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Common Core and Content Can Get Along

Posted by on in Common Core Standards
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Not a day can go by without someone criticizing the Common Core State Standards or blaming the Common Core for all that ails our public education system. And while assessments are usually the prime target for Common Core haters, the standards’ emphasis on non-fiction texts have drawn greater scrutiny in recent months.

No, I'm not going to (AGAIN) rise the defense of Common Core and all that it stands for. Instead, I’d just like to provide a terrific example of how an exemplary educator can use the expectations under Common Core, mix it with a non-fiction topic, couple it with student collaboration and teamwork, and produce a final learning experience that is a winner for all those involved.

Full disclosure here, I am completely bias. The teacher in question is my daughter’s third grade teacher. Earlier this school year, she had students work in pairs to develop “marketing” brochures for each of the planets in our solar system. Students did research and identified key facts. They organized those facts to make a compelling argument. They were then asked to present their findings as if they were travel agents, trying to convince families to visit a particular planet. Bunches and bunches of Common Core standards and expectations, all wrapped up in a project-based science lesson that demanded teamwork and critical thinking.

Here’s the brochure my daughter and her partner came up with. They were tasked with marketing Uranus, and played up the terrific aspects that a cold, ice planet could offer a little kid.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Uranus-1.jpgb2ap3_thumbnail_Uranus-2.jpg

b2ap3_thumbnail_Uranus-3.jpgb2ap3_thumbnail_Uranus-4.jpg

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This was one of the most engaging lessons I’ve seen in either of my kids’ classes in recent years. And it is a great example of how the Common Core should be taught and can be taught by a great teacher. It demonstrates that Common Core isn’t about memorizing facts or relying on worksheets or boring children into submission.

No, Common Core can be about real, deep learning. And in the hands of good teachers who are empowered to use it right, Common Core can be a wonderful guidebook for meaningful student learning.

 

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Patrick is an award-winning writer and communications strategist. In 2013, PR News named him its Public Affairs Professional of the Year for his leadership in education reform. He was also named Bulldog Reporter’s Not-for-Profit Communications Professional of the Year for his work transforming the communications and public affairs efforts at American Institute of Research.


Named a 2014 Social Media MVP for his Eduflack platform, Patrick can be followed on Twitter via @Eduflack. He regularly speaks on social media, communications, and education reform and is the author or ghost author of work that has appeared in more than 100 publications, including USA Today, Washington Post, New York Times, and Education Week.


 



Patrick is an award-winning writer and communications strategist. In 2013, PR News named him its Public Affairs Professional of the Year for his leadership in education reform. He was also named Bulldog Reporter’s Not-for-Profit Communications Professional of the Year for his work transforming the communications and public affairs efforts at American Institute of Research.


Named a 2014 Social Media MVP for his Eduflack platform, Patrick can be followed on Twitter via @Eduflack. He regularly speaks on social media, communications, and education reform and is the author or ghost author of work that has appeared in more than 100 publications, including USA Today, Washington Post, New York Times, and Education Week.


Patrick is an award-winning writer and communications strategist. In 2013, PR News named him its Public Affairs Professional of the Year for his leadership in education reform. He was also named Bulldog Reporter’s Not-for-Profit Communications Professional of the Year for his work transforming the communications and public affairs efforts at American Institute of Research.


Named a 2014 Social Media MVP for his Eduflack platform, Patrick can be followed on Twitter via @Eduflack. He regularly speaks on social media, communications, and education reform and is the author or ghost author of work that has appeared in more than 100 publications, including USA Today, Washington Post, New York Times, and Education Week.


 


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Guest Sunday, 04 December 2016