The Joy of Teaching – An Evan-Moor Blog

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What Every Parent Should Know About Common Core State Standards


What every parent should know about Common Core chalkboard imageIf you live in one of the 43 states that have adopted Common Core State Standards, you have probably heard about the new standards and may have questions or opinions about them.

As a parent of a kindergartner and a first grader, I am sharing resources I found particularly helpful in better understanding Common Core. Before you review the resources below, it is important to understand what the standards are and what they are not.

  • The Common Core State Standards tell teachers what students need to learn, not how to teach them.
  • Common Core State Standards are not a curriculum, but rather a roadmap of what each student should know by the end of the school year.
  • The standards are organized by grade level (Grades K–12) and two curriculum areas: English Language Arts and Math.
  • The standards provide details of the skills or concepts students are expected to learn for each grade level and subject areas (e.g., Language, Reading, Literature, Writing).

Here are examples of two Common Core State Standards for Grade 1:

  • Math: Measurement and Data, Grade 1 (MATH.CONTENT.1.MD.B.3): Tell and write time in hours and half-hours using analog and digital clocks.
  • Language: Conventions of Standard English, Grade 1 (ELA-LITERACY.L.1.2.B): Use end punctuation for sentences.

It is important to note that the standards do not tell a teacher how to approach the lesson on time or punctuation. Meaning, the standards are not lesson plans. A teacher instructs students using materials that the school or district provides, such as a core textbook or core curriculum.

The Common Core standards are simply there for guidance of what to teach for each grade level and curriculum area. This guidance often provides an opportunity for educators to collaborate and provide better feedback to us (parents) to help our children succeed.

Here are my five favorite resources to help you understand Common Core State Standards:

  1. A 3-minute video explaining the Common Core State Standards.
  1. A complete list of standards by subject area and grade level.
  1. Parent guides to help you understand what your child will be learning in each grade level and how you can help.
  1. What every parent should know about Common Core State Standards.
  1. Your child’s teacher: Reach out to your child’s teacher to get familiar with the curriculum selected and why/how your teacher will be addressing the Common Core State Standards.


Contributing Writer

contributor-trisha-smallTrisha Thomas is the mother of two and serves on the board of directors at a co-op preschool. She has also been a marketer of educational materials for grades PreK–8 for more than 15 years.

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