Common Core State Standards SMUSD
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Common Core ELA Resources for Middle School Educators

Common Core ELA Resources for Middle School Educators | Common Core State Standards SMUSD | Scoop.it
Many teachers this year are updating existing curriculum for the Common Core. And it's going to be a long process for everyone.
Mary Reilley Clark's insight:

Nothing new here, but it's all in one article to share with that teacher who is panicking over a lack of resources.  Oh, and point that teacher to the library, too!  We have lots of great resources for you!

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100+ Ideas And Prompts For Student Blogging

100+ Ideas And Prompts For Student Blogging | Common Core State Standards SMUSD | Scoop.it

Ronnie Burt, Sue Waters and Kathleen Morris write: "Enthusiasm is typically high when student blogs are first set up. Students often can’t wait to unleash their creativity and publish for an authentic audience on their own online space.

 

Sometimes when the initial excitement wears off, students start facing ‘bloggers’ block’ or get in a rut of writing the same style of post over and over (eg. ‘My favourite…’).

 

With a little guidance and encouragement, you can ensure your students reach their full potential as a writer, while extending themselves by exploring various genres and mediums.

This post aims to provide prompts to inspire you and your students for a whole year of blogging." 

Mary Reilley Clark's insight:

This was incredibly timely! A teacher had just asked me for ideas for blogging about a new novel her class is reading. We will be using the top 10 types of posts to have students use different formats of writing as they relate to the novel. So, a marketing campaign for the new housing development the family just moved into, or a sports article covering the soccer game, etc. 

 

Students will be writing arguments, informational/explanatory text and narratives using these blogging techniques and will have their choice of topics as long as they can demonstrate the topic is related to the text. 

 

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Guess My Lexile

Guess My Lexile | Common Core State Standards SMUSD | Scoop.it

Donalyn Miller writes: "I have no issue with assessing students' reading levels and identifying text complexity. As a teacher, I find such information helpful when determining my students' reading ability and what books might fit them. What concerns me is that in many situations, Lexile measures become the sole factor in book selection and recommendation.

 

While identifying readability can be useful when evaluating textbooks, guided reading texts, or other teaching materials, selecting books for classroom instruction and recommending books for independent reading are two different processes."

Mary Reilley Clark's insight:

I just might have to anonymously put a copy of this article in every ELA teacher's mailbox this year. Donalyn presents such a sensible approach to the appropriate use of Lexile level in assessing reading ability while allowing free choice of books for independent reading. 

 

I loved reading about Metametrix's website. I will be sharing some of those videos with teachers, too. And finally, this quote from Donalyn will work its way into my response to the teachers who send students to the library to find "a biography in the 1200-1300 Lexile band that's at least 250 pages: "Looking at a child's face or a book's cover, I see possibility, not a number."

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Teaching Students to Avoid Plagiarism

Teaching Students to Avoid Plagiarism | Common Core State Standards SMUSD | Scoop.it

Jennifer Gonzalez writes: "Plagiarism can be a real pain. Most teachers have had to deal with it in some form or another, and a whole lot of you still haven’t quite figured out the best way to combat it. Many of us issue stern warnings and threaten serious, soul-crushing consequences. Others also use software to detect plagiarism.

 

While these methods can deter students from plagiarizing and catch them if they do, they operate on the assumption that all plagiarism is devious, that all students who plagiarize know exactly what they’re doing, and our mission is to catch and punish. Now because I don’t believe that assumption is true, I think we could be handling the problem with a lot more finesse."

Mary Reilley Clark's insight:

For all the teachers who ask for help teaching students about paraphrasing and plagiarism, here are some concrete examples on exactly how to do that! And the relevant anchor standard in writing: 

"8. Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism."

 

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CommonLit

CommonLit | Common Core State Standards SMUSD | Scoop.it

From the CommonLit website: CommonLit delivers high-quality, free instructional materials to support literacy development for students in grades 5-12. Our resources are:

  • Flexible;

  • Research-Based;

  • Aligned to the Common Core State Standards;

  • Created by teachers, for teachers.

We believe in the transformative power of a great text, and a great question. That’s why we are committed to keeping CommonLit completely free, forever.

Mary Reilley Clark's insight:

If you haven't looked at CommonLit in a while, it's time to revisit! They've added more fiction and nonfiction selections, with paired text ideas, supporting media if available, even a short message to share with parents about assignments. The texts are available to download as PDFs, so they can be shared in Google Classroom as well. 

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Reading Portraits: Analyzing Art as a Primary Source  

Reading Portraits: Analyzing Art as a Primary Source   | Common Core State Standards SMUSD | Scoop.it

Tom Bober and Brianna Zavadil White write: "You may have seen a portrait of a famous individual used alongside a title slide of a presentation or accompanying a list of facts about that person. In classrooms, portraits are often used as window dressing to history, a face to put with a name, event, or date, but portraits can tell students much more.

 

The strategy of reading portraiture encourages the visual analysis of a piece of art, similar to closely reading a document. The visual clues found in portraiture may be decoded to learn about the individual featured in the artwork. To get started, select visually complex images that include objects and a compelling setting."

Mary Reilley Clark's insight:

Starting students off with primary source documents can be a challenge, as they struggle with archaic language, print quality, etc. Using images, in this case portraits, and having students examine them in a variety of ways, can make primary sources more appealing! I love the suggestion in the comments to compare two portraits to really get students thinking.

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Creating Infographics

Creating Infographics | Common Core State Standards SMUSD | Scoop.it
In this lesson, students will create an infographic to share knowledge and data about an issue or science topic they are studying.
Mary Reilley Clark's insight:

Learning to create infographics is a great way to discuss visual literacy, too! Get students thinking about colors, fonts, layout, images, etc. Creating infographics will give students a more critical eye when viewing them.

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Primary Source Sets--Digital Public Library of America

Primary Source Sets--Digital Public Library of America | Common Core State Standards SMUSD | Scoop.it
DPLA Primary Source Sets are designed to help students develop their critical thinking skills by exploring topics in history, literature, and culture through primary sources.
Mary Reilley Clark's insight:

Great new sets to share with language arts and history teachers!

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10 Resources for Teaching With Primary Sources -- Free Technology for Teachers

10 Resources for Teaching With Primary Sources -- Free Technology for Teachers | Common Core State Standards SMUSD | Scoop.it

From Richard Byrne on his Free Technology for Teachers site.

Mary Reilley Clark's insight:

Richard Byrne has a great list here to share with social studies teachers. 

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Center for Student Work

Center for Student Work | Common Core State Standards SMUSD | Scoop.it

"The Center for Student Work is an open resource featuring exemplary pre-K to 12th grade student work. Use these models to raise questions, provoke thinking, and inspire excellence. Learn more about why student work matters."

Mary Reilley Clark's insight:

Grab a cup of your beverage of choice and settle in to explore this site. Lots of great projects (and yes, some CCSS are listed at the end, but by now, surely you can figure out which standards align with your teaching, right?) Notice how many of these models take time--a semester or a year. This is the type of work that engages students!

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Corroboration, Conflicting Sources, and Competing Narratives

Corroboration, Conflicting Sources, and Competing Narratives | Common Core State Standards SMUSD | Scoop.it

Brooke Feldman writes: "Students often ask me, “how do we know what really happened?” As historians, we tackle this sophisticated question by corroborating, sourcing, and evaluating evidence. We look to multiple accounts and determine points of convergence and divergence, and from there we determine historical facts. This blog post focuses on corroboration as a means to push rigor, thinking, and engagement in the social studies classroom."

Mary Reilley Clark's insight:

I love sharing examples of specific lessons like this with teachers! Sometimes seeing a lesson, even if it's not related to your subject matter, can help spark that a-ha moment for a teacher. 

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7 Technology Enhanced Item Types You’ll See On Common Core Tests

7 Technology Enhanced Item Types You’ll See On Common Core Tests | Common Core State Standards SMUSD | Scoop.it

Amanda Ronan writes: "Common Core testing season is right around the corner, so you want to spend some time making sure your students have the technological skills that will be required of them. PARCC and SBAC released items and practice tests to demonstrate the new item types students will see in the spring. We’ve summarized these items and given you some excellent online resources to help your students practice with the new testing interface. Now you can help your students show that they can master anything Common Core testing throws their way!"

Mary Reilley Clark's insight:

Oh boy--I've got students who can't even use Ctrl P to print, and they're expected to drag and drop? Sharing this with my teachers -- not so that they start teaching this, but so students can practice at home! (Or so we can add a computer literacy semester-long class for incoming students.)

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Common Core & Ed Tech: Five Ways to Use Google Forms in Your Classroom

Common Core & Ed Tech: Five Ways to Use Google Forms in Your Classroom | Common Core State Standards SMUSD | Scoop.it

Karen Larson highlights 5 specific ways to use Google Forms:  for self and peer review; to document PD; for quizzes; to collect student work from other websites; and to share rubrics.

Mary Reilley Clark's insight:

These are all great ideas.  I just wish there were sample forms, too!

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A Non-Freaked Out Framework for Literacy Instruction Across the Content Areas, Common Core or Otherwise

A Non-Freaked Out Framework for Literacy Instruction Across the Content Areas, Common Core or Otherwise | Common Core State Standards SMUSD | Scoop.it

Dave Stuart Jr. writes: "My theory is that the non-freaked out framework, by intentionally leaving out some of the things listed below, will have a greater likelihood of impacting the most students possible because, at its heart, it’s simple enough to grasp in an hour and complex enough to explore for a career. I’m obviously not saying my approach is the only way to increase student literacy development across the content areas (I find Mike Schmoker’s work in Focusto be superior to mine in just about every way, and fully attribute the seminal nature of his work to my thinking). I’m just saying this framework is one potential model to explore; by all means, we need to develop and experiment with more models."

Mary Reilley Clark's insight:

Dave gives a great overview of literacy instruction here. ELA teachers don't bear this burden alone, folks! I'd love to see this article as the basis for some professional development on CCSS this school year. There's a lot to think about and debate, but I think he's done a great job distilling the essential parts of CC instruction into a simple and elegant model.

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28 Critical Thinking Question Stems For Any Content Area -

28 Critical Thinking Question Stems For Any Content Area - | Common Core State Standards SMUSD | Scoop.it

The staff at TeachThought writes: "Critical thinking isn’t a skill, nor is it content knowledge or even evidence of understanding. While it involves and requires these ideas, critical thinking is also very much a state of mind — a willingness and tendency to sit with an idea and ‘struggle wonderfully’ with it." Photo by Tachina Lee on Unsplash

Mary Reilley Clark's insight:

Ah, I love the phrase "Struggle wonderfully!" My biggest worry about students is how quickly so many of them give up by choosing the easiest response, or the first result on a Google search. If we as educators don't provide challenges that make them think harder, or struggle wonderfully, we do they a disservice. Critical thinking to me is the true core of Common Core!

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Analyzing Documents with DocsTeach

Analyzing Documents with DocsTeach | Common Core State Standards SMUSD | Scoop.it

From DocsTeach: "We’re very excited about our first new activity tool since we launched DocsTeach almost seven years ago!

Create activities with the Analyzing Documents tool to teach students the process of document analysis:

  • Meet the document.
  • Observe its parts.
  • Try to make sense of it.
  • Use it as historical evidence."
Mary Reilley Clark's insight:

This would be a great introduction to a new unit. You can upload your own images, so you're not limited to American history, either! I set up a sample and it took me about 5 minutes to find (and cite!) an image, add a few questions to the existing questions and save. Getting students to analyze images, political cartoons, maps, and more is a critical skill. This new tool from DocsTeach lets teachers create activities that help students learn the process of analysis.

 

There are two levels for the analysis questions. DocsTeachs notes that the novice or elementary level would also be great for English language learners. What a great way to get ELL students engaged and writing! 

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Building a K12 Language Arts
Flipgrid Community

Building a K12 Language Arts<br/>Flipgrid Community | Common Core State Standards SMUSD | Scoop.it

One of the major goals of a language arts class is to help students communicate effectively. Educators often report wanting to help students develop voice in order to communicate verbally what they have learned. Unfortunately, many educators have trouble finding ways to incorporate this type of instruction into their lessons. Flipgrid is designed to do just that -- give students a fun and creative avenue to develop voice and provide educators with a simple way to integrate it in their classroom.

 

Photo: Avi Richards on unsplash.com

Mary Reilley Clark's insight:

This article gives grade level examples of how to use Flipgrid in ELA classes. It's easy to see how this tool can give all students a voice in the classroom or library! 1 minute book talks, anyone?

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 Digital Public Library of America: Using Free Primary Source Sets to Enhance Student Learning

 Digital Public Library of America: Using Free Primary Source Sets to Enhance Student Learning | Common Core State Standards SMUSD | Scoop.it
As the school year begins, the DPLA Primary Source Sets can prove to be an invaluable free resource to educators looking to add depth to their curriculum.
Mary Reilley Clark's insight:

DPLA continues to create new primary source sets which can be used in ELA or history classes. Each set is accompanied by a teaching guide.

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Free Technology for Teachers: 10 Ways to Use Adobe Spark in School

Free Technology for Teachers: 10 Ways to Use Adobe Spark in School | Common Core State Standards SMUSD | Scoop.it
Mary Reilley Clark's insight:

Richard Byrne shares several great ideas here that would work in every subject area. I love that Adobe Spark works well on Chromebooks, too. I'm using Page to create a new orientation presentation for 7th grade. It's so visually appealing, and I think the zoom feature will be a great way to highlight specific parts of the library.

 

Next year I'll have an opportunity to work with an 8th grade teacher who will teach both language arts and history. I already envision several projects where all three of the Spark tools will be useful!

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Questioning That Deepens Comprehension

Questioning That Deepens Comprehension | Common Core State Standards SMUSD | Scoop.it

Douglas Fisher writes: "Scaffold students' thinking about complex texts by asking what the text says, how it works, what it means, and what it inspires them to do."

Mary Reilley Clark's insight:

This is a useful framework to share with students, whether you use Common Core, California State Standards, or just your own great teaching strategies!

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NYPL Public Domain Collections: Free to Share & Reuse

NYPL Public Domain Collections: Free to Share & Reuse | Common Core State Standards SMUSD | Scoop.it
Did you know that more than 180,000 of the items in our Digital Collections are in the public domain? That means everyone has the freedom to enjoy and reuse these materials in almost limitless ways.
Mary Reilley Clark's insight:
Thousands of items for students to explore, use, and remix!
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Zoom In

Zoom In | Common Core State Standards SMUSD | Scoop.it

"Zoom In is a free, Web-based platform that helps students build literacy and historical thinking skills through “deep dives” into primary and secondary sources."

Mary Reilley Clark's insight:

I looked around at this, and found some good lessons. I'm surprised that the primary sources have been "adapted", though. I understand that the language might be archaic, but I'd prefer the documents to be left alone, and the teacher do any adaptation she feels necessary for her class. Still, this looks like a good resource for US History classes.

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Why Reading Comprehension in the Content Areas is Important

Why Reading Comprehension in the Content Areas is Important | Common Core State Standards SMUSD | Scoop.it

Amanda Ronan writes: To prepare students for college and careers, reading comprehension needs to be a part of allsubject areas. Students cannot master complex scientific concepts, comprehend historical treaties, or follow complex logic problems without it. Content areas deal with complex texts that require analytical reading skills. Students in social studies, science, and math classes have to be able to compare and synthesize ideas, and use specific academic vocabulary."

Mary Reilley Clark's insight:

Amanda offers tips for both elementary and secondary students. I think teachers need to be very clear that they all are teaching reading comprehension and writing for their subject areas. I glanced at a history paper a student was writing and commented that he'd failed to capitalize most of the names in his paper. He told me it was OK, as it wasn't for English class!

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10 Intriguing Photographs to Teach Close Reading and Visual Thinking Skills

10 Intriguing Photographs to Teach Close Reading and Visual Thinking Skills | Common Core State Standards SMUSD | Scoop.it
We pair 10 photos from The Times that we’ve used in our weekly “What’s Going On in This Picture?” with ideas from students and teachers for how you can use them, or images like them, to teach close reading and visual thinking skills.
Mary Reilley Clark's insight:

Some interesting ways to incorporate visual thinking strategies into ELA classes. 

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Mayra.Loves.Books's curator insight, March 10, 2015 2:56 PM

I've got to try this exercise in writing.

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5 Ways to Keep Creativity Alive in Your Common Core English Class | Edudemic

5 Ways to Keep Creativity Alive in Your Common Core English Class | Edudemic | Common Core State Standards SMUSD | Scoop.it

Amanda Ronan writes: "The Common Core State Standards do not have to mean the death of creative work produced by your students. If anything, the emphasis on textual analysis gives you more reason to explore interesting and creative ways for students to engage with texts. "

Mary Reilley Clark's insight:

Very useful ideas that teachers can easily implement. Amanda's two points for making the CCSS connection obvious would be a great help to teachers doing creative work, yet worried about administrators' evaluations.

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Mary Reilley Clark's curator insight, January 22, 2015 11:34 AM

Very useful ideas that teachers can easily implement. Amanda's two points for making the CCSS connection obvious would be a great help to teachers doing creative work, yet worried about administrators' evaluations.

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Common Core in Action: Examining 2 Texts in the Social Studies Classroom

Common Core in Action: Examining 2 Texts in the Social Studies Classroom | Common Core State Standards SMUSD | Scoop.it

Monica Burns writes: "The Common Core State Standards ask students to use details they have gathered from informational texts to draw conclusions. An important aspect of this task is the idea that students must use information from several texts on the same topic." 

Mary Reilley Clark's insight:

I like Monica's suggestions, but students certainly don't need iPads to consume and interact with two or more texts! What about using Google News to find a plethora of articles on one topic, in one place?  Also, if it's a global news story, be sure to use an international news source. 


This article is a good jumping off point, but please, please, let's be device agnostic!

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