Easing Into Common Core Lesson Plans
Change is coming. Whether welcomed or not, Common Core has arrived and you better start prepping those common core lesson plans.
Inevitably, we as teachers dread the words ‘Common Core.’ However, Common Core lesson plans do not need to be synonymous with headache, the apocalypse, or any other kinds of impending doom. As educators, we are easily adaptable—after all, isn’t highly effective teaching all about the art of shifting and adapting to teachable moments?
Consider this an electronic teachable moment from us to you. Take a deep breath, sip your coffee, and let’s talk about how you can adjust to common core plans.
How Are Common Core Lesson Plans Different?
Whether you follow the Grant Wiggins design or march to the beat of your own lesson-planning drum, your lesson plans should essentially include the same outline:
- An Essential Question
- An Objective
- A Captivating Hook
- An Engaging Activity
- Multiple Assessments
- A Reflection & Summary
The only way that common core lesson plans will differentiate from your previous routine is in the standards themselves. The Common Core mandates that all educators abide by the common core set of standards.
This means that your lesson plans are more than likely safe—so you can exhale now. Of course, this lesson plan template will have to align to at least one of the common core standards, which is easier than you might think. Your state previously followed some set of standards, and it can be guaranteed that they are not too far from the CCS.
Give Your New Plans a Chance
Not only might there be some transference between your previous lesson plans and your new common core lesson plans, but you might actually prefer the newer versions as well.
Hear us out: Common Core Standards are just that—standards. The Common Core will not dictate your curriculum. Therefore, the standards should ideally structure your curriculum, and this in turn can create much more cohesiveness, fluidity, and overall depth to your lesson planning.
Sure, the Common Core implementation might necessitate some new curriculum writing, but who doesn’t enjoy spending their summers planning units? All jokes aside, the new standards will provide a stable structure from which you can plan, but we’ll get to utilizing the standards for your Common Core lesson plans momentarily.
In addition to bettering your lesson plans, this Common Core shift might make some aspects of teaching easier. Acknowledge the fact that your district is feeling the heat over this change as well. More than likely, you will eventually switch to an electronic lesson planner that will have Common Core Standard drop down selections. Believe it or not, electronic lesson planners with built in standards are incredible.
Your district will also likely partake in more meaningful professional development. With the incessant changes, your district will help you adapt. This might be hard to imagine, but Common Core Standards just might bring some relief to certain aspects of teaching. Change can be good, so long as you make the most of it.
Utilizing the Standards Effectively when Planning
As educators, we are professionals in making the best of any situation, and Common Core lesson plans are no different. Here are some ways to make the best out of this great shift in education.
- Take Advantage of the Resources—As teachers, we ban together. With this influx of change, teachers everywhere have started to share resources. As a result of this, you can find an array of Common Core related resources on the Internet. Hopefully your district is helping you find the resources you need, but if not then there is a wide variety of sources available online. Websites such as Weekly Lesson Plan Template can offer you Common Core lesson plan topics, activities, and even a printable lesson plan template.
- Accept the Change and Rock it—The Common Core Standards can offer your lesson planning a concrete foundation from which you plan the rest of your lessons. Use a standard to guide your week’s lesson plans. Place the standard as well as your objectives on the board, and remind students of the ultimate objective. Placing value and meaning on what they are learning can never hurt!
- Emphasize Differentiation—As cumbersome as the Common Core Standardized Tests appear (and, in all honesty, are,) the benefit is that students will be asked to call upon multiple skill sets to answer a particular question. If a student can identify well, but needs help summarizing, then they can call upon their strengths to help answer a question. The two part questions can be more beneficial than they might seem.
The debate over the pros and cons continues, and there are certainly valid points for both sides. The irrefutable fact, though, is that change is upon us, and we cannot wait any longer to adapt.
As teachers, we will continue to teach on, drink our coffee, and face these Common Core lesson plans with that intimidating teacher face that you know we all have.