April Toolkit: A Little Rain to Water the Flowers


The Common Core State Standards are not all songbirds and sundaes. There is some rain: critics of the standards. It is worth knowing about the criticisms. Before the next faculty meeting, read these two contrasting points of view on the CCSS:

Highlight or note points from each article which resonate with you personally: What do you agree with? What strikes you as flawed or disingenuous?

Finally, identify your one most pressing concern about adopting the CCSS in your school or district and write it down. Bring this to the meeting.


Try this activity in a faculty or team meeting:

Clarifying Beliefs and Values

  1. Individually, rate your own belief in the value and importance of the CCSS in improving learning. Rate on a scale of 1 (unimportant and/​or harmful) to 5 (a valuable game-​changer for education)
  2. As a staff, collect all of the ratings and post them to get a sense of the range of feelings in the room.
  3. Compile the concerns recorded by staff members. This can be done anonymously if you like.
  4. Pair up and distribute the concerns so that each pair has two. Aim to avoid giving someone back the concern they wrote down, if possible.
  5. Each pair chooses one of the concerns given to them and generates at least 3 possible solutions, workarounds, or paths to success.
  6. Collect and compile the suggestions into a central location where all staff can share and refer to it (such as a shared, private Google document)


Review the compiled document and locate one or more of your concerns. Think about the suggestions made by your colleagues, and begin charting your own response.

As usual, continue the daily practices from the previous Toolkits:

  • Alert, Predict, ConnectReflect
  • Design one lesson or activity a week around your chosen standard with the express goal of working towards transfer.
  • Continue to implement the shift you selected in last month’s Toolkit.

BONUS: Share publicly (in a blog post, on a teacher-​community web site, or in the comments of this blog) your thinking and research about the CCSS, the concerns around it, and how you are coping with them.


Here are a few more resources that you can check out if you want to learn more or dig deeper:

Coming next month…

Standards-​based lesson planning.

Previous posts in this series…

  1. January Toolkit: Focus on Transfer
  2. February Toolkit: Mission and Transfer within the CCSS
  3. March Toolkit: Starting the Shift