Sunday, October 14, 2012

Tell Me More About the Common Core






Hello to the Fox 23 viewers visiting my blog today.  What's today's topic?  We are discussing the Common Core State Standards.  The Common Core  initiative is a state led coordination by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practice and the Council of Chief State School Officers.  These standards were adopted in 2010 with a projected date of being fully implemented during the 2014-2015 school year.  Each state/district/school has set their own timeline for implementing these standards ensuring their school is ready by 2014.  So what this means is that your child's school has already begun to develop and implement these standards in the classroom while many are providing teachers with professional development, training, and collaboration time to align their teaching with these standards.

The standards are not a curriculum, but rather a clear set of goals and expectations for what knowledge and skills our students will need to be college and workplace ready.  Think of them as steps on a staircase where skills seamlessly build upon each other so there are no gaps in learning.

As a parent and educator, it's great to have tools to help us navigate this newer terminology. And with technology - comes the tools.  If your preference is to have the standards and information at your fingertips, check out the FREE Common Core Apps for the iPhone or iPad and Android below.  If you prefer to view items on your desktop computer, visit the Common Core State Standards website below or look on the right side of this blog and click on the Common Core gray bar.



For more information on the Common Core App for the iPad or iPhone click HERE.

For more information on the Common Core App for the Android click HERE

To visit the Common Core State Standard website click HERE.
You can search by grade level and subject area.  You have all of the Common Core standards from K-12 right at your fingertips.  If you have a child who is struggling on a 1st grade level, click on the same heading under kindergarten to see what prerequisites are needed to build up to this skill.  If you have a child who is ahead of the skills you are teaching in 1st grade, click on the same heading under 2nd grade to see what you can do to bump it up a level.  Think of it as a way to differentiate instruction.

So let's take a look at one area of Language Arts and see how it fits on the "staircase" of learning.

All children and adults have "opinions." Writing an opinion piece is now part of the Common Core State Standards.  Instead of introducing it in 5th grade, expecting them to master all 4 of the higher level thinking skills needed to write an opinion paper, we are providing young children the opportunity and exposure to learn this standard in a developmentally appropriate way in kindergarten.  How many times has one of your children or your students given you an opinion about something?  Probably all of you have experienced this.  So I am going to break it down and apply it to:

Common Core State Standards under Language Arts Writing

Text Types and Purposes

Kindergarten
1. Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose opinion pieces in which they tell a reader the topic or the name of the book they are writing about and state an opinion or preference about the topic or book (e.g., My favorite book is…).


First Grade 
1. Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic or name the book they are writing about, state an opinion, supply a reason for the opinion, and provide some sense of closure.


Second Grade
1. Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic or book they are writing about, state an opinion, supply reasons that support the opinion, use linking words (e.g., because, and, also) to connect opinion and reasons, and provide a concluding statement or section.

Third Grade
1. Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons.
a.  Introduce the topic or text they are writing about, state an opinion, and create an organizational structure that lists reasons.
b. Provide reasons that support the opinion.
c.  Use linking words and phrases (because, therefore, since, for example) to connect opinion and reasons.
d.  Provide a concluding statement or section.

Fourth Grade
1.  Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.
a.  Introduce a topic or text clearly, state an opinion, and create and organizational structure in which related ideas are grouped to support the writer's purpose.
b.  Provide reasons that are supported by facts and details.
c.  Link opinion and reasons using words and phrases (for instance, in order to, in addition).
d.  Provide a concluding statement or section related to the opinion presented.

Fifth Grade
1.  Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.
a.  Introduce a topic or text clearly, state an opinion, and create an organizational structure in which ideas are logically grouped to support the writer's purpose.
b.  Provide logically ordered reasons that are supported by facts and details.
c.  Link opinion and reasons using words, phrases, and clauses (consequently, specifically).
d.  Provide a concluding statement or section related to the opinion presented.

And you can continue all the way up through 12th grade seeing how each skill builds upon the other.

So what can be some topics to help your children learn about writing opinion pieces.  Consider the many times your students or your own children ask you these questions.
  
1.  I need an iPhone.
2.  I need a dog.
3.  Can I spend the night with my friend?
4.  I want _________ for Christmas.
5.  Can we have extra recess?
6.  Can I go to the movies with my friends?

Using the standards above, get your children talking about their opinion or question.  Talking and verbalizing their thoughts is the first step to getting them writing.  Writing is an organizational tool adults need in their everyday lives.  Yes, you may end up with some lawyers on your hands, but that is what the Common Core is about . . . preparing our children for college and the workplace.

Here is a video that a first grade class made about Mo Willem's pigeon series books.  I think they did a great job giving their opinions on why the pigeon should be the principal.


Mo Willems' Pigeon books are fantastic for learning about opinions and supporting details/reasons for doing things.  His books are very comical, dramatic, and theatrical as to why the pigeon should get to do something.  And if you want to meet Mo Williems in person, he will be in Tulsa on November 16, 2012, 7 p.m. at Central Library, Fourth Street and Denver Avenue to speak, answer questions, and sign copies of his books. 


Click HERE for a link to Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus at Amazon Books.

Thanks for stopping by.  Check back soon and follow my blog to learn more ideas about the Common Core State Standards.

Authors: National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, Council of Chief State School Officers
Title: Common Core State Standards (insert specific content area if you are using only one)
Publisher: National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, Council of Chief State School Officers, Washington D.C.
Copyright Date: 2010

7 comments:

  1. Fantastic job explaining CCS on TV, bravo! I like how you used the staircase example to explain how the skills build upon each other without gaps.

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  2. Thank you Vanessa. It was a tough subject to cover in 3 minutes, especially when I had to cover a broad range of ages. I feel very honored that I get the chance to help families and educators work together.

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  3. Great job! After seeing you explain the apps I've come to the conclusion that I need to get an ipad to use in the classroom!

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    1. An iPad is a must have for teachers and students:) Thanks for visiting my blog.

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  4. WOW1 You did great! I loved learning a little more about that standards that you use. Now everything makes sense to me. :)

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    1. Thanks! I am glad it helped you:) Thanks for visiting my blog.

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  5. Thanks for making it sound so simple. We have started to implement cc, in first grade. Our trainings have been rather poorly executed and very frustrating and confusing. Trying to align what we teach to cc, has been and continues to be an exhausting process. I plan on coming back and reading more. Thanks, Jessica
    Http://tales-of-a-first-grade-teacher.blogspot.com

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