In this five-page document, the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) cautions educators against an overreliance on unpacking, unwrapping, or deconstructing (henceforth "unpacking") the Common Core State Standards, stating that 1) much of the content and conceptual understanding conveyed by the Standards exist not in the standard statements themselves but rather in the ancillary materials included with the Standards; 2) "unpacking" often results in a checklist of discrete skills and a fostering of skill-and-drill instruction that can fragment and isolate student learning in such a way that conceptual understanding, higher order thinking, cohesion, and synergy are made more difficult; and 3) distributing the product of "unpacking" to educators who were not directly involved in the process of "unpacking" can often compound confusion rather than offering clarity. The KSDE encourages all educators to establish a clear purpose and guiding vision prior to any "unpacking" work and to revisit that purpose and vision often if the products of that work are to be shared with others.
This resource provides an important message about common pitfalls in translating the standards into instruction. It also provides some good suggestions for alternative processes to traditional "unpacking." It is also short and accessible.