How are you progressing in implementing Common Core? In our classrooms, we had no choice but to begin implementation of the Common Core standards. As we were attempting to create resources to help our students meet these standards, we decided to share what we were developing with our colleagues in education—and do it for free. Our website, The Curriculum Corner, was born! The point of our website is to focus on helping teachers who are in the same predicament that we were in: we simply didn’t have a choice except to begin teaching the CCSS.
Tackling the Academic Language
As we began to create resources that we felt would be beneficial, we got “up close and personal” with the national standards. One thing that we felt was a hindrance from the very beginning was the academic language in which the standards were written. Not only did these standards take some deep thought and deciphering by teachers, but we felt that many of them would be very difficult for parents and students to understand. That led us to develop “I Can” statements for the CCSS.
What are “I Can” Statements?
They are essentially just statements that turn the language of the standards into more kid-friendly terms to aid in the understanding of the expectations. These statements all begin with the words “I can” in order to give students a sense of ownership and a “can do” attitude toward their learning.
For example, here is an Operations & Algebraic Thinking standard for third grade:
Determine the unknown whole number in a multiplication or division equation relating three whole numbers.
The “I Can” statement we developed to go with it is this:
I can find the missing number in a multiplication or division equation.
And here is an example from third grade E/LA Reading: Foundational Skills:
Use context to confirm or self-correct word recognition and understanding, rereading as necessary.
The coordinating “I Can” statement we wrote is:
I can use what I understand from my reading to help me figure out or correct words I am having trouble with.
The “I Can” statements aren’t perfect and they are most certainly our interpretation of the CCSS as we tried to dissect the true intent and meaning behind each standard. But we feel they are a solid start to helping all educators for whom teaching or not teaching Common Core is simply not a choice they can make.
The idea of a national set of standards can certainly be divisive, but our passion and hope has always been to unite and help our colleagues and friends in education.
There are times when those of us in the trenches just have to get down to the daily business of teaching, and what better way to do that than by working smarter, not harder, and by sharing our work freely? We hope that the development of our “I Can” statements is one way that we did exactly that.
You can access our “I Can” Resources here: Everything “I Can” for K – 6.
We appreciate feedback and constructive criticism on all resources we create, so let us know if you have something positive to share that will help us to make our resources better for everyone!
Jill McEldowney and Cathy Henry are neighbors and friends who both have significant experience teaching in the same large and diverse school district. Together, they developed and operate www.thecurriculumcorner.com, a site where busy teachers can find current, relevant, meaningful, and ready-to-go lessons, activities, and resources that fit their classroom structure and also meet national and state standards.