Knowledge of the Common Core Math Standards and Teaching

I was privileged to go on a hike Sunday morning with amazing math teachers from the CUE Rockstar Math Edition camp in Los Gatos.


One of several conversations I had on the five mile morning hike was about knowledge of the standards (specifically, right as Matt Vaudrey walked up). I commented how teaching high school for 5 years before going to middle school was a great thing for me professionally due to better knowing where the students were going. In my school district at least, we had a lot of training before Common Core were implemented but not as much afterwards. Moreover, there was a lot of resistance from middle school teachers to learn about the actual mathematics involved and where it was going instead of more traditional PD about methods and activities.

Now that we’re a few years in – and I’m not in the classroom – I was curious about what’s happening out there still. I put up two polls on Facebook and Twitter asking if teachers still need more training on the standards. Thus far (although I’ll give it a couple more days) almost 3:1 on Twitter and 19:1 on Facebook teachers say they still need more information. For math specifically, the Progressions Documents are incredibly rich mathematical learning documents, but often underutilized in training due to their density. Likewise, the Coherence Map is great for big-picture thinking as long as concrete examples are also shared for teaching and to make them come alive. I also of course highly recommend OpenEd’s resource library filters to make the standards content come alive.

In my job as Lead Content Curator at OpenEd, I get to work with standards from across the nation and even around the world. One thing I have really enjoyed is seeing how other bodies have both structured their standards and modified/adapted them. In states such as Indiana that have modified/rebranded their implementation of the CCSS, they’ve often done things like break up certain standards in high school to more their individual component parts. Others have simply renamed the standards due to politics. I wish all teachers had the time and the impetus to dive deep into the shifts, strands and knowledge that the standards contain on a purely academic basis. While one may not find hidden amazing math activities, they will find a coherence that is real and be able to be better, “learning guides,” for their students as well.

I hope to do some thinking and posting on this space about specific learnings I’ve had and give opportunity for teachers to go on their own journeys of learning about the CCSS as well.

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