How Teachers Are Explaining Common Core Standards To Students Parents

Know More About The Common Core

Stories about students: How does education policHow Teachers Are Explaining Common Core Standards To Students Parentsy affect the way students learn and grow? Can schools meet their needs as they balance ramped-up testing with personal changes and busy schedules? And are students who need help getting it?

Indiana students arent the only ones adjusting to the Common Core, a set of nationally-crafted academic standards adopted by 46 states and the District of Columbia. Their teachers have been tasked with explaining key changes of the new standards not just to students but to parents, too.

But Kelley says its not always easy to communicate those changes to parents, even after a parent meeting at the beginning of the school year.

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We have two different sets of Common Core assessments our principal let us order offline. Sometimes we use those, sometimes we use our own, says Kelley. If Im sitting down with her and we have those two assessments, hers, mine and those two might all look different because of the terms the standards are written in, theres so much open to interpretation.

Together with fellow teacher Kimberly Kelley, Falls writes a weekly newsletter to parents explaining what first grade students are learning.

If they could be in more teacher- or parent-friendly terms, I think that would be helpful for all parties involved, says Falls.

Heres what Falls and Kelley wrote they were teaching in math for the parent newsletter the week of Jan. 21:

Part of the problem is how the standards are worded. Even the pro-Common Core Fordham Institute concedes that the new standards arent as clearly written as the Indiana Academic Standards theyre replacing.

While we are professionals and should be experts at this, two different people might have two different ways of interpreting the standards.

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Heres how the same standards theyre teaching are written into the Common Core:

Stories about educators: How are those responsible for implementing education policy in schools − from classroom teachers, to district administrators, to school board members − affected by changes at the top? And how well do they meet their challenge of reaching students with varying abilities and needs?


Weve told parents theyre cominCoreg down the line, but I just think its so overwhelming for them, says Kelley. For a lot of them, its over their head.

But to come up with those descriptions, Fall and Kelley had to put their heads together and put the Common Core academic standards into laymans terms.

For her part,new york escort Kelley says shes not sure yet if the Common Core is better or worse than the standards Indiana had before. But she thinks the new guidelines could use some retooling for clarity.

Core Questions: What Do You Want to Know About The Common Core Education Standards?

First grade teachers in Indiana implemented the Common Core this school year. Theyre teaching  the first group of students who received instruction based on the new standards as kindergarteners.

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One example: Kelley says this years first graders are more comfortable with the alphabet, which they now must master by the end of their first semester in kindergarten. She says under the old Indiana standards, kindergarteners just needed to know the alphabet by the end of the year.

I feel kids are coming to us better prepared for first grade, but at the same time, we have more to teach them, says Kelley.

StateImpact seeks to inform and engage local communities with broadcast and online news focused on how state government decisions affect your lives.

Heres a great open-notes quiz over Common Corporation State [sic] Standards

Kindergarten and first grade students are already receiving instruction aligned to the new Common Core academic standards.

Elle Moxley / StateImpact Indiana

Falls teaches across the hall from the Lisa Coughanowr and Hannah Reinoehl, the kindergarten teachers we introduced Wednesday in our look at how educators are reacting to the new standards.

Kelley says its also important to put the standards into terms kids recognize. When she and Falls are introducing new topics, their students help them make poster boards with easy-to-understand  examples. Theyre hung on clothesline across the room so the first graders can reference the standards if they get stumped.

Our parents know at any given time what were working on in the classroom, Core, says Kelley. We sit down with our instructional calendar at the computer together and look at the standard and say, OK, how would we put these into our terms?

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One of our new standards for teaching is if an administrator or someone walks in, they should be able to ask a child what are you working on this week, they should be able to find it in the room and be able to tell you, says Stacey Falls, a first grade teacher at East Side Elementary in Brazil, Ind.

Let the ed reporters investigate. Send questions to with the subject line Core Questions. You can also send us a message on Twitter (StateImpactIN) or on our Facebook page. Please tell us if youre are parent, a teacher, a principal, a policy maker or a concerned citizen who cares about how the Common Core is going to change education in our state. Well find answers and share them right here at StateImpact Indiana.

StateImpact Indiana is a collaboration of WFIU, Indiana Public Broadcasting stations and NPR to explain the effects of state education policy on peoples lives.


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