In a recent piece in US News, Partelow explained how the standards were designed to allow for flexibility and creativity in the classroom. She shared several examples to demonstrate that the standards do not define what teachers should teach or how students should learn, rather, they focus on what students need to know. Take, for instance, the Common Core math standards, which are “less concerned that students master a single prescribed approach to getting the right answer” and instead emphasize students’ understanding that there are multiple ways to solve a problem correctly.
Partelow also touched on a common misconception that the standards dictate the texts that teachers use for instruction, and that they limit reading to non-fiction. In fact, the standards were “designed to be less prescriptive than many states’ previous standards,” and actually preserve educators’ freedom for curriculum choice. The English language arts standards instead “gradually push students to more deeply understand” what they have read and encourage the use critical thinking skills to analyze the material.
As noted by Partelow, whether you an architect, a doctor or a graphic designer, you are expected to work within a set of guidelines which provide direction. Similarly, the Common Core Standards “provide a loose guide for teachers to follow, while still allowing teachers ample room for creativity in how they develop and execute their daily lessons.” Ultimately, the sky is the limit when it comes to creating lessons that are Common Core-aligned. Teachers everywhere are thinking outside of the box to engage their students in ways that are fun, creative, and aligned to our higher standards.