Talk Common Core with Your Class

Familiarize your elementary, middle, or high school learners with Common Core language to increase their success.

By Stef Durr

teacher talking in front of the class


With the implementation of the Common Core State Standards, classroom goals and objectives are shifting. Keep your learners focused on their learning by discussing daily objectives and breaking down daily standards. If students can recognize what skill they are working to develop, and how it fits into the larger picture of their education, they should have more interest in achieving that goal as an individual. Build familiarity and consistency by carving out five minutes of every day, in any grade level, to talk about specific learning goals and objectives. 

Why Should You Spend Valuable Time Examining Objectives?

Here are the top five reasons for using class time to discuss learning objectives

  • Establishes a consistent routine to start the day.
  • Sets a purpose for the day or the lesson in kid-friendly language.
  • Shifts responsibility from the teacher to the student.
  • Allow learners to effectively self-evaluate.
  • Builds familiarity with Common Core language. 

How Should You Best Review Learning Objectives?

Do you currently post the day’s objectives and standards on the board for your kids to see? If you don’t do so already, consider dedicating a portion of the board to posting this information on a daily basis. I have two white boards on either side of a SMART Board. One of these boards is dedicated to posting the targeted standards, our objectives, what items need to be on a student’s desk, essential questions, and that night’s homework. Each section is divided with blue painter’s tape and clearly labeled. Every pupil knows that he can come into class, immediately write down his homework, and take a look at the skill we’re going to build that day.

A Sample System for Daily Review of Learning Objectives

Your system for unpacking the standard and creating the day's objectives as a class could look as simple as this:

  1. Before pupils enter the room, write the standard(s) on the board.
  2. As they get settled, have them read the standard independently and pull out key words.
  3. Have them turn and talk with a partner to ensure they've identified the essential key words.
  4. As a whole class, underline the key words and write out the objectives that would show progress toward those standards. (This is particularly important for a standard that your class might not have experienced. If they can identify where they eventually need to be, it'll be easier to identify how to get there and which component is essential to focus on first.)
  5. It might also be beneficial (especially for the younger set), to turn these objectives into "can do" statements. So, if the focus was RL.6.1 in a sixth grade classroom, the kids might write the following statement: “By the end of the lesson, I can cite textual evidence to support an inference I made.”   
  6. To close the lesson, have your students check in with their "can do" statement. This can be done in a variety of ways, but you could have them rate themselves on a scale of one to five based on their confidence level with this skill. 

Take Learning Assessments a Step Further

Are you already unpacking the standards with your pupils? Consider having them track and graph their mastery at the end of each lesson/week/assessment. If they plot each standard, they’ll easily be able to identify their strong points and opportunities for growth. As they continue working with these standards, they’ll be excited to see areas of improvement and growth.

As teachers, we are always looking for new ideas. How are you introducing the Common Core State Standards in your classroom? Share your ideas and successes by adding a comment here.