Implementation of the Common Core State Standards can be a time of stress, setbacks, and low morale. However, if professional developers, administrators, and teachers are empowered with five fundamental “big ideas” that support effective teaching, the process can be positive and, yes, even joyful at times.
That was the encouraging message that I presented along with Diane Dahl when we spoke together at the Learning Forward 2013 Annual Conference in Dallas, Texas.
Diane is a second-grade teacher in the Frisco Independent School District in the Dallas area and a 2011 graduate of our master’s degree program. At Learning Forward 2013, we teamed up for an upbeat, practical presentation entitled “Toward Joyful Implementation of Common Core State Standards,” sharing advice on implementing the standards to an audience that included teachers, leaders of professional learning communities, teacher educators, and a director of a state department of education.
The presentation tied into the concepts of the book that I co-authored with Marcus Conyers, Five Big Ideas for Effective Teaching: Connecting Mind, Brain, and Education Research to Classroom Practice (Teachers College Press, 2013). Diane and I explained how using the core concepts set out in that book and explored in the graduate programs can provide a conceptual framework for learning and teaching. We also tied implications from mind, brain, and education research to the practical challenges of implementing the Common Core State Standards with the goal of creating more thoughtful and effective classrooms.
Elsewhere at the Learning Forward conference, I had the opportunity to sign copies of the book at the Teachers College Press booth. It was a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with longtime colleagues and friends and to forge new relationships.