Blogs About Reading

The Common Core Classroom

Emily Stewart, M.Ed.

Guest blogger Emily Stewart, M.Ed., is a third grade teacher at Murch Elementary, a public school in Washington, DC. During the 2012-2013 school year, Emily will be sharing the real-world strategies, challenges, and successes of implementing ELA Common Core standards in her classroom.

Welcome to the Common Core Classroom!

November 2, 2012

Hello from the speedway of the Common Core!

I am pleased to have the opportunity to explore the Common Core National Standards with you this year! After teaching for almost 10 years, I have experienced many struggles and celebrations with state standards from California, to Arizona, to Washington DC, and now OUR national Common Core Standards. Growing up the daughter of two educators, I was constantly immersed in learning. It was incredibly clear that education shaped who we would be, and gave us opportunities to explore the world around us.

The shift to standards in education has been two fold. On one hand, it has given us the opportunity to hold teachers and students accountable for learning. On the other hand, many found it difficult to explore various topics, because it wasn't part of the "prescribed" curriculum. Now, with the shift to common core standards we are faced with an even bigger task, incorporating multiple standards to challenge the rigor and complexity of our students thinking. If you ask me, we are truly moving in the right direction. Sometimes, we just need a road map to get there!

In our Common Core discussions this year, I hope to create meaningful connections with you about the use of the Common Core, and how to help our kiddos engage with these complex standards. The goal of my blog will be to challenge our thinking about the direction we're going, and to provide a helpful road map to assist us in getting there!


Using the common core as a "road map" is a great way of navigating. There is so much more creativity in using the common core, instead of sticking to textbooks and cirriculums. Common core is filled with room for ideas, which is what teachers can do best. Teachers are creative and now we can use it in our classrooms.

Yes, text books should NOT drive our instruction! The thing I like about teaching to the standard, is the flexibility and creativity I can have depending on what my kiddos need! Thanks, Chris!

I agree that I think this is the right direction. The idea of using the standards as a map is the best way to approach the standards. They can guide you through the year and you are able to add to them. Use them as the guide rather than the curriculum guides or even the text books and you will have an easier time. Some times you just need to let go.

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"Reading is not optional." —

Walter Dean Myers