Approaches to the Common Core: HOW CAN I TRAIN MY STAFF?

If you’re in charge of facilitating staff development on the Common Core, I would recommend that you spend an hour on your own working through one grade’s RIT standards.  For each standard, do what I just did with RIT 5.1: 1) Paraphrase it, then 2) Answer this: How can we teach this?

When you meet with staff, it’s vital to model how to analyze the standards in this way.  So: model one (say, RIT 5.1).

  • Then “We Do”: Collectively analyze the same standard for the grade BEFORE the one you modeled (i.e., RIT 4.1).
  • Then “You Do”: Direct them to analyze the standard for the grade AFTER the one you modeled (RIT 6.1).
  • Discuss similarities and differences from grade to grade for this standard.  They will notice even more with more practice, so:
  • Let them dig into the remaining RIT standards for the grade(s) they teach.  Pairs or small groups work well; dialogue and debate tend to clarify thinking and generate good ideas.  HINT: The “K-12 ELA Common Core Tracking Spreadsheet,” on the TLC “Standards” page is handy for note-taking. (Don’t forget you can get a discount subscription with the 50%-off code in my first post!)
  • When teachers report out, they should go GRADE BY GRADE, ONE STANDARD AT A TIME.  This is very important.  If teachers are forced to listen to someone who teaches a different grade reporting out on all of their RIT standards at once, they won’t listen (“It’s not my grade; let me think about Hawaii until this is over”).  By contrast, if they are LISTENING FOR A PURPOSE—to see how the previous or next grade’s version of the standard compares to theirs—they will absorb much more information.  It’s vital–not to mention exciting, if you are as geeky as I am—to see the progression of each standard.
  • After each grade reports out what their standard requires and how they might teach it, the whole group should discuss and explain how this one differs from the grade that preceded it.  So: “You see how your grade has to move the ball forward?”

What should you do after this meeting?  Check out my next post.


About theliteracycookbook

In addition to this blog, I am the creator of THE LITERACY COOKBOOK Website ( and ONLY GOOD BOOKS Blog (, and the author of THE LITERACY COOKBOOK: A Practical Guide to Effective Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening Instruction (Jossey-Bass, 2012) and LITERACY AND THE COMMON CORE: Recipes for Action (Jossey-Bass, 2014). Check out my Website for more information about my consulting work.
This entry was posted in Analyzing the Common Core Standards, ELA Common Core Standards, Inference, Paraphrasing, Professional Development, Reading, Reading Informational Text, TLC Website Resources and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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