Teresa A Johnson

Teresa A Johnson

By Teresa Johnson

INGREDIENT #7 (Final Ingredient): Common Core State Standards

Common core: The final ingredient that makes the recipe just right!

The Common Core State Standards appear to be here to stay—at least for some time. During the last several months I have read many varying opinions about these standards. Regardless of opinions, it appears states are going to try these standards, as more than 40 have adopted them.

What is my opinion? Well, as a teacher of the gifted, I feel the combination of common core standards, universal concepts, the poverty framework, technology, and 21st century skills makes the perfect recipe for improved student achievement and a successful classroom experience. Regular program content standards for high ability and gifted students were very grade specific, were not common across all three middle grades, and provided varying levels of challenge and depth per grade. The Common Core State Standards provide application, analysis, creativity, and evaluation that will be common across all three middle grades.

Common CoreI know there may be trepidation among regular program teachers in working with common core standards. Questions such as How will I…? Where might I find…? What if some of my students…? and How will I make the standards make sense to my students? are great questions to which school district leaders must try to provide the answers. Substantive, ongoing professional development sessions addressing the whole school picture will be the most meaningful to educators working in today’s school environment. The “whole school picture” professional development would include information on educating the whole child as well as information on implementing the Common Core State Standards for a successful school experience for both educators and students.

Suggested reading material helpful in providing information on whole child education:

The foundation:

Other suggested reading:

  • Understanding Learning: The How, The Why, The What (Payne, 2002)
  • From Vision to Action (articles written by practitioners, Bazata et al., 2013)
  • Researched-Based Strategies (Payne, 2009)
  • The Parallel Curriculum (Tomlinson et al., 2002)
  • Understanding by Design (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005)
  • Teaching Culturally Diverse Students (Ford & Milner, 2005)
  • The Essential 55 (Clark, 2003)
  • Jacob’s Ladder (VanTassel-Baska & Stambaugh, 2011)
  • Understanding Common Core State Standards (Kendall, 2011)
  • Professional Learning Communities at Work (DuFour & Eaker, 1998)

Suggested website:

In my experience, success with common core and extensive knowledge of the whole student are interdependent. The suggested reading material will provide a roadmap to school success in today’s environment.