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Teachers preparing for common core standards

Madison teachers are hitting the books this summer to prepare to teach new concepts under constraints of ‘common core.’

For the 2012-2013 school year, Alabama schools will implement the College and Career Ready Standards (CCRS) or common core for math. “Our teachers must be prepared for (these standards) when school begins Aug. 20,” Sharon Willis said. Willis works as at-risk coordinator for Madison City Schools.

In January, math leadership teams for grades K-12 in Madison began core training. This summer, they’re developing a wiki (website allowing users to edit content) for teachers to access online materials, lesson plans and assignments.

“They’ve been putting together a Pinterest with math resources,” Willis said. The state education department has compiled a learning exchange (alex.state.al.us/ccrs).

“I can assure you that teachers are already preparing for their students through many resources,” Willis said. Teachers also will train before Aug. 20 and throughout the year.

“Alabama developed its math course of study from the state initiative for common core as a base of content,” Willis said. In addition, an Alabama task force of educators and business leaders attached extra content to the standards. One example is geometric measurement and dimension.

Alabama’s goal is for students to graduate college- and career-ready, and students must master the standards, Willis said. “Mathematics courses for all grades are more rigorous than … previous years. The goal is not whether standards are ‘covered’ but that students are learning the standards. Teachers must develop in their students the ability to reason, understand and apply mathematics to practical situations.”

With core standards, teachers will introduce volume in fifth grade instead of eighth. Students should understand fractions after completing sixth grade. “Many algebra concepts have moved into sixth- and seventh-grade curriculum,” Willis said.

The National Governors Association and Council of Chief State School Officers led the push for core standards. “For mathematics, 96 percent of Common Core State Standards matched Alabama’s standards,” Willis said. Alabama adopted core standards in 2010, joining 44 other states, District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands.

For information, visit alsde.edu/general/ALCCS_Frequently_Asked_Questions.pdf.

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