Teachers map out skills to tackle by quarter
by Krystal Paco
Guam - Thanks to the implementation of Common Core State Standards earlier this school year, teachers and students will know exactly what's expected of them. "We're trying to make sure that all of us are on the same page, and the most important part is to have an instructional alignment and that's where the common core state standards come in," said Carbullido Elementary School teacher and curriculum coordinator Russchel Blas, who advocates for the newly adopted standards.
Blas said, "I personally love using the common core because we get to see a vertical alignment that's accurate and those are the requirements that are coming from the government. If we have a third grader, for instance, were to transfer from our school and maybe attend a school up north, we're expecting them to be also assessed on the same standard."
For the last three days Blas and dozens of teachers from elementary to high grouped together to plot out skills to attack per quarter. Today, Blas and her group tackled 5th grade math. "We're working with 5th and today we're doing math and we have fractions, decimals, number order of operations, problem solving, geometry, measurement and we're trying to categorize which skills need to be taught first, which need to be taught at the beginning so eventually they reach that level of mastery before moving onto the next skill," said Blas.
Department of Education superintendent Jon Fernandez says it's obvious teachers were excited to collaborate with other schools evident by the active dialogue, smiles, and hanging diagrams in the room. Such collaboration can only mean great things ahead, noting, "The Common Core is about higher expectations for our students our teachers need to be able to teach to these higher expectations it's going to be demanding more from our teachers and our students," he said.
"The Common Core is really aimed at college and career readiness, and as part of that the teachers are the most important part of that it's not just to identify the standards but to carry it out effectively," Fernandez stated.