By Jill Jackson
Think about it…you go to your Common Core-aligned curriculum and you plan to teach what it tells you to teach for tomorrow. It’s not that you’re not engaged in the curriculum, but you are trusting that what it tells you it will do (teach the kids to master the Common Core standards for your grade level), it will actually do!
The problem is this: You can have the BEST materials around, but if you don’t know WHAT makes them the best and most promising and HOW to use them, then you probably won’t get as far.
I’ve created this simple list of traps to avoid (trust me, many have learned the hard way…why not learn from their mistakes?) that we use to help guide teachers as they move to a Common Core-aligned program. This is even a really helpful list for those teachers trying to align their current materials to the Common Core – without getting a new program!
Trap 1: Blindly relying on the program and assuming it’s Common Core-aligned because it says so
Trap 2: “Picking and choosing” from the program to fit the Standards
Trap 3: Forgetting explicit instruction
Trap 4: Teaching activities rather than Standards and skills
Trap 5: Following the Reading Foundational Standards and assuming that they’re enough to teach kids how to read
Trap 6: Forgetting everything you know about teaching reading
Trap 7: Starting from square one
Trap 8: Avoiding long-term planning and focusing only on “What do I teach tomorrow?”
The best advice I have for you in avoiding these traps is this: THINK!
You know, early on in our Common Core work I did a class called, “Don’t Throw the Baby Out With the Bathwater!”…and I meant it! While there are significant changes to WHAT and HOW we need to teach the Core Standards, we do know that the research, particularly on teaching kids of any age to read, still guides us today (even with the CCSS!) as it did 10-15 years ago.
Your reading program is your TOOL for organizing the delivering of the content! Without your brain power and deep thinking about the use of the materials, you are likely to fall into these traps…and I hope to help you avoid just that.
Which trap are you most at risk of falling into?