How Are Our Materials Aligned To The Common Core?
All of our materials are created to directly assist teachers
and students in meeting the Language Arts Common Core Standards.
When you view any topic page, you will see our Apple with the
related Common Core Language Arts Standard that the topic is aligned
Please note that there are a number of standards that are to be met
kinesthetically or verbally. As a result, you will not see worksheets
available for these standards.
The Common Core Standards: The need for a national standard in education
For all the debating over the Common Core State Standards Initiative,
there is gap between the rhetoric and facts. The fires get fanned, fears
grow and what Common Core is, how it developed and its goals are getting
lost in the smoke.
Common Core isn't a mandate dictated by the federal government. It
evolved through years of study and assessment by the National Governors
Association, Council of Chief State School Officers. Unlike other nations,
the United States has a diversified education system. States are in
control of their education systems, policies and funding. The Common
Core is their product.
Participation in is voluntary. Forty-five states, the District of Columbia
and 4 U.S. Territories have opted in. Some have opted out. Others will
join in the future. There is no directive from above.
The Common Core is driven by two main issues:
The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) released its
2012 results in 2013, showing that in the United States has actually
slipped in the academic rankings since 2009. Our children dropped from
24th place to 30th in math; from 19th in science to 24th in 2012 and
we dropped from 10th in reading to 20th. PISA compiles its data from
the top 65 developed nations in the world. The U.S. failed to break
into the top 20 in any field.
Students who have successfully completed their high school course work
still need remedial education, particularly in English language skills
and math. They have a diploma and lack the academic skills required
to go forward in either college or the working world. Even "Ivy League"
schools are hosting remedial courses.
Second: to meet the needs of both paths by ending the variance in what
American children are taught, and when in different states. Common Core
creates a standard of expectation in American education. The failure
to teach basics (in math for example) in the 4th grade has been passed-on
and addition and subtraction; multiplication and division is still a
main element in many 8th grade math classes. This doesn't exist in the
countries that out perform us in the PISA study. Common Core requires
that algebra and geometry begin in the 8th grade and a complement of
materials is provided for grades K-7 to assure that it happens.
Common Core presents a different view of education. It is focused on
more expansive comprehension instead of test taking. Over the last decades,
passing standardized tests has been the measure of success and even
school funding has been tied to it. That sort of thinking produced the
drop in our academic ranking in the world. There will be testing under
Common Core. It's is a measure of knowledge and achievement. Learning
to take the tests is not the goal.
Common Core provides for a wider scope of knowledge built on greater
understanding. The curriculum is designed to be mutually supportive
and provide an expansive building-block approach to education. The standards
were developed in a cooperative effort by teachers from across the country
assessing Best Practices and improved methodologies.
The development of English Language Skills (ELS) is a main focus of
Common Core, and it includes more than reading and writing at grade
level. Common Core materials include reading in what used to be called
the "humanities." The goal is to achieve greater reading comprehension
while expanding the educational experience of American children. Students
are being exposed to mythology and history, the cultures of other societies
and our own. We are providing a richer understanding of our world and
who we are.
Common Core's math standards present a more dynamic and dramatic change
in the way that we approach teaching. It is true that the new standards
require that the basics be taught in the primary school years, but this
isn't about memorizing times tables and endless repetition. In our world,
everyone has a calculator. The goal is to teach students how numbers
work. It's not just "the what;" it's the "why." One of our objectives
is to teach students to use math, logic and reasoning for critical thinking
and decision making; something that is absent from today's methods.
Our current methods of teaching math cover broad ranges of information
with no depth. While some students catch-on instantly, many endure the
repetitions and often pointless examples until they simply become numb
to the math experience. Common Core offers fuller explanations of how
numbers work with relevant examples in text and graphics. It's a progressive
thing allowing students to move on to the next level year after year
throughout grade school and that is the standard being applied throughout
all of the participating schools.
Common Core isn't meant to prepare every student for a career in science,
technology engineering and math (the STEM professions). Those students
will continue on with higher level courses. It will improve the baseline
of knowledge for American children and prepare them to enter life in
the 21st Century.
The math standards were built on the finding of the 2011 Trends in
International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) among others that
looked at performance in other countries. Benchmarks are established
year to year with increased attention to the 4th and 8th Grades. Other
countries are succeeding. Saying that we can't isn't going to work anymore.
There is only one question here: Will the United States provide a 21st
Century education to American children so they can thrive in a 21st
Century world. In large part, it is a world that we made. Common Core
may not be the ultimate answer to every issue surrounding education,
but the obligation to prepare our children to enter higher education
institutions, or employment without remedial work is indeed ours.
Just about every American, no matter where or when we were born, grows
up being taught that we are the greatest society in the history of the
world. It sounds good and we're all pleased to hear it. Perhaps it will
be true when our children read, write and understand math.