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The Common Core, an Uncommon Opportunity

The Common Core, an Uncommon Opportunity
Redesigning Classroom Instruction

January 2014 | 288 pages | Corwin
Because the Common Core requires bold action

Why The Common Core, an Uncommon Opportunity? Why now? Because it tackles a largely overlooked component of successful implementation: how to redesign your instructional delivery system, K-12. And you’ll have to; if you don’t, you’ll be subject to the very same failure and frustration so many other districts and schools are experiencing. What’s more, March and Peters describe how to integrate 21st Century Skills at the very same time.

What are the big benefits of this book? If you’re a district leader, it will help you

  • Develop consistent and structured teaching and learning practices across content areas
  • Ensure sustainable processes through continuous curriculum review and revision
  • Strategically use data to monitor student performance goals
  • Support and sustain enacted reforms through district-wide infrastructure adjustments
  • Provide teachers with Common Core-aligned course tools, including sample curriculum maps, lessons, and specific teaching suggestions
There’s no need to start from scratch or attempt to reinvent the wheel. March and Peters have done much of the prep for you. Their processes and tools have already worked in numerous districts—and they can be custom-fit to yours.

“[This] system helped us not only re-invent ourselves, but also build the internal capacity we needed to maintain our momentum. This book is a must for any district that is serious about taking advantage of the Common Core to re-invent itself.”
—Connie Hathorn, Ph.D., Superintendent
Youngstown City School District
“Few books offer such deep and specific information to assist the field in successful implementation of the Common Core and state learning standards. . . . This book is a gift to practitioners of all levels, and those practicing in any type of school or district.”
—Dr. Lynn Macan
Cobleskill-Richmondville CSD
1. No Longer Business as Usual
Major Differences Between the Former Standards and the New Core

Implications for Classroom Instruction and Assessment

The Impact of the 21st Century Skills

International Benchmarking for Global Competition

Implications for Leadership


2. Developing Course Tools to Build the Instructional Program
Make the Commitment and Then Get a Game Plan

Unpacking, Bundling, and Sequencing the Standards

Devising Curriculum Maps (or Pacing Guides)

Unit Planning


3. Integrating Best Practices to Help Students Construct Meaning
Multiple Levels of Thinking

Goal Setting

Organizational Patterns

Questioning and Cueing

Similarities and Differences

4. Integrating Best Practices Into Unit Plans
Mathematical Problem Analysis and Problem Solving

Vocabulary Knowledge

Delivery Strategies

Recognition and Reinforcement

Continuous Monitoring and Feedback

Basic Assumptions

Chapter References

5. Continuous Assessment to Monitor Results
The Use of High-Stakes Test Results as Entry-Level Data

District Benchmark Assessments

Formative and Summative Classroom Assessments

Common Missteps in Assessment

Strategies for Making Better Use of Assessment Results

Design of Assessments: Traditional Tests and Authentic Assessments

Chapter References

6. Homework and Grading: Two Critical Issues

Grading Relative to Mastery

Chapter References

7. Implementation and Accountability
Grade-Level or Course Teams

Direct Assistance to Staff

The Observation and Analysis of Classroom Instruction by the Principal

Chapter References

8. Summary and Sustainability
Process Checklist for Chapter 1: No Longer Business as Usual

Process Checklist for Chapter 2: Developing Course Tools to Build the Instructional Program

Process Checklist for Chapter 3: Integrating Best Practices to Help Students Construct Meaning

Process Checklist for Chapter 4: Integrating Best Practices Into Unit Plans

Process Checklist for Chapter 5: Continuous Assessment to Monitor Results

Process Checklist for Chapter 6: Homework and Grading: Two Critical Issues to Success

Process Checklist for Chapter 7: Implementation and Accountability

Appendix A: Goal Setting Examples

Appendix B: Questioning

Appendix C: Categorization

Appendix D: Critical Attribution for Similarities/Differences

Appendix E: Teaching the Metaphor for Similarities/Differences

Appendix F: Math Problem Solving

Appendix G: Vocabulary

Appendix H: Collaborative Observation Samples With Action

Plans for "Stars"


"This research-based book provides a framework for implementing the Common Core State Standards, along with 21st-Century Skills, assessments, teacher evaluation, and best teaching practices for the classroom."

Jeanine Nakakura, STEM Resource Teacher
State of Hawaii Department of Education

"We seek authenticity in our important leadership work with implementing Common Core State Standards in our schools and districts. This invaluable resource offers relevance and reality to this crucial task. It should be on every education leader's bookshelf within easy reach."

Cheryl A. Dunkle, Professional Development Associate
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Englewood, CO

"While broad in scope, the text is well-written with many useful tables covering correlations between the old standards and the Common Core, as well as examples of curriculum maps, lesson plans, and strategies. The authors clearly demonstrate the authentic integration of 21st century literacy skills. The specificity of these tables, along with appendices, makes this book a usable working document for teachers. The examples will give Common Core schools a soundly-based jumpstart into the process of instructional redesign."

Library Media Connection, August/September 2014

we are using this as a recommended resource for all MS Curriculum & Instruction students

Dr Marilyn Meell
College Of Education, Concordia University
July 31, 2014

For instructors

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ISBN: 9781452271828

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