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#1 of 482 Old 03-24-2013, 08:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm learning that this is a heated topic, so let's keep the responses civil. hide.gif Could some of you educate me a little on the Common Core? There's a lot about it online, but I'm interested in hearing from moms who share some Natural-Family-Living values. My LO is facing it in school, and I'm not sure what to think. What are your thoughts? Good, bad, ugly, pretty? wild.gif There's just so much to learn in parenting...

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#2 of 482 Old 03-24-2013, 09:37 PM
 
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My daughter is only in first, so take this or what it's worth.  In a lot of ways, the common core is going to be easier for her because she's starting with it from the beginning.  She's not used to another approach. 

 

I don't love it.  I feel like it moves too fast and heavily favors children who are good readers.  A child can be good in math but not great at reading and struggle in math.  I also think the pace is too fast for a lot of kids.  The teachers hate it.  The math is a mile wide and half an inch deep.  Same with English.  The material covers too many topics with very little depth.  Why is my first grader working on fractions when they haven't memorized basic addition facts?  Half the kids in her class can't remember punctuation at the end of the sentence but they now need to know the difference between adverbs and adjectives? 

 

My daughter is doing fine with it but I'm hearing from a lot of parents whose kids are really struggling.  Months ago, as part of her homework, the last question was something about writing different ways to make ten and how do you know that's true.  Her answer was, "one way to make ten is four plus six and I know this because I can count."  Apparently that wasn't quite what they were looking for.  I mean come on, you're asking a six year old the WHY of 4 +6 = 10?  But that is pretty typical of my experience with common core so far. 

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#3 of 482 Old 03-25-2013, 04:19 AM
 
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Subbing...with absolutely nothing to add. I thought it was a new curriculum but am just totally confused now after speaking with my DC's teacher. Thanks for a great topic! 


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#4 of 482 Old 03-25-2013, 04:39 AM
 
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I'm no fan of the CC. However, a set of standards is not a curriculum. What will still matter is the curriculum the districts choose and the quality of the teachers teaching them.

As standards, they are shallow, and so curricula chosen to meet the standards and nothing more will be limiting to high achieving kids. The standards don't include much spiraling of material, so curricula chosen to meet the standards without review of previous years will fail kids who weren't 100% solid before.

NiteNicole, I've read the CC math standards in detail as I've had to work with my kids' school for placement issues. You aren't describing 1st grade topics. From my perspective, the standards are a inch wide and an inch deep. The school attests that the standards are a mile deep. My daughter in CCM7 is seeing the same topics in less detail than she did for her self-study 6th grade math last year.
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#5 of 482 Old 03-26-2013, 10:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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OK, this is a good start. Thanks. I'm feeling a little frustrated with it but didn't want to mention it in my first post. :om I also understand that CC is going to be really hard to get away from, Homeschoolers are telling me that some of their favorite textbook companies (eg Saxon math) are turning to CC.

If anyone has favorite links for me, pro or con, please feel free to post them.

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#6 of 482 Old 03-26-2013, 11:08 PM
 
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OK, this is a good start. Thanks. I'm feeling a little frustrated with it but didn't want to mention it in my first post. :om I also understand that CC is going to be really hard to get away from, Homeschoolers are telling me that some of their favorite textbook companies (eg Saxon math) are turning to CC.

If anyone has favorite links for me, pro or con, please feel free to post them.

Interesting. I have no idea what the CC is outside of the Wikipedia page I just read. I am a bit worried about how this will affect the Singapore math books I use.
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#7 of 482 Old 03-27-2013, 03:59 AM
 
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Interesting. I have no idea what the CC is outside of the Wikipedia page I just read. I am a bit worried about how this will affect the Singapore math books I use.

Our district chose Math in Focus as a K-5 curriculum compliant to the Common Core, so you're probably ok on the Singapore math. As far as I can tell, the sequence and scope is pretty similar to the Standards Edition.

Again, it's the curriculum that really matters. The district also chose Pearson digits for 6-8 Common Core math. It's round 2 of Everyday Math, but made worse by being entirely online.
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#8 of 482 Old 03-27-2013, 07:21 AM
 
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The director at the tutoring center my DD attended told me it is shallow and fast paced which can cause a lot of problems with math instruction specifically because a lot of what solidifies the concepts is time and practice. So far my DD is doing okay but I have noticed the fast and shallow at times and that has made some math concepts hard for her to grasp fully.
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#9 of 482 Old 03-27-2013, 10:24 AM
 
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I'm no fan of the CC. However, a set of standards is not a curriculum. What will still matter is the curriculum the districts choose and the quality of the teachers teaching them.

As standards, they are shallow, and so curricula chosen to meet the standards and nothing more will be limiting to high achieving kids. The standards don't include much spiraling of material, so curricula chosen to meet the standards without review of previous years will fail kids who weren't 100% solid before.

NiteNicole, I've read the CC math standards in detail as I've had to work with my kids' school for placement issues. You aren't describing 1st grade topics. From my perspective, the standards are a inch wide and an inch deep. The school attests that the standards are a mile deep. My daughter in CCM7 is seeing the same topics in less detail than she did for her self-study 6th grade math last year.

 

To meet the standards, the curriculum has to necessarily be fast-paced and shallow.  There's just no getting around it.  My daughter's school is fantastic, it is the best public school in our state.  The teachers are wonderful...but the curriculum is too fast for a lot of kids.  It also leans heavily on reading skills for math, and that is also core driven.  There's no time for any real practice to thoroughly grasp a topic. 
 

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#10 of 482 Old 03-27-2013, 11:18 AM
 
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To meet the standards, the curriculum has to necessarily be fast-paced and shallow.  There's just no getting around it.  My daughter's school is fantastic, it is the best public school in our state.  The teachers are wonderful...but the curriculum is too fast for a lot of kids.  It also leans heavily on reading skills for math, and that is also core driven.  There's no time for any real practice to thoroughly grasp a topic. 
 


It's interesting to see how perceptions and practice vary so much.  The scuttlebutt on the street in our district is that the new curriculum is deadly slow.  It's hard to evaluate if this is a broadly perception or just what I hear from the group of parents that have approached me -- we're "out" in the local math world and I'm generally seen as a go-to person who understands the school system when things aren't going well.

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#11 of 482 Old 03-29-2013, 10:00 AM
 
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I volunteer in my daughter's classroom a lot and I check over her homework.  She never has the same topic twice.  I mean, they may be working on time but every day it's a new skill.  My daughter is doing fine, but I worry about next year.  This year gifted is just a 90 minute pull out enrichment class, but in second it's all day gifted academics.  They skip second grade math and go straight to third.  I think at this pace, it's going to be a challenge.  She has been given a second grade math book.  I'm glad she's interested in working in it independently, maybe she won't be behind.

 

A lot of my daughter's classmates' parents are really frustrated that their kids can't seem to nail a topic before it's time to move on.  I know people used to complain about having to go at the pace of the slowest learners in the class, but there are SOOO many topics to cover, there's no time to spare.
 

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#12 of 482 Old 03-31-2013, 09:52 AM
 
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Our state adopted the Common Core this year but is continuing to use the same math curriculum (enVision Math.) So, I haven't really noticed much change. I do notice that my kindergartner is doing way more than my son did in kindergarten, but she's doing well with it. My son is continuing to struggle in math but his resource teacher helps a lot. He has attention deficits and auditory processing problems so all the word problems, and explaining how he got an answer,make things really difficult.
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#13 of 482 Old 04-04-2013, 08:01 AM
 
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Polliwog, I'm not sure dd2 is using EnVision in 3rd grade. They used it last year in 2nd and she knew that was the name of it and was bored stiff with it and now bemoans how bad EnVision is. I don't think her class is using it this year or I'd be hearing from her about it. She's recycled all her homework work sheets so I can't check them.

 

The Common Core math isn't an issue for us so far. Dd2 was bored with math last year (and actually bored with most of 2nd grade) and is much more challenged this year. I think that has everything to do with the teacher, though. One thing I don't like about CC is the emphasis on non-fiction reading at the expense of fiction. Seems a little bit like prepping kids to be good little cogs in the system rather than letting them develop an appreciation for the arts.


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#14 of 482 Old 04-04-2013, 09:28 AM
 
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I am a high school English teacher who is now using the CCSS. One misunderstanding is the amount of non-fiction. CC calls for a 70/30 split. However, it is assumed that students will be reading in every single class, so the 70/30 split means that out of the total reading, 30% will be fiction, which will obviously take place in English class. The history reading- non-fiction, science-non-fiction, etc. All of our core teachers use non-fiction articles in their classrooms and that includes shop classes (They just read about how graduates of technical colleges earn more in the first five years that graduates of 4 year universities). When we use non-fiction, we teach the students to question the validity, detect bias and motive- I don't see how that is creating cogs in the system. If anything, we use it to create critical thinkers.

 

I have been using the outcomes for CCSS this year with the same curriculum I have always used. Next year we will be using the Springboard workbooks for everyone. My level is losing everything we teach except two pieces because we are currently not a true World Literature course- we are a cultural literature course. I am looking at about 250 hours of prep work this summer.

 

Last I heard, 45 states have adopted the CCSS, but I am sure it will still look different in different schools. Since so many states have adopted it, pretty soon all textbooks will be aligned with it. We were told it will be two years, which is why we are using the Springboard workbooks for the next two years.

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#15 of 482 Old 04-04-2013, 01:10 PM
 
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Our state adopted new standards in ALL curriculum areas, not just literacy and math. Every teacher in the district is juggling new standards.

I know for sure that my second grader isn't reading 70% nonfiction material. Not even close. Which was a good thing when his teacher moved him back to Level C in reading. That nonfiction was along the lines of "I have a pet. My pet is a cat. A cat has a tail." At that time, DS was comfortably reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid and similarly leved books. She couldn't get beyond her assumption that he couldn't comprehend more complicated text, when really he has trouble with his working memory and had auditory processing problems.
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#16 of 482 Old 04-05-2013, 06:24 AM
 
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The new CCSS was adopted throughout all subjects at the elementary level, but not at the high school level. Also, the CCSS has been in some schools longer than others. Keep in mind that the 70% non-fiction includes textbooks- science and social studies textbooks and workbooks with any type of reading needed are considered in that number.

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#17 of 482 Old 04-05-2013, 06:57 AM
 
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They are definitely pushing the non-fiction as a part of CSS in my dd2's 3rd grade class. I think it is at the expense of fiction reading in this grade level. I can see how in high school it would be easier to get the 70% non-fiction through other course work, but in 3rd grade when many of the kids are still working on their reading skills they are having to do non-fiction as a part of the reading curriculum instead of fiction in order to meet those goals. We just got a newsletter about how they have been working on non-fiction reading and encouraging us to read non-fiction at home. They are definitely still reading fiction, but are adding in this non-fiction, too. DD2 is a gifted reader and loves fiction so I wish she could do more of that.


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#18 of 482 Old 04-05-2013, 09:05 AM
 
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As a Canadian I am not familiar with the Core Curriculum, but 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? What about high schoolers who want to pursue languages and literature at the post-secondary level? Are they too required to limit their literature reading to fit within that 30%? I really don't understand the point of sweeping "standards" like these. Perhaps someone can shed some light on it for me...

 

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#19 of 482 Old 04-05-2013, 09:25 AM
 
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The standards came about as a way to make sure students in different states are receiving the same high quality education. Education here is really all on the state level and as such, the students graduate with a huge differential in terms of ability and knowledge. The focus on non-fiction is because the policy makers believe that the majority of reading a person does throughout his life is non-fiction (newspaper, magazines, how to books, work manuals, etc). Reading non-fiction in the classroom and teaching students how to break down what is being discussed, how to question the validity of the argument, how to spot bias is a valid point. I don't know where they came up with a 70/30 number. As someone who teaching English, I think people are far too worried about this number. We are not reducing the number of fiction pieces we teach and many novels are counted as non-fiction (Night, Anne Frank) and many readings we were already doing are non-fiction (We read many writings of MLK and Fredrick Douglass). If you think about an American Literature class, a high percentage of those readings have always been non-fiction, we just don't think of them that way.

 

At my level, we have simply added one non-fiction piece to each unit. For example, we are currently reading the play Antigone. One theme is that of civil disobedience. We found a couple of articles about students who have protested the dress code at their schools or those who chose to defy the ban on prayer. We will do a reading of the articles, hold a Socratic seminar about civil disobedience, etc. The students love the open class discussions and we have easily full filled the requirement.

 

As far as elementary school, I am not familiar enough with the non-fiction available at that level to really explain it, but there are books available with readings for different units.

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#20 of 482 Old 04-05-2013, 09:51 AM
 
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We are not reducing the number of fiction pieces we teach and many novels are counted as non-fiction (Night, Anne Frank) and many readings we were already doing are non-fiction 

 

I was wondering about this. I'm pretty sure my DC have studied biographies, autobiographies and non-fiction essays and news articles as part of their language arts/English courses almost every year. Also, I can think of a few examples of well-researched but fictional representations such as the Dear America and Royal Diaries books, The Seeing Stone and other Arthur books by Kevin Crossley-Holland and so on that provide afterwords or supplementary non-fiction information along with the stories, as well as references for further resources.  I vaguely recall a social studies series (I hesitate to call them textbooks) that mixed fictional anecdotes and short stories along with non-fiction information. It all seems like typical curriculum fare. I wonder if 70/30 is simply an approximation of a fairly standard curriculum, taking into account all subjects not just language arts, before it became annointed as capital-C "Core". 

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#21 of 482 Old 04-05-2013, 10:14 AM
 
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A further thought - as mar123 explained, this is basically a Quality Improvement program. A fundamental tool of QI is benchmarking. If you can't measure it, you can't manage it - or improve it. I don't know if 70/30 are arbitrary numbers pulled out of the air or carefully calculated but benchmarking does explain the rationale for having some kind of ratio. 

 

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The standards came about as a way to make sure students in different states are receiving the same high quality education. Education here is really all on the state level and as such, the students graduate with a huge differential in terms of ability and knowledge. 

 

LOL, I'm sure that will open up a nice can of worms about applying business principles to educational policy......

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#22 of 482 Old 04-05-2013, 11:31 AM
 
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A further thought - as mar123 explained, this is basically a Quality Improvement program. 

 

Oh I understand that it's part of a quality improvement program. What I don't understand is why this particular part of it (mandating a % of non-fiction across all grades) really does that. It seems so arbitrary and simplistic. If you've got to measure, I can think of a lot of things it would make more sense to measure. To me teacher and student choice in reading material (especially in the elementary years), including the choice of non-fiction vs. fiction, seems extremely important in ensuring student motivation and engagement in learning.

 

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#23 of 482 Old 04-05-2013, 12:55 PM
 
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I'm with you, Miranda.  It makes no sense as things are stated.  Is the percentage as by number of words? Pages? Time in instruction?  Is a poem that leads to a 2 day class discussion less

 

At the moment, DD's in 5th grade, and the school is just starting to make this transition in the percentage reading standard.  DD is reading 3x the literature in her language arts class than some of her peers, so presumably she either needs to stop doing that much reading, and her teacher needs to stop fostering her love of reading and literature, and finally motivating her to take care in her writing as a result, or she needs to read more science and history, too. 

 

I understand the concept of "quality control" and "rigorous standards" and "21st century" and "global competition" rhetoric.  I also see a set of standards that seem to be leading to an interpretation amongst district curriculum planners that sees these standards as both the floor and the ceiling for the curriculum.  Many kids in our district are straining against the ceiling of these standards, not able to progress faster or deeper into the material.  It sounds like other kids are struggling to keep up, as the schools have chosen curricula that hit each topic very quickly with little depth or accommodation for the need to solidify skills. 

 

My only hope is that after the first few years of this, the teachers will start to put more of their own influence into this to alter content to be appropriate to the kids in their class.  For now, it seems very klutzy and boring.
 

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#24 of 482 Old 04-06-2013, 05:06 AM
 
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 If you've got to measure, I can think of a lot of things it would make more sense to measure. 

 

 

 

There are probably many other metrics. This is likely just one of them but it's the one getting a lot of attention and discussion. Probably because it is simplistic and easy to focus on. It would be very odd if this is the only aspect that is being measured in a comprehensive curriculum. 

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#25 of 482 Old 04-06-2013, 06:43 AM
 
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Of course it's not. And there is no stopping teachers (at least at the elementary level) from incorporating more fiction into their day and children from self-selecting fiction during free reading time and from the school library.
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#26 of 482 Old 04-08-2013, 05:24 AM
 
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These standards in no way say that a child should be reading 70% non-fiction; it's all about comprehensive instruction. Also, some people are so intent (teachers mostly) on complaining about this, that they create problems that simply aren't there. The 70% is measured by pieces. If a child reads 10 pieces of text in a week (including textbook readings), it is expected that 7 of them will be non-fiction. If a child reads portions of a text each day for science and social social studies, that's ten pieces right there.

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#27 of 482 Old 04-08-2013, 12:30 PM
 
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You are the only person I know who talks about the percentages. The teachers in my kids school, and those on my education lists, don't. Just that there is a lot of non-fiction. My kids don't have textbooks. I haven't seen any of those in any classrooms other than 5th grade. I am soooooo glad basal readers are a thing of the past. I always hated teaching with those.
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#28 of 482 Old 04-08-2013, 03:37 PM
 
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My 3rd grader was complaining in the car today that they've just started reviewing non-fiction again in class. She said they did a story "Because of Winn-Dixie" in Dec and just one other story in Jan and only one week of poetry (she loves to write stories and poems both and she has typed 30 pages of a book she's writing so far), but for the rest of the year they've been doing non-fiction. She says non-fiction is totally boring because they're just reviewing how to find stuff, etc., and it's too easy. She is actually pulled out for a gifted reading program so I'm not too worried about the emphasis on non-fiction since she does get extra fiction in the gifted group, but she would certainly enjoy more fiction, poetry, plays, etc., and is not challenged by the non-fiction. 

 

They are actively studying "non-fiction" in her class. It's not just integrated into other classes because she's in 3rd grade and they don't have other classes beyond specials. 


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#29 of 482 Old 04-09-2013, 02:17 PM
 
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You are the only person I know who talks about the percentages. The teachers in my kids school, and those on my education lists, don't. Just that there is a lot of non-fiction. My kids don't have textbooks. I haven't seen any of those in any classrooms other than 5th grade. I am soooooo glad basal readers are a thing of the past. I always hated teaching with those.

Unfortunately, basal readers are still alive and kicking in our district. My kids HATE them. As do I.

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#30 of 482 Old 04-10-2013, 03:23 AM
 
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Yuck. I'm so sorry.
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