“At first glance the standards don’t leap out as a problem. Take, for example, Common Core’s first writing standard for grades six, seven and eight (almost identical across grades): “Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.” This goal undoubtedly sounds reasonable to adults, who have a much better idea of what “claims” are, what “relevant evidence” is and even what an academic “argument” is. But most children have a limited understanding of this meta-language for the structure of a composition. So I explored Common Core’s standards for reading informational text in grades three, four and five (and then in grades six, seven and eight) and discovered nothing on what a claim or an argument is, or on distinguishing relevant from irrelevant evidence. In other words, the grades six, seven and eight writing standards are not coordinated with reading standards in grades three to eight that would require children to read the genre of writing their middle-school teachers are expecting them to compose. Middle-school teachers are being compelled by their grade-level standards to ask their students to do something for which the students will have to use their imaginations.”—
SANDRA STOTSKY, Ph.D., Which Way for Indiana? | Hoosiers Against Common Core
Just click the link and read the whole thing.
Teaching Channel: Education Update Links
Starting in February I began working as a production assistant for a joint project between WNET and Teaching Channel.
The videos are now available online through the Teaching Channel website as well as my friend/co-worker and associate producer of the project, Matthew Chao’s Vimeo page.
Common Core + textbook = rant
I hate teaching literature from a textbook.
ESPECIALLY our new special online textbook which has overwhelming numbers of side notes and distracting blurbs of background information strewn about the literature, seemingly at random, with arbitrarily chosen words defined in the margins. (Why “preeminently” and not “unrelenting?” Why “profusion” and not “engender?” Why not help students learn the words they actually don’t know instead of slapping unnecessary definitions in the margins because vocab is in the standards?)
The textbook is heavy-handedly aligned with Common Core, which makes me angry. Are the Common Core Standards some kind of money-making conspiracy? Because I’m sure the textbook company is profiting royally from selling us this pre-packaged “teach all the standards with one book” book. There are some nice features, like links to relevant primary source documents. But I find it difficult to take a textbook seriously that links directly to the History channel as the preferred way to “integrate history into your Language Arts curriculum.”
I’m pretty sure I know my students’ needs better than a textbook company does. And I think I’m well-educated enough to be able to locate pertinent resources for my students without the help of a textbook website. The standards themselves are fine, but cramming textbooks full of excessive inane and unhelpful reading guides, questions, vocab tips, and writing prompts, all with a standard stamped on, is not the way I would choose to implement them.
“Mike Petrilli, executive vice president of the Fordham Foundation, testified that adopting the Common Core was the right move for Indiana. Fordham, a Washington, D.C.-based organization that advocates for school reform, had rated Indiana's prior standards among the best in the country. "We did find Indiana's to be some of the very best," Petrilli said. "We also found the Common Core standards to be very good. Going back to the status quo is not necessarily getting you what you need.”—
Wait….what? You’re saying that your organization rated our standards BETTER, but we should change to something slight worse just because we SHOULD change?
Teaching Channel: Education Update Pt. 5
Links to all the videos on Teaching Channel.
Apparently you can see it on teaching channel’s youtube channel too.Look for the ones that say “Common Core State Standards”
Teaching Channel: Education Update Pt. 4
Here’s Middle School The rest are actually uploaded to my Vimeo site as well, which you can go to to see all of my work, but I also made an album just for them. I’ll continue posting them up here one by one.
Links to all the videos on Teaching Channel
Apparently you can see it on teaching channel’s youtube channel too. Look for the ones that say “Common Core State Standards”
This post (and all future posts) are syndicated from my other Blog. Please visit my other blog for posts prior to this one.
im so glad im taking ap calc next year where the math standards will still be similar to the ones ive been learning my whole life and not the new ones that focus on “why is that the answer” instead of the old “what is the answer”
i mean the new standards are better and are going to help kids think critically and be better prepared for life outside of school but for the next few years, like for kids in 4th grade and up, its going to freaking suck like theyve learned one way for 5+ years and suddenly its completely different.
my brothers gonna be screwed but my sister is going be good she wont have to deal with the sudden transition and teachers who dont know what they are doing yet
A Misconception with Common Core
The Common Core state standards to not require students to be taught only or even mostly nonfiction in English / Language Arts classes. Instead, it calls for 70% nonfiction and 30% literary texts by 12th grade ACROSS THE CURRICULUM!!! This means that the 70% is basically made up of content area nonfiction for science classes, math classes, social studies classes, etc. So for example, a social studies class would be examining historical documents and a science class might look at articles in science magazines. The other 30% then basically belongs to English / Language Arts classes. So literature within these classes will not be displaced. In fact it will probably be given more attention because ALL teachers will take the time to teach literacy, and it won’t just fall into the ELA teacher’s lap.
Can Existing Lesson Plans Fit the Common Core?
According to the folks at TeacherLingo, the answer is “yes.” (Continue reading behind the image.)
Common-Core Classroom Strategies: Teacher Ideas
Toby Rothstein Gruber, Eye On Education’s Director of Professional Services and the moderator of Eye On Education’s professional development webinars. The Common Core is getting a lot of attention these days. Teachers are feeling the pressure now more than ever to prepare their students for the real world using the standards. Some are feeling overwhelmed, while others are tackling this challenge head-on. (Continue reading behind the image.)
“Implementation has begun! While I am excited to see what changes the CCSS will bring to both my teaching and my students’ performance, I am overwhelmed. My county has only implemented in kindergarten and first grade. We have begun to think and plan our lessons differently.” -Samantha Beattie writes on CCSS in her blog on the Education World Community. Join the conversation here.
Common Core Conundrum
I have been a substitute teacher for the last two years since graduating as an Education student. My classroom experience is not vast in the sense of planning and practically applying standards. But I have been an Education student for my whole life (Yes, I’m being poetic.), and these are just some thoughts about what is happening in the realm of education (which I happen to think is generally good overall, even though adjustment will take time and patience).
Below is an excerpt from a grad school assignment in which I wax on about Common Core State Standards’ shift toward nonfiction. Comments and thoughts welcome.
Common Core State Standards: My Opinion
A new school curriculum, called the Common Core State Standards, is being implemented in 46 states, save for Alaska, Texas, Nebraska, and Kansas. It’s aim is to have one set of guidelines that schools should adopt when educating their students. This means that every child will have access to the same education as everyone else and, in essence, this creates a meritocratic society.
I am completely in disagreement with this system. Not only has it never been tested, it has practically been forced onto other states, with a large sum of money being an incentive for them to accept it. How, then, will we know if it will be successful?
I agree with presidential chair and associate dean for global education at the University of Oregon’s College of Education, Yong Zhao, on the subject. He basically thinks that the CC is too narrow of a system to be able to teach students to be creative and innovative. If every school in every state taught the exact same set of skills to each student, that how can they individualize themselves?
I read that the types of tests that will be provided by this program are similar to the AP Test. For me, this simply adds fuel to the fire. I detest the way AP classes are taught and the style of the exam. All you do throughout the whole year (mind you, it’s not actually a whole year, but a school year) is try to cram an excess of information into your head. If you memorized it well enough, you could get away with passing the AP Exam. But what happens to most people after that’s done and over with? They forget everything they learned. Dartmouth college has recently stopped accepting AP credits based on a study where kids who passed an AP exam were retested the following school year (I am not 100% sure about this information, though). The results were approximately these: the students had not passed. And I, having taken some AP classes myself, can guess why. All the information isn’t “learned”, it’s “crammed”. Cramming is very common among students who want to stuff a plethora of information into their short-term memory to pass a test. I do this myself, and can guarantee that it is not effective in the long run. Last year, I did this for my AP World History course, happily accepted the 4 that College Board has awarded me with, and now? I remember nothing. I know this doesn’t apply to everyone, but it does apply to numerous students. So if Common Core is really anything like AP, I’m out.
Obviously, students aren’t the only targets. Teachers will be affected just as well. I got a hint of that a few months ago. One day, my drama teacher came storming in angry after rehearsals had ended for the day. We were all curious as to why. He explained that a national education program was taking over nationwide (Hint: it would become the driving force behind this rant). My interest was piqued. This sounded like drastic change, and not a good one, if he sounded so distressed about it.
He explained to us that this new curriculum was changing his teaching method completely. Whoever was in charge apparently thought they knew what was best for his kids. What was even more annoying was the one-page, vague syllabus he was handed. It did not specify on anything, although it made clear that the whole structure of knowledge-obtainment in the classroom was being redefined. In short, he was being told to teach differently by something that has no idea of how to teach itself. At least that’s what it sounded like to me. At that time, I was a bit lost and confused. This enigmatic game-changer didn’t even have a name. All I knew was that it sounded very, very ominous. This isn’t the point though. What I’m trying to say is that it appears teachers won’t be too happy with the rigidness and inflexibility the Standards is suggesting.
Recently, I have been hearing more and more about it. My epiphany had come when my sociology teacher introduced two articles from the Washington Post regarding the Common Core. After reading them, I had gathered enough information and came to my own conclusions. As you can tell, they are mainly negative.
What is most suspicious and atrocious to me is that these Standards, clearly an influential and determining factor of our future, have barely, if ever, been mentioned in the news. Many aren’t aware of it. Not even when it has become a national thing. I don’t remember hearing the public having any say in it. I don’t remember me having any say in it.
Another interesting fact: Obama is in support of it. Now, I’ve never really had much of an opinion about him, because I just didn’t know who to believe when it came to whether he was a good president or not. But I have managed to make up my mind about him on this issue, especially since I am starting to feel some of its effects. And I must say that I am completely disenchanted with him. Many people have joked how others boldly accuse him of being a communist. But you know what CCSS scream to me? Communism. Now, I know that might be a radical claim, but I rather be safe than sorry when it comes to things that might sway the course our country goes on. Everyone on the same level, with no competition? Marx would be happy with something so defiant of the capitalist system.
All in all, as you can tell, I feel very strongly about this. I actually completely surprised myself at the length of this text, even though I did not intend to write so much! But I want to let it be known that I had to get all my worries and thoughts out, and Tumblr seemed like the perfect place to do so (and, I confess, I didn’t know where else to go). Plus, this is good practice for me, educationally. Sure, I am neglecting my homework (though this is technically an extension of it, since my homework involves writing about those previously mentioned articles on the Common Core), but this is quite important. Maybe my opinion isn’t as logical as I believe it is, but I’m glad that I’ve written it down and am exercising my right of free speech on a serious topic like an American citizen should. I have never really done than before. Why not take the opportunity when it arrives?