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The Common Core, an Uncommon Opportunity
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The Common Core, an Uncommon Opportunity
Redesigning Classroom Instruction



November 2013 | 288 pages | Corwin
Because the Common Core requires bold action

Why The Common Core, an Uncommon Opportunity? Why now? Because it tackles a largely overlooked component of successful implementation: how to redesign your instructional delivery system, K-12. And you’ll have to; if you don’t, you’ll be subject to the very same failure and frustration so many other districts and schools are experiencing. What’s more, March and Peters describe how to integrate 21st Century Skills at the very same time.

What are the big benefits of this book? If you’re a district leader, it will help you

  • Develop consistent and structured teaching and learning practices across content areas
  • Ensure sustainable processes through continuous curriculum review and revision
  • Strategically use data to monitor student performance goals
  • Support and sustain enacted reforms through district-wide infrastructure adjustments
  • Provide teachers with Common Core-aligned course tools, including sample curriculum maps, lessons, and specific teaching suggestions
There’s no need to start from scratch or attempt to reinvent the wheel. March and Peters have done much of the prep for you. Their processes and tools have already worked in numerous districts—and they can be custom-fit to yours.


“[This] system helped us not only re-invent ourselves, but also build the internal capacity we needed to maintain our momentum. This book is a must for any district that is serious about taking advantage of the Common Core to re-invent itself.”
—Connie Hathorn, Ph.D., Superintendent
Youngstown City School District
 
“Few books offer such deep and specific information to assist the field in successful implementation of the Common Core and state learning standards. . . . This book is a gift to practitioners of all levels, and those practicing in any type of school or district.”
—Dr. Lynn Macan
Cobleskill-Richmondville CSD
 
1. No Longer Business as Usual
Major Differences Between the Former Standards and the New Core  
Implications for Classroom Instruction and Assessment  
The Impact of the 21st Century Skills  
International Benchmarking for Global Competition  
Implications for Leadership  
References  
 
2. Developing Course Tools to Build the Instructional Program
Make the Commitment and Then Get a Game Plan  
Unpacking, Bundling, and Sequencing the Standards  
Devising Curriculum Maps (or Pacing Guides)  
Unit Planning  
References  
 
3. Integrating Best Practices to Help Students Construct Meaning
Multiple Levels of Thinking  
Goal Setting  
Organizational Patterns  
Questioning and Cueing  
Similarities and Differences  
 
4. Integrating Best Practices Into Unit Plans
Mathematical Problem Analysis and Problem Solving  
Vocabulary Knowledge  
Delivery Strategies  
Recognition and Reinforcement  
Continuous Monitoring and Feedback  
Basic Assumptions  
Chapter References  
 
5. Continuous Assessment to Monitor Results
The Use of High-Stakes Test Results as Entry-Level Data  
District Benchmark Assessments  
Formative and Summative Classroom Assessments  
Common Missteps in Assessment  
Strategies for Making Better Use of Assessment Results  
Design of Assessments: Traditional Tests and Authentic Assessments  
Chapter References  
 
6. Homework and Grading: Two Critical Issues
Homework  
Grading Relative to Mastery  
Chapter References  
 
7. Implementation and Accountability
Grade-Level or Course Teams  
Direct Assistance to Staff  
The Observation and Analysis of Classroom Instruction by the Principal  
Chapter References  
 
8. Summary and Sustainability
Process Checklist for Chapter 1: No Longer Business as Usual  
Process Checklist for Chapter 2: Developing Course Tools to Build the Instructional Program  
Process Checklist for Chapter 3: Integrating Best Practices to Help Students Construct Meaning  
Process Checklist for Chapter 4: Integrating Best Practices Into Unit Plans  
Process Checklist for Chapter 5: Continuous Assessment to Monitor Results  
Process Checklist for Chapter 6: Homework and Grading: Two Critical Issues to Success  
Process Checklist for Chapter 7: Implementation and Accountability  
 
Appendices
Appendix A: Goal Setting Examples  
Appendix B: Questioning  
Appendix C: Categorization  
Appendix D: Critical Attribution for Similarities/Differences  
Appendix E: Teaching the Metaphor for Similarities/Differences  
Appendix F: Math Problem Solving  
Appendix G: Vocabulary  
Appendix H: Collaborative Observation Samples With Action  
Plans for "Stars"  
 
References

"Judith March and Karen Peters in their new book on the implementation of the Common Core Standards describe what a major systemic undertaking it is to transform a district’s curriculum to reflect the Common Core standards in Math and English Language Arts, state content standards in Science and Social Studies, and the 21st Century Skills. They provide a detailed and clear pathway for teachers and principals to integrate the Common Core Standards with local and state curricula. They use extensive research based examples to guide teachers and principals and enable them to visualize how to sustain powerful transformative practices in schools. Their chapters on Continuous Assessment, Homework and Grading, and Implementation and Accountability offer teachers and principals visions of world class learning centers for all students."

Robert J. Manley, Ph.D., Professor of Educational Administration
Dowling College, N.Y.

"The Common Core: An Uncommon Opportunity to Redesign Classroom Instruction is a “must have” resource for teachers and leaders. The demands to shift classroom instruction in response to the Common Core are reaching a fever pitch. The pressure is on, and the stakes are high. Teachers and leaders, to meet these demands, must work together to both initiate and sustain meaningful change. This book provides the required processes in a clear, concise, practical, and usable format. Working together, and using this book as a guide, success is achievable."

Ted H. Hull, Ed. D.

“I took a Superintendency in an urban district that needed to totally transform itself.  We began with the curriculum to include the Common Core and the other new state academic standards. But we soon discovered we also needed to re-design classroom instruction and re-construct our building leadership.  We so appreciate the work of EdFOCUS - - of Drs. Peters and March and their team. Their system helped us not only re-invent ourselves but build the internal capacity we needed to maintain our momentum.   This book is a must for any district who is serious about taking advantage of the Common Core to re-invent itself.”

Connie Hathorn, Ph.D., Superintendent
Youngstown City School District

"Our school district benefitted from EdFOCUS' model of collective school reform, because they were able to engage entire departments and, even, entire building staffs in the process from the very beginning.  Their approach created a sense of ownership and urgency that led to our ability to quickly develop internal capacity to facilitate our improvement work.  EdFOCUS' methodology improved our teachers and administrators' understanding of curriculum, instruction, and assessment; and the role each play in our efforts to improve student performance."

Brian E. Davis, Director of Curriculum & Instruction
Toledo, Ohio

"In this new book, March and Peters do a great job of providing practicing teachers and administrators a great break down of the CCSS and then share significant ways to both unpack those standards and  apply exemplary instructional and classroom practices to implement those CCSS.  I would highly recommend this book for practicing educators looking for ways to put the CCSS into real-life classroom instruction and activities.  They also go on to have a really timely and important discussion about assessments and their role in the instructional cycle with lots of important information provided for the reader.  This is a really powerful book for those looking for a discussion, complete with examples, of the issues involved in implementing the CCSS."

Joe Crawford, Author, Speaker, & Consultant
Freeport, IL

"With 46 of the 50 states having adopted the common core, the question that the respective districts will have is, “How do we implement them?” This is the book that can be their guide."

Dr. Robert A. Frick, Retired Superintendent of Schools
Lampeter-Strasburg School District 1996-2011

"This book does what it sets out to do - to provide a plan and  the resources needed to redesign 21st century classroom instruction that uses the common core standards to improve teaching practice for educators and educational outcomes students."

Katherine M. D. Lobo, ESL Teacher
Massachusetts Association of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages

"As I read this book, I found that everyone (superintendent, principals, teachers, any stakeholder) should read ALL of the book."

Jane Hunn, 6th Grade Science Teacher
Tippecanoe Valley Middle School

“There are few books of this kind that offer such deep and specific information to assist the field in successful implementation of the Common Core and State learning Standards. This work provides tools for process, content, and sustainability of this important work. This book is a gift to practitioners of all levels, and those practicing in any type of school or district.”

Dr. Lynn Macan, Superintendent
Cobleskill-Richmondville CSD

"This book puts all of the proven strategies from top researchers in one place to help teachers prepare their students for tomorrow’s world. I really hope all stakeholders in education read this book."

Dana Sanner, Middle School Science Teacher
Sanibel School

Sample Materials & Chapters

Front Matter

Chapter One

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ISBN: 9781452271828

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