Though the impact of each one of these instructional shifts directly relates to who you are as a teacher and the type of classroom you foster, there are several practices all teachers can implement (or verify that they are implementing) now - regardless of where your school site or district is in the transition process.
2. Increase text complexity and provide scaffolding via model texts. During the same instructional unit above, I utilized the first paragraph of each primary source as a model text. We waded through the complex sentences as a whole class, highlighting, annotating, and crossing out redundancy as we worked. I offered careful support to students throughout the process, asking "I don't know, what do you think?" more than giving outright answers. Students then repeated the process with their small group for subsequent paragraphs of each primary source. Perhaps the biggest challenge for me during this sequence was allowing students to struggle. Sometimes, it feels as though we aren't doing our job as teachers unless we step in to assist. Often, this help comes too quickly and our response should be less immediate. Shifting the locus of control to the student is key to ensure students construct meaning from the text, not teacher-centered delivery.
3. Build digital literacy with students and give opportunities for content creation. Whether as a result of the numerous standards we currently teach or district mandated pacing guides, a common teacher complaint is, "We don't have enough time to include technology." Many of us frequently contend that technology integration should be part of students' regular learning environment. The goal of giving students the chance to create products using technology isn't based on the desire to use technology; it is based on the notion that students should develop digital literacy skills that are transferrable to college and career. Ensuring students are well prepared for their future job market means providing consistent opportunities for them to author original content digitally. Become good at troubleshooting a lack of devices if your school site is does not have sufficient resources. Leverage student devices if possible, and group students together to share as needed.
If you have questions about Common Core State Standards or opinions you'd like to share, feel free to comment on this post. Don't forget to log on to Twitter for #CAedchat this Sunday night at 8pm Pacific, because we'll be discussing Common Core and what it means for the future of education. See you there!