Search Results for: common core

Book Review: Common Core Literacy for ELA

Common Core Literacy for Ela, History/Social Studies, and the Humanities: Strategies to Deepen Content Knowledge (Grades 6-12)Common Core Literacy for ELA, History/Social Studies, and the Humanities: Strategies to Deepen Content Knowledge (Grades 6-12)

by Katherine S. McKnight

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

View all my reviews

Dr. Katherine McKnight is an author, educator and consultant. She regularly publishes in professional journals and has written eleven books including titles like The English Teacher’s Survival Guide and The Elementary Teacher’s Big Book of Graphic Organizers--recipient of the 2013 Teachers’ Choice Award.

Three of her books are on Common Core, the latest being Common Core Literacy for ELA, History/Social Studies, and the Humanities: Strategies to Deepen Content Knowledge (Jossey-Bass 2014). When I saw this book on my Amazon Vine list, I was excited to read her thoughts on effective delivery of these far-reaching Standards.

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13 Ways Blogs Teach Common Core

bloggingIf you aren’t blogging with your students, you’re missing one of the most effective tools available for improving student literacy and math. Blogs are easy to use, fun for students, encourage creativity and problem-solving, allow for reflection and feedback, enable publishing and sharing of work, and fulfill many of the Common Core Standards you might be struggling to complete. Aside from math and literacy, Common Core wants students to become accomplished in a variety on intangible skills that promote learning and college and career readiness. Look at these 13 benefits of blogging and how they align with Common Core:

  1. provide and get feedback–building a community via comments is an integral part of blogging. If you didn’t want feedback, you’d publish a white paper or submit work the old fashioned hard copy way. When students publish their ideas in blogs, other students, teachers, parents can provide feedback, join the conversation, and learn from the student.
  2. write-edit-review-rewrite–teachers don’t expect students to get it right the first time. Part of the writing process is revising, editing, rewriting. This is easy with blogs. Students publish a topic, collect comments, incorporate these ideas into their own thinking, then edit their post.
  3. publish–the idea that student work is created for a grade then stuffed away in a corner of their closet is disappearing. Current educators want students to publish their work in a way that allows everyone to benefit from the student’s knowledge and work. There are many ways to do that–blogs are one of the easiest.
  4. share–just like publishing, students no longer create for a grade; they share with others. Blogs allow for sharing of not only writing, but artwork, photography, music, multimedia projects, pretty much anything the student can create.
  5. collaborate–blogs can easily be collaborative. Student groups can publish articles, comment on others, edit and rewrite. They can work together on one blog to cover a wider variety of topics and/or make its design attractive, appealing and enticing to readers.
  6. keyboarding–blogs are small doses of typing–300-500 words, a few dozen for comments. This is an authentic opportunity to practice the keyboarding skills students will need for Common Core Standards in 4th grade and up.
  7. demonstrate independence–blogs are about creativity. No two are alike. They offer lots of options for design and formatting so students can tweak it to their preference. Because they are open 24/7, students can do blog work when it suits them, not in the confines of a 50-minute class.
  8. build strong content knowledge–blog posts can be drafted as the student collects information, posted when the student is ready. Links can be included to provide evidence of student statements, as well as linkbacks for reference and deeper reading for interested students.
  9. respond to the varying demands of audience, task, purpose, and discipline–Students can create their work in whatever digital tool fits the audience, task, purpose they are focused on, then embed it into their blog post. This is possible even in a simplified blogging platform like KidBlog. Most online tools (Voki, Wordle, Tagxedo) provide the html codes that can be easily placed in the blog post. Then, the student at their option can focus on presenting their ideas as music, art, photos, text, an infographic, a word cloud–whatever works for their purposes.
  10. comprehend as well as critique–student bloggers are expected to critique the posts of others by thoroughly reading the post and commenting based on evidence. If the reader doesn’t understand, they ask questions in the comments. This insures that when they evaluate the post, they have all the information required to reach a conclusion.
  11. value evidence–blogs make it easy to provide all the necessary evidence to support a point of view.  Students can link back to sources to provide credit and link to experts to provide credibility for statements. In fact, in the blogosphere, good bloggers are expected to do this as a means of building credibility for opinions they write
  12. use technology and digital media strategically and capably--certainly blogs are great for writing, but they’re also excellent as digital portfolios to display student work developed in a variety of places. Students pick the technology that fits what they’re expected to accomplish in a class, then publish it to the blog. Have you seen the movies students put together on a topic? Some are amazing.
  13. understand other perspectives and cultures–blogs are published to the internet. Even private blogs are accessed by many more people than possible with a hand-written paper. Students write knowing that people of all cultures and perspectives will read their material, knowing they can add comments that share their beliefs. This encourages students to develop the habit of thinking about perspective as they write.

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Common Core Writing–Digital Quick Writes

Here’s a free lesson plan from the newest Ask a Tech Teacher book, How to Achieve Common Core with Tech–the Writing Strand. This covers K-8, 208 Standards, and has 28 projects.writing

BTW, the lines at the front of each step are to track progress in case you don’t complete it in one class period. Feel free to print out for classroom use:

Essential Question

How does writing often and briefly improve skills?

Summary

Students use digital Quick Writes to integrate writing and critical thinking practice into any discipline.  They use a variety of age-appropriate digital tools to prepare their work. Through these short, fun writings, students develop fluency, build the habit of reflection, and informally assess thinking.

Big Ideas

Writing routinely for short periods of time, for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences, makes students better writers.

Materials

Internet, drawing program, quick write links

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common core

11 Things I Love About Common Core

America’s first public school opened in the mid-1600’s to only a handful of hungry students. Most colonists agreed education should be done at home, not in a one-size-fits-all schoolhouse. Even in the late 1700’s after John Adams famously pronounced, “There should not be a district … without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense …”, it took until 1918 before all children were mandated to attend public schools.

Even though no one agreed on what students would be taught, a condition that continues to this very day. To misquote William Butler Yeats, often it was more about filling the pail than lighting the candle.

Today, over 3 million teachers and 99.000 public schools educate the almost 50 million schoolage American children at a cost to the taxpayer of over $590 million–but here’s the kicker: lessons are delivered in accordance with 50 separate state education standards. No wonder we struggle to be even ‘average’ on the world academic stage.

The National Board of Governors changed all that when 45 states supported their Common Core State Standards. Adopted in 2010, it immediately found a busload of detractors, engendered fierce arguments, but perseveres in its effort to reform how America prepares its children for college and career. I’m not going to debate these guidelines today. Instead, let me share the top eleven things I love about the new Standards that are now the law of the land all over the country:

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Common Core Reading–What if Students Don’t Like Reading

common coreHere’s a free lesson plan from the newest Ask a Tech Teacher book, How to Achieve Common Core with Tech–the Reading Strand. This covers K-8, 315 Standards, and has 14 projects.

BTW, the lines at the front of each step are to track progress in case you don’t complete it in one class period. Feel free to print out for classroom use:

Essential Question

How can games help me learn reading skills?

Summary

Students play an online game (i.e., Samorost) to hone reading and math skills. By end of unit, 5th through Middle School will review up to 7 math anchor standards, 8 reading anchor standards, 6 RST standards, 4 reading informational standards, and 1 reading foundational standard.

Big Idea

Games encourage students to read closely, determine and analyze central ideas, interpret meaning, assess point of view/purpose, differentiate between arguments, and understand sometimes complex material.

Materials

Internet, class Twitter account, student blogs, digital citizenship links

Teacher Preparation

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Common Core: A Lesson Plan for STEM (on Bridges)

common coreHere’s a free lesson plan from the newest Ask a Tech Teacher book, How to Achieve Common Core with Tech–the Math Strand. This covers K-8, 114 Standards, and has 20 projects.

BTW, the lines at the front of each step are to check off the skill–track progress in case you don’t complete it in one class period. Feel free to print out for your classroom use:

Essential Question

How can I use practical and theoretical knowledge to solve a problem?

Summary

Students virtually construct a viable, affordable bridge and submit it (if age limits met) to a national competition. They use theoretical knowledge in a practical application.  When done, they reflect on importance of both theoretical and practical in problem solving.

This lesson contributes to the rigor of your school’s math program, defined by Common Core: … Use of technology differentiates for student learning styles by providing an alternative method of achieving conceptual understanding, procedural skill and fluency, and applying to authentic circumstances.

By the end of this unit, middle school students will review all eight Standards for Mathematical Procedures, 3 W and 3 RST standards, as well as embrace an authentic experience in problem solving and the practical applications of math knowledge.

Big Idea

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Common Core Language: Teach Your Students to Speak Like a Geek

common coreHere’s a free lesson plan from the newest Ask a Tech Teacher book, How to Achieve Common Core with Tech–the Language Strand. This covers K-8, 87 Standards, and has 8 projects.

BTW, the lines at the front of each step are to check off the skill–track progress in case you don’t complete it in one class period. Feel free to print to out for your classroom use:

Essential Question

Why is appropriate vocabulary essential to academic success?

Lesson Summary

Students teach each other domain-specific words through presentations. This reinforces vocabulary, as well as presentation skills.

By the end of this unit, 3rd-middle school students will review up to 7 L, 4 SL, and 1 WHST, as well as authentically use and review Tier 3 vocabulary (or optionally, Tier 2).

Big Ideas

  • Words are beautiful.
  • Knowing Tier 3 vocabulary helps students understand the subject.

Materials

Internet, Speak Like a Geek assessments, Speak Like a Geek sign-ups

Teacher Preparation

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Common Core Language: Teach Your Students to Speak Like a Geek

common coreHere’s a free lesson plan from the newest Ask a Tech Teacher book, How to Achieve Common Core with Tech–the Language Strand. This covers K-8, 87 Standards, and has 8 projects.

BTW, the lines at the front of each step are to check off the skill–track progress in case you don’t complete it in one class period. Feel free to print to out for your classroom use:

Essential Question

Why is appropriate vocabulary essential to academic success?

Lesson Summary

Students teach each other domain-specific words through presentations. This reinforces vocabulary, as well as presentation skills.

By the end of this unit, 3rd-middle school students will review up to 7 L, 4 SL, and 1 WHST, as well as authentically use and review Tier 3 vocabulary (or optionally, Tier 2).

Big Ideas

  • Words are beautiful.
  • Knowing Tier 3 vocabulary helps students understand the subject.

Materials

Internet, Speak Like a Geek assessments, Speak Like a Geek sign-ups

Teacher Preparation

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