Understanding the Concept of Common Core
What is the Common Core?
State education chiefs and governors in 48 states came together to develop the Common Core, a set of clear college- and career-ready standards for kindergarten through 12th grade in English language arts/literacy and mathematics. Today,  states have voluntarily adopted and are working to implement the standards, which are designed to ensure that students graduating from high school are prepared to take credit bearing introductory courses in either two-year or four-year college programs or to enter the workforce.*
What guidance do the Common Core State Standards provide to teachers?
The Common Core State Standards are a ...view middle of the document...
Why are the Common Core State Standards only for ELA and math?
English language arts and math were the subjects chosen for the Common Core State Standards because they are areas upon which students build skill sets that are used in other subjects. Students must learn to read, write, speak, listen, and use language effectively in a variety of content areas, so the standards specify the literacy skills and understandings required for college and career readiness in multiple disciplines.*
Incorporating the Common Core
Think about what you already teach.
Since the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) do not replace the 2003 Mississippi Visual and Performing Arts Framework, fine arts educators do not need to recreate a new curriculum for their individual subject areas. In fact, most educators are already teaching many of the standards covered by the CCSS. The fundamental concepts of the CCSS are built around the higher order thinking skills of analyzing, creating, critiquing, and making critical decisions and judgments. Since these same concepts already form the basis for “arts thinking,” teachers of the fine arts may discover that scanning their existing curriculum, identifying key words or activities that pertain to the CCSS, and comparing those to the College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards can uncover many existing correlations between the two.
For example, instructional units on music that already align with Common Core standards might include, but are not limited to, the following:
•reading informational texts about composers
•learn about phrasing or articulation
•critically reviewing a performance
•comparing two different settings of the same text
•comparing/contrasting different musical styles
•singing folk songs
•learning music vocabulary
•planning, composing, and revising short musical phrases or compositions
Review the College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards.
The CCSS are organized into two learning levels. The College & Career Readiness (CCR) anchor standards are general, over-arching learning standards which highlight the skills in which students must be proficient in order to succeed in college and future careers. (The standards for English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects as well as for Mathematics are more focused standards aimed at particular grade levels.) Anchor standards apply to all grades in all common core subject areas except math and are separated into four content strands: reading, writing, speaking & listening, and language.
CCR Anchor Standards are referenced in the format CCRA.[strand].[standard], so CCRA.W.4 refers to a College and Career Readiness Anchor standard in the writing strand, specifically the fourth standard of the list.
Since so many educators teach a range of grade levels in a single day or week, one helpful strategy might be to read through the CCR...