Stacy Carson, who teaches the third, fourth and fifth grades, recently learned she has been selected as a textbook reviewer by the state Office of Textbook Services.
The goal of the venture is to utilize current teachers to determine which textbooks and resources best teach the Common Core State Standards recently adopted by Tennessee.
Each applicant received sample activities and questions to review online. The objective was to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the activities. The state then determined which applicants would best fit the needs of the project.
Teachers were selected to fill committees for grades K-2, 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12. As a community classroom teacher at E.L. Ross Elementary, Carson daily teaches grades 3-5. Her position provides her with a unique perspective. She will be looking to see not only how the skills connect within a grade, but across all three grades.
Carson will receive the materials in need of review from the state next month.
“It gives me a unique opportunity to let me be on the front edge of these materials,” she said. “I am excited to meet with those people from across the state who do what I do.”
She said she hopes the materials arrive in time to gain some insight from her fellow teachers.
Each grade level has its own major skills and concepts. A list provided by the state outlines what needs to be in a text for each level:
- third grade: multiplication and division, basic understanding of fractions as numbers, the geometry concept of area and time intervals;
- fourth grade: multiplication, division, addition and subtraction with larger numbers, equivalent and comparing fractions and working with decimals;
- fifth grade: all four operations with decimals and fractions and understanding volume.
Carson said she believes there is a need for support materials to help teachers through the transition to Common Core. These materials are not limited to a textbook. She said Cleveland City Schools teacher are encouraged to use additional technological resources in addition to the classroom texts.
Carson said her goal is to look for resources with strong math skills; coherence from one grade level to the next; and flexibility in the ways the resources can be used.
According to Carson, the city school system has been proactive in preparing its teachers and students for Common Core.
“The way we have been supported at Cleveland City Schools with the resources is something that none of us take for granted. We know there are students and school systems out there who are not as prepared as we are for the transition,” Carson said. “We just picked up a few Common Core standards at the third, fourth, and fifth grades last year. This year, we picked up all of the standards.”
Continued Carson, “By the time the state switches over officially next year, we will be in our third year. There is a lot of comfort in that.”
She said she hopes her role as a textbook reviewer will allow her to be a better resource to both the faculty and students at E.L. Ross.