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Eighth Grade Teacher in NYC

As teachers we only want what

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As teachers we only want what is best for all of our students. Here is the question. How can we take text that is challenging, rigorous and distinct, and differentiate it to meet all the needs of our students? As you said above,our students come to us with different reading abilities. So the challenge is finding materials that will meet the requirements of the Common Core Standards as well as the abilities of our students. This is not easy. This takes time. I find it easier to take the reading material that meets Common Core, give it to all students, yet break it down in different ways for others. Is this being rigorous? I am not sure.

3rd Grade Teacher, Georgia

We are struggling with

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We are struggling with implementing the new Common Core ELA standards this year. The biggest complaint I hear relates to resources, or lack thereof. We are asked to create complex tasks with text complexity when many of our schools do not have resources to help support the teacher in the classroom. Thank you for your post. It is helpful in evaluating what "text complexity" actually means. I think many teacher feel it means also includes bringing in a variety of text. It is all well and good to put standards out that say students now must read more complex texts. The questions is: how do we get them there?I was curious about the finding that K-12 resources have been on a downward trend. I know when I taught sixth grade a few years ago, students had difficulty reading the sentences in the grammar book. It is hard to find the parts of speech in a text when students cannot read the text.

Fifth grade self-contained teacher from Philadelphia, PA

My school district will

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My school district will implement the Common Core in the fall...At the end of the last school year the teachers around the district participated in two professional development meetings to discuss what this would mean and the changes it would bring. In one of the packets distributed there was a list of literature recommendations by grade. Some of the recommended texts date back to the 1700s..really?!
I was relieved to read in your blog that we must not only consider the complexity of what we're assigning our students to read, but just as important, we must consider the tasks and objectives associated with the texts. I have found it difficult to always find interesting and complex text for my fifth graders. Either the text is interesting and not complex or the text is boring and complex. In the past I have used Norman Webb's Depth of Knowledge Levels (2005) to plan rigorous, challenging activities for my students. I think that using Webb's higher levels (strategic thinking and extended thinking), will allow me to differentiate as needed, while continuing to provide my students with the "complexity of complex texts".

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