Starting Common Core...need help!


This year, our district is adopting the Common Core Standards.

I'm kind of excited about it.

I mean, then we can't blame our state anymore, right?! ha!

No...I'm just excited to FINALLY be on the same page as everyone else


We actually JUST changed our state 2-3 years ago.

So, I'm FINALLY figuring those out, getting my groove on...changing grades, and learning THOSE new standards...ha!!

NOW, I have to learn all NEW ones.

Let me set the stage for you.

And please...

No throwing fruits or veggies at me...(ahem, KRISTIN!! you'll see why in a minute)

I love my school.

I've taught there going on 9 years now.

You know why I love my school??

There are GREAT teachers/friends there...

the students REALLY need us - we are they're safe haven, comfort, and sometimes the only one that will listen to their story, or give them a smile in the morning.

But another reason I love my school???

My principal(s) leave me alone. 

It's true.

I can teach HOWEVER I want...

You know how I DON'T want to teach???

Out of a textbook.


So I don't.


Don't get me wrong...I use the teachers' guide to see what skills are being taught (like in Reading and Math) and I teach those same skills for that week....

or I look at the standards and pacing guides set forth by the district...

but I teach using my own resources...that I've made, bought from stores, or from TpT!!

And my students STILL progress...


But you know...if they didn't???

I'd TOTALLY change how I do it - and would revert back to textbook teaching.


my problem, now I don't know the standards anymore...

and while I'd LOVE to say that I spent my summer reading them and getting to know them...becoming acquainted...friends...whatever...

I've been having WAY too much

So, I went to the best place I know to go for help...


I found some GREAT resources...

there are more out there, for sure, but these are the ones I got...and they're great!!

Yvonne, from Sassy in Second, is one of my fave sellers anyway - I love her math tubs...and her math journals!! 

But this is FABulous!! TONS of great CC stuff!! 207 pages of goodness.

And then, I found an awesome checklist from Lori, Conversations in Literacy.
Yvonne's has checklists too - and I love it - but it's student-based...this one is for teachers where you can write in the dates that you taught the standard/strand.

I need this type of checklist because I DON'T teach from the books, so I need to be able to prove when I taught what also stems from being a 3rd grade teacher for 7 years and having to create portfolios for all my kids...double bleh!

If any of you have any advice or good stuff for common core, let me know!! I'm not really sure about CC...and I don't like being unsure of


Unknown said...

I really think you read my mind and then posted about it- because that is EXACTLY what I would have written! Glad to know someone else is in the same boat I am. I love that our superintendent lets us teach how we want to, but that is also leaving us to figure out Common Core on our own, which is a little stressful. I have downloaded the Common Core Notebook from Sassy in Second and now I'm heading over to look at the one from Lori.
On top of implementing Common Core, we are also staring Daily 5 for the first time. I'm super excited about it, but way overwhelmed with everything right now. Can't wait to see what everyone else suggests!

First with Franklin

Lisa at Fourth and Ten said...

Oh my goodness,I hear you!
I was on the adoption committee for my district for grade two ela for the common core. What a hot mess. Our ELA curriculum director, who serves k-12, went to a handful of trainings and then just kinda made us in charge of training the entire second grade team in the district all about the standards. I get so jealous when I read about all these bloggers going to fancy trainings about the common core. Honestly though, I've learned more about how the CCSS works by reading blogs and then reading the standards on my own than I ever did in 8 full days I was out of my classroom for the ELA CCSS adoption committee.
I'm sure you'll do great, Jen! :)
Fourth and Ten
Like Fourth and Ten on Facebook!
Formerly Stories From Second

Anonymous said...

I know how you feel. I believe my state has adopted the CCSS but I don't teach in a public school. Our curriculum is aligned with it but it's not the same. I'm lucky to that my Principal doesn't mind and encourages us to teach outside the textbook. It's a tool that we use but he is always telling me not to feel tied to it.

The Busy Busy Hive

Pat's Paper Passion said...

I teach in one of the 5 states that haven't adopted CC, but I'm sure we will in the future. I've been using CC as objects in my planning. It does help me focus on what students should be learning. Have all these standards, etc boosted our students' ratings as compared to other countries??

Vickie said...

If you hate using the textbooks (just like me!!), then you are going to love common core!! It makes it so much easier to teach with themes (if that's what you like), or really teach the way you like. I'm also in Florida and kindergarten implemented last year and we really liked it. I even told our principal that the next time they adopt new reading and math not to get it for us and just buy some more colored copiers and give us money for TpT!! Ha!
Mrs. Plant's Press

Lisa R. said...

I'm so glad that someone feels the same way that I do! I'm in FL too so it's been a little overwhelming learning new standards a few years ago & now we are converting to CC standards. There are so many bloggers out there who are creating CC materials & talking about it. Like Lisa said above, I'm learning more about CC from blogs than anything else. :)
Learning Is Something to Treasure

Lori said...

Thank you for the shout out, Jen! I, too, have had principals who leave me alone to teach. I get a new one this year, so I hope it continues! I am glad that we will all be on the same page too with common core. Now we all need good training for it. :)
Conversations in Literacy

Stacy said...

Hey Jen,
I know how you feel I was just getting the hang of things and now. . .boom CC starts. I will tell you that this summer I learned how to teach CC writing lessons so I could train teachers for a workshop and I loved it. The kids really did a great job but that was just writing that I taught. From what I've heard Vickie is right, I think we are going to really like it.

Mor and some other teachers just started two new common core blogs. Go check out her post from this week to get the link.

✰ Stacy

Simpson Superstars

Unknown said...

I know what you mean. We have never had any official training and our curriculum does NOT meet any of the CCS. But we are going full force into it this year. Everything I've learned is on blogs and online. A great resource is a handy flip chart that I use all the time (especially when writing plans). It's put out by Mentoring Minds and it's by grade level. Our district bought them last year for every teacher (guess that was our training).
Third Grade All Stars

Sheryl said...

There is soo much on the web about Common Core you'll do fine. I'd plug in Common Core and the grade level on TPT and go from there. I know that sounds so lame, but there is so much out there already created. Deanna Jump sells packets of premade Common Core posters. I'm not sure which grade levels she has done but she has done a few packets you can buy. Just tellin' ya what I would do. Good Luck with your school year! Sheryl

Suzy Q said...

You might want to check out GingerSnaps' CC packets. I was lucky to win her ELA vocabulary one, which I am in the process of printing out (awaiting more color ink as we speak!) as my students need lots of vocabulary exposure. I like it because it is the words used in the standards...not the actual standards.

You lucky girl...I am nearly handcuffed to our textbooks. Even had a formal letter years ago from the asst. principal inquiring if I was going to be able to finish the textbooks I had been assigned. My transgression? Reading to the class! (He has since moved on but some of his ideas have lingered...)

Rebby said...

I sympathize with your transition into the CC. I've been fortunate enough that my district has staggered our adoption of the core. We adopted the math CC last year and this year we're switching to the reading/language CC. It's still hard to wrap my brain around it all from time to time, but it gets better. I did find a newish blog that might be helpful to you in the future. It's called Common Core Classrooms ( and it was started recently, but it has many contributors and you can search materials by a specific grade. I didn't read through all your previous comments so I apologize if someone's already mentioned this.

Classroom Compulsion

Claire said...

Jen - you'll be fine! Promise!! I live in Tennessee and taught second grade common core math and ELA last year and loved it! We used our text book about once a week just to keep the 1-1 word correspondence. I think not following the textbook made it easier to teach the standards.

Tennessee actually has an amazing site for math and reading ideas. It breaks down the standard and gives ideas. Also, Arizona has "unpacking" the standards that also makes them easier to understand.

Hope this helps!


VickyVinas said...

You have been lucky that your principal for the most part leaves you to do what needs to be done. My school is part of some special region (in Miami) and they are on top of us about everything. Yes we have to do common core, but we also have to teach using the books, and finding the supplemental materials is what brought me to blogland and thank goodness I thought to do so. Reading about others' ideas and the ways they have handled the Common Core have definitely helped me. Let's just hope they don't change the standards again because that would be really ridiculous.

- Vicky

Tara said...

We are also adopting the CCSS this school year. I teach in Louisiana and we are actually doing a transitional curriculum, which means we are slowing implementing CC. But, by the 13-14 school, I believe all grades must be using CC completely. I'm kind of excited buy nervous at the same time. My principal also leaves us alone and we can teach how we'd like. We are actually told that the textbooks are there for a resource. :) I think we will all do fine. :)

Good Luck.

Mrs.T said...

I'm not sure what you need for common core, but I have a math assessment with every common core standard for second grade on it. I teach third grade so I'm going to use it at the beginning of the year to see what my kiddos missed having not done CCSS last year. I think you could use it for mid year or end of year assessment. I'm giving it away on my site here!

I also have no training what-so-ever, thank goodness for blogs and the internet!

~Mrs. T
Teaching Mrs.T

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