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What a Common Core Classroom Looks Like
posted by: Melissa | April 17, 2013, 06:39 PM   

It’s important to remember that the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are standards and not structured curriculum.  They’re able to be implemented in a wide variety of ways and with a wide variety of teaching styles.  Contrary to rumors, the CCSS don’t have to mean an end to inquiry-based learning, or project based learning, nor are teachers being handed a list of books that they must read from or prescribed lesson plans.


In recognizing their unique design, there are certain changes that should be happening in the classroom as a result of Common Core.  A read through of materials provided by Achieve on implementing CCSS shows what classrooms implementing CCSS well should be doing.

  • Deeper order thinking should be on show. With CCSS, it’s not enough for students to just memorize how to do something, in many cases they’re expected to know why.  Teachers should be challenging students to explain their thinking and to provide proof.
  • The classroom should be language-rich. It doesn’t matter what you teach anymore language skills are expected to be involved.  Reading, writing, and speaking skills should be practiced across the board and every classroom from elementary to high school, from self-contained to subject specific should be reflecting that.
  • Class time should be maximized. Not that teachers were doing this before, but with CCSS, even more than before, teachers need to be planning for “bell to bell” instruction, which is absolutely necessary to teach the more complex thinking skills associated with Common Core.
  • The atmosphere should be one of “create and learn,” not “sit and get.” In order to push the thinking skills associated with CCSS, students will need to be engaged in their lessons.  If all a student ever does is sit and take notes, they won’t be able to learn how to think.
  • Technology should be a part of learning. The CCSS specifically call for students to learn how to communicate and collaborate with others using technology.  Expect to see a greater push toward blogging, Twitter, and services like Google docs.

According to the 2013 AAE National Membership Survey, 90% of our member educators are in the process of implementing CCSS. While the jury is still out on their impact, we hope we can support you with tips for proper implementation.

Comments (3)Add Comment
first grade teacher,montgomery,al
written by Jeannette Turner, Alabama, July 29, 2014

We all have been using common core standards I really love it
written by Frances Merrill, Idaho, April 19, 2013

I completely agree with Pam Garrett. I, too, have been teaching using common core practices for a very long time.
written by Pam Garrett , Louisiana, April 18, 2013

The practices listed here don't look new to me. I have apparently been implementing common core practices for years although, admittedly, I could bump up student use of technology.

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