CCSS News Curated by Core2Class
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CCSS News Curated by Core2Class
Helping teachers complement, support and extend curriculum based on the CCSS to improve student learning outcomes for all students.
Curated by Deb Gardner
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Core2Class: Kudos to Mr. Churchill...

Core2Class: Kudos to Mr. Churchill... | CCSS News Curated by Core2Class | Scoop.it

Aaron Churchill from Fordham that is.  He writes a great piece citing an example of a West Virginia state test item as evidence of why CCSS and PARCC/Smarter Balanced has such potential to change the way we teach writing.  Worth a read!

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Core2Class: Isn't Indiana Ed. Policy Heading Toward Something Akin to CCSS?

Core2Class: Isn't Indiana Ed. Policy Heading Toward Something Akin to CCSS? | CCSS News Curated by Core2Class | Scoop.it

Unless I'm misunderstanding things, it sure seems like we are headed down a path that bears a striking resemblance to a policy commensurate with those states that have adopted CCSS and the corresponding consortia assessments.  For a multitude of reasons (cost being one), Indiana will most likely not design its own independent state test to align with whatever standards framework it ultimately approves.  This is noteworthy in that one of the rationales given for the "timeout" was the lack of any local role in creating the new standards and tests.  So, if Indiana is not going to design its own test, what options does it have left?  Doesn't it stand to reason that whatever test the state decides to use will, in some fashion or another, be aligned to Common Core?  Given this, doesn't it also stand to reason that Indiana will have to adopt a standards framework that, if it's not called "Common Core," will have to look and feel a lot like it?

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Core2Class: A Step-by-Step Guide to School Preparedness Efforts

Core2Class: A Step-by-Step Guide to School Preparedness Efforts | CCSS News Curated by Core2Class | Scoop.it

I've previously written about some key principles to guide school implementation efforts.  One teacher mentioned to me that though these were helpful, she was still confused about how her leadership team should sequence their efforts so as to effectively undertake a whole-school Common Core implementation effort.  Of course, every school is going to approach preparation differently, but here are four sequential exercises that a school leadership team might consider:

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Core2Class: CCSS Implementation is a "Real Grind!"

Core2Class: CCSS Implementation is a "Real Grind!" | CCSS News Curated by Core2Class | Scoop.it

After speaking to a group of teachers in Indianapolis some months ago, one teacher approached me after the inservice and expressed concerns about how much time, energy and patience understanding and implementing CCSS was going to take.  "This is going to be a real grind!" she said.  Let's hope she's right. 

Deb Gardner's insight:

Spot on, Ted!

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Lynnette Van Dyke's curator insight, October 15, 2013 10:18 AM
CCSS Implementation is a "Real Grind!" After speaking to a group of teachers in Indianapolis some months ago, one teacher approached me after the inservice and expressed concerns about how much time, energy and patience understanding and implementing CCSS was going to take.  "This is going to be a real grind!" she said.  Let's hope she's right.

One of the key aspects of a good school, district or diocesan-wide implementation plan is that it should be a grind.  A long, slow, methodical, painstaking grind.  Despite what you might read or hear, there's no easy fix.  No single textbook series, webinar, in-service experience, web site, or model lesson plan is going to get this done for us.  Sure, check out the Basal Alignment Project, Achieve the Core, and the host of other resources that provide insight about CCSS implementation.  Certainly these can be helpful!  However, you and your colleagues have to figure out CCSS for yourselves!  How does it work in your classroom, with your students, with your routines, and with your approach to unit and lesson planning?

If you think back to those times in your career when you've improved most as a teacher, isn't it because you've chosen to dig in, experiment, observe and discuss and collaborate with colleagues?  Be weary of those who claim that, for years, they have been teaching in a way that supports CCSS.  I'm sure these teachers are out there, but I tend to be skeptical.  Regardless of how successful you've been as a teacher, CCSS gives us lots of opportunities to take a look at our own teaching and assessment practices and make improvements.

Amy Coe Rodde and Lija McHugh of the Bridgespan Group recently authored a report that speaks to the importance of the CCSS grind.  The report, entitled Building the Missing Link Between the Common Core and Improved Learning, highlights the stories of leaders and teachers who embrace the idea that a successful CCSS implementation plan takes time.  The authors note that "the practices and experiences [of these people] provide a model for others determined to ensure that the Common Core becomes more than just 'a poster on the faculty room wall.'"  It's worth a read.

In the next post, I'll propose some suggestions for how administrators and teacher leadership teams might begin the effort toward successful CCSS implementation.
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Core2Class: What's Your Library Media Specialist Doing for Dinner Tonight?

Core2Class: What's Your Library Media Specialist Doing for Dinner Tonight? | CCSS News Curated by Core2Class | Scoop.it

One of the aspects of the Common Core ELA that I find to be most challenging is the ability to plan units that bring together featured and supporting texts.  A featured text is the text(s) that all students in the class read regardless of reading level.  This text(s) is the heart and soul of the unit and should frame the culminating assessment.  Supporting texts, on the other hand, help students practice certain skills, acquire helpful background knowledge, research a topic or, most importantly, forge connections with the ideas and elements found in the featured texts.  These texts may be leveled and could vary depending on the student or situation.

Deb Gardner's insight:

The "secret weapon" in planning Common Core units.

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Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's curator insight, September 25, 2013 10:32 AM

Pairing of text is essential to success not only on assessments, but in life. Many of the connections we bring to our daily living and professional success come from connecting either two texts or a text to a situation. Truth is, finding texts that work for instructional pairing is that...WORK!

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Core2Class: CCSS ELA and IAS ELA in Focus

Core2Class: CCSS ELA and IAS ELA in Focus | CCSS News Curated by Core2Class | Scoop.it

I have been struck by the fact that very few folks with strong opinions for or against the standards seem to have much in-depth knowledge of what is actually in either the Common Core ELA or the Indiana Academic Standards (IAS) for ELA.  We hear lots of talk about the high regard we hold for the IAS document (even if our state test does an inconsistent job of holding students accountable for meeting the standards), but there is very little explanation, if any, as to how IAS and CCSS compare (let’s hope the IN DOE is working on this now!)  At first glance, it’s hard to ignore the similarities that exist between the IAS and Common Core ELA, particularly when it comes to how much priority teachers should be placing on the teaching of informational texts.

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Core2Class: What are you Doing Differently to Align with CCSS?

Core2Class: What are you Doing Differently to Align with CCSS? | CCSS News Curated by Core2Class | Scoop.it
In Doug Lemov’s recent online “interview” with policy and curriculum expert, Kathleen Porter-Magee (the Fordham Foundation’s Bernard Lee Schwartz Policy Fellow and newly-hired senior policy adviser at the College Board), he asks her what “2 or 3 concrete things you’d do to align to CC.”   She provides three elements that define what “Common Core-aligned” really means:
  1. Put text selection at the front and center of curriculum planning.
  2. Spend lots of time writing good text-dependent questions.
  3. Build instructional units based on a careful sequencing of related texts.
I would add one more element to Porter-Magee’s list.
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Core2Class: Why I Support Common Core

Core2Class: Why I Support Common Core | CCSS News Curated by Core2Class | Scoop.it

Despite the limitations of CCSS, my reading and analysis of the standards and consortia assessments leads me to stand in support of them.  Different than some, I’ve come to this way of thinking not primarily because of the myriad policy implications that exist in having a set of "national" standards, but more importantly because of the benefit this standards AND assessment framework can have on the quality of teaching and learning in Indiana’s schools.

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Core2Class: When Does the State Test Debate Begin?

Core2Class: When Does the State Test Debate Begin? | CCSS News Curated by Core2Class | Scoop.it

The debate over Common Core continues to rage on here in Indiana.  But when are we going to start talking more about the state test?  Most state test items that I've examined do very little to assess the kind of reading, writing and thinking that ostensibly will be a part of the consortia's upcoming CCSS-aligned assessments.


So Indiana, listen up: These tests may not be the panacea for the decade-long flat line we've seen in the state with respect to literacy achievement, but they may offer a giant step forward in changing the way we think about how and what we teach. 

Deb Gardner's insight:

To Core2Class...  Best. Post. Ever


Instead of talking about the percentage of literary text versus informational text,  the "dumbing down" of standards, or so many other arguments anti common core folks and politicos are rehashing daily that keep educators, administrators and parents from moving forward in successfull implementation, can we start zeroing in on an important aspect of Common Core? That is, what will be the test to measure student learning in our state? 


I'm thinking... "As is the test, so is the teaching?"  Sounds vaguely familiar. 

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Core2Class: Comment String on CCSS ELA

Core2Class: Comment String on CCSS ELA | CCSS News Curated by Core2Class | Scoop.it

I typically don't spent a lot of time posting comments on others' blogs, but I have done so on a few occasions on Erin Tuttle and Heather Crossin's Hoosiers Against Common Core site.  I enjoy reading their posts even if I agree with very little.  Erin and Heather are thoughtful, concerned parents who have done a great job in raising awareness about CCSS, particularly with respect to the math standards. 

I recently posted a couple of comments in response to a blog entry that I thought I would share.  They speak to some previous posts.

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Core2Class: Quotes and Questions to Guide CCSS Implementation, Part 2

Core2Class: Quotes and Questions to Guide CCSS Implementation, Part 2 | CCSS News Curated by Core2Class | Scoop.it

This post is a continuation of the one last week focused on some Common Core-inspired quotes paired with corresponding questions for reflection.

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Core2Class: The Buzz Over the "Technical"

Core2Class: The Buzz Over the "Technical" | CCSS News Curated by Core2Class | Scoop.it
In all my days as an educator, I’ve never heard so much talk about “technical manuals”!  Many critics of Common Core claim that the CCSS’ emphasis on informational text will result in teachers using dry, dumbed-down technical manuals, government documents, and brochures instead of great literary works.  You can find this critique all over the anti-CCSS materials floating around on the Web, including in a well-circulated piece penned by Sandra Stostky (whom I respect greatly for her work over the years helping states, such as Indiana, craft clear and rigorous ELA standards) entitled Literature or Technical Manuals: Who Is Teaching What, Where and Why? 

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Core2Class: 50/50

Core2Class: 50/50 | CCSS News Curated by Core2Class | Scoop.it

Those of us following the Common Core debate have heard a lot about the 50/50 split that K-5 teachers and curriculum directors should be adhering to when apportioning the time in which to teach literary and informational texts.  Frankly, I think assigning percentages for this kind of thing is silly.  First of all, it can lead to a false impression that as long as my school’s curriculum reflects these percentages, we can say we are meeting one of the key components of Common Core.  (In fact, the Common Core authors’ inclusion of specific percentages is a treat for textbook companies who use these percentages as a way to market their new ELA series as “Common Core aligned.”)  But teaching something more often doesn’t mean I’m teaching it better, right? 


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