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Teacher Training with Common Core Standards What Teachers Need to Do Next

As the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) continue to impact schools across the nation, teachers are gearing up for what the new standards will bring to their classrooms, and they’re also asking for help. Two of the top three things that teachers need right now are more effective professional development and more Common Core resources, both of which happen to be our specialty. We offer the very best teacher training and resources that are fully aligned with the Common Core. We contacted our resident STEM subject matter expert Jonathan Edquid to further explain the depths of our Common Core connection, and to give his expert advice on how teachers who have attended NMSI training can easily integrate that training into their classroom. If you haven’t attended our training, don’t worry. This is still great content here you can take into your own classroom.
Preparing for the Common Core is no small feat. According to Edquid, “individual teachers can and should modify their teaching resources to implement theCommonCore, but the effort should be more concerted, with members across an educational organization/district working towards a unified approach.” That is why NMSI materials are classified not as curricula, but as supplemental resources that can augment classroom instruction, all of which are created with the Common Core in mind. “However,” says Edquid, “this alignment is not just finding the standards that will match the content in our lessons. The Common Core and other college readiness standards are front and center in our lesson design and review process.”
“With regard to English CCSS,” he continues, “there are paradigm shifts occurring and our training reflects this. How to correctly ascertain text complexity and use complex texts are important topics within English training, in addition to understanding the changing balance of text types – from a focus on narrative texts in the lower grades, to more informational texts in the upper grades. Our math materials also explicitly identify the math practice standard and math content standard and describe (down to the question) where these standards are addressed – and although the CCSS do not address science content, math skills are integral to the progression of science, and our lessons highlight the corresponding math standards where appropriate. Reading and writing skills, too, are important in science, and our training helps teachers and students understand how to approach the different science texts, ranging from textbooks to graphs and data tables. Our lessons also encourage the use of C/E/R (Claims, Evidence, Reasoning) responses and help teachers and students become more proficient with argument, a CCSS literacy standard.”
As proven by Edquid’s eloquent explanation, NMSI’s expert content team takes the Common Core very seriously, and that same level of dedication is brought to each and every one of our trainings. We provide teachers with the instruction, knowledge, and resources they need to successfully implement the Common Core into their classrooms – but how do teachers actually do that?
According to Edquid, there are three things teachers must do to implement our Common Core-aligned training:
1.   Keep in mind the ideas of conceptual understanding and rigor. NMSI’s training and materials are rigorous for both teachers and students, but teachers will have an easier time implementing the Common Core if they continually try to see how each lesson and strategy fits into the grand scheme of things. “Teachers must identify the big idea/concept in each lesson and see how it is relevant,” says Edquid, and he believes this understanding is vital to classroom and student success. “If teachers cannot answer that question, then they cannot expect their students to engage with the content.”
2.   Identify and provide the support that will allow students to fail and then persevere. Failure is an inevitable part of life, but it is one that we – both as teachers and students – can also gain much knowledge from. “Teachers can be intimidated by rigorous standards and expectations,” says Edquid, “but they must also realize that their students will struggle; that is part of the learning process.” Therefore, it’s important that teachers are modeling the skills they want their students to learn – such as note-taking, study habits, and organization – so that, when students do make a mistake, they will be able to readjust on their own. A simple, yet effective way of doing this is through the flipped classroom method.
3.   Taking full advantage of every assessment opportunity. According to Edquid, it is important for teachers to take full advantage of all types of assessment opportunities in an engaged classroom to make sure every student is able to demonstrate learning at high levels. “Formative assessment is just as important as summative assessment,” says Edquid, and teachers should modify how they assess student learning. In fact, NMSI encourages such modification. “The conclusion questions from a science activity can be used formatively as discussion starters, or the background information can be the seed for a mind map that will develop throughout a unit. Whatever the case, teachers should not feel constrained by the format of their lessons.”
NMSI believes that every student should have the opportunity for an excellent education, and that the Common Core can provide such an education. Therefore, it is imperative that all teachers receive the training, support, and resources they need in order to help their students be successful in the classroom. That is also why our expert content team pours all of their knowledge and passion for teaching into our lessons to make sure they not only reflect, but also embody the Common Core. We know teachers need support and encouragement, and we are more than prepared to offer both.
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