Big Ideas Underlying the Common Core

In a piece for EdWeek, Sarah Sparks reports on the research “infusing” Common Core. The story is a reminder that many of the practices we currently employ remain completely appropriate. It also serves as a reminder that some things may have to shift in order to reach these new outcomes.

“There are two really big ideas underlying the common core,” said P. David Pearson, a professor of language and literacy, society, and culture at the University of California, Berkeley. The standards first set out that children build knowledge through their close reading of texts, a concept “consistent with the last 20-30 years of research,” Mr. Pearson said.

“But the second big idea is its grounding in the disciplines,” Mr. Pearson added. “If you think of science and history and even literature as disciplines, you can see why they have separate standards in reading for literature, informational text, science, and technical areas. You’re not just learning to read; you’re learning to read within a rich content area. This reflects a huge refocusing of reading research in the last 10 to 15 years on reading in the disciplines. It’s been timely; they’ve hit a theme in the realm of education policy and practice.”

About Aaron Grossman

I am a 5th grade teacher at Roy Gomm Elementary in Reno, Nevada. I started working with elementary students as part of the Montana Reads program and AmeriCorps. In 2001, after graduating from the University of Montana and moving to Reno, Nevada, I student taught at Rita Cannan Elementary before receiving a 6th grade position at Veterans Elementary. I moved out of the classroom to be a Literacy Coordinator, then an Instructional Coach, and finally a School Improvement Program Coordinator. In 2011, I began working on the Nevada Academic Content Standards in the district’s Curriculum & Instruction Department. I returned to the classroom for the 2015-2016 school year to teach 4th grade at Huffaker Elementary. Before returning to the classroom, I helped develop the Core Task Project that has been featured by National Public Radio, the Gates Foundation, American Radio Works, Eduwonk, the Fordham Institute, Vox, and the Center for American Progress. In 2014, I received the Leader to Learn From Award for my teacher-centered initiative and work to bring college, career, and civics ready outcomes into Northern Nevada classrooms (here). In 2015, I was appointed by Governor Sandoval serve on the Statewide RPDP Council. The same year, Nevada’s State Superintendent of Public Instruction Steve Canavero placed me on the state’s State Improvement Team. This year I will be part of the National Council on Teacher Quality’s Teacher Advisory Group. I am Google Certified Educator and a Nevada Teacher Ambassador. I believe strongly that teaching content is teaching reading and I make sure my students have ample opportunities to work with social studies, history, science and art outcomes. I do what I can to blend the learning for my students and this blog is part of that effort. You can contact me at
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