I have seen a lot of talk on my Facebook feed lately about Common Core. As a teacher and a parent I have a couple of different views of Common Core and I find myself conflicted. On one hand, Common Core is designed to prepare our students for college and beyond. On the other hand, I don’t feel like it is developmentally appropriate, at least for the grades that I have taught (kindergarten and first grade). We have lost the idea that kids need to learn to socialize through activity and play. I remember being able to cook and create in kindergarten. Now they have math facts being crammed down their throats.
My real issue about it is that I am being require to follow a script and teach to a test. Its all about performance on a standardized test. My salary and my reputation are based on how fast a 6 year old can read in 1 minute (no joke). I got into the profession of teaching because I loved the “ah ha” moment when something clicks in a child’s brain and they finally understand it. I believe in guiding student through writing by studying how authors craft books. I believe in teaching students strategies to become better readers and then giving them time to practice those strategies. I believe that first grade should be fun! I want my students to remember me and how much they learned while having fun. This is what I want, but my hands are being tied.
Whether or not you agree with it, Common Core is here to stay. So how can you help your child be successful as they go through it? There are a lot of resources to help. First, if your child is struggling with a specific standard, ask the teacher for some resources to help. I know that I have websites and apps available that cover specific standards and I am more than happy to give this information to my parents. Next, I loved to cram for my exams, but that approach may not work for my child. Try to figure out how your child learns best and use that information to help. For instance, if you first grader loves games and math but doesn’t like spelling, make a scavenger hunt with his/her spelling words. Leave the first letter in one spot with a clue to find the second letter. Finally, know that some things are developmental and while decoding words is a real struggle for your 5 year old, he will probably pick it up naturally when he turns 6. Sometimes the best thing to do is to support your child and wait. To find out more about developmentally appropriate practices, visit this site.
I would love to hear about your experiences with Common Core. Do you have strong feelings either way? What have been your experiences with your kids?
To learn more about the Common Core you can visit this website.