Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.- John F. Kennedy
I’ve recently completed training on High-Progress Literacy Classrooms and Common Core State Standards for Language Arts. One of the guiding premises behind the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) is the standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. The shifts from the old state standards to the new CCSS are student-focused.
Students will do more than just read texts for basic comprehension. They will be expected to pull from multiple sources to synthesize diverse texts and ideas, consider multiple points of view and read across texts. The ultimate goal of each standard is that all students will demonstrate key skills articulated in the CCSS on their own. The expectations spiral across grade levels to help students reach this goal.
During this training, I read something written by Donald Graves called The Cha-Cha-Cha Curriculum. He states that it is a sign of the times that silent, sustained reading lasts only twelve minutes and that we race our children through everything ever recommended. Time is our scarcest resource and to teach well, we do not need more techniques, activities or strategies.
Using the iPads the last 2 years really helped me hone in on the essentials in teaching reading and writing. Students are able to construct their own learning. They are able to research, read, write, and create. Much of our curricula still includes things we no longer need or no longer feel strongly about. By cleaning out our “curricular closets” we are more easily able to focus on those essentials.
The CCSS will definitely provide more rigor in our instruction. These standards are designed to help ready our students for post-secondary education and the workforce. Our students now will become our future leaders. I’m excited about the possibilities of using the iPads in conjunction with these standards in the fall when we return to school.
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