By Denise Dick
The days of students sitting in rows of desks while a teacher lectures are over.
“Sit-and-get times are done for everybody,” Beverly Schumann, the city school district’s executive director of curriculum, told fourth- through sixth-grade teachers.
The teachers assembled Thursday at Choffin Career and Technical Center for professional development about curriculum mapping and the Common Core Standards. Common Core is an initiative adopted by most states that outlines the knowledge and skills children should learn in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.
They are to be fully implemented in Ohio in the 2014-15 school year, but districts have been making the transition, incorporating elements of the Common Core into instruction.
Schumann said the new standards are more rigorous and geared toward making students ready for college and careers.
Teachers have to do more to monitor and assess students to ensure they’re grasping information.
Rachael Smith, elementary curriculum supervisor, said students have to learn how to construct meaning.
“We’re moving toward authentic assessments,” she said. “Kids will be showing what they can do. It’s not so much pencil and paper stuff.”
The curriculum mapping sets up when concepts are to be taught throughout the school year, and Schumann said teachers can’t deviate from it. It ensures that students in the same grade level across the district are learning the same concepts at the same time.
The changes also move away from the teacher being the only person in the classroom who’s allowed to talk.
“The kids are allowed to talk to each other,” Smith said. “We want it to be a little messy.”
Educators are teaching students to be learners, to be able to find information, sift through it and reason what it means, she said.
With moving into the Common Core in fourth through sixth grades, the city district is ahead of many surrounding districts, Schumann said. Some districts are only looking at the new standards for kindergarten through third grade.
Professional development is planned for city school teachers of other grades later this summer.