Educators say they were told last year that the new test would be more rigorous. But some say they weren’t prepared for the new assessments to take three times as long as the former test. The Journal Review reported that testing schedules distributed by the state anticipate it will take third-grade students nine hours and 25 minutes to complete the test. Fourth-graders can expect 10 hours and 40 minutes of testing, while fifth-graders will face 10 hours and 30 minutes of testing, the newspaper reported.
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Teaching Channel: Education Update Links

Hey everyone!

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.

I find the Common Core Speaking and Listening standards insulting.

I went to the CC website to double check, and sure enough they are the EXACT same for 9/10 as 11/12.

How in the hell is that supposed to help me build my standards-based learning?

I know Indiana is still on her standards, and we HAVE speech standards, but COME ON.

I was trying to be creative and match current projects with BOTH standards, and the CC standards give NO specific guidelines as to the TYPES of speeches should be done.

So I have to jump over the writing standards for speech standard ideas.

This is ridiculous.  


Stanford’s Reading Like a Historian project - Excellent video that’s also a pretty great argument for the Common Core State Standards in social studies. 75 lessons for US History with documents & graphic organizers are available here: I use the video in every Common Core presentation that I do because it makes me excited! Happy planning!

Common Core and The Author
  • Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure a text, order events within it (e.g., parallel plots), and manipulate time (e.g., pacing, flashbacks) create such effects as mystery, tension, or surprise.
  • Analyze how an author draws on and transforms source material in a specific work (e.g., how Shakespeare treats a theme or topic from Ovid or the Bible or how a later author draws on a play by Shakespeare).
  • Analyze the impact of the author’s choices regarding how to develop and relate elements of a story or drama (e.g., where a story is set, how the action is ordered, how the characters are introduced and developed).
  • Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure specific parts of a text (e.g., the choice of where to begin or end a story, the choice to provide a comedic or tragic resolution) contribute to its overall structure and meaning as well as its aesthetic impact.
The following are from grades 9-12 CCC/ELA literature standards.  I have great difficulty with these standards from a theoretical standpoint.  They are presented as if there is a “right” answer, as if we can call up the author to give readers the correct answer for our multiple choice test.   Common Core places far too much emphasis on authorial intent, and that is flawed when most of the secondary canon is Dead White Guys whom we can’t poke for answers.   Only one standard addresses interpretation:
  • Analyze multiple interpretations of a story, drama, or poem (e.g., recorded or live production of a play or recorded novel or poetry), evaluating how each version interprets the source text. (Include at least one play by Shakespeare and one play by an American dramatist.)
But even that isn’t asking for the STUDENT’S interpretation.  It’s asking for other people’s interpretation, with no springboard forward into the “Now, why does this matter?” pool.   Common Core does nothing but emphasize the student’s relationship with the text doesn’t matter.  It makes them passive readers and makes them feel as though their opinions don’t matter because they aren’t the Right Answer. As much as I loathed New Criticism for its strict adherence to The Text Stands Alone, at least that is preferable than this idea that we can construct authorial intent out of thin air.  
Teaching Channel: Education Update Pt. 5

Here’s the last and final: High School All of them are 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. 

Education Update: High School from Matthew Chao on Vimeo.

Links to all the videos on Teaching Channel.

Common Core State Standards for Math

Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy

Common Core State Standards for Elementary School

Common Core State Standards for Middle School

Common Core State Standards for High School

Apparently you can see it on teaching channel’s youtube channel too.Look for the ones that say “Common Core State Standards”

A Common Core worry:

I had a great high school experience.  So great, that I was willing to come back and work there.  But I couldn’t help think there were some gaps in my learning.  I know first hand now that not everything can be taught, but when I went to college, I got a lot of, “You haven’t read _____?”

I was able to weasel my way into honors classes during my junior and senior year (long story about the weaseling part).  It was only in those classes people regularly read long novels and works of literature.  In the “Core 40” (college prep, non-AP) classes, they would do maybe one long work a semester.

I covered all the great novels of American Lit, the big players of British Lit, and snuck in some American Drama in my comp class, but people looked at me funny for never having read The Iliad, the Odyssey, Antigone, Oedipus Rex, Don Quixote, or more Dickens (I got an abridged version of Great Expectations in ninth grade.)  I was behind all the theater majors.  I actually looked up a list of “must read plays” and actually read some and then spark-noted the rest so I at least knew what people were talking about.  (I would later be ahead of all English majors in all things Drama.)

My point is, with Common Core deemphasizing longer works of literature to focus more on informational “real world,” text, I worry I’m going to send fleets of students to college who don’t know how to read a long book if they don’t already do it for fun. There is so little as it is, I feel. I’m going to send students to college who won’t recognize basic titles of the canon of literature.  

In the Common Core curriculum guide, the novels are THERE.  Common Core themselves are not throwing longer works out the window.  They encourage much more supplementation with informational text.  But I’m concerned about the curriculum “coaches” and test writers who see the picture much, much differently than I do.  

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.

Education Update: Middle School from Matthew Chao on Vimeo.

Links to all the videos on Teaching Channel

Common Core State Standards for Math

Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy

Common Core State Standards for Elementary School

Common Core State Standards for Middle School

Common Core State Standards for High School

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.

edshelf Weekly - Education Standards

You may already know about the Common Core State Standards in the U.S. Did you also know about the Next Generation Science Standards? Or the National Core Art Standards? And the ISTE Standards?

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Decoding Common Core State Standards

By this point, you have no doubt heard of the Common Core State Standards. Maybe your child’s teacher brought them up, maybe you’ve read about them in the news, or maybe you have heard the term but have no idea what they are. These standards are being implemented in schools across the country, and we’re definitely addressing them in our programs, including Buddies, ReadThenWrite, and the Publishing Academy. 

This month, we answer some basic questions about the Common Core State Standards, and offer some tips on how to practice them with the children and youth in your life. 

What are they?

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are rigorous academic benchmarks for K-12 students in Language Arts and Math. The standards outline the skills a student needs to succeed in college (and beyond!) broken down into anchor standards and standards by grade.

Anchor standards are big idea skills and knowledge that a student should master by the time he or she graduates from high school. The grade-specific standards are smaller chunks that the students should learn each year in order to progress appropriately.

What about the old state standards?

Every state’s Board of Education has had learning standards in place for decades. However, many states had disparate standards, so what it meant to be a high achieving, say, 7th grader in Massachusetts was not the same thing as being a high achieving 7th grader in Utah.

States do not have to adopt the Common Core State Standards, but most have (it was one of the conditions for applying to the Race to the Top grant under the Obama Administration). At present, only Virginia, Texas, Nebraska, and Alaska have yet to adopt CCSS. 

How will classrooms enact the standards?

First, CCSS is not a curriculum. They’re merely guidelines, and individual school districts, teachers, and schools can make use of them them however they think is best for their students. When you read them, you may even think that they are kind of vague – which is a purposeful attempt to allow educators flexibility in their approach and instruction.

What’s next for Chicago schools and CCSS?

The new standards were officially implemented in Chicago Public Schools this academic year. There is yet to be a comprehensive test for CCSS aptitude, so this spring, students will again take the ISAT test.

However, during the 2014-2015 academic year, CPS students will take the PARCC assessment (Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers), a new, interactive, online test currently being designed by stakeholders in 26 states.

Learn more about the Common Core State Standards and Illinois here.