A nice reflection on what is happening to reading with Common Core. I find the overemphasis on literary nonfiction problematic, unless, the fact that math and history are primarily nonfiction allows literature to remain 60-70% fiction, however, for those schools who just have "reading" in literature (that would be sad), this is going to have issues.
This is a great read.
"The CCSS mandates that by the end of high school, 70% of what students read should be informational texts -- specifically, complex and non-narrative literary nonfiction. Furthermore, students should be able to identify central ideas and articulate their development, summarize, analyze, draw inferences, identify an author's purpose, evaluate the effectiveness of rhetorical features, and figure out the meaning of words. In short, the CCSS has reclaimed a technique popular in the 1940s, close reading, or sustained interpretation of, in particular, the wording of a text."
We should teach Computer Science because it is important to our future, but if you really need justification, Alfred Thompson shares the new alignments of Computer Science topics with all kinds of standards including Common Core.
Nice article at edweek about the informational texts versus great works of literature debate and what Common Core will do to lit. The one important, practical issue that all parties to this discussion MUST recognize - the classroom time is FINITE. Teachers would love to cover EVERYTHING but it just isn't practical. So, if one thing is emphasized over another, it may push something out. Unintended consequences are happening as people "align" their curriculum to common core standards. As all of the pundits and advocates argue this, it would be telling to sit down with an actual aligned curriculum to SEE what happens where the standards meet the lesson plans and what is actually pushed out - until then - it is all, rhetoric. Give us practical application, we're teachers, after all.
From the edweek article:
"Until recently, the closest we'd come to a major speech on the nonfiction-versus-fiction question was a piece in the Huffington Post by the English/language arts standards' co-authors, David Coleman and Sue Pimentel, insisting that literature "is not being left by the wayside."
The message to rally the troops must have gone out, however. Because since the Coleman/Pimentel piece appeared, the common core's defenders have stepped up to counterbalance the literature-pushout crowd. The Thomas B. Fordham Foundation's Kathleen Porter-Magee, for instance, posted a piece arguing that it's a misinterpretation of the standards to say that teachers will have to teach less literature.
In a recent email blast, the Foundation for Excellence in Education—led by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, one of the common core's biggest backers—declaimed the "misinformation flying around" about what will happen to literature under the common standards. "Contrary to reports," it said, "classic literature will not be lost with the implementation of the new standards." A glance at the standards' own suggested text lists, it noted, "reveals that the common core recognizes the importance of balancing great literature and historical nonfiction pieces.""
Discussions about Common Core are beginning to happen on the AFT's Share my lesson website. It looks like a good place for teachers to get help and talk about these issues.
Interesting conversation on the Washington Post about Common Core. I applaud blogger Valerie Strauss for allowing Sarah Brown Wessling, an award winning teacher, write her defense of Common Core.
Librarians are so important. I love this article about librarian Kristen Hearne and the hard work she's doing to help teachers and students get what they need to be successful. This education week article calls librarians "a school's secret weapon." A good librarian has always been one of the greatest assets a school can have. Teachers, admins, we're all important, but never underestimate the importance of a great librarian. They deserve our respect and appreciation. IF you've got a great librarian, take a moment right now to say thank you. You may never realize what it will mean.
Constitution Day is September 17. Discuss the US Constitution and the democracy in the US constitution. Here are some excellent lesson plans including one I like called "design a constitution" that helps you see the "different types of democracy and sovereignty evident in the US political system." You could also do a play on the word constitution and have a "build your constitution" day with some good old American hamburgers and hot dogs while you study the constitution. ;-)
This set of lessons includes some very popular lessons using fairy tales. All of them are aligned with the Common Core and you can download and share them. The Share My lesson site is giving away a free ipad to the "best sharer" each week. This is a great thing to do as we share with others and help with common core alignment, so join in.
Over 54,000 Common Core aligned middle school lesson plans shared for free over at share my lesson. Whether you use Common core or not, you might want to head over and share (or find) lessons for that emergency or when you want new ideas.
An incredible set of indexed Common Core lesson plans by standard for grades Kindergarten - 6 in math. Share and get ideas. Every math teacher using Common Core should peruse this list.
An indexed list of Common Core English Language Arts standards and lessons aligned with those standards. A must-share for grades 6-12 English/ Language Arts teachers using Common Core.
Edutopia's guide to websites, organizations articles relating to the common core. I do think they are missing "Share My Lesson" from the AFT and TES, but this may have been written before that site launched. A great overview.
Using a TED.com video in a Common Core aligned writing assignment as students learn about speech patterns with the purpose of driving a TED-like conference at the school.
An excellent set of resources about common core standards and assessment from Edutopia.
I've begun work on the website companion to Collaborative Writing in the Cloud: An essential guidebook aligned with Common Core standards that will be published this winter. (The draft is due now.) I'm referencing some of these pages in the book and am asking for your help if you're involved in teaching writing, collaborative writing, or helping teachers.
Right now, I've drafted the pages on Twitter hashtags, chats, and lists for writing teachers and also networks where teachers can join. You're invited! The next page I'll create will be open collaborative writing projects.
Feel free to request to join the wiki but make sure that you list in the comments who you are and why you want to join so I'll approve you and then feel free to join in. Who knows, something you add may be the very thing I missed and it may make it into the draft.
Feel free to join in and help me get the right resources.
Also, I"ve posted two recent presentations: Common Core in the Cloud and the ISTE 2012 presentation about Common Core and Collaborative Writing that I did with Dr. Leigh Zeitz, Jennifer Roberts, Suzie Nestico, and Julie Lindsay (with Ben Curran moderating.)
Follow the link to join in and share.
The National Writing Project (NWP) has a community open to anyone who is interested in writing. If you teach writing, you should consider joining this community. They also have a "Twibe" (for sharing tweets) that you can use to disseminate tweets on the topic of writing. They've always been on the forefront of writing and research. Great organization and some great conversations about common core as well.
High school US history topics separated by topic and grade level. There are some interesting simulations included in this list of resources.
Click in to find related links.