives has a lot of great activities that incorporate primary sources and use great digital tools. A newly published activity helps students to analyze treaties through Treaty Making.

Students will read and analyze the text of six early treaties between the U.S. government and Great Britain, Russia, and several Native American tribes, and answer a few essential questions. Through close examination of the documents, students will expand their understanding of the original sovereign and separate nature of American Indian tribes, their legal status as independent governments, and the purposes of treaty-making between governments in general.

Students use the Mapping History tool to link primary sources spacialy on a map and incorporate existing treaties for analysis and discussion. Students then participate in a hands on activity that requires them to create a treaty of their own. The lesson plan is fully mapped out with Common Core alignment. Check out this great lesson here. You can explore additional lessons on Docs Teach website.

Kurz and Allison, Spanish-American Treaty of Peace, Paris 1898 Courtesy of WIkimedia Commons

Kurz and Allison, Spanish-American Treaty of Peace, Paris 1898
Courtesy of WIkimedia Commons

Art/Write Connecting the Common Core with Art History

University of Arizona Mascot, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

University of Arizona Mascot, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Many thanks to my friend and colleague Daniel Schneider for bringing this project to my attention. The Art/Write project out of the University of Arizona’s Museum of Art helps high school students to examine and write about art critically. Additionally, the projects highlighted there meet Common Core standards for writing.

“Writing requires careful observation, critical thinking, analysis of ideas and events, and of course creative thinking. When engaged with a work of art, students must also utilize the skills of sustained observation, imagination and interpretation. This web resource provides looking and writing activities that allow students to develop strong looking skills that in turn foster effective writing.” – Quote from Art/Write

If you teach art or are looking for ways to liven up your writing curriculum in conjunction with the common core, be sure to check out Art/Write.