Transitioning to Common Core in Biology doesn’t have give you a migraine. Many teachers are dong a great job already at implementing the Common Core standards in the classroom. I have had the opportunity to be trained at the “Effective Educator Academy” by MSDE and the Master teachers. Part of Maryland’s Common Core initiative involves the training of teachers which is handled at these academies. Maryland has taken the initiative to develop standards of practice that reflect the Common Core standards for most subject areas.
Through my two years of transition training at the EEA it has become evident to me that when the standard of practice for each discipline are compared they are almost identical which indicates that Common Core standards can easily be implemented across any content area. I am a proponent of Common Core. Our society has changed significantly within the last 10 years. People are becoming more and more connected to the world around them. Students have the factual information at their finger tips. As teachers, we need to teach or students how to use and critique the information that is so readily available.
In Biology we need to get our students to take ownership of their learning. The 5E model of learning lends itself to fit in nicely with Common Core and student centered learning. Beyond the 5E model we need to make sure we are supporting the English Language Arts Standard of Common Core which seamlessly fits in with current events (reading informational texts), presentations (speaking and listening), lab reports ( technical writing), argumentative essays (writing, citing textual evidence), labs (following complex multi-step procedures) just to identify a few and how they fit into Biology/Science. The bottom line is that most good teachers are already doing these things successfully. Common Core needs to be implemented as a school. That is where the changes need to be made. Teams need to be set up to encourage trans-disciplinary connections so students do not segregate classes. We as teachers need to show student that what they are learning is relevant.