Building a Relationship Between Basic and Common Core State Standards Skills

by Sandra Kaplan

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commoncoreThe introduction and emphasis on the Common Core State Standards appears to obliterate or at least cast a shadow on the basic skills or rudimentary skills traditionally taught as the “foundation skills” on which all learning is believed to take place. Today, it generally is considered by most educators that the Common Core State Standards embed the K-12 skills that currently dominate what students are expected to master. It is further believed by educators that the “new” skills of the Common Core State Standards have taken precedence over the “old” or basic skills and that these “old” skills are somehow obliterated by the skills of the Common Core State Standards. However, the skills of the Common Core State Standards cannot be taught to the anticipated level of achievement touted by educators and members of the community without acknowledging their dependency on the “old” basic skills.

The interdependency between the basic and the Common Core State Standards skills can be illustrated by examining many different strategies. Each of these strategies reinforces the importance of recognizing how the basic skills support the skills of the Common Core State Standards. Each of these strategies is represented by a configuration or graphic visually emphasizing how the basic skill or skills and the skill of the Common Core State Standard are related to each other, facilitate the understanding and practice of both skills and the potential development of expertise of the skill of the Common Core State Standard.

Foundation Configuration

This strategy illustrates how the skill of the Common Core State Standard (to reason logically) necessities understanding the foundational skill of “sequencing.” In order to reason logically, it is imperative that students understand and apply the basic skills of sequencing or recognizing how and when the order of the information ensures its logically presentation. The introduction and explanation of each skill of the Common Core State Standard can be aligned to a basic skill or skill set also provides students with the opportunity to comprehend how the familiar and previously learned skills are fundamental to understanding and implementing the “new’ Common Core State Standard skill. Following are examples of this strategy:
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Matching Configuration

This strategy illustrates how the skill of the Common Core State Standard (prove with evidence) can be understood and implemented by relating it to basic skills that the students have mastered previously. The teacher introduces the skillof the Common Core State Standard and asks students to match the “new” skill to the basic skills that they have learned previously. The process of matching the list of basic skills the students have learned already to the new skills of the Common Core State Standard helps students break the barrier of learning the new skill and allows them to recognize how prior knowledge provides the impetus to learn the new skill.

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Think about how you can teach the Common Sore State Standards to your students by utilizing these strategies.

About Dr. Sandra Kaplan

Dr. Kaplan is the editor of the GEC, an active member and past president of the California Association for the Gifted and chair of both the Blue Ribbon Committee and Education Committee for the organization to research a non-traditional identification instrument to recognize the underrepresented students as gifted. Dr. Kaplan has recognition for her work, receiving awards for Excellence from the Council of Exceptional Children, National Association for the Gifted for Service and Achievement and Research awards from the California Association for the Gifted. You can see her full bio here.

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