The unedited conversation of Common Core, Education ClosetAnd the conversation continues!  Here is Part II of the Unedited Conversation of Common Core!


Again, I have solicited comments at meetings, district gatherings, and professional conferences.  I simply asked teachers to provide their immediate reaction to the phrase Common Core, and wanted to address each of the comments I received, with as much information as possible.

Welcome to Part II of the Unedited Conversation of Common Core!


 I’m still confused but I just do what they tell me to do. If you don’t teach a core subject there aren’t any real guidelines yet. I figure if I have the kids write more, citing evidence and using higher order thinking skills I’m on the right track.

You are definitely on the right track, and your outlook on the current transition is refreshing and definitely in the right place!!  Anything outside of English and Math is not given strict guidelines to the expectations.  But let’s not complain about this, because it gives us the freedom to choose areas where we can assist the core subjects.  Offering opportunities to read, cite, synthesize, and apply are pertinent opportunities to delve into the realm of Common Core! So you are definitely doing the right thing! Keep it up!

The common core seems to develop the reading, writing and thinking skills of students at a much higher level than the current system.  I think the education train is headed in the right direction, but common core’s reliance upon computers to assess student learning is sure to be a train wreck.

This is a very good observation…our train will be derailed because of technology, which is quite ironic as we are in the digital age.  I appreciate the attempt to move our school system in the same direction, but the idea of taking all tests on computers begs the question…are we there yet?  In theory, this is a great idea…do I think they truly expounded the possibilities of technological failure…NO.

However, we are here…let’s make it work!  There is much to be done with the technological aspect of the upcoming assessments.  Ironically, lawmakers are requesting more computer science in schools….but we need computers to do that!! (see the full story at:  )  And where are the computers?? See a piece regarding Oakland’s use (or inability to use) computers:

We are definitely in a transition, and if our policy makers, boards of education, and states wish for us to be compliant with their new expectations they must give us the resources to do so!

With the adoption of common core, I feel like a first year teacher with little support. We have few resources or understanding of what common core really looks like. At times, it feels like I’m stumbling in the dark. Also, students struggled to master the

[state] standards, which are far less demanding and complex than the Common Core standards, but somehow they are supposed to demonstrate college and career “readiness!”

You are absolutely right, when it comes to Common Core, we are all first year teachers stumbling in the dark.  But, just as I told my current student teacher…it is fight or flight, baby!  It will require a little reconditioning and rewiring of what we know and what we are familiar with.  You are not alone, we are all feeling this uncertainty, especially because it is still evolving and many of our concerns and questions can’t really be answered yet, because (truth be told) they don’t know yet!!

I wouldn’t say that the Common Core standards are more demanding or complex, they are just different.  I feel the state standards and the past standardized tests were rather superficial.  They were expectations of surface information and memorization of things, whereas common core is more a philosophy and understanding of concepts.  We are moving into a new generation of teaching and learning.  With that, comes many trials, tribulations, and yes…flaws.

We are in a learning stage and luckily we are allowed to learn per the state Board of Education (  So let’s capitalize on this ability to fumble through the madness and see the rainbow!  This will not be an easy task, but we are educators….and we are ready for anything they throw at us!  See my article Common Core: it’s a verb not a noun (to be published 4/14/14) which also addresses your thoughts.

Honestly, the biggest frustration I am encountering in trying to implement the common core is a lack of resources and training. It seems that those above the teaching staff are also in the dark, and while it continues to be stressed that this is an “adult learning year,” no one seems to know what they are doing. Personally, I have been trying things in the classroom that I have never done before, but the lack of resources makes doing this incredibly time consuming, and I don’t even know if what I am trying is on the right track. Staff trainings have been underwhelming, and inspire little confidence in those who are meant to be “training teachers” on how to implement the common core to fidelity.

Again, Common Core is not necessarily about more resources, it is about using what you have in a different way.  It is about altering the way we teach and the way our students learn, I know that sounds omnipotent and arbitrary (and I totally don’t want to be that person)..but it is the truth! Common Core is about trying new things in the classroom, and that is the only way we are going to attack this ideology.  It’s about taking those risks and reflecting on what works and what doesn’t.  I believe it will take some time before everyone, including our trainers, really fully understand how to implement the Common Core philosophy.   However, it is fun to try new things and set on a pilgrimage of grander education!

Common Core, Common Core.  What the [heck] is it?  Does anyone really know what it is yet?  Does anyone have a concrete lesson plan or examples of what it really is?  It all sounds great, but what the [heck] is it?  To me, it looks like an AP Test, even though I have never taught an AP class.  You get two or more articles and fuse/synthesize them and that is what Common Core is?  It all sounds great, yet no one has a definite answer to what it really is or can be.  As of now it is all a guessing game, until someone shows an example of what it is. 

I love this!  Yes, you are absolutely right in your questioning!! What the heck is it?? And no one tells you…because (secretly) no one knows!!! I like to equate Common Core to a philosophy of teaching and learning.  It is not a tangible lesson plan, or specific book, it is an ideology; or like I mentioned before it is a verb not a noun.  It is the idea of getting our students to think deeper, analyze stronger, and find greater meaning rather than superficial comprehension.  There is no concrete lesson plan because it is not a lesson, it is a thought process, a premise, a philosophy.

I know, you are thinking “really…thanks for not helping at all”  but truthfully, it is a new concept of teaching and learning, there is no lesson plan for it, it is about engaging your students in finding deeper meaning and understanding of your content.  That probably doesn’t help.  I am sorry!  However, I know you teach a subject outside of the codified English/Math regime of Common Core, so I will offer you this: place your students in real life.  As a foreign language educator, you know good and well that the “mechanics” of the language don’t necessarily help them in the real world (I mean seriously…who conjugates??), so how can teaching your language be put in a broader sense?  Make them do an interview in a foreign language, have them do a talk show, or commentary on a sporting event, or order at a local restaurant in the language that you teach.  This is real world, this is career readiness, this is common core!  Have fun with it!! Common Core is the revival of creativity in the classroom!!

To me, it is just another term that people have fallen in love with.  Before it was No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and now it is Common Core.  Do not get me wrong, I would love for my students to use their highest level of thinking!  I would love for them to benefit to their max.  Unfortunately, it is apparent to me that someone talked up this “Common Core,” but didn’t quite follow through.  So pretty much they sold it to whoever needed selling to, it sounded good, and now we are at the final phase with no direction.  The blind leading the blind.  It makes no sense to me.   

You are definitely right!  It is the buzzword of today’s educational world.  As our world changes so must education.  So believe that this will not be the only change in your teaching tenure.  And you are right!  People (or the bigwigs ) have bought into (literally funded) this new thought process, ideology, philosophy…whatever you want to call it! And we the educators are stuck with it…with no say in the process! Welcome to public education!  We have no say in it, and that sucks!

The people who are choosing our fate, so to speak, may have never stepped foot into a classroom!  But unfortunately, it is reality, and we have no say…so how can we make it work for us and our students?  How do we attack this new fun word that everyone is throwing around?  Real Life..that’s how!  Common Core is about college and career readiness…so give them just that!  Find ways to make your content relevant for the world in which we live!  Find ways to challenge your students with the real life applications of your content.  Make them feel the world and be ready for it!

I love common core! Common core is the rain that education desperately needs after a 15-year draught of creativity and authentic learning. My concern is that the intent of the new paradigm will never be realized because the voters are more concerned about a three digit number than the number of inspired students. Once again, I fear we will focus our students’ lives on test preparation instead of preparing our students for the test of life. 

I agree, I love the philosophy of Common Core as well!  I love this analogy, we are definitely in a drought of creativity and authentic learning, especially with the removal of the arts in schools.  The arts really assist in academic success and removing them to prepare for standardized testing was a flaw in our system, so hopefully we will start embracing the importance of the arts and creativity again.  Hopefully, with the new format of the test, we will be able to inspire our students and prepare them for life, and with that preparation they will be ready for the test and more importantly the test of life.  Bring on the Rain!!

I feel many teachers are anxious about the new Common Core Standards because they have become comfortable with their teaching styles and are not willing to accept change. It will take some effort in order to accommodate our lesson plans to the new standards.

Yes, unfortunately, we are creatures of habit, and the fear is change.  However, I do wish to bring back Bridges’ (2002)  ideology that it is not the change that we fear it is the transition.  Once we get through the transition and accomplish the change we are fine….it is merely the transition that scares us!!  And teachers…we are now in the transition!!  Think about any change in your life.  The actual change wasn’t bad…it was getting to that change that messed us up!  So we are superfluously in the transition period…OMG it sucks! But thats ok…we can do this!! We are innovators, creators, educators…we are the best possible candidates for such a  task!! Put it on your resume kids…we are amazing!  We are the innovators, the creators the educators of the future!  Go with your bad self! You are amazing!

Here are the underling principles of Common Core:

Standards are
(1) research and evidence based,
(2) aligned with college and work expectations,
(3) rigorous, and
(4) internationally benchmarked. mastery was essential for college and career readiness in a twenty-first-century, globally competitive society.

We can do this!  Research, preparation, rigorous, and ready…we do this already!! Happy teaching and learning!!


Piquès and Pirouettès


Next Week: Secrets of the Dance Teacher

The California Dance Credential: Where is it?

In the 70s the California dance credential was removed.  Here we are, over four decades later, and still no credential!  21st century skills demand creativity and innovation, which are the foundations of the arts.  So, now,  can we have our credential back??