Are You a Common Core Bore?

Rigor? Check. Complex texts? Check. Text evidence? Check. Reading closely, instead of skimming shallowly for a "right there" answer? Damn yes. Check! So what's the fuss with Common Core?



The other day I did the unthinkable. I asked my friend, a fellow middle school English teacher, why she's so down on Common Core. She was vehement and earnest in her response. "Because it's bad for kids. It crushes their creativity. It takes the joy out of our subject area. And..." (This was where she really became angry.) "...it does not teach them how to think."

Asking the question was not the unthinkable part. The unthinkable is what I said in response. You may forgive me when you realize that I came down with the flu the very next day. So maybe I was hallucinatory. Or maybe the flu was my penance. My response? "Oh. You're a Common Core Bore."

I'm pretty sick of Common Core trashing. I think it is good for kids. And it does not crush their creativity. Last month my students wrote the most amazing fictional narratives; I swear that one of my best writers wrote a story that is almost professional. As for taking the joy out of our ELA classes, my kids are so proud to be reading (and comprehending!) complex texts, such as O. Henry's hilarious story, The Ransom of Red Chief.  They love using Interactive Notebook Templates  from The Candy Class for vocabulary. Even text evidence writing can be fun and creative! My kids will soon be working on an exploding box book report and craftivity that has a text evidence component. The box part will look something like this when it's done:


As for thinking, we're feverishly (no flu pun intended) evaluating and writing argument papers. I think they finally "get" that an argument can't just come from the gut. If there isn't valid evidence to support it, their argument is about as useful as using their hands as a vessel to hold dry sand.

I could go on and on. But I will save it for another post. 

I'm just so tired of Common Core trashing. (If I just repeated myself it's because I'm literally tired too.) I realize that the standards are not perfect. Some of them are age-inappropriate, while others are poorly worded. (And I am only referring to ELA, not math.) But they offer a good starting point. 

If one of the trash-talkers can come up with something better, I promise I will evaluate their argument fairly, as will my students. Because they CAN. 




10 comments

  1. *Like!* You work well in a fevered state. Get well soon! :)
    Pam
    Desktop Learning Adventures

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    1. Thank you, Friend! I'm trying! :)
      Darlene

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  2. This is a great topic. I find myself constantly thinking of how to adapt my teaching to Common Core. I like it, but it takes adjustments in mind sets and looking at things in new ways. It certainly isn't boring, rather it adds new, fun challenges to learning. Miss Trayers at Not Just Child's Play: Challenging Young Minds is a blog a read often. She finds ways to put rigor in Kindergarten. How cool is that? Maria

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  3. Hi Maria, I think it is wonderful that you are looking at CCSS as a "new, fun" challenge! We teachers thrive on challenges too! And I can't wait until first graders like yours come to me as middle schoolers. That is when we will really be able to assess the effectiveness of CC!
    Thanks for stopping by :)
    Darlene

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  4. Agreed! While I don't LOVE everything Common Core, I do feel that my students are more empowered when reading nonfiction. The more knowledge we give them, the more confident they are. I think understanding how to read informational text has caused their own informational/essay writing to be much more organized and just better in general.

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    1. Excellent point! Reading a lot of nonfiction can help kids as writers and readers.
      And I don't love all of it either. I think that we would be foolish and shortsighted to set the standards in stone they should be a work in progress.
      Thanks for stopping by!
      Darlene

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  5. Bravo ! You said it well ! I am the Common Core advocate in my building and people don't like my enthusiasm. I see the difference in my student's work ! Keep being the positive one and you'll be the one to succeed ! Thanks for the great post .

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  6. Darlene, I put my blog link on my name but I typed it in wrong so I am correcting it here. I was doing it on my phone and I must have mistyped. Or it is because it is 5 in the morning. In either case, I am sorry and am correcting it here.

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    1. Kathy, I think it is wonderful that you maintain your enthusiasm despite the Negative Nellies in your school! And I must say, I thought I was the only one reading blogs at 5AM. I'm glad I'm not alone!
      I still don't see your blog link, but I'm going to find you!
      Thanks for stopping by!
      Darlene

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  7. I love it when I come across others who are not trashing the common core! Like you said, they aren't "perfect" but then again, what is? I think the only limitation in creativity lies within those who are closed-minded and not willing to think outside the box. Seriously, it's not like the standards changed THAT much (at least in PA)... in fact, I believe it is something like 85% of the Common Core is aligned with what we are/were teaching as long as we were already teaching to the standards. :) Thanks for the post!

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