Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Common Core and the Gradual Release

  With the New Year comes new goals and challenges.  One of the big challenges for educators is the Common Core.  I think it is easy to say, most of us are trying to get a grasp on what this means and looks like in our schools and our classrooms.  Frustration at times runs high but we must remember the gradual release model in dealing with the rigor and the complexity of the Common Core standards.  Our students may not be able to write at a level in which they can show mastery by comparing or defending nonfiction content.  "My kids can't do this!"  They may struggle with defending their mathematical reasoning when writing why they chose to problem solve a specific way.

  My response to all of this is GRADUAL RELEASE.  First the teacher models, then the class does the assignment or writing with the teacher and LAST the students do it all independently.  It can take 3-4 months to gradual release response writing to a quality level and that is OK.  Students are being required to work at a more complex level with increased rigor.  No more multiple guess or identification and regurgitation.  It's hard work and we must help each other along.

  Not only is it a gradual release with our students, but a gradual release with our colleagues.  We must slow down and help each other with the Common Core standards and the depth of knowledge required to understand how we develop lesson plans, become great facilitators and assess the knowledge students have gained.  It will be a year of continual growth and fascinating challenges.  We can do it!  Barb Brown