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 What Common Core Will Look Like in the Classroom

​Over the next couple of years, parents probably will notice differences in the kind of work their children are doing in the classroom and bringing home.

Across San Diego County and much of the nation, students will be expected to explain their reasoning, deepen their understanding and think critically about what they’re learning more than they were in the past.

Many of these changes are being driven by the Common Core State Standards, which outline what children are expected to know by the end of each grade level in English language arts and mathematics classes.

The standards are designed to ensure that students graduating from high school ready for college or the workforce.

“To meet the expectations of Common Core, instruction needs to change from a teacher-centered model to a student-centered model,” said Mindy Shacklett, mathematics coordinator for the San Diego County Office of Education. “Under Common core, teaching is about providing opportunities to develop connections and orchestrating student engagement.”

In mathematics, students will be asked to engage in performance tasks that require them to apply learning to real-world situations. They might work on one in-depth problem for homework instead of the multiple shorter ones parents are used to seeing.

In English language arts and other subjects, students will read more nonfiction and will be expected to study and interact with the text more closely than in the past.

“As a result of these kinds of tasks and the other problem-solving experiences, students will develop stronger conceptual understand and, as a result, will become more adept at thinking about, talking about and doing something with what they are learning,” said Scott Sypkens, senior director of curriculum and instruction at the San Diego County Office of Education.

The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a state-led effort that established a single set of clear educational standards for kindergarten through 12th grade that 45 states, including California, have voluntarily adopted.