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CCSS Study

Our school moves to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS)?  What does that mean? How do these standards change the way I teach and students learn? What do I need to do to implement these standards?

Our previous state standards included grade level expectations that mostly do fit into the CCSS as parts of the deeper, more complex standards of CCSS.  It is important to note that the CCSS do have authors: David Coleman and Sue Pimentel. And the document ratified by the forty-six states states, “the Standards define what all students are expected to know and be able to do, not how teachers should teach” (2010a, 6).

To help me implement the CCSS, I’m studying the book, Pathways to the Common Core: Accelerating Achievement by Lucy Calkens, Mary Ehrenworth, and Chris Lehman.

The first thing is to undertand that this implementation does fall into the purview of principals and teachers, who are free to use the tools and knowledge of their professional judgments to determine how to meet these goals.

The CCSS demand of even young students the ability to analyze multiple texts and explain the relationships between ideas and author’s craft. Students need to read lots of types of texts and books, engage in conversations in which they support their ideas with evidence from the text, both literal and inferred. Reading and writing are equally important because higher-order comprehension and critical thinking matters. This focus emphasizes the importance of critical citizenship — expecting evidence, noting viewpoints, discerning misinformation.  The curriculum will build, a spiral of goals that will take time as teachers plan together to lead students into deeper critical thinking about more complex texts so that students grow into asking their own key questions and think and write about their analysis of multiple sources when researching their answers. No longer is just the reading and writing teacher responsible for language arts; cross-curricular and interdisciplinary units will help guide students to become critical thinkers of complex information.

We will need to look at what we already do well, and set goals to improve. We’ll need to find the gaps and create a plan to reform our curriculum with an emphasis in a spiral, cross-curricular reading and writing. Writing is a tool for thinking across disciplines. An hour writing workshop and at least forty-five minutes of choice reading time is vital.  We will need many high-interest just-right books. Running records will indicate where each student is, and we’ll need to focus on higher-level comprehension — reading for meaning — at all levels. Writing focus on narrative, explanation, and persuasive forms. In reading and writing, understanding points of view is critical to understanding reading and communicating clearlyK

Look at levels two and three of Webb’s depth-of-knowledge hierarchy for an indication of what is expected in the CCSS.  Math 3-5   Reading    Bloom/Webb  Assessments  21C DOK   NYCDOE DOK    Students need to be able to sort, categorize, compare, contrast, evaluate, analyze, reason.

The CCSS includes nine reading skills — analyze them across grade levels to see how each successive grade level expectation builds on what went before, and all expect the student to base understanding directly from text evidence and inference, not from a reader’s connection to that text. CCSS skill 10 refers to grade level text reading across the nine skills. Everything is about making meaning. Students need to converse in analytic, text-based discussions; read-alouds and “accountable talk” form a basis for creating lessons in manageable steps with feedback and ample practice in a variety of texts and text complexity.  Hopefully students can form book clubs in teams or with partners so they learn to carry their reading strategies and skills learned into any area independently.

As for me, I plan to dig out my running record work, watch videos at Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, and continue learning about the reading and writing standards in the CCSS. I’ve created a LiveBinder of CCSS links

What about you? Has your state or school adopted the CCSS? How are you learning to implement these standards?

Sheri Edwards View All

Geeky Gramma ~~
Retired Middle School Language Arts/Media Teacher ~~
Writer and Thinker~~
Art from the Heart

3 thoughts on “CCSS Study Leave a comment

  1. Hi Sheri,

    Great post with an overview of CCSS! I hadn’t seen/heard about Pathways to the Common Core: Accelerating Achievement by Lucy Calkens, Mary Ehrenworth, and Chris Lehman. Have you finished it yet? I’m interested in hearing more about it. Is that what you based this excellent post on?

    Our state has adopted the Common Core, and I’ a co-coordinator for the CC implementation within my district. Here’s how I view the roll out from a district perspective, again this is just my personal opinion on the rolling out.

    Helping our district understand Webb’s DOK is key, but also really understanding Bloom’s with DOK in the Hess Matrix is also important to get deeper questions and tasks.

    I believe learning about Bloom’s/DOK/Hess along with text complexity fits nicely because you address what to do with the text (the task) instead of it being a checklist of having students read more rigorous text. I recently wrote about text complexity, describing this, but also focusing on a resource we have at our fingertips — technology and the Internet. I hear teachers worrying about resources to address the new standards, and I’m not big on running out to buy things, especially when we have the Internet and our own brains to adapt what we have to the Common Core.

    To me, the Common Core helps with the urgency to create 21st century, student-centered classrooms. It’s not a silver bullet and it won’t change a thing unless the districts point out that it’s about 21st century learning.

    Thanks again for your post. I would like to hear more about what you are learning in regards to the Common Core.

    Kind regards,

    • Thanks Tracy for all the links. I plan on checking your blog to keep up with learning to implement these standards. I’ve added your links to our CCSS livebinder so others can learn from your resources. The flyer and the matrix will help with development of lessons and curriculum and focus on school improvement overall. I so thank you for sharing all of this! Love our PLN!

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