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Common Core? - Page 3

post #41 of 481
Schools can use whatever TEACHING methods they want to meet the standards and the kids can pass the assessments. For example, Beanma and I live in the same school district but our children attend different elementary schools. Each school uses a different math curriculum/text and the methodology may be different. My son and his sister are both in second grade. Her school is a project-based charter school, DS attends a tradional school. Both are great schools and always do well on the state assessments but the approach to meeting all the benchmarks is often very different. Neither school "teaches to the test" in a negative way (and I strongly dislike NCLB.)
post #42 of 481
In addition, having national standards is really helpful when families move from place to place (whether to another district or to another state.)
post #43 of 481

The National Standards won't really matter with moves because the pieces used and the order of teaching those things will still vary widely. We are adopting a system that has five units and we only have to teach 3. The standards are also VERY broad: The learner will develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, editing, and revising, for example.

post #44 of 481
Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

 what is the reasoning behind prescribing a fixed proportion of fiction vs. non-fiction across all stages and grades, regardless of interest and inclination? Why would the optimal proportion for 2nd grader still learning to read and an 11th grader with engineering or pre-med aspirations be the same?

 

 

Coming late to the party....

 

I'm in a common core state and work at a school. I've never heard these percentages. What I see in the K and 1st grades classes is a drive to include more non-fiction as easy readers and as read alouds. Its a good thing.

 

The non-fiction easy readers are a BIG HIT with many kids who aren't big on fiction -- simple books about how tadpoles become frogs, all about the solar system, etc.  Once kids are past the "fat cat on a mat" stage, many children love the real pictures and the real world.

 

I see teachers alternating between reading aloud from wonderful and beautifully illustrated fiction, and wonderful and beautifully illustrated non-fiction. It's all good.

 

I think that emphasizing that there should be a balance could be a good thing for some teachers who lean to ONLY reading one kind of book.

 

I can't comment much on highschool except to say that here highschoolers here are required to have English all four years, so even a student planning on pre-med would be taking some sort of literature or writing class at all times -- mostly AP English Literature and AP English Language their junior and senior years.

post #45 of 481
I spoke with one of our reading specialists. The elementary standards are quite different than the high school standards (as they should be.) The elementary curriculum is expected to have a balance between fiction and nonfiction. By 4th-5th grade, it should be 50/50. And teachers always have the flexibility of adding even more of something they love, or interests their students. The CC standard haven't turned teachers into robots.
post #46 of 481

I can only speak to ELA, but if you look at the common core from K-12, you can see the vertical articulation- they are really not that different. They increase in complexity, but that is about it.

 

The percentages I am referring to are ones that are discussed in district meetings and department meetings. My district is ahead of the curve in many things. The percentages are not meant to scare anyone; the only teachers I know who are worried about them are the ones who tend to slack anyway.

 

Our old Grade Level Expectations were much more specific that CCSS, and in some ways they were more rigorous. We created a document that shows which expetations are embedded into which standard. It makes my lesson planning so much easier.

post #47 of 481
Quote:
Originally Posted by mar123 View Post

I can only speak to ELA, but if you look at the common core from K-12, you can see the vertical articulation- they are really not that different. They increase in complexity, but that is about it.

The percentages I am referring to are ones that are discussed in district meetings and department meetings. My district is ahead of the curve in many things. The percentages are not meant to scare anyone; the only teachers I know who are worried about them are the ones who tend to slack anyway.

Our old Grade Level Expectations were much more specific that CCSS, and in some ways they were more rigorous. We created a document that shows which expetations are embedded into which standard. It makes my lesson planning so much easier.

That's all fine and dandy but there is no expectation that the lower grades have a 25/75 breakdown of fiction and non-fiction. I was a teacher and have lots of teacher friends (classroom, resource, and specialists.) We are in an excellent school district in an excellent school. Nobody's slacking. Nobody's scared. In the primary grades, it's essential that there be a wide variety of reading material, especially since the goal is still learning to read and comprehend all kinds of stories and books.
post #48 of 481

IMO, it is essential that all grade levels have a wide variety of reading material; I have said many times previously that the non-fiction recommendation takes many things into account, not just the ELA class. We had English teachers panicking needlessly because, in the beginning, the expectations were not explained clearly. In my state, we were not only introduced to CCSS this year, but we were also introduced to an entirely new rubric to guide our teaching, known as the COMPASS rubric. Having such monumental changes, as well as merit based pay for the first time, and all high school juniors being forced to take the ACT and judging our school on the results, has resulted in stressed out teachers.

post #49 of 481
Right but many elementary classrooms aren't divided into different subject areas. Things are much more integrated.

This year, our state adopted new standards in every curriculum standards in every content area. Every teacher in the district is using different standards and often more than one set.
post #50 of 481

I agree that they are more integrated, which I think is a good thing (it also makes fitting in non-fiction even easier) ; I would love one big class teaching American Lit and American History with the history teacher- the two are so related. We are on the 4x4 schedule, so usually half of my kids aren't taking history and English at the same time. This means I have to teach the history behind the lit, because they are so connected.

 

There are so many changes for everyone; teachers are panicking, parents are panicking, and the students are caught in the middle. There are 60 people getting together to set national standards. ONE of them is a teacher. Crazy stuff. I have been teaching for 17 years; I've adapted to many changes- kept what worked and implemented what needed to be. My students thus far have done exceptionally well on standardized tests and in college (they love finding me on Face book, LOL). I also have a number of them who have turned their lives around and are now successful in life, i.e. not in jail. I love teaching and I love the kids. I know reforms are needed; it just frustrates me that so many changes being made insinuate that teachers are doing their jobs. In any school, everyone knows who the bad teachers are. Instead of going after those teachers, a wide net is cast to change everything we do. This totally ignore those teachers who have been doing the right thing all along. Very frustrating.

post #51 of 481

Well, frankly the non-fiction is BOR-ING for dd2. She's a gifted reader and while she's got wide ranging interests she doesn't often choose non-fiction unless it's w/in the context of researching something or trivia (she loves those Guiness World Record type books). If they're doing a science project or social studies/history project and she needs to research something she's cool w/ that and enjoys finding out details about her topic, but if her reading block is taken up by non-fiction she's resentful. She just enjoys fiction more. To me, it feels like Common Core is trying to instruct kids in how to be good little drones and read the user's manuals when they're all grown up and working as little cogs in the machine. It feels like it's stifling creativity. I would much rather see the kids have free choice during reading time and the ones who are drawn to non-fiction can go that route and the ones who are drawn to fiction can go that route. I think this dictatorial approach to non-fiction is going to backfire, at least w/ my kid. She's going to be less interested in non-fiction for enjoyment now that they're being instructed in it. I don't think she needs any help w/ nonfiction anyway. My kids are both science hounds and dd2 is very interested in historical fiction. 

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/10/common-core-nonfiction-reading-standards_n_2271229.html

post #52 of 481

I saw this article yesterday in the on-line edition of the Atlantic and meant to post it. It's an interesting piece about the gap in reading comprehension and textual interpretation that one English professor hopes that the Common Core standards will help fill by encouraging close reading of quality texts. The proportion of fiction/non-fiction doesn't really seem to be an issue for her. There's an unfortunate jab at the end of the piece at special interest groups but otherwise she makes a few good points. 

 

I confess that I've always been a fan of close reading. I enjoy it and I think that's how I tend to read anyway but from discussing books I know that not everyone does. I credit an early obsession with mystery novels. It forces careful scrutiny for clues, meanings, symbols and so on and encourages inference, interpretation, analysis and deduction. I support having a curriculum that offers both fiction and non-fiction texts. It seems obvious (at least to me) that both are necessary and beneficial. Mostly though, I would recommend including a few good ripping mysteries winky.gif.   


Edited by ollyoxenfree - 4/25/13 at 11:32am
post #53 of 481
Quote:
Originally Posted by mar123 View Post

I agree that they are more integrated, which I think is a good thing (it also makes fitting in non-fiction even easier) ; I would love one big class teaching American Lit and American History with the history teacher- the two are so related. We are on the 4x4 schedule, so usually half of my kids aren't taking history and English at the same time. This means I have to teach the history behind the lit, because they are so connected.

 

 

 

 

While I find the idea of a combined study of literature and history intriguing, I confess the hair on the back of my neck stood up a little. So much of the "non-fiction" history texts are already biased, misleading and inaccurate. A teacher would have to be very careful to make sure that novels don't add to the confusion. I understand your dilemma about teaching the history behind the literature. I'd just be a little worried that students might think the (fictional) literature IS the history.  


Edited by ollyoxenfree - 4/25/13 at 11:41am
post #54 of 481
Quote:
Originally Posted by beanma View Post

To me, it feels like Common Core is trying to instruct kids in how to be good little drones and read the user's manuals when they're all grown up and working as little cogs in the machine. It feels like it's stifling creativity. I would much rather see the kids have free choice during reading time and the ones who are drawn to non-fiction can go that route and the ones who are drawn to fiction can go that route. I think this dictatorial approach to non-fiction is going to backfire, at least w/ my kid. She's going to be less interested in non-fiction for enjoyment now that they're being instructed in it. I don't think she needs any help w/ nonfiction anyway. My kids are both science hounds and dd2 is very interested in historical fiction. 

 

 

I think you are confusing what one teacher is doing with what is actually stated in common core.

 

I also think that your attitude about non-fiction is going to be more problematic to your DD in the long run that her current teacher. The things that schools have the hardest time teaching any child are the things that child's parents tell them aren't worth learning.

 

It's not going to hurt her to get out of her comfort zone and read books about things that are true. There's a ton of excellant children's non-fiction out there. I would take a very different tact than you -- I would help my child find non-fiction that they found interesting and I would talk to them about the purpose of reading to learn. She is well past the learning to read stage, and it sounds like she reads for pleasure as well.  Buying into her current attitude that non-fiction is boring isn't helpful to her.  You could also model reading and enjoying non-fiction yourself.

post #55 of 481

No, Linda, you're completely off base. I am not influencing my child as far as her feelings about non-fiction. I am reporting what my child has said to me. I haven't brought up a thing to her about non-fiction. She has complained to me that she doesn't like it. I have reminded her that since she gets pulled out for gifted reading she still gets to read other things that she enjoys and not to worry about it. She finds the non-fiction boring—I think because it's not relevant to any other topic she's studying, not really sure. I think many people read non-fiction when they want to learn something specific. I know I do. And she enjoys doing that, too—we have tons of reference books and she's very savvy on the computer and can look up any info she wants. 

 

The teacher is only doing what the administrators are telling them to do. She's a great teacher, but discrete teaching of nonfiction in the reading block is just not appealing to dd2. They're talking about main ideas, how the text is structured, organizing ideas, etc. That's just not nearly as exciting as Harry Potter. She's very adept at all that stuff anyway.

 

This is what is actually stated in Common Core:

 

Quote: http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/introduction/key-design-consideration
Part of the motivation behind the interdisciplinary approach to literacy promulgated by the Standards is extensive research establishing the need for college and career ready students to be proficient in reading complex informational text independently in a variety of content areas. Most of the required reading in college and workforce training programs is informational in structure and challenging in content; postsecondary education programs typically provide students with both a higher volume of such reading than is generally required in K–12 schools and comparatively little scaffolding.

 

I am more concerned with my kid developing a love of reading and writing than I am her future in "workforce training programs". Right now in 3rd grade, she wants to be an author and has written (typed herself, too!) several "books" of 30+ pages. I think she certainly could be an author and I would like to encourage her to follow her heart rather than worry about any potential training manuals she might need to read down the road.


Edited by beanma - 4/25/13 at 10:11pm
post #56 of 481

beanma- My 12 year old sound exactly like your dd! She has also written numerous short stories and LOVES reading. My son, on the other hand, only likes non-fiction; he reminds me of the Dragnet officer, "Just the facts." I can't speak to other teachers, but my team tries to find current, high interest non-fiction that pairs with the fiction text we are currently reading. While reading To Kill a Mockingbird, we read articles about the use of the N word, about current court injustices, etc.

post #57 of 481

mar123, that's why I would prefer that kids get to choose what appeals to them as far as reading. Certainly, it's appropriate to read some research books if they're doing a bugfest or something, and I think it's appropriate to include some fiction for everyone — a good story never hurt anyone, but I'd like to see more self-directed learning, and less emphasis on one kind of reading over another. Dd2 is not going to need any help figuring out a workplace manual when she's grown. To have to prepare for that possibility for the next 9 years at the expense of expanding on her love for literature is just not a good use of her time, IMO. I think nonfiction is great for people who like it. My dad loved to read the daily newspaper and news magazines, but would never, ever crack open a novel. I certainly don't think that made him less of a person, but at the same time I do think taking away something that a child enjoys (in my dd2's case fiction) and replacing it with something she doesn't enjoy and already understands isn't great. Contrary to how this thread might seem, it's really not something I'm up in arms about, but the question was what do you think of Common Core, so I answered that I have some misgivings about the emphasis on nonfiction. Dd2 can do it all easily, but the emphasis on nonfiction is just drudgery for her. 

 

Olly, I read the article you linked by the instructor at Liberty and I'm not sure what to think about that. It sounded like the professor had some students in her classes who had actual difficulty with reading, had some who had learned to slack off with Clif Notes or whatever, and then she had an agenda about the right way to read, too, but I thought the article was not especially well-written.

 

I thought the Washington Post blog post that she was writing in response to was interesting, too.

 

I guess I'm ambivalent about "close reading". Certainly it's good to follow the directions when that's what you need to do (baking a cake, mixing chemicals, etc), but I have never grooved on over analysis of literature. I think sometimes it really is BS (heretical, I know), but while I love to read I really don't think that there is a three-page thesis behind every single word the author chose.

 

Mostly, though, I think a good teacher will find effective ways to work w/in the Common Core Standards. I think it's more about the teachers than the CCS.


Edited by beanma - 4/26/13 at 10:24am
post #58 of 481

A professor friend just posted this Atlantic article on her facebook feed. Thought some of y'all might like to see it: The Coming Revolution in Public Education.

post #59 of 481

I was going to post that, too.  Completely agree.
 

post #60 of 481

beanma- it is about the teachers over CCSS. I really wish I could give my students more choice in reading; I have students with such a huge disparity in ability, interest, and work ethic, it is unreal. I remember being in high school and being in leveled classes. Now there is honors, AP and everything else. Even within the regular classes, I believe things should be leveled. It would be better for the students; I have some I can give more freedom to, but others whom I cannot. But to have three or four different things going on within the same class over a long period time with 30 kids in a class, 5 being resouce, 3 ELL, 2 with ankle monitors, 1 who I can't wake up, and 3 who are 19 and aboutto drop out, is impossible. When I first started teaching, I taught resource English. 17 kids, all with learning or behavior difficulties. I taught the regular curriculum, just differently. No one was embarrased, no one was left behind, and no one was bored. I loved those years. Now it's all about inclusion, and mixed ability- while I totally agree in theory, it doesn't always work in practice. There are days where it does, but there are also days where I know there are some bored, some feeling behind, and some clueless. I try my hardest, but some days I wish I could do more.

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