What is Common Core 21?
This is an innovative, learn-from-doing professional development program based on the best selling how-to guide How to Teach Thinking in the Common Core (Bellanca, Fogarty, Pete for Solution Tree Press, 2012). In a six-hour, intense hands-on, learn-from-doing workshop, teachers learn to change any standard into a driving inquiry question. This essential question is intended to motivate students’ development of each standard’s central proficiency and produce a dual result: higher achievement and increased 21st Century skill development. With the basic tools in place, teachers can apply these new lessons or projects into their classrooms.
As an alternative, teachers can learn and apply the model in more depth in two other professional development options: Classroom 21 and Common Core 21 Extended. Both include four workshop days followed by on-site or distance conferences and coaching and recommended peer support team strategies for PLCs or grade level teams. Both also present best practices for organizing new instruction. This approach increases dramatically the transfer of teachers’ new knowledge to their classroom lessons.
How does the approach balance the standards?
Teachers will discover the list of 7 core thinking proficiencies and 21 thinking skills that dominate the Common Core Standards. They will learn to replicate the explicit and balanced thinking skill development model in the context of each ELA or mathematics standard with attention to increased student responsibility for putting what they know into practice. Most importantly, teachers will see how to make sure that the ELA Anchor Standards and the eight key Mathematical Proficiencies are continuously driving all lessons and projects as students climb the ladder of rigor. When the work session is finished, teachers will have lessons or projects “ready to go”. With the follow-up program, administrators will see the new lessons in practice.
- With ELA, teachers learn to improve the quality of a student’s close textual analysis with concrete tips about best practices for preparing students to engage with literature or instructional text in multiple subject areas including science, social studies, technical subjects and science. Teachers learn to help students follow a standards-aligned rubric and note how to develop the grade-level targeted thinking proficiencies over time to ensure higher achievement. Whether working in the literature, informational text, writing or speaking and listening strands, teachers will discover how to integrate standards over a year’s time to ensure they are on top of each child’s knowledge and skill development.
- With Mathematics, teachers learn to link the eight standards-based problem solving proficiencies that drive through the topics of numbers, algebra, geometry and probability. In this way, they help students separate the forest from the trees. As students complete each grade’s standards they step up to a new level of proficiency and tackle ever more challenging material. Tightly-structured mathematical problem solving is brought front and center for every child and procedures are placed in the proper perspective as called for by the standards. Most importantly, students develop conceptual understanding of the core content so that they can think mathematically and learn how to transfer concepts into practice.
Under the now out-of-date state standards, students with strong memories did well. Students with lesser memory skill found it difficult to recall facts and procedures. As a result, an industry dedicated to test-prep sprang up and larger and larger blocks of time were stolen from new learning time to prep students’ short-term memories for the tests. Now with the emphasis on thinking skills and problem solving, formative tests and step-ladder skill development will enable teachers to put aside test-prep time and stick to developing skills with formative feedback aligned to the standards. In addition, teachers can learn how to link grade level standards from year to year, ensuring that all students are progressing up the stepladder of rigor. To discuss this professional development program for your school, district or intermediate agency, contact us.
What does thinking instruction in the Common Core look and sound like?
View this video sample from an elementary classroom. Watch one way that a teacher focuses children on the thinking skill compare as she develops the geometric concept of quadrilaterals with phase II instruction in the explicit teaching model which is aligned with several of the teacher’s Common Core aligned state standards.
310 Keystone Court, Glencoe, Illinois, 60022 USA.