How in the world are we supposed to apply the Common Core writing standards to teaching English language learners?
We've been asking that question of ourselves and others over the past two years, and we suspect we're not the only educators doing so. After reviewing the many resources available that attempt to provide guidance to teachers of English language learners (see "Resources of Note") and combining what we've learned through our daily classroom experience, we've developed a tentative answer to that question.
In our recent report “In Defense of the Common Core Standards,” Darrell West and I mounted a fresh defense of education standards. Standards have suffered through attacks from both liberals and conservatives who express various complaints about the Common Core. To better understand standards, we looked at evidence from other sectors and found that if properly implemented there are numerous reasons that people should reconsider their opposition to Common Core.
It just doesn’t make sense to have every community set their own reading and math expectation and try to figure out the shift to digital on their own. It just doesn’t make sense in the digital age to limit families to the learning options presented by local schools. Relying on local control means uneven, inequitable, and parochial education. Common expectations and strong states encourage innovation, collaboration, and expanding options for American families.
How clearly does the unit state its purpose? Does it expect students to read texts that are rich and complex enough? Does it offer sufficient support for students who are struggling? Does it provide good, clear ways to assess how well students are learning as they go along?
These teachers are trying to answer one of the most vexing questions in the age of common-core instruction: Which materials fully reflect the new standards for English/language arts and mathematics? They've come to this suburb of the nation's capital from more than 20 states to learn and practice a new rating system for lessons and units that purport to be "fully aligned" with the Common Core State Standards.
Anxiety about and opposition to the Common Core State Standards continues to highlight many debates about education policy. Track the progress of state lawmakers' efforts to reassess the standards using this interactive.
In 2010, the National Governor's Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers released a set of common standards designed to define what today's students need to know and be able to do in order to thrive in tomorrow's world. Adopted by 45 states, these standards are designed to move classroom instruction away from a focus on the simple acquisition of basic facts and towards the more meaningful application of higher level cognitive skills. While standards are clearly defined for Mathematics and English-Language Arts teachers, many social studies and science teachers at the middle and high school level have struggled to figure out just what the Common Core State Standards mean for them.
In this workshop, full-time practicing sixth grade science teacher Bill Ferriter will introduce participants to several simple ways that the Common Core State Standards can be integrated into the work that social studies and science teachers are already doing with their students.
Deb Gardner's insight:
Bill Ferriter is an educator who works tirelessly and with great passion. He openly shares his content and ideas and challenges me to THINK!
If you're not following his blog in your RSS reader, consider it. :)
We’re excited to share our 40 newest kindergarten through 5th grade reading passages.>>
Read articles about subjects ranging from the ways glaciers have shaped our landscape to where chocolate comes from.
All ReadWorks passages and question sets are based on the highest quality research on reading comprehension and can help you meet state and Common Core standards. ReadWorks is completely free, so please remember to tell every educator you know to register.
Field testing in PARCC states kicked off early Monday morning when the first test takers, from Preble-Shawnee Sr./Jr. School in Ohio, logged on before 8:00 am to take the Algebra I and Geometry tests. Since then, over 199,000 students have participated in the field tests. For the techies among us, this tidbit: of all testing devices on Monday, 81% used Windows, 9.5% Mac, 6.9% Chromebooks and 2.7% iPad. All have worked, though some schools have had to work out a few glitches with the Chromebooks. Overall, we are off to a great start and it has gone more or less as we expected.
AACTE has partnered with Achieve Inc. to provide a series of webinars on the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) this spring for teacher preparation programs.
In the summer and fall of 2013, AACTE surveyed its members about the activities programs have undertaken relative to CCSS and what resources AACTE might provide to support members’ understanding and capacity to address the standards. A majority of respondents cited access to CCSS-aligned lesson plans and rubrics as the number-one resource they needed.
As Common Core assessments nip at our heels, it will be tempting to drill into the standards so deeply we lose our beacon of light. We must also remain grounded in the bigger picture of the Core, and our ultimate hopes for students. Through our new Deeper Learning series, you’ll see key strategies and ideas you can take away for tomorrow, but you’ll also see images of the end game up close. Over and over, these videos create imagery of students reasoning, taking ownership, having determination, and showing distinctive poise and pride in their demonstration of quality work.
Last week, I had the great fortune of watching a 6th grade class in Prince George's County, Maryland, take the computer version of the PARCC ELA/literacy test. I was so impressed with how engaged the students were and how hard they worked on the field test. Just over half of them
Laura Slover meets with school leadership at Berwyn Heights Elementary School after observing the PARCC field test
Left to right: Karen Singer, Principal; Laura Slover, CEO of PARCC; Jeff Nellhaus, PARCC's Director of Policy, Research & Design; Pauline Carey, Prince George's County Schools Test Administration Specialist; and Kathy Schuster, Reading Specialist and Test Coordinator
finished on time, and under half needed extra time; all of them finished by the end of the extra time period.
After the test, we spent about 30 minutes talking about what they liked and getting their recommendations for improvements. It was very heartening to hear that overall theyreally liked the items, which they saw as engaging and fun.
A closer look at Common Core and the debate around it.
Deb Gardner's insight:
Some excellent points in this article that I can stand behind.
"Expect more, get more."
Standards (what is taught) aren't curriculum (how it's taught)
Shanahan's quote; “The notion that the kid in Arkansas doesn’t need the same skills as some kid in New York doesn’t make much sense,” he said. “Common Core allows textbook companies to stop trying to meet requirements of dozens of states, but rather focus on quality. As a result, tests are more reflective of that. It’s the first time that we’re telling the truth for parents.”
Consistent standards for military families (avoids gaps/overlaps)
Ongoing, high quality PD needed in all phases of CCSS implementation with metrics to measure success. Lots of collaboration!
Most complaints have more to with with the controversy of its adoption than the standards themselves.
“Let me tell you something. In Asia today, they don’t care about children’s self-esteem. They care about math, whether they can read -- in English -- whether they understand why science is important, whether they have the grit and determination to be successful,” he told the Miami Herald.
“In America, we tend to be more concerned how little Johnny is feeling, instead of how we are providing him with the education so that he can be a competent grade-level reader,” she said.
Finding the right informational text can seem daunting, but it is possible and can be very rewarding for both you and your students. Sometimes you’ll find the right piece with your first internet search; other times it can be a very time-‐consuming hunt. The key is finding pieces that your students will want to read either because they connect with what you’ve been doing in class or because they are topically interesting to them. So, here are some tips and resources.
Common-core anxiety sweeps the land, and professional developers of curriculum and assessment smell dollars. Flashy brochures promise that once that purchase order is signed, every child will pass the new tests. For a pittance more, they'll make the lion lie down with the lamb.
District administrators would be wise to lay down their pens. There's a valuable resource right in front of their eyes. It requires no lengthening of the school day, no elimination of art and music, and no endorsement of checks to third-party developers. It's so familiar we no longer notice it. It's called the history/social studies curriculum.
The Educators 4 Excellence report was written by eight current teachers who make up the "Teacher Action Team" on the common core for the New York City chapter of the organization. Educators 4 Excellence, a nonprofit that seeks to increase teachers' influence on education policy, has received considerable funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has been a key backer of the common core.
In their report, the Educators 4 Excellence teachers voice support for the new standards, saying they "create clear, aspirational goals that all students ... should strive for." One of the teachers involved in the report is quoted in a sidebar as saying that a delay in the use of the standards "could create chaos and probably would be the end of the common core."
Nevertheless, the teachers acknowledge that implementation of the framework in New York (as elsewhere) has been "rocky," particularly in the areas of curriculum alignment and professional development. Drawing on their own experiences and what they've "heard from" other educators, they offer a number of recommendations for state policymakers intended to address ongoing challenges. The proposals include the following:
Yesterday, Indiana became the fifth state to choose not to teach to the Common Core standards (CCSS). Opponents of these shared standards have complained less about their content, than about how they were adopted. Critics claim the federal government forced states to adopt these standards by advantaging them in the Race to the Top competition. Two problems with those claims: (1) Indiana didn’t compete for Race to the Top—so there was no federal gun to its head, and (2) states, like Indiana, that don’t adopt Common Core face absolutely no federal penalty.
Learn for free about math, art, computer programming, economics, physics, chemistry, biology, medicine, finance, history, and more. Khan Academy is a nonprofit with the mission of providing a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere.