I know that there is both negative and positive press about the Common Core. As an English and Literacy teacher, I embrace the Common Core and look to the benefits the Common Core presents to all our students. The Common Core is about inquiry and it does not dictate how teachers should teach. There are a number of themes throughout the standards that all teachers need to pay attention to.
My colleague at Manhattanville College, Katie Cunningham, presented an informative presentation to the Literacy department that I want to share with you. Here are ten ideas she shared about tapping into the Common Core for student and teacher success:
1. Close Reading of Complex Texts – The Common Core stresses thorough and purposeful reading (and rereading) of text.
2. Text Complexity Matters – Think about the reader and the task along with the quantitative and qualitative data. This requires teachers to think about the text complexity, motivation, purpose, and background knowledge when choosing texts to read. Before you jump on the tons of text exemplars that are available online, think about how you might differentiate the exemplar for the individuals in the classroom so that all students can succeed.
3. Focus on Higher Level Critical and Analytical Thinking, Reading, & Writing in Response to Reading
4. Focus on Cross-Cutting Concepts: science and social studies need to link so that students are readers in all content areas. The Common Core is not anti-literature, the reality is that we read all sorts of genres and shouldn’t limit our students reading appetites.
5. Informational Text – Students should be reading 70% informational text in high school and 40% in elementary school.
6. Narrative, Informational and Argument Writing About Reading – Note that it is not persuasive writing anymore but argumentative and students are reading narrative, informational, and argumentative texts.
7. Pairing Fiction and Non Fiction – Create text sets of for students to read interactively. Hence, allow students to read multiple perspectives and multiple genres about a subject or topic.
8. Emphasis on “Real Form” Writing – Students need to be looking at and reading speeches, news articles, media, poetry, opinion pieces, and primary sources.
9. Point of View – If we look at the questions that are being asked of our students, the focus is on writing from sources to support a point of view and claim of argument.
10. Focus on Technology – As I have stated in previous posts and presentations, technology is now embedded into the Common Core and students should be using technology to create and demonstrate their knowledge and understanding.