The Common Core standards present a significant shift in the way that students are learning and teachers are teaching. They emphasize a deep understanding of content by thinking critically, analyzing information, and solving problems in creative ways. The aim is to equip every student with the necessary tools to be college and career ready by high school graduation.
One of the biggest academic components that the standards require is writing. Students are expected to write across the curriculum to defend a position, explain findings, propose solutions, analyze events, and evaluate possibilities. For students who have difficulties with their executive functions, this can be particularly challenging.
Consider, for example, a student I had in the classroom whom I will call Joe. When it was time to write for any purpose throughout the day, Joe would often sit at his desk with a blank stare. When other students would have a paragraph of written work complete, Joe would have a couple of words. It was clear that Joe had ideas, but was stuck when it came to getting those ideas on paper. Joe worked with me after school where I was able to give him an explicit structure and one-on-one attention for his writing step-by-step. At the end of the day, he was able to complete writing assignments just as well as, if not better than, the other students.
With a little extra persistence, Joe and all students like him can conquer the Common Core!