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Middle school math teacher Jamie Sirois explains Common Core rigor: “I’ve made big changes in how I prepare for my classroom.”

Jamie Sirois, Stratham Cooperative Middle School teacher and Learning Area Leader, along with two of other colleagues from Bow Memorial School and Winnisquam Regional, gave a great workshop on the Common Core math standards at the NEA-NH Spring Instructional Conference at Bow High School on April 5th.

Among other things, she said,

“Rigor requires conceptual understanding, procedural skill, fluency and the ability to apply math to real problems.  It is an equal balance of these three that creates rigor.”


Reading specialist Wendy Mahoney talks about how the new standards work at Barka Elementary School in Derry

The New Hampshire Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development – the folks who lead curriculum development in each school district – organized a visit to innovative Derry schools yesterday.  The first stop was Ernest P. Barka Elementary School.

Before the classroom visits, reading specialist and former 3rd grade teacher Wendy Mahoney told visitors about the success Barka has already seen in its new Common Core-based reading programs. (more…)

A math teacher describes the benefits of the Common Core assessments

This Tennessee math teacher writes in a letter to his legislators about the improvement in this new generation of Common Core assessments that have the potential to get beyond testing strategies and give teachers useful insights into what their students have actually learned.  We’ll see these same benefits in NH.


A Common Core story in a Rochester NY student newspaper teaches a lot about NH

Why read an article in a Rochester, NY student newspaper?  Because it’s a model of thoughtful, balanced reporting on the Common Core and the educators quoted make a thoughtful contribution to the debate.

It’s also interesting because, although to comes from New York, with possibly the most disastrous Common Core implementation in the country, the teachers’ observations are much like those of teachers in New Hampshire, which had done one of the best implementations of the new standards.

For transient, high-needs students, the Common Core can be an anchor – Hechinger Report

You hear a lot in Common Core schools about the teacher as coach or facilitator, a concept that is probably worrisome to some who are skeptical of the new standards.  This report from Florida is a good snapshot of the noisy, interactive approach to teaching: (more…)

Portsmouth teachers illustrate Common Core results – Portsmouth Herald

Last night, Portsmouth elementary school teachers demonstrated the impact of the new Common Core standards in their classrooms.  There were no debates about “developmental appropriateness” or who wrote or funded the standards.  The teachers were just reporting to the school board on the impressive results of their teaching to the new standards in their first and third grade classrooms. (more…)

Kimberly Kelliher, social studies teacher and curriculum leader at Prospect Mountain High School in Alton, testifies based on her first hand Common Core experience

Kim Kelliher’s school, Prospect Mountain High School, is jointly managed as SAU#301 by Alton and Barnstead.  Each town has its own K-8 elementary/middle school. (more…)

In rural Florida, Common Core brings big changes to classrooms – Hechinger Report

Here’s another useful radio story about how well the Common Core works when it’s allowed to:

…In Defuniak Springs in Florida’s panhandle, the third graders at West Defuniak Elementary are learning division. Specifically, 72 divided by six. Their teacher, Casi Adkinson draws circles onto the board.

Casi Adkinson, a third grade teacher at West Defuniak Elementary, listens to a student explain her work during a small group session. Adkinson says the Common Core standards emphasize that students explain their thinking in math and English language arts.


Common Core in the Choir Room – EdWeek

Testimony from all over the country

When the Common Core State Standards were introduced in Louisiana, they represented an opportunity for me to grow as an instructor and impact student learning in a way that few may have anticipated. As a high school choir director, I have sat through my share of staff development meetings on topics ranging from “how to incorporate math into an English lesson” to “how to write a multiple choice question.”  None of these developments have applied to me.

Now, with Common Core, we have, professional development opportunities that are applicable to all classes, not only the core classes (or as I like to refer to them, the “non-elective” classes).  In Professional Learning Communities (PLCs), teachers focus on student data and literacy-based instruction for all classes.  This allows differentiated professional development to support teachers as they implement the new standards in the most fitting way for their subject matter and individual students.

Implementing the CCSS in my choir room has allowed me to influence my students’ overall academic achievement more than I ever anticipated. You may not recognize the connection between choir and an English essay or a math problem, but I assure you, it’s there.

via Common Core in the Choir Room | Voices from the Classroom.

My Common-Core Classroom – from Arkansas teacher Kathy Powers, 2011 teacher of the year

Here, via conservative Rick Hess’s Education Week blog, is Kathy Powers, a reading and language arts teacher at Carl Stuart Middle School in Conway, AR – Arkansas teacher of the year in 2011 – talking about the Common Core.

We have all heard Common Core bashing. Statements like the Common Core will “undermine student individuality, teacher autonomy, and mark a dangerous takeover of local control.” Unlike many of the Core-bashing voices, I am a classroom teacher with actual experience teaching with Common Core, and I beg to differ.


Education is one of the most local endeavors in our country. The students and their families are local, most teachers are local, and many educational decisions are made by local school boards and district administrators. That works well for the most part, and it would all be fine if all our students had to do was compete for local jobs or college positions with just their local peers. However, those of us who are parents of high school seniors know that our children are competing for college positions on a national level and jobs on an international level. Our children already experience national measures of the SAT and the ACT, so we need to make sure the curriculum has the rigor to prepare them well no matter what community they are from.

read Kathy’s whole post at My Common-Core Classroom – Rick Hess Straight Up – Education Week.