Are you a project-based learning (PBL) school aligning to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS)? Are you a CCSS-aligned district needing to see the connections between the CCSS and PBL? Either way, here are some resources for you, broken down into three categories.
One thing we learned at that gathering was that no amount of communication is too much. Teachers and other educators want all the information they can possibly get about the PARCC assessment system. We are in the process of beefing up our communications directly to teachers in the field (including through this newsletter, which started last week). We're re-organizing information on our website, and we're creating new materials, such as a field test PowerPoint, to assist teachers and other educators in sharing information with the parents of their students, local school board members and others.
The College Board has provided an outline of key changes to the SAT, effective in 2016. Below is a College Board summary of the current and redesigned exam, plus an Education Week analysis providing relevant material in the Common Core State Standards.
Earlier this week I conducted a workshop on using Google tools, video tools, and Google Maps Engine Lite in Common Core-aligned ELA & Social Studies lessons. The slides from that workshop are embedded below. The value of the slides is mostly found in the links contained within them. The questions on the picture slides are questions that teachers asked when I prompted them to think like middle school students. We then tried to find the answer to the questions they asked.
These shifts have direct implications for the social studies classroom. The increased focus on both informational text and close reading provides social studies teachers with unique opportunities to support student learning. Try these five strategies in your classroom today to infuse the essence of the Common Core standards.
Shift 1: Balancing Informational Text and Literature
There are several areas that we believe the state’s leaders must aggressively tackle in order to make that translation from standards to effective instruction:
Invest in professional developmentInvest in time—time for teachers to collaborate and learn new ways to adjust instruction to meet the challenge of the new standardsEngage teachers and parents around the value of the standards and the changes needed to implement them—this will require an aggressive campaignInvest in tools to enrich instruction
These initiatives will require all of the leaders in this space across the state to come together: the governor, the legislature, the commissioner, the Board of Regents, union leadership, and district leadership. And as you move forward, you must listen closely to the advice of classroom leaders—namely teachers—as well as parents so they can provide students with the supports they need to be successful.
If where you are born determines what you will learn in a classroom, our students risk falling so far behind that they’ll never catch up.
If we lack coherent standards and allow less-rigorous curriculum in classrooms across the country, we cannot be surprised when our children show lower levels of competency in core areas than their peers abroad.
If we do nothing, we cannot expect to close achievement and opportunity gaps for students from low-income families or whose first language is not English.
The Common Core standards are not a perfect solution, but they are a tremendous opportunity to get our classrooms, finally, on track. I can confidently say that my current students entered the sixth grade ready to master the foundations of proportional and algebraic reasoning. My colleagues trust in me that my students move to higher grades with the critical thinking and mathematical skills required of students in nations behind which we now lag. The Common Core are also a tremendous opportunity to come together as educators for students’ gain and our own.
The bashing or knocking of the CCSS, which is getting louder in some states with each passing month, is frustrating to me as a curriculum-design consultant who has worked extensively with the CCSS since they were in draft form and officially adopted in 2010. I know the standards inside and out from Kindergarten to Grade 12. I have spent hundreds of hours of meaningful conversations with teachers concerning the vertically articulated standards. These teachers care passionately about their students’ learning as they develop collaborative, systemic curriculum.
My passion and work has been, and will continue to be, dedicated to aiding teachers in designing curriculum maps with the students’ best interests in mind. The CCSS are our curriculum-design building “codes”, much as an architect uses codes to design blueprints, which Heidi Hayes Jacobs, Jay McTighe, and others have used as an analogy for many years. For the first time ever the largest number of independent United States have chosen to have the same building codes. This does not mean that each state, district, or school has to build the exact same home – one can choose to design a modern two-story, another a log cabin, another a green home, and another a ranch-style hacienda. The point here is that the infrastructure of the home design remains the same regardless of where the home is built. I grew up in the military and lived around the world before I was 15 years old. Today, given our ever-growing mobile society, chances of having a similar (and thankfully not exact) blueprint-based curriculum for a K-12 education is better than it ever was when I was in my formative years.
Deb Gardner's insight:
Excellent article! The author shares her techniques for breaking down the standards, analyzing the grade progressions and making curriculum choices when working with teachers.
Those critical of common core would be surprised at the preparation, curriculum options and rigor inhered in true common core aligned units and lessons.
This type of collaboration with curriculum designers and mentors beats the standard adoption of "common core aligned" materials any day. (just my two cents)
Stamina is crucial in becoming a strong reader. Students need to read longer texts, and students need longer texts read to them, so they can develop the stamina they need to become successful independent readers.
It’s heartening to see how the Common Core is now being discussed in the broader community among teachers, community leaders and parents--not just pundits. The conversation is shifting and it’s a great thing to watch.
This story is part of a series from The Hechinger Report and StateImpact Florida looking at how Florida schools are getting ready for Common Core standards. Read -- and listen to -- the first story here.
Monroe Middle School teacher Dawn Norris hears a difference in her language arts classes since she starting using
Looking for better ways to measure the "deeper learning" goals of the common standards, schools are increasingly turning to formalized performance tasks.
In recent months, performance assessment has become a hot topic in education. That's thanks in large part to the Common Core State Standards, which are expected to spur the use of performance tasks in classes and on standardized tests. A growing skepticism of the value and use of "bubble-in" answers has also played a role.
In a sense, the idea of performance assessment reflects the old math-class decree to "show your work." The goal is to measure not just the final result but the process a student takes to get there. It's a form of formative assessment designed to match equally deep instruction—the kind of instruction, in other words, that's supposed to flourish under the common core.
Statements from publishers that traditional instructional materials are aligned with the Common Core State Standards are largely a "sham," according to a prominent researcher who conducted one of two forthcoming reviews of classroom textbooks.
The jury is still out, though, on the new wave of digital curricula hitting the market.
The findings highlight a new threat to the successful implementation of the common core, as well as a major challenge for districts in the 46 states and the District of Columbia that have adopted versions of the standards.
In last month's issue of The Digital Shift I featured the site Book Trailers for Readers. Book Trailers for Readers was developed by teacher-librarian Michelle Harclerode. Over the weekend Michelle sent me a link to a nice infographic that she created about book trailers and Common Core Standards. The infographic provides a great outline for the process of creating book trailers. Click here to see Michelle's helpful infographic.
This short analysis activity involves comparing and contrasting two images Private Hubbard Pryor—one prior to enlisting with the 44th U.S. Colored Troop Regiment and one after enlisting.
Students will compare and contrast a photograph of Private Hubbard Pryor before and after enlistment in 44th U.S. Colored Troops. Students will consider the similarities and differences between these two images and speculate the reason the photographs were taken.
Deb Gardner's insight:
DocsTeach: an easy to search resource to support common core in the Social Studies Classroom.
The more teachers get to know the controversial Common Core State Standards, the more they like them, according to a teacher survey published this week. And even as many states debate whether to stick with the standards, which lay out what students need to know in math and English based on requirements in other countries, the survey suggests that the Common Core is already being taught at most schools in the 45 states that adopted it.
Now the legislature wants to jerk the rug out from under us. They want to waste all the dollars and time and effort we've invested. They want to change the rules of the game halfway through the second quarter.
They want to repeal the Alabama College and Career Ready standards and have us go back to teaching our kids like we did in 1999. Instead of preparing our students for a global economy, they want to put up a fence around Alabama and act like none of the rest of the world exists.
Why do they want to repeal our standards? Because they are listening to misinformed, persuasive political voices instead of professional educators. It is a sad commentary when a group of elected officials are willing to swap the future of our children for a handful of votes. This is leadership? This is statesmanship?
As a part of its commitment to support implementation of the PARCC assessment system, PARCC is creating a series of online professional development modules to accompany its next-generation assessment system. The five modules will consist of a series of short videos to support teachers and schools as they transition to the PARCC assessments.
The professional development modules will provide additional information in the following areas: overview of the four main assessment system components, administering the non-summative assessments, using non-summative data to support instruction, and available supports and accommodations. Educators are interested in these tools, some of the most powerful in the PARCC system, because the modules will give them flexible access to information.
Pearson today announced that TestNav 8, its delivery platform for online testing, is available on the App Store. Now many schools transforming education with iPad can implement new computer-based assessments with Pearsons TestNav 8 app.
Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to spend the day at Port Allen High School in Louisiana speaking with district superintendents from across the state about the transition to rigorous new standards and the PARCC assessments. Along with the other PARCC states, Louisiana is gearing up to administer the field test starting in March. I was impressed by the commitment to improving outcomes for all students.
On February 18, the Indiana Department of Education released the first public draft of a set of new K–12 expectations for English language arts and math. The proposed changes take place against the backdrop of a rollercoaster debate about the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) that has seen numerous ups and downs since the state first adopted the CCSS back in August 2010. This contentious debate culminated in passage of legislation in April 2013 that paused CCSS implementation and charged the state Board of Education with adopting new college- and career-readiness standards.