Saturday, March 31, 2012

A Meeting of the Minds

It's no secret that Common Core is here to stay.  It's either already a reality for you or you know it's coming.  My district is not officially implementing the standards until next year.  This however does not mean that I'm not already learning and utilizing Common Core.  I have been knee deep in Common Core for awhile now. I found myself on the Common Core committee for my school and have had staff developments on it all year long.  

If you would like to skip my frustrations and little rant, skip the next few paragraphs! If not, read on...

I would like to call Common Core what it is....a national adoption! The politically correct answer to whether Common Core is a national adoption is no, since the federal government was not involved in the development of the standards.  However, to date, it appears there are only 4 states (NE, VA, TX & AK) that have not adopted Common Core State Standards (MN has adopted ELA only).

So, where are the National Common Core Pacing Guides??? A curriculum map wouldn't hurt either.  Isn't this the point?  I'm a little confused.  If you can shed some light on this for me then have at it! I know there are a few pacing guides that others have done available from random counties and states.  I also realize there are a few books that have a few curriculum maps written.  I just feel like right next to the standards should be a neon blinking sign that says 'click here for the national pacing guide' or 'click here for basic curriculum maps'.  
With all of that being said, I do realize that it's supposed to be standards of what to teach not how to teach.  I get that part.  However, leaving certain things up for interpretation seems like a slippery slope...I think it would be kind of nice to have a little more guidance with the option of creating your own pacing guides and curriculum maps...

Please, if you have more information on anything I've said I would love to hear it.  Normally, I wouldn't wave my flag of confusion out there for everyone to read. However, I feel at this point, I've talked to enough teachers, administrators and fellow bloggers to realize, I'm not the only one who is a little confused.  

alright....I think I'm done with my rant....

     My little rant leads me to the point of this post (finally right?). I teach in North Carolina.  The sate has not given us a state pacing guide.  Apparently our county has been left to develop these.  So, regardless of how crazy this seems to me, I am proud to say I was asked to be a part of it.  I was asked to be on the team for our district to help write the 1st grade math pacing guides that align with Common Core.
Myself and 3 other talented teachers sat down and created a math pacing guide for our district aligned with Common Core!  Going into it, I knew it was a huge task to take on.  I was excited and a little nervous. It turns out I shouldn't have been, it was so exciting! There were 4 teachers selected for each grade and we all met in a room.  We discussed our thoughts, looked at state policies, dissected the standards and then created a pacing guide for each grade.  My team of first grade teachers were so insightful and so knowledgeable about teaching first grade that it was exciting to just be a part of this group. I loved being able to learn from other experienced teachers who clearly love teaching as much as I do.  It was inspiring and it was clear that we wanted to come up with something that would truly work.  Not just for us, but for our entire county.  It was the single most productive and exciting meeting that I've had in my teaching career.  To me, it was clearly a meeting of the minds...

What's your state or district doing? I would love to hear what's going on around the world! 


  1. Randi, It really wasn't as bad as I thought it would be creating the pacing guides. I'm just wondering what kind of feedback we will have once they are implemented next year. It was s great to finally meet you and know there are other teachers who have a passion for teaching. -Kristi

  2. My district implemented K and 1 this year and I have been to numerous PD's regarding the common core. I am also part of the state's team in creating formative assessments, so I want to tell you that it really isn't that hard to transition to the standards. As I continue to learn more, I will be posting all that I can share on my blog ( I can tell you that you have to educate yourself, as I have found that some of what the powers in charge tell us doesn't always give us the whole picture.
    If you have specific questions, please email me and I will try to send you in the right direction. Our pacing guides are already using common core standards.

  3. That's great that you were able to meet as a district... Our county is leaving it up to each school to make their own pacing guide.... Now how "common" is that?? Everyone is very overwhelmed but like others have said... I think it's just a matter of jumping into it and realizing that it's not going to be perfect the very first year.

  4. I am so glad you are on this team for our county. I can't wait to see what you guys come up with for everyone. Thanks for taking the time to work on this!!

  5. My county is also in carolina and we are struggling to come up with our pacing guide I can relate and feel your frustration

  6. Oh North Carolina Board of Education, I was just ranting today about how you make no sense. My best friend is helping write the pacing guides for our county. I am excited about Common Core and I feel like I have a better grasp than most of the people at my school just because I hear so much about it in blog world!

    Last week I found out in our CC training that we would be taking a NC CC test in 3-5 for the next two years, than it will be a National Test. I'm pretty excited about that part! :)

    Oh, I am also in love with the Unpacking Documents.

    I'm glad your planning went so well!

    Adventures of a Third Grade Teacher

  7. Hi Randi,
    I became part of the Common Core Team for our county this year. The pacing guides were already created when I joined the team in August, but I have been part of the 4 person grade level team who helps create the 9 weeks benchmarks. I feel I have been given an advantage because I have been provided the time to dive into the Standards head first and understand them with teachers from around our county. Feedback was not always positive following the benchmarks. Complaints were the benchmarks were too hard or there were too many performance tasks. Through the process this year, we learned our pacing guide was too heavy during the second quarter and needs changing. We will also be changing the report card to match the pacing guide. I have enjoyed being a part of the team and have learned so much. It would be VERY Helpful for the state to provide us with more help.
    :) Tamera

  8. Just stopped by to let you know that you've been tagged! Can't wait to read the responses!


  9. Hey girl! Just stoppin' by to say hello :)
    A Cupcake for the Teacher

  10. Just found your the butterfly activities, thanks for sharing !

  11. Randi-
    I'm glad it went well!! You were excited about it when we had our NC Blog Meet Up. Sounds like a great opportunity to work with others who are dedicated to teaching, and to really delve into the CCSS with other professionals. Oh NC, why can't you just make one pacing guide for our state? I teach near the county line, and we have students move back and forth throughout the year, meaning they might miss fractions (or something else that's important) altogether!
    Hello Mrs Sykes

  12. YOU'VE BEEN TAGGED! Head to my blog to find out what you have to do next!
    Second Grade Math Maniac Blog

  13. I live in Washington state and I teach 1st grade. We are just
    "digging" into the standards now.
    Any chance you will be posting your pacing guide? I'd love to
    see what your team came up with...

  14. I live in Kansas and we one year into choking the new CCSS. I agree completely that it would be nice to have a national pacing guides. It would be nice if when kids transferred from district to district, they had a consistent flow of education and knowledge base from town to town and state to state.



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