Common Core State Standards in Action

Wednesday, March 19, 2014Printer-friendly version

While policymakers debate political issue surrounding the Common Core State Standards, educators are busy putting them into action in classrooms - and are enthusiastic about the results. Here are some of the best news clips with links, excerpts and quotes:

Watch Common Core in action: Creating 'a huge shift' in teaching, learning at Gilliard Elementary

By Sally Pearsall Ericson,

March 19, 2014

"At Gilliard Elementary School, the Alabama College and Career Ready Standards, also known as Common Core, have resulted in more in-depth classroom discussions and better thinking skills for students, teachers say. "'It is causing a complete shift in the thinking and in the teaching,' said Debbie Bolden, principal. 'I love it; I think it's awesome.' "Just to hear the conversations in the classrooms among the students and with the teachers - just to hear the depth of their conversations - you realize that it has created a lot more collaboration in the classroom." "The new standards encourage conversation and group learning, she said. 'The teacher isn't just standing up and instructing; she's serving as a facilitator in the classroom. The teacher is not doing all the work. I think that is a huge shift.' "In the past, Bolden noted, 'When a student didn't know the answer, the teacher wanted to give the answer. Now, you want to let the students struggle, because they're smart and they will figure out the answer.'"

What A Florida Middle School Has Learned So Far Teaching Common Core Standards

By John O'Conner, State Impact Florida

March 10, 2014

"Over in Christina Phillips' sixth grade students learned about the three C's - claim, claim evidence and commentary. "Phillips had her students read essays and identify whether the underlined text is making a statement, presenting evidence, or expressing a fact-based opinion. "'OK, so let's start with blue first. Okay?' Phillips asked. 'The blue said 'This pig made his house of bricks.' Is that factual evidence from the text? Or is that my opinion? "'That's evidence!' a student pops back. "'Textual evidence,' Phillps confirmed. 'So, blue would represent?' "'Claim evidence,' the students said. "'Claim evidence. So circle it and tell me how you know,' she said, asking them to fill out their assignment. "Phillips said Common Core meant big changes in her lessons. It's all designed to make sure kids are prepared for college-level or professional work by the time they graduate high school. "'Four years ago, there wouldn't be any text in a writing assignment.' She said. 'It would simply be a prompt. And we would probably have kids writing a lot more anecdotes. Now, they have to use the text. "'You know, it's what's expected at the higher level.'"

Common Core's greatest challenge: testing students' ability to think

By Joe Robertson, Kansas City Star

March 4, 2014

"He and other teachers and administrators at Leavenworth High School said they embrace Common Core's guidance toward deeper exploration and thought-provoking classrooms. "'This is how I used to teach,' Baxter said, looking back some 45 years since a University of Kansas professor's teaching of Herman Melville's book propelled Baxter out of biology and into a life's work teaching teenagers the wonder of reading and writing. And, "If the question is just about the standards themselves, Leavenworth teachers say they feel more creative freedom in their classrooms, even if the expectations in the standards are higher. "Anyone checking out what makes Baxter's class tick will find an entire school bent on teaching useful and purposeful literacy. They are teaching reading and writing across disciplines, including physical education. They are sharing strategies in composition, fiction and nonfiction throughout the school. "It helps in all classes, 17-year-old Leavenworth junior Katie Henderson said."


Achieve has developed materials to help states, districts, and others understand the organization and content of the standards and the content and evidence base used to support the standards. Visit If you find a news clip supportive of the Common Core, please send it to Chad Colby at

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