PA Core - What does the change mean for students?
Pennsylvania, along with many other states, decided to adopt the Common Core State Standards several years ago. As the world around us was changing rapidly, there was a growing sense that our educational system may not be keeping pace with the change and the focus shifted to college and career readiness. With that end in mind, states started to chart a new course. Pennsylvania's implementation of the PA Core Standards, which align to the Common Core Standards, involved revisions to ensure a vertically aligned framework to prepare students for the future, more rigorous assessments, and new graduation requirements. While graduation is far away for elementary students, we feel strongly that the work we do here is critical to their future success. It is important to note that the PA Core provides educators with standards and not a curriculum. Local decision-makers are still the ones who are ultimately responsible for making the decisions of what we do in the classrooms every day.
- Click here for a better understanding of PA Core Standards
What does "raise the rigor" mean when talking about the mathematics curriculum or in any subject area? The truth is that it depends upon the context. Our the revised test items, the rigor is often a result of multi-steps problems. In the classroom, we often refer to going beyond the algorithm. There is research that shows the importance of helping students to have a deeper understanding of the mathematical concepts behind their computations. By developing a students' number sense and understanding of place value at a young age, we believe the student will be stronger in the future on the application side. Fact fluency is still important because it builds an automaticity in the student that is helpful as the work becomes more challenging in 4th Grade and beyond.
Resources to Examine
WCASD Math in Focus Shift - Mr. Ian Kerr, Supervisor of Mathematics, has provided parents a variety of insights into this new program and its approach to teaching skills and concepts.
Why is Math Different Now? - In this video, Dr. Raj Shah, founder of Math Plus Academy, explains to parents why the math work coming home from school looks different than when he/she was a child.
A Passion for Fractions (4th Grade) - Take a look at this video of a teacher in Florida leading her students through a complex fractions problem to get a sense of the demands of Common Core. [Click Here]
Understanding the Shifts in Math - Parkland School District in Allentown created a helpful chart for parents to explain key shifts that have occurred as a result of the move to PA Core.
Why is My Child Playing With Blocks to Learn Math - This article provides an easy-to-understand summary of why the use of manipulatives are important to helping students develop a deeper understanding of mathematical concepts.
reading & writing
It seems impossible to have a major educational shift without a strong focus on Reading and Writing as both are integral foundation pieces. PA Core maintains this focus and enhances the cross-curricular connections among Reading, Writing, Science, and Social Studies from Kindergarten through 12th Grade.
Resources to Examine
Common Core Big Idea Series - This is a five-part blog series from Edutopia by Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins, who are educational leaders. They wanted to help people better understand the changes.
WCASD - Key Learnings By Grade Level (K-5) - This document was created to show the vertical alignment of the standards and our expectations of students based on the standards.
Understanding the Shifts in ELA - Parkland School District in Allentown created a helpful chart for parents to explain key shifts that have occurred as a result of the move to PA Core.