The amount of teachers who don’t know that there is a common core app for your phones breaks my heart.

Not only does it have all the standards sorted by subject and grade level, you can also add notes to the standards on the app. So if your lesson for a reading standard just rocked you can make a note of that lesson on the standard. There’s also a great search feature for those days when you swear you were just staring at the standard you needed but now can’t find it.

They also have one for the Next Generation Science Standards as well!

anonymous asked:

If you don't mind me asking, what do you think the problems with common core are? I see a lot of complaining about the math, but it doesn't seem that confusing to me. The problems take a minute to understand, but I figured that was because I was unused to doing them that way

For starters, many people have misconceptions about what “the common core” actually is. The Common Core State Standards are just that - standards of what students in K-12 should be expected to be able to do in Mathematics and English Language Arts. They do not mandate specific teaching methods or problems solving strategies that kids must learn, and there are a variety of “common core aligned” teaching materials and curricula out there. 

What most people react to are simply alternative strategies for solving math problems, which, as you said, usually appear difficult only because you haven’t been taught how to do math that way. But just because you weren’t taught that way doesn’t mean there’s no benefit to doing it.

As for the actual problems with the CCSS, for starters, the standards weren’t really created by teachers:

In sum, only 3 of the 15 individuals on the 2009 CCSS math work group held positions as classroom teachers of mathematics. None was a classroom teacher in 2009. None taught elementary or middle school mathematics. Three other members have other classroom teaching experience in biology, English, and social studies. None taught elementary school. None taught special education or was certified in special education or English as a Second Language (ESL).

Only one CCSS math work group member was not affiliated with an education company or nonprofit.


In sum, 5 of the 15 individuals on the CCSS ELA work group have classroom experience teaching English. None was a classroom teacher in 2009. None taught elementary grades, special education, or ESL, and none hold certifications in these areas.

Five of the 15 CCSS ELA work group members also served on the CCSS math work group. Two are from Achieve; two, from ACT, and one, from College Board.

Overall, the standards were primarily designed by and meant to benefit educational and testing corporations such as Pearson and College Board, rather than being designed to meet the needs of students.

Actual problems resulting from this include developmentally inappropriate expectations, overemphasis on non-fiction over fiction, overemphasis on college preparation over civic and humanitarian education, and increasingly high-stakes testing (a feature, not a bug, though a problem that predates common core).

Former US Assistant Secretary of Education Diane Ravitch gives an overview of some of her reasons for opposing Common Core here, which is a good starting point if you’re interested in the topic. This WaPo article from 2014 also details how the development of the CCSS and the push for states to adopt them were both largely bankrolled by Bill Gates.

But teaching kids how to make 10 from 8 and 5 is actually a useful skill.


Who goes to college? A case for linguistics

W&M professor of linguistics Anne Charity Hudley discusses her new book “We Do Language.”

We Do Language builds on the authors’ highly acclaimed first collaboration, Understanding English Language Variation in U.S. Schools, and examines the need to integrate linguistically informed teaching into the secondary English classroom. The book meets three critical goals for preparing English educators to ensure the academic success of their students. First, the book helps educators acquire a greater knowledge of language variation so they may teach their students to analyze the social, cultural, and linguistic dimensions of the texts they read in class. Second, the chapters provide specific information about language varieties that students bring with them to school so that educators can better assist students in developing the literacy skills necessary for the Common Core State Standards. Third, the text empowers educators to build their linguistic awareness so they may more fully understand, respect, and meet the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse students.

Although this book is directed at educators, I recommend Professor Hudley’s video to anyone interested in education, linguistics, and student motivation. Including students needing motivation!

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. 


BUILDING THE MACHINE (2014) - Official Trailer [HQ] (by HSLDA)

A(n anti) Common Core documentary.

Watch and discuss.

Linnea Wolters was prepared to hate the Common Core State Standards.

She taught fifth grade at a low-income school in Reno, Nev., where, she says, there was always some new plan to improve things. And none of it added up to good education. But, after leading her class through a Core-aligned lesson — a close reading of Emma Lazarus’ sonnet “The New Colossus” — she was intrigued, especially by the way different students reacted to the process.

Many of Wolters’ typically low-performing students really engaged with the lesson; they gave it their all. But the higher achievers were resistant, she says.

Other Washoe County teachers who tried early Common Core-aligned lessons with their students noticed this too, says Torrey Palmer, who was a literacy coordinator for the school district.

“High-achieving readers were used to reading very quickly through a text, answering a series of comprehension questions, done,” she says. They weren’t used to being challenged.

Common Core Reading: The High Achievers

Illustration credit: LA Johnson/NPR