Common Core Implementation

New curriculum standards change suburban classrooms
By Tara Garcia Mathewson

CommonCore

Algonquin Middle School math teacher Evan Borkowski helps students think about how math applies to real-world situations. That shift is a key to teaching based on the new Common Core State Standards. Photo by Rick West.

Times are changing, and classrooms are changing along with them.

For this year’s start of the eighth-grade math class Evan Borkowski teaches at Algonquin Middle School, he arranged students’ desks in seven clusters so they are always ready to discuss topics as groups. Lesson plans are different — much more conversation and problem-solving, with the focus more on the process than the answer.

Borkowski told his students on day one, this past Wednesday, that their idea of a traditional math class is no more.

“There are going to be more struggles, maybe,” Borkowski said. “But out of the struggles come opportunities to learn.”

This is the first year Borkowski and his fellow math teachers in Community Unit District 300, which includes Carpentersville, East and West Dundee and Hampshire, will tailor their curriculum to the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics. The state board of education adopted the standards in 2010 along with benchmarks for English Language Arts, asking districts to be ready to implement them by the 2013-14 school year.

Students in grades three through eight taking the state’s ISAT exam next spring will find questions tied to the more rigorous standards before an entirely new test debuts in 2015, assessing how well students are progressing to college and career readiness based on the standards outlined in the Common Core. Science standards could be approved by the state by the end of the year.

Read the full article here.

Watch me discuss this article on ABC7 Chicago here.

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