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StateImpact Florida: Five Things We Learned About Common Core This Summer

John O'Connor: StateImpact Florida
August 20, 2013

We spent a lot of time this summer watching and listening as Florida school districts trained teachers about what to expect when the state makes the full switch to new education standards next year.

Florida is one of 45 states to fully adopt the Common Core State Standards, which outline what students are expected to know in math and English at the end of each grade. The standards also put more emphasis on reading and writing in other subjects.

Here's five things we learned:

  1. Common Core Will Turn The Keys Over To The Students

    Common Core emphasizes that students know the underlying concepts, and not just the formula for how to reach an answer.

    The intent of Common Core is that when students graduate high school they are prepared for college-level courses or could land a job that pays enough to support a family. One way teachers are being trained to develop those skills is allowing students to work in groups of different sizes.

  2. But Teachers Have More Freedom Too

    It seems counter-intuitive, but teachers said they'll have more control over class lessons when they let students take charge.

    Common Core also includes fewer topics than Florida's current standards, and teachers said they will have more flexibility over the course of the year. They won't have to rush through topics just to make sure they tick off all of them on a long list of items.

  3. Some Common Core Training Had Little To Do With Common Core

    Rolled up into the Hillsborough County session were that tips that seemed to be less about Common Core and more about tips and tricks to create more engaging lessons. School districts had to do large-scale teacher training to prepare for Common Core, so why not also show teachers how to use technology they have at hand to modernize lessons?

  4. Some Districts Did A Better Job Of Using Common Core Techniques Than Others

  5. Teachers Seem Enthusiastic

    "It's asking the kids to do so much more than what they were doing before," she said. "And it asks teachers to do more as well…we're kind of stepping back and letting them take control."

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