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Old 04-10-2013, 07:17 AM
 
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The percentage comes from all the inservices I have had on CCSS; it is what is recomended by Common Core.

 

So, are you saying none of your child's teachers use any textbooks at all? What do the teachers use to reinforce lessons? Do they print out the readings they use? The students should be reading something. I know many schools now have only class sets of the books and the books are also completely available online. I admit that I use my textbook only for certain readings; I use maybe 30% of it, but we do have one and it is a guide.

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Old 04-10-2013, 10:02 AM
 
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My child has reading packets (printed out) for homework and math worksheets. I don't know if they use a textbook in the classroom or not. They do use a lot of online resources. In the gifted pullout reading group they do have a reader they're working with which she loves. I can't remember what story they were reading, but I recognized the title. I'll try to remember to ask her. 

 

My 6th grader goes to a charter school and they have a few textbooks, but they mostly stay at school. They have a science textbook and a math textbook, but they do a lot of work from other sources, too (printed packets and online).


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Old 04-10-2013, 10:56 AM
 
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That makes sense. Most of those reading packets will come from a CD that the teacher gets from the textbook company. Our students get a book to bring home, and we have a class set (we are a 4x4 block schedule school, so the students only have 4 classes a semester. It means we have enough textbooks to do this). Textbooks are so ridiculously heavy, that most schools no longer expect the student to go back and forth from home with them.

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Old 04-10-2013, 02:58 PM
 
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So, I asked. She said in her gifted reading group they use the Junior Great Books collection (one book — sort of an anthology I guess). She said they don't have a math book, but do math on the board, and they're reviewing "non-fiction" for reading class.


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Old 04-10-2013, 04:16 PM
 
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DS is in second grade. No reading, social studies, science, or Spanish text books. They read lots of short books (the guided reading room has lots of group sets for each level,) magazines, stuff online, etc. There is a math text book for the SMARTBoard, and the teacher prints out practice sheets (from the book company, from a teacher supply store, or homemade) for in class practice and homework. My kindergartner has basically the same thing but doesn't have many worksheets.

Elementary school (especially K-3) is very different from high school and very different from the way things were when "I" started teaching.
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Old 04-10-2013, 09:58 PM
 
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So, I asked. She said in her gifted reading group they use the Junior Great Books collection (one book — sort of an anthology I guess). 

 

Junior Great Books anthologies are great! I used to pick them up on eBay for my homeschooled kids because they contain such rich varied collections of real stories.

 

Miranda


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Old 04-16-2013, 07:20 PM
 
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Hi There,

 

I have just started to learn about this (my daughter is 17 months old), and it is horrifying what they are doing under our noses.  They plan to turn our kids against us, promote indoctrination, and use collected data to psychologically profile the kid's future.  The degree of data mining, invasion of privacy, brain washing, and cutting out State and parental control is very alarming.

 

Check out this you tube video which gives a overview

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=coRNJluF2O4

 

Read this great article which provides additional info and links.

http://www.surpriseteapartypatriots.com/docs/sources-presentation-michael-2013-03-11.pdf

 

this is serious, it will fundamentally change our country and it needs to stop.

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Old 04-17-2013, 05:42 AM
 
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Hi There,

I have just started to learn about this (my daughter is 17 months old), and it is horrifying what they are doing under our noses.  They plan to turn our kids against us, promote indoctrination, and use collected data to psychologically profile the kid's future.
  The degree of data mining, invasion of privacy, brain washing, and cutting out State and parental control is very alarming.

Check out this you tube video which gives a overview
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=coRNJluF2O4

Read this great article which provides additional info and links.
http://www.surpriseteapartypatriots.com/docs/sources-presentation-michael-2013-03-11.pdf

this is serious, it will fundamentally change our country and it needs to stop.
Ummmmm. No.
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Old 04-17-2013, 05:46 AM
 
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Have you actually VISITED a school in a state that has adopted the CC? It's a set of academic standards that is consistent from state to state. Each state/district/school is free to choose the curriculum materials, and methods, they will use to meet those standards. The CC may have it's drawbacks, and strengthths, but it's mission is not to subvert anything.
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Old 04-17-2013, 03:36 PM
 
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No I have not been to a common core class.  I would love to but my daughter is only 17 months old.  I don’t want to demonize common core as this evil project with nothing good.  I believe that it does provide a broader scope of subjects and more critical thinking which I do love.  What I worry about, is the outcome of having a nationalized standards which doesn’t allow for State and Parental control.

 

Common core was just recently adapted and high school students are not just taking the developed common core tests without supported curricula.  The most controversial changes happens in high school where kids are faced with more tests that doesn't reflect what is currently being taught.

 See the school boycotting the tests around the nation.  

 

http://www.parenting.com/blogs/mom-congress/kate-goodin/common-core-tests?src=SOC&dom=tw

 

I totally get that the common core is a set of "standards" not curriculum.  However, common core is aligned to the tests they will be given (still being developed).  So in the end, the curriculum will be dictated by the tests.  

 

But what's more alarming than anything else, is how common core was put in place through bribery from the federal government's "race to the top" grant, basically, the federal government said that if you want free money, then you will agree to adopt the common core standards.  

 

Even though, the federal government is prohibited by law to control the "curriculum" on the State level.  And many people at this point would argue that the common core are simply "standards" to follow by and each State can still have freedom to chose what they want to teach.  However, Common Core also include extensive testing which ties to the standards.  Eventually, if you want the students to do well, you MUST align your curriculum to the Common core standards and tests.  

 

Once fully implemented (that has not happen yet but we're moving there in 2014), it will take away State or parental control to modify the standards to fit the needs of the demographic.  Since there’s still yet much to be learned, they should allow for room to improvement shouldn’t it?  Let’s keep the good and improve the bad within common core? NO, the federal government says if you want to adapt common core, you can’t change the standards.  You can add up to 15% of your own standards, but it will not be included in the tests.  So modify at the expense robbing students their time to study for what’s relevant to the test (ie their future).  This just doesn’t sound right to me.

 

Common core is heavily funds through the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, student data are tracked and stored by a company owned by Bill Gates.  Now more and more corporations are stepping up to endorse Common Core with advertisements that cost thousands (Exxon, GE, Google).  Why such involvement and investment for the corporate world?  Because once sweeping national standards along with tests are implemented.  They will wipe out all options and the companie that owns the copyrights to common core will stand to monopolize on teaching and training materials. 

 

Also what about the data mining?  I have a 126 page report issued by the Department of Education talking about the technology they plan to use to track our children.  There are examples/pictures with eye movement scanning camera, brain wave scanning, posture tracking chair…etc.  I’m not even kidding that this was release and can still be downloaded. (SEE pg 62). 

 

http://www.ed.gov/edblogs/technology/files/2013/02/OET-Draft-Grit-Report-2-17-13.pdf

 

Okay, so you can say I am over-reacting with these technology, they are there to better personalize student learning.  And that’s where the trouble comes in.  The data mining allowed by Common Core technology also allows “any school official” to release these highly personal data to anyone they deemed relevant to the student’s learning.  To me, if that’s not invasion of privacy, I don’t know what is.

 

In the end, I am just left with so many questions.

 

- If Common Core is so good, then why does the federal government need to bribe State government to adopt it? (States who don't adopt are penalized)

- Why won’t they allow room for modification?  

- Why is the private sector so heavily vested?  

- Why all the data mining?  (Technology is not cheap, and guess who’s paying for it? The taxpayers, after the grant runs out)

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Old 04-17-2013, 04:19 PM
 
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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.)
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Old 04-17-2013, 04:23 PM
 
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In addition, having national standards is really helpful when families move from place to place (whether to another district or to another state.)
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Old 04-18-2013, 06:26 AM
 
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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.

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Old 04-23-2013, 06:58 PM
 
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 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.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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Old 04-24-2013, 05:57 AM
 
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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.
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Old 04-24-2013, 06:22 AM
 
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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.

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Old 04-24-2013, 04:32 PM
 
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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.
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Old 04-25-2013, 08:42 AM
 
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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.

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Old 04-25-2013, 10:04 AM
 
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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.
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Old 04-25-2013, 10:57 AM
 
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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.

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Old 04-25-2013, 11:50 AM
 
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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


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Old 04-25-2013, 12:16 PM
 
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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.   

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Old 04-25-2013, 12:26 PM
 
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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.  

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Old 04-25-2013, 08:46 PM
 
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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.


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Old 04-25-2013, 10:57 PM
 
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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.


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Old 04-26-2013, 06:03 AM
 
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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.

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Old 04-26-2013, 08:22 AM
 
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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.


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Old 04-26-2013, 11:21 AM
 
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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.


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Old 04-26-2013, 12:56 PM
 
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I was going to post that, too.  Completely agree.
 

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Old 04-26-2013, 12:59 PM
 
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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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