This week I was lucky enough to be part of a group of educators preparing to implement the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). I am lucky because we have a little time to accustom ourselves to the standards before we have to jump in and help the students meet them. We will be working all of next week on curriculum development and planning for training the rest of the teachers in the district. This is a huge undertaking, but it is pretty exciting too.
As part of the preparation, I have been reading Pathways to the Common Core: Accelerating Achievement by Lucy Calkins, Mary Ehrenworth, & Christopher Lehman. Teaching with the Common Core is not a choice that we have. It has already been decided, so the only choice at this point is the attitude that we will have as we go forward. In Pathways to the Common Core they write, "We can regard the Common Core State Standards as the worst thing in the world" (p 3). Another choice is to "see hope and opportunity" (p 8). I believe we have the choice to approach this task looking for all of the negatives or to approach it with an eye to the possibilities and the benefits that we hope for in the coming years. We may not have personally made the choice to adopt the Common Core, but we will be on the front lines implementing them. I am not a fan of every single thing in the CCSS, but there are a lot of positives tucked away in there. I am choosing to move forward with a positive mindset and while I don't look forward to the chaos that might ensue as we work through the changes, I do look forward to the teamwork and creative thinking that will emerge in the coming months. I also look forward to seeing the learning as a result of what we do. Here's to the future!