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Director, Antioch Center for School Renewal

Critical Skills

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Hi Sabrina-
At the risk of seeming self-serving, let me recommend the Critical Skills program at Antioch University New England. I've been working with a lot of teachers who are using the CSP as a mechanism for "the opportunity, respect, and support to design learning for his or her students" described in the piece. You can learn more at antiochne.edu/acsr/criticalskills or e-mail me directly at acsr(at)antioch(dot)edu

The CSP isn't a plug-and-play, one size fits all model- it's a structure of designing and creating problem-based learning experiences that combine content with process to help kids gain deep understanding of both. I've done lots of PD in my career- I've been a PD junkie for over 20 years- and this is the real deal.

High School English/Language Arts

Preparation for CCSS

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While a few teachers in my building are currently piloting CCSS materials purchased by our district, these new standards remain a mystery to most of us. The materials we have received thus far include handouts and a book of curriculum maps for common core. This material in particular seems counter-intuitive however, if CCSS is truly meant to be how it is described in this blog, as the materials we have been given are not unlike "binders of ready-made packaged programs and curriculum," described by Ms. Powers as "worthless without a high quality teacher who’s given the opportunity, respect, and support to design learning for his or her students". In addition to this book and the few teachers who are piloting its lessons, the district has offered some training opportunities, though it is unclear at this time whether this training will be focused on this specific material or the concept of CCSS in general. In a recent chat with my curriculum leader, it was implied that our school will not begin to implement CCSS until next school year, with the understanding that the test for these standards will not be piloted until the year following. As I read through the ideas posted here about empowering teachers I felt that CCSS might have a positive impact, but upon further research into the vision of common core that my building holds, I am not as reassured. I am including the ISBN of the material I described above; if anyone has a lead on better materials that underscore the empowerment discussed in this blog please share!
Common Core Curriculum Maps: English Language Arts
Written by Teachers, for Teachers
www.josseybass.com
ISBN: 978-1-118-10820-8

Wowzers offers online Game-based Math curriculum for Grades 3-8

CCSS also ushers in

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CCSS also ushers in Computer-Based Testing (CBT) as its assessment means. That means the assessments will completed and, more importantly, graded digitally.

Teachers will no longer have to wait months for state assessment results. These immediate results will give the educators more time to focus on reinforcement and progress.

Check out more about how digital data and CBT's will give teachers more time to improve progress at http://blog.wowzers.com/bid/266542/Don-t-Wait-on-your-Student-s-Success-...

6th grade social studies & science teacher from Colorado

Good point!

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Thanks, Erin, for the Lucy Calkins addition...I forgot about her because I accidentally slept through her General Session (so disappointing for me). Great resource!

Education Consultant and Literacy Specialist

Thank you, M. Rauh, for the

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Thank you, M. Rauh, for the resources. Another one I'd like to add, especially for elementary educators, is by Lucy Calkins.

Education Consultant and Literacy Specialist

Rich,I agree that students

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Rich,
I agree that students definitely need support in reading textbooks in all disciplines. In Doug Buehl's recent book, "Developing Readers in the Academic Disciplines," he writes about why this is such an important issue and gives concrete ways to address these needs.

6th grade social studies & science teacher from Colorado

My Own Brief Summary

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Having attended a different conference at the same time - I will sum up what I got from the Colorado Council for IRA's 2013 Literacy Conference.

My 2 Big Ideas:
1. Common Core changes literacy expectations (for example: 6th grade readers are now expected to be between what was formerly a high 6th grade reading level and a mid-range 10th grade level) - scary, but teachers were given a lot of strategies to tackle this at the conference.
2. Literacy needs to become a tool for accessing content (not a separate concept). This affects the choices elementary teachers make in the curricula, as well as the way secondary teachers address content.
3. Math is a verb, Social Studies is a verb, Science is a verb, Reading is a verb, and Writing is a verb (and so is any other academic discipline). Students should no longer be learning information - they should be learning how different disciplines access information and problem solve.

A few places to look for help?
-Public Education and Business Coalition: their "Thinking Strategies" take literacy strategies and turn them into a set of tools for accessing any content
-Mentor Texts: if we're going to teach kids to read and write in the different academic disciplines, we have to read those materials, discover how they share information, and mimic the craft of those materials as writers (Looking for strategies to help you do this: Linda Hoyt, "Crafting Nonfiction Writing," and Kelly Gallagher, "Write Like This," were 2 great resources I discovered this weekend).

Middle/high school math teacher, Coach for elementary math teachers

Erin, Iwould like to add one

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Erin, Iwould like to add one thing. You mention that teachers in all disciplines share the responsibility of students' literacy development. I would like to encourage all teachers to do just that, but I would also like the literacy teachers to invest their time helping students read books in all disciplines. It seems that few teachers spend any time explaining how to read and textbook in any area. This seems short-sighted since textbooks are the most useful type of book a student needs to be successful in an academic environment. Reading a math book is not the same skill as reading the fiction or the non-fiction sources used to develop literacy. Maybe reading teachers could spend some time investigating what I believe to be an oversight. Thank you.

executive director @ Edutopia and mom of 2 kids

Erin -- This is one of the

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Erin -- This is one of the best summaries I have read about the goals, opportunities and risks of the Common Core standards. Your last few paragraphs about implementation and empowering teachers is key. I just read a frightening story about how the Common Core is rolling out in a Delaware school. I really hope this is not an example of what we will see across the country: http://bit.ly/Vp3qry via @dailykos

Executive Director of FairTest

I fear that people are far

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I fear that people are far too optimistic about the Common Core and its impact. For example, the applications by the two consortia said the tests would remain primarily multiple-choice. Each will have only one task per subject/per grade, woefully in adequate. They will be the NCLB high-stakes tests. For more on FairTest's concerns see our fact sheet, http://www.fairtest.org/common-core-assessments-more-tests-not-much-better

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