When I was first introduced to the Common Core Standards, I remember becoming concerned about the future of my curriculum. I had taught some of the new standards, but I had no experience with many of them. The sheer quantity was daunting, because in many grade levels teachers are asked to teach over 60 standards in 180 school days, averaging to about 3 days of instruction per standard. In addition, Common Core involves basing instruction and assessment upon precise, cognitively-demanding outcomes requiring higher-level thinking skills such as critical analysis and comprehensive evaluation. Even the most skillful teacher would be challenged by this overwhelming quantity and rigor.
Therefore, like many educators, it's no wonder I felt apprehensive when first contemplating how to implement Common Core. I had many questions on my mind: How am I going to teach over 60 standards in a school year? How am I going to engage students and keep them engaged? It seemed like a challenge without a clear solution at
the time, but after months of ideation, I came to a promising approach. It is indeed possible to tackle this quantity and rigor but only with the right tool-one that is based on the proven principle of visual instruction coupled with the decomposition of the standards. Research has proved the positive effects of visual instruction by demonstrating that 65% of the population learns visually1, and graphic organizers have positive effects on reading comprehension,
student achievement, thinking and learning skills, retention, and cognitive learning theory2. I strongly believe that leveraging this visually based concept in classrooms will allow teachers to help their students master the rigorous demands of Common Core.
I developed this book to intricately depict the concept of visual learning and to serve as a comprehensive set of graphic organizers and example guides for the grades 6-12 English, History/Social Studies, and Science/Technical standards. Each page provides a carefully crafted visual model that captures the variables inherent in each standard and allows teachers to precisely target the intended skill(s) of the standard. Therefore, each page consists of
an explanation of a standard(s), the corresponding visual instructional tool representing that standard(s) (e.g., a graphic organizer or example guide), and detailed instructions on how to use it for its intended purpose.
For easy use, this book is organized into five sections according to grade level:
* 6th grade
* 7th grade
* 8th grade
* 9th-10th grade
* 11th-12th grade
Each section has a chapter on Common Core's language modalities and disciplines:
* Reading Informational Text
* Reading Literature Text
* History/Social Studies
Teachers can use this book as a supplement to their existing strategies to create more efficiency and effectiveness in managing the quantity and precision that Common Core demands. Specifically, the graphic organizers and example guides can be leveraged in modeling, guided and independent practice, formative and summative assessment, portfolios, projects, and as a basis for feedback. I believe that these tools will help teachers more easily guide students down the path of mastery, achievement, and growth. Additionally, I hope that parents can also utilize this book as a guide to understand their children's learning outcomes so that they can partner with teachers and get more effectively involved in the academic success of their children.