3 Ways to Include Common Core State Standards into a Lesson Plan
The Common Core State Standards were developed to help all students learn the skills and knowledge necessary to be successful at the higher education level or in the career world. These standards were created through the collaboration of educational consultants, educators, and administrators and were compared with the international standards available in other countries. By creating uniform standards, the developers hoped it would be easier to compare the progress of students state-by-state as well as to other countries. They also hope that eventually states will collaborate with them to develop the assessments and make the comparisons even more accurate.
The Common Core standards have been adopted throughout much of the United States. Many educators claim that the standards do not vary widely from the prior state standards, but there are still questions about how to best integrate the new standards into the classroom. Here are three ways teachers can begin to make changes to their lesson plans to better reflect the Common Core standards.
Integrate More Nonfiction Texts
Within the standards there is a great deal of emphasis on learning through educational text. From kindergarten through fifth grade, the standards recommend using a 50-50 balance between literary reading and informational reading. In the upper grades, the emphasis continues on literary nonfiction and students are expected to read and get information on subjects such as history, social studies, science, and even technology from texts.
Therefore, at all levels of education, teachers should find ways to introduce nonfictional reading into the classroom. It will help students integrate what they are learning and see how different subjects are related. As the students age, there should also be an emphasis on teaching students to understand more technical and academic language. This will prepare them for the high-level reading required in colleges and universities.
Along a similar vein, students are expected to be able to use the texts they are reading to support claims and arguments they are making. Teachers should find ways to encourage their classes to critically read texts and use the new information to substantiate what they are saying during discussions and debates.
Make Use of Capstones
The standards are designed to build upon the material covered in each subject each year. The standards take the student to the next level, but they also have a greater purpose. Each standard takes the student closer to particular lessons that carry importance beyond the classroom. Teachers should take the time to develop lesson plans focusing around these special ‘capstone’ lessons. Emphasis can be made to show the students the importance of this particular lesson outside class. It is also a great time for cumulative reviews to show how the lessons all tied together and led to this particular point. When students can see clearly why what they are learning is important, they are more likely to care and remain interested in the material.
Place an Emphasis on Cohesiveness and the Spirit of the Standards
The Common Core standards were developed to take students seamlessly through the various subject disciplines through the grades. There should be no major breaks between levels, rather they should all build upon each other. Lesson plans should be written with this in mind. Students can be shown how the lessons build upon one another. As students are embracing new lessons, teachers should also take the time to emphasize what standards are being mastered. This can help draw the student’s attention to the most significant material. It can also help students remember the significant overlapping concepts that are critical for the mastery of the standards.
The Common Core standards have been developed to help American students perform on the international stage and prepare for adulthood. As they are quickly integrated into classrooms, teachers are looking for ways to use them with success. By using these three ideas, teachers can make the standards a useful resource and benchmark within their own classrooms.