Pathways to the Common Core: Accelerating Achievement
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Pathways to the Common Core: Accelerating Achievement

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  745 ratings  ·  136 reviews
"As challenging as it must have been to write and finesse the adoption of the Common Core State Standards, that accomplishment is nothing compared to the work of teaching in ways that bring all students to these ambitious expectations. The goal is clear. The pathway is not." -Lucy Calkins, Mary Ehrenworth, and Christopher Lehman

The Common Core is written, but the plan for...more
Paperback, 214 pages
Published April 19th 2012 by Heinemann Educational Books
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Already, before they've even been implemented, the words "common" and "core" have moved into our schools, unpacked their stuff, and begun to act in general like they own the joint. Where exactly did these standards come from and what do they mean to teachers, administrators, parents, and students?

Ask no more. PATHWAYS TO THE COMMON CORE is 197 pages of concise elucidation, making it one book you'd love to put into the hands of everyone associated with education. With its short introduction, the...more
OK, I read it; I highlighted; I sticky-noted...and I really need to read it again.

Calkins and Ehrenworth and Lehman have done a huge service for all teachers. They took one for the team, truly. They pored over every Standard, every nuance of this overwhelming document and they translated it for us.

I've read big chunks but alone, with no one to bounce ideas and impressions with. Just me and my overworked brain, fighting the Standards all the way.

These authors explain clearly that while educators...more
Daniel Rock

All ela literacy teachers need to read this. Yesterday.
Melissa Kasso
I'm so glad I finally read this book! It was a gift from my school district last December, but in the mist of teaching, exhaustion, and irritation at Common Core, I set the book aside. After reading it this summer, I wish our school PLC time had been used to read and discuss this book. It would have been time well spent. The authors did an outstanding job validating my concerns about Common Core while still pushing me to see the positive possibilities of CCSS. I found the chapters on "Reading St...more
Sooooo helpful! This book put the new standards into an educational context that really helped to illuminate the rigorous level of instruction that the standards demand. Pretty cool stuff.
The words "common core" have been thrown around a lot in my district with new "units of study" being implemented, and this book was definitely helpful in really understanding what this common core IS and a basic overview of how it is implemented across the grade levels. Now when I hear people talking about this, I have a much better understanding of what is being discussed.

I think my cynicism is also hurting my approach to this book-- it's a lot of WHAT and not a lot of HOW. This is not a "how-t...more
I am facilitating a book study of this book. The group of teachers, with elementary, middle, and high school all represented, seem to find the text both informative and enlightening. Each chapter digs deeply into a strand and paints a pretty clear picture of what students learning those standards should be experiencing. I attended a one day workshop with Lucy Calkins in Denver and was hooked. Trying to get a grip on the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy in Histor...more
This book was extremely helpful to me in contextualizing and breaking down the implications for the Common Core Standards that are only currently being contemplated by my district. The organization and writing is clear, the examples are relevant, and the research-base is cited. I teach high school (11/12), and while the book is intended for K-12 and I usually skip lots of "elementary portions" in such books, there are very few parts I skimmed or considered not useful to me, and many portions I'v...more
I found so much interesting in this book,and am spreading the word in our school about the ideas. L. Calkins, etc. has written a very engaging book about the reading and common core standards and looks at each standard and helps guide in very real doable suggestions how to navigate the common core standards with what is already being done in your school. As I read the book, I felt, with the suggestions, that I would easily be able to collaborate with ELA and social studies, and science teachers...more
Excellent guide to redirect our teaching goals to these 10 standards. Love the content emphasis..."30% literary texts and 70% informational texts at 12th grade" we (teacher librarians, teachers, parents) help students excel.
Dawn Little
This is a fantastic resource to guide teachers as they unpack the Common Core State Standards. In methodic and consistent language, the authors introduce the readers to the reading and writing standards of the Common Core. Additionally, they add many suggestions for ways educators can work collaboratively to gain understanding of the standards and to determine instructional methods.

This book will be my go-to guide for the upcoming school year as I work with teachers to unpack the standards and...more
Phenomenal book . . . that I need to reread! The greatest shift in implementing the Common Core that I noticed after reading this book is that teachers are the ones who need to practice and master the skills the Core outlines before they will ever be able to teach them to students. All content areas, including Math, are asked to be teachers of reading and writing, and until teachers themselves are readers and writers, how can they possibly understand what the Common Core is requiring of students...more
Shana Karnes
Calkins et al really took one for the team here by breaking down the CCSS and presenting it in a very optimistic light. I really appreciate their efforts, but the repeated emphasis on leveling libraries and presenting leveled books to kids took this from a 5 to a 4.
Mary Beth
My favorite part of this book came in the early chapters where the authors give you a choice- read the standards as a curmudgeon or as if they are gold. It's actually a great way to look at everything! Lots of food for thought and good ideas for implementation.
Chris May
I admire Lucy Calkins and the work she has done at Columbia, and the Reading and Writing Project. As far as this book, I was hoping for more. If you are looking for a resource to help you understand the new Common Core standards,and help you clarify what each standard is asking students to do, this is a good book. As for help in how to get your students to achieve those standards, the suggestions are very broad. So if you are in a "what exactly am I being asked to do?" mode, it helps. If you are...more
Beth Wheeler
This book's optimistic approach is what kept me reading. Also, the chapter conclusions give a few teaching ideas.
Feb 26, 2014 Sau53 added it
At last a book that inspires educators to raise their sights above the politics of the Common Core and focus instead on the unprecedented opportunity these new standards create. Loaded with practical examples, Pathways to the Common Core provides detailed explanations of the standards and thoughtful considerations for implementation. It will propel educators toward the rigorous, ambitious teaching that can truly accelerate student achievement.
---Dr. Erin McGurk, Director of Educational Services,...more
A dense book packed full of information. This book explains what the Common Core is, how it was developed, and how it is different from most state standards. It does not have practical applications. You'll need another book to learn how to implement Common Core in the classroom. This is really a break down of each standard. Very informative, but not a quick read. That is for sure.

45 states have adopted Common Core initiatives. Texas, Virginia, Minnesota (only adopted ELA), Nebraska, and Alaska...more
Each summer I hope to find at least one stimulating pedagogical work. Although at first glance, this one, by Lucy Calkins, Mary Ehrenworth and Christopher Lehman, didn't seem like it would be that inspiring text to light a fire under this forever-hungry English teacher. Usually books that promise to "respond to Standards" are either ridiculously oversimplified, terrifyingly prescriptive, or they end up reducing the art of teaching to a mind-numbing science; the string of Marzano books are such a...more
If you are a teacher.. READ THIS BOOK! It doesn't matter the subject or age you teach, this is a must read! Recently, I was able to attend a session with the co-author, Chris Lehman and will also attend two remaining sessions with Lucy Calkins (!!!) and Mary Ehrenworth. These three authors are practical, as well as grounded in best practices. We must not go "common core crazy," but realize the bottom line is we are teaching children to be readers and writers for real life. Chris spoke of three t...more
This, along with the Dylan Wiliams book, are the best educational books that I have read in a long, long time. This is a must read for all classroom teachers and administrators as we transition to the Common Core State Standards. Calkins, et al. break down the standards so that it is easy for an educator to understand what it is students are expected to be able to do, what classroom teachers must do to help help students step up to the rigor of the new standards, and how this will help students...more
Glorya Suk
I chose Pathways to the Common Core: Accelerating Achievement by Lucy McCormick Calkins as one of my professional books in my goodreads shelf because common core state standards are the focus in many, if not all, schools. The standards in common core are more specific with a common goal. The structure and content of the text is important. It is a helpful guide to designing the proper and appropriate curriculum for your class when teaching literacy and writing. It is really important to have a p...more
I am really glad I took the time to read this because I now have a much greater understanding of the goals of CCSS. They are lofty goals, for sure. I see clearly that it is time to let go of my lingering "old school" ways of thinking and teaching.
I still don't have answers on how to provide all this individual on-going assessment and instruction while serving 140-180 students a day. I also struggle with how to grade students so I can keep parents informed in their weekly grade check. Parents st...more
I read this book over the course of several months in the 2012-13 school year. For that reason, I think I have an interesting perspective. During the time I was reading pieces of the book, I was also being intensively trained on Common Core State Standards, using them, testing in them, training about them, and implementing them across the curriculum in a wide-spread way. Consequently, I saw weaknesses in this book - possibly rushed to the printer very soon after the formal adoption process was a...more
Excellent book about Common Core State Standards and what it means (and doesn't mean) to teachers. The book is very broad covering all the reading standards from K-12 but still helpful to all teachers. The book does a great job of showing how all the standard build on each other grade by grade.

I liked the layout of the book and chapters. This is a really good place to start understanding and learning about Common Core. It lays out all the standards and gives example of what student work at the s...more
Paula Mercier
I thought this was a great book. I agree with a lot that she says about common core, and disagreed a bit here and there as well. I will use the ideas in the text to improve my practice for sure. One nice thing was the group of us that read the book together have decided to continue as a professional learning community.
Shannon Clark
I am so glad I listened to everyone who said I needed to buy this book. I started it last week-dove right into the writing standards since I am really curious on how the common core is going to change our teaching of writing. So I really skipped around in this book and finally finished it today. This is one that I will be rereading and rereading and rereading......

I've already underlined quite a bit-now on to the highlighters-also the note taking. :)

It has given me some great insight into HOW th...more
I'm sure I cannot think of an original thought about this book. I participated in a book discussion with other teachers, and our discussion took so many detours, I am still pondering many points made in the text.
Are the CCSS gold or mud? Neither, I think. I think they just 'are' and will do my part to implement them in my own classes and support others' efforts to do the same. I don't agree with the emphasis on debate, unless students are going to be expected to run for public office. There sho...more
Kat Mc
Aug 20, 2013 Kat Mc rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2013
At least this book got me thinking more about CCSS this summer since I've been trying to avoid it for a while now, and it's time for me to face the facts.

As usual though, this book was geared toward elementary teachers (who would expect less from Lucy?), and us high school teachers are left to make the reach on our own. Also "as usual" this is a theoretical read of "what/why/who" with a lot less "how." Why can't anyone just give me PD and readings with concrete examples of HOW to get it done?

Good overview for reading and writing standards and the approach to teaching. I appreciate the "big picture" perspective and the recognition that this is a "we're all in this together" approach to education.
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