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Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District

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What does it do?

The CCSS create opportunities for educators to focus on essential learnings. There will be enough time to not just cover the standards, but develop a depth of understanding that ensures students’ ability to transfer knowledge and apply it across different content areas, to solve problems and to think critically about what they are learning. The term Power Standards takes on a new meaning and significance in the context of the Common Core. One of the most powerful experiences which will transform teaching and learning is realized when teachers in their course teams get together and identify the standards they consider to be most critical for their subject. This determination is made on the basis of examining each standard as to the degree of leverage (standards in one subject support learning in another) and endurance it offers (standards that help students across the years rather than responding to the testing of a single grade level), and the degree to which it is essential to help students prepare for next level of learning.

David Coleman in his presentation, “Bringing the Common Core to Life”, talks about six key instructional shifts that have to occur to ensure effective teaching and learning under the Common Core. In English language Arts these shifts include: Balancing Informational and Literary Text, Building Knowledge in the Disciplines, Staircasing of Complexity (appropriate and necessary scaffolding and supports to make it possible for students reading below grade level to access the text), Text-based Answers (rich and rigorous conversations and evidentiary arguments based on a common text), Writing from Sources (use of evidence to make an argument), and Developing Academic Vocabulary. In mathematics, they include: Focus (significantly narrowing and deepening the scope by prioritizing the standards and limiting the concepts taught), Coherence (connecting learning within and across grades), Fluency (developing speed and accuracy with simple calculations), Deep Understanding (support students’ abilities to access concepts from a variety of perspectives), Application, and Dual Intensity (valuing both the need for practice and the need to develop deep understanding).