During the past school year, we math teachers in my district were supposed to be getting our feet wet with regards to Common Core. We implemented two Common Core math units, designed by our district. These units were very time consuming and required the students to do a lot of problem solving, discussing, writing, poster making, presenting, etc. Effectively, these Common Core units took concepts that I would normally teach in a day or two, and stretched them out to ten days. Did the students develop a deeper understanding of the concepts? Probably. Would I have adequate to time in the school year to teach every topic like this? Not even close!
There is NO downtime with our current standards and curriculum. I teach bell to bell, each day of the school year, and still struggle to fit it all in. So obviously I panicked when we were told that we would be exclusively teaching these lengthy Common Core units for the upcoming school year. My panic was momentarily quelled when I was told that Common Core significantly reduces the amount of different concepts to be taught at each grade level. It was explained that there would be fewer topics, so there would be time to cover them in more depth. This sounded reasonable.
My apprehension returned, however, when I learned my teaching assignment for next year. I’ve been assigned to teach 6th grade ACCELERATED math. Since they are accelerated, my 6th graders will be expected to master all of the Common Core grade 6 standards, PLUS half of the 7th grade standards. So I will be expected to teach a year and a half of content, but still use the arduous Common Core pedagogy provided in the new units. I’m an experienced teacher, but I’m not a wizard. I cannot teach 50% more content in the same amount of time AND use these pedantic Common Core units.
I’m curious to know if other districts are combining the Common Core standards for multiple grade levels.