With the implementation of the Common Core Standards the publishers are at it again. Materials are merely being relabeled as “For Common Core” or as “Supplemental Resources for Common Core.” I cannot completely fault the publishers because these resources continue to be purchased. However, teachers perceive that they are expected to present the lessons/activities from these resources “with fidelity.” The teachers, therefore, believe if they follow the book as it is written their students will achieve.
Since the adoption of Common Core Standards, teachers in our trainings continuously point out that their materials do not reflect the research-based methods we present, and in fact program content might even be contradictory. When they do make such statements, they are not criticizing what we are presenting, but rather they begin to see why the published materials they are using are not producing the results they expect.
For example, a lesson with a learning objective and instructional process that teaches students how to add multi-digit numbers with regrouping ends in independent practice problems for students including numerical forms and word problem forms. The teacher knows that students will not be able to perform well on the word problems because they have not explicitly been taught how to tackle them. The question becomes “Can I eliminate the word problems in the independent practice? It seems like it’s two different lessons.” The answer is, “Yes!”
Therefore, now, in every training session, I have the teacher participants raise their right hands as if they are taking an oath and repeat after me:
“I am the boss of the book. The book is not the boss of me.”