Self-Referential Linky Common Core Love


I drew this! Well, OK, I traced over a map. . .

I’ve been all up in this Common Core business since I first heard tell of them back in 2010, and though I have my issues with the content of the standards, overall, I’m a strong supporter because I believe that IF — and we all know that’s a big if – -correctly implemented, they can do a lot of good.

  • At my last school, I worked to help other teachers analyze the standards and consider how to create tasks aligned to them.
  • This year, I was a NYCDOE Common Core Fellow (for a while, at least), and I did pick up some knowledge from that experience, particularly around selecting texts using qualitative and quantitative factors.
  • At my middle school, we worked hard over the course of the school year to create or adapt our curriculum to the Common Core. You can see a few of my units online (note: let me know if some of the links on that page don’t work; I don’t have much incentive to go back and correct things unless people actually find the materials helpful).
  • I also worked over this summer to make Common Core-aligned online lessons for LearnZillion, which was awesome, because I’ve never had the chance to teach Shakespeare, and I was fortunate enough to land The Tempest as my text. I learned a lot from that experience, particularly dissection of the language of a standard, and determining how that language might translate into practice. I also learned some technical skills, such as how to create video lessons and intricate PowerPoint presentations, as well got to play around with a drawing tablet and get creative.

Anyway, all of the above is just a manner of making it evident that I’m deeply immersed in the standards as part of my professional work. So I can get pretty passionate about advocating for getting them right. I wanted to rassle up some of the links to writing I’ve done elsewhere recently on the standards for you to peruse at your leisure.

First, I started really reflecting on the standards and knew there was something that was bothering me that I needed to untangle, long after a panel that I was on with Shael Polakow-Suransky and Sandra Stotsky, hosted by GothamSchools, had got me thinking.

Second, I had the great honor of being asked to build on that reflection and critique for the Core Knowledge Blog. This was a big deal for me because my educational philosophy has been heavily influenced by the work of E.D. Hirsch  (you can see his influence on my post on curriculum on GothamSchools), as well as by other thinkers often highlighted on that blog.

  • Here’s the series of posts that I wrote for the Core Knowledge Blog: Promethean Plan: A Teacher on Fulfilling the Intent of the Common Core
  • Part I
  • Part II
  • Part III

Finally, I decided to put the skills I learned with LearnZillion to further use and make a video summarizing some of the main points from that series of posts. You can view the video below:


Implementing the Common Core standards for Literacy Effectively from Mark Anderson on Vimeo.

Though my thinking might seem dogmatic at times, I want to stress here that my thoughts on the Common Core and on education at large are always in constant evolution. So if you see some gaps in my thinking or areas that I need to be challenged, please let me know! I’m always seeking to learn.

Over and out.

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