I had a very full third day at ISTE13. I started off my day by attending the Special Interest Group for Administrators group (SIGADMIN) meeting where we heard from a few folks who have been doing a lot of work around the Common Core in their schools. Kathy Schrock was the first person who spoke to our group. For those of you who know Kathy, she has been involved in every aspect of educational technology since the Apple II days. Kathy spoke to us yesterday about using iPads in schools to support mastery of Common Core standards. Kathy shared a site she had created called iPads4schools. Kathy did not talk about the “Super-duper Common Core App” on the iPad. Instead, Kathy talked about a number of apps like Padlet, Idea Sketch and Sock Puppets, that support critical thinking skills that are at the core of so many Common Core standards. Another speaker at this meeting who stood out for me was Jared Wastler, an assistant principal in Maryland. Jared spoke about “FedEx Day” at his school. The shipping company FedEx reserves a 24 hour period each quarter to engage employees in an creative “hack-a-thon” to develop new innovative ideas for the company. In Jared’s school, they have a “FedEx Day” to engage in collaborative problem solving with a focus on student achievement. Jared’s school uses this professional development model to respectfully engage teachers in meaningful work on Common Core standards.
As I start my fourth day at ISTE13 I feel I am getting closer to “catching” the Common Core. The evidence I am finding confirms what, in my heart, I already knew – teaching Common Core standards is not really that radical. Teaching Common Core standards really focuses what we should all have in our classrooms – good teaching.