The teaching skills required to implement Common Core Standards are the same skills needed to adapt and improve teaching to meet a variety of needs. Implementing new ideas into practice begins with a particular kind of planning that prepares teachers, defines instruction, and measures results. However, we struggle to find enough time to do this.
For decades, we've struggled to find enough time to help teachers feel prepared to enter classrooms with new materials and teach in new ways. We stop somewhere short of classroom materials while working on curriculum maps, units, or lessons. We stop short of translating a clear focus on “what” to teach into materials of practice that define “how” to teach it.
A desire to change or adapt classroom teaching can be triggered by student need, new assessments, new strategies, ELL or SPED accommodations, and more. Regardless of the trigger for change, teachers that implement successful responses to these needs use skills that are a capacity to translate desired change into classroom practice.
In every instance of change, there is a need for teachers align elements of instruction as they move from what to teach to how to teach. Generally speaking, beginning with defining what to teach (and when to teach), teachers increasingly specify how to teach as they move from standards and objectives to curriculum maps, units, lessons, and finally to classroom materials.
We need to focus on teacher-prepared, ready-to-use classroom materials. Create a collaborative, idea rich environment that allows teachers to share ideas, align elements of instruction, define materials of practice, and measure results. The challenge is learning how to do this in the time available in their school day.