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What is at the Core of Common Core?

What is at the Core of Common Core?

Ugh. I literally woke of thinking about Common Core and it's summer. My mind was spinning and I had to go in the living room and write down key words on a scrap of paper from the junk drawer so I wouldn't forget. I thought if I wrote them down, then perhaps I could go back to sleep. Alas, this is not so. Hence, I will write a bit here and sleep later. Hopefully, my insomniac ponderings can help other K-12 teachers.  

I have a whole list now of free associative thoughts regarding Common Core, but for this post I will focus on building a framework. Many of us K-12 teachers are still trying to figure out just what Common Core is. Yes, we've been to workshops, read our union magazines, and seen cute little videos on YouTube, and ranted about it at faculty meetings but still don't really have a clue. Many of us teachers feel it is this one large corporate mass/mess that we have to figure out together. We are trained by administrators at our schools and many of the administrators do not know what Common Core is either. They are often like politicians in that we don't get straight answers.

Teachers just want to know what it is so we can implement it. I think the ambiguity of Common Core is part of what is prompting our teacher anxiety. Hence, many teachers have mixed feelings and cognitive dissonance about it. As such, I was wondering what is really at the core of Common Core? Then I thought of the following. What if we looked at it in terms of seeds? Yes, that would be good. Let's look at Common Core like an apple and there are seeds of knowledge that we want to pass along to our students. There are three seeds at the core of Common Core and they are as follows:

1. Multiple LIteracies

2. Multiple Pathways

3. Metacognition

I will write in more detail about these seeds at another time. If you have more seeds that you think belong in the core of Common Core from your understanding of what Common Core is please share. I hope this will be the beginning of a collaborative framework to help teachers understand Common Core. Thank you. I look forward to your response, but for now I'll get back to counting sheep. :)



Sorry to have put the Common Core but in your ear in the middle of your creative, fulfilling, wonderfully thoughtful summer---but I'm very happy to have this post.   Maybe we should start a Common Core Group on  


As I said in my recent blog post, I've read some on the Common Core and will dedicate a part of my year to a deep dive because the craziness feels way too much like the "ObamaCare is destroying democracy" craziness and so I want to counter hyperbole with a real, firm, grasp.


What I like so far in my reading is exactly the three seeds you define: 

1. Multiple LIteracies

2. Multiple Pathways

3. Metacognition


We desperately need a new system to "seed" new thinking for the world we live in now and these three offer opportunities for such thinking.  Do they realize these opportunities?  I'm not sure and, of course, nothing works if you just slap new labels on old thinking.  And we always need better support for teacher training, teacher development, teacher time to rethink and regroup, unlearn and relearn . . .   Lives are far too busy already to just slap on new requirements without support for new retooling.


What I do not like so far is the traditional, old-fashioned assessments and, worse, the continuing equation of standards with results on standardized testing and the success or failure, rewards or punishments, of schools and teachers still tied to standards that hold over from the pre-Common Core days.  


But I won't say much more because I know I have so much to learn.  Like you, I woke up in the middle of the night the other night to blog about this.   May we both get some sleep, even as we work our way towards lucidity on this complex issue.




Thank you so much, Cathy!! Isn't it funny how when one doesn't t want to write, one gets woken up with all these ideas. However, when one wants to write, one often stares at a blank paper or screen?! Lol.

Thank you very much again for the interesting feedback!! I totally agree with you about the outdated assessments models. We did a pilot run with our students and there are some interesting features on the computerized tests. However, accessiblity issues and other considerations really need to be examed further. A CC Group sounds good!! I think it would be awesome to have a group think from folks with various disciplines offering their perspectives. Do you mind we start it in a couple weeks or if I jump in after summer vacay though?

Cheers to gaining lucidity on CC in the furture. Take care and happy last couple weeks of summer!! :)


P.S. Cathy, I'll start a section in my CiteULike account for CC. I'm not sure if you've heard of this site, but thought I'd share. I really love it. You can build your own digital reference library. Also, you can scan articles and upload them. I like it because I used to have papers and papers covering my living room floor when I was a grad student. I color coded everything when I did a meta-analysis, etc. With a digital libary there is less clutter. I will start importing some of the teachers' uniion magazine articles to share with the HASTAC community. It would be interesting to do a meta-analsis on what is already out there. We could totally write a book!! Lol!! :)

Here's an example of my art therapy library I built. It is fun building your own digital library!!