Common Core State Standards -Reading & Writing


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This slide show was used as part of an early step toward preparing middle school educators for the Common Core.

The opening slides can be easily skipped. I wanted to convey to my colleagues that through heavy focus on writing and reading (and less on specific content) we could help our students become better thinkers, readers, and writers.

You're more than welcome to email me with questions, though I do not purport to be any kind of expert.(

You're also welcome to follow my babbling and raving at

Ralph Lagana, 2013

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  • Point to slides 3-11: Dothe basics well and other skills will be more easily incorporated. Many of the best companies are a product of being known for doing one thing extremely well. Want clothes that are made well: L.L. Bean, Coach. Want an electronic device that doesn’t crash and is highly user-friendly? Apple. Maybe note how it’s when companies move away from the one thing that makes them a leader in an area, they tend to fail, overwhelmingly so. The same might apply to education. Read and write well and you should be fine. Begin to worry about too many other specific skills and things become diluted and ineffective.
  • Hoped for outcome.
  • KEY: White colored activities are standard fare. They work but could be improved. Green colored activities are the improved versions.GREEN BUTTON: denotes an attachment or link.Posing a question to begin class is fine, as are brainstorming and listing-then-defining key terms/concepts. However, these approaches can be enhanced with small modifications. Instead of listing definitions for students to copy down, use an anticipation guide. Anticipation guides not only lay out of the key ideas for a lesson or passage, they also instantly activate student thinking and involvement. This is especially true when the statements listed in them are particularly provocative or heavily loaded in some way. For example: “The only person who can be your mother is the one who gave birth to you.” (strongly agree, somewhat agree, unsure, somewhat disagree, strongly disagree)The same idea applies to brainstorming. When students in a large class are asked to sit and brainstorm and then share you tend to get a mixed level of engagement; and the students that would normally volunteer their thoughts end up brainstorming and sharing the most anyway. The placemat activity works better because it begins with the independent thinking and then rolls into student-centered discussions where common thoughts are determined and collected for presentation. The focus could also be to individually brainstorm, then discuss, and then come to a consensus or to list the common questions the group has.
  • Anticipation guides are highly adaptable. One can add qualifying choices to the questions posed to students to determine degree of agreement or disagreement. In essence: After reading each statement, choose on of the following: Strongly Agree, Agree, Unsure, Disagree, Strongly Disagree. Another fun wrinkle to this is to lineup a class of students along the given continuum of choices and ask for members in each group to defend the choices that they made. After hearing each group share their thinking students are able to physically (and on paper) switch where they are with their opinions. Highly active and motivating. Anticipation Guides can also be revisited during and after reading too. They’re also great vehicles for post-reading writing or even critical thinking assessments. For example: “Using class discussions, notes, and the reading we’ve done, combine the statements in the anticipation guide to write a summation of how your thinking on (some topic) has changed or become clearer for you.
  • Another example of an Anticipation Guide. It’s a highly flexible method of engaging students in any subject area.
  • Regrettably, this slide won’t come together presentation-wise as I’d hoped. So, please use the GREEN BUTTON to pull the cleaner, Word version.
  • Same as previous slide. Select the GREEN BUTTON for a Word version.
  • A refresher as to what changes/modifications are expected under the CC.
  • Purpose of slides 27-29 is to show how one department stretches out a targeted skill. One skill per week. Deeper, not wider.
  • Purpose for slide 30. Show a specific example of going deeper on a topic with multiple resources.I have props for this slide. This is based on a class activity I did last year and this year with my students. Includes multiple resources, reading levels, and types of reading/writing.
  • THIS slide is potentially the most important one to my thinking. This strategy reflects the transition from lecture and straight transmission of information by a teacher to teacher & student responsibility for the same learning.
  • Slides 36-39. These are not my favorite as part of the presentation but I wanted to try and connect with the iPad technologies which are going to move in more and more into schools. The idea is to show that the App/Tech is fine and well but only of benefit to students if it’s married to some form of interpretations (analysis) and writing (synthesis). Both images are hyper linked to their respective app websites in the Apple store.
  • The key with a task like this is to make clear to students how to separate an observation from an inference or conjecture; then showing how to work into synthesizing the graphic data with all previous information to form a cohesive analysis of the impact.Using the graph it’s clear that Chile has a very small standing army. In times of disaster it’s important to have order maintained and organizations in place capable of working quickly and efficiently. Without an army, that becomes a challenge. Chile has a modest level of Internet connectivity. So, getting information to people on the outskirts of the disaster area could be hampered. The graph shows that the electrical consumption of the country is very sparse compared to the U.S. This suggests that cleanup and repairs could be slow and difficult. Per capita income is also poorer, which plays into the difficulties families could have with repairs and the ability to buy food for survive.
  • I may be reaching on this slide. Not sure I’ll even keep it.
  • Less is More is particularly useful as a guide on how to work in many resources and higher level passages over the course of a school year.
  • Common Core State Standards -Reading & Writing

    1. 1. Reading & Writing { Two things even the Common Core can’t mess up.
    2. 2. { Common Phrases { Focused More On  comparative reading  college readiness  content-rich non-fiction  seminal works;  critical writing; complex texts argumentative and informational (as much as  profound insight into 35% should be the human condition argumentative)  close reading  premium on evidence  text-dependent questions from the text  culture studies  math: procedural skills, fluency, and application  academic vocabularyCommon Core Emphasis
    3. 3. Think of the best companies or people in a field. What makes them great?Question
    4. 4. What makes Applegreat? What makes Google great? { It’s a simple answer…
    5. 5. Each companyfocuses on simplicity. { They each do 1 thing exceedingly well –if not great.
    6. 6. So? What makes 1 college-ready?
    7. 7. Simple.{ The ability to read and write well. Ok…ok…maybe it takes a little more than just those two things, but if you have those skills you’re well on your way to college success.
    8. 8.  “Consistently , one of the largest differences between failing and successful students was that only the latter could express their thoughts on the page.”  from The Atlantic, “The Writing Revolution”Some self-serving quotes to makethe point.
    9. 9. “If we could institute only one change to makestudents more college ready, it should be toincrease the amount and quality of writingstudents are expected to produce.” from College Knowledge by David Conley, an in-depthstudy of the skills and content needed to succeed in college. { And another...
    10. 10. What about reading? We’ll use some mathematical-statistical thingies for this one…
    11. 11. amount of outside word gain per year achievementreading by minutes percentileand per day40+ minutes per day 2.3 million a year 90th percentile<13 minutes per day 600,000 a year 50th percentile<2 minutes per day 51,000 a year 10th percentileSeems like a strong reason to drop everything and just have kids read. The numbers tell the tale.
    12. 12. Where to begin? Keep it simple.
    13. 13. Increase in-class reading and writing. Bear in mind that the goal is to foster college readiness, include seminal works, and provide insights into the profound human condition. All ridiculously easy things to do, of course. ;)Adopt a few strategies TEAM-wide. Keep in mind that students need multiple opportunities to practice the strategies you bring to them; and that using them cross-TEAM will make the process far more likely to succeed. Now, are you thinking any (or all) of the following?
    14. 14. • I don’t know enough about reading strategies to teach it with science, mathematics, or social studies.• If I spend my time teaching reading and writing strategies, I’ll won’t cover even half of the curriculum.• I’m only allotted forty minutes a day to cover everything. I have to lecture and write notes on the board.• I’m going to need more room help than I have to get to the neediest kids.
    15. 15. Remember: Our charges under the Common Core are many,but chief among them is that students will……wrangle with complextexts… …use text evidence to support arguments… …become critical readers and thinkers.Now, rather thanupset anyone anyfurther……I’m going to run off like a scared jack-rabbit and let someone else’s fineefforts show how strategic reading can be done while still covering content.
    16. 16. { Language Arts Lesson { Science LessonWhat do Common Core readinglessons look like?(NOTE: These reading lessons are easily employed in any of the contentareas. The common denominator (math term) they share is that theacquisition of knowledge comes from shared exploration of the text.
    17. 17. click image for videoWhat does a Common Core mathlesson look like?
    18. 18. click image for videoAnother, morecomprehensive, math lesson.
    19. 19. Which Strategies are the best ones?They’re all good in one way or another, butresearch has shown that one need onlyconsistently employ a few to be effective withstudents. Focus: Elevating the Essentials to Radically Elevate Student Learning by Mike SchmokerOK then, which strategies are thefew best ones?
    20. 20. Many of the best reading strategies just happen to come prior to what weall typically consider actual reading.Pre-Reading Activities• Pre-reading activities are often the main determinant of overall comprehension.• Without adequate time devoted to pre-reading activities, we’re bound to set up a portion of students for failure.• We’re also, coincidentally, setting up ourselves for failure.• Pre-reading is important because it helps gauge what your students know, or don’t know, it helps them access their prior understandings, and it can provide the hook for wanting to learn what you have to share with them.The few best are those that properly prepare andengage students in comprehending texts.
    21. 21. Time to feel clueless. With a partner, read and discuss the following:There’s a bear in a plain brown bag wrapper doing flip-flops on 12, taking pictures, andpassing out green stamps. Key word: CB radiosAnother.The Batsmen were merciless against the Bowlers. The Bowlers placed their men in slipsand covers. But to no avail. The Batsmen hit one four after another along with andoccasional six. Not once did their balls hit the stumps or get caught.And one more. Key word: cricketWith hocked gems financing him, our hero bravely defied all scornful laughter that tried toprevent his scheme. “Your eyes deceived,” he had said. “An egg not a table correctlytypifies this unexplored planet.” Now three sturdy sisters sought proof. Forging alongsometimes through calm vastness, yet more often over turbulent peaks and valleys. Daysbecame weeks as many doubters spread fearful rumors about the edge. At last fromsomewhere, welcomed winged creatures appeared signifying momentous success. Key word: Columbus Prior-Reading Strategies
    22. 22. I’ve no clue. Keeping in mind some of the focuses of CC (studentWell, maybe half a clue. sharing, student centered, critical thinking and writing), we can rely on old approaches IF we adapt them slightly. For examples… Posed Questions Posing a question –especially one with an arguable answer- activates thinking because it puts the onus to act on the audience. Brainstorming Works best under a time factor. Defining Key Best if limited to a very few, or even one, unifying idea. Concepts E.g. A virus is unique, having characteristics suggesting that it’s both a living thing and non living thing.Placemat Activity Using butcher paper, each student brainstorms on her/his part of the “placemat”. After a few moments everyone at a table shares, and the most common ideas are put in the middle. Anticipation Prepares students to identify the major themes and Guide concepts of a written work through a series of statements that address the concepts. Students may be asked to agree or disagree with a series of statements in order to get them to think about concepts in the reading to follow. What do Common Core pre-reading activities look like?
    23. 23. Anticipation Guide: PercentsDirections: Before reading pages 318-319 in your mathematics book, read each statementand write if you agree or disagree with each statement.Before Reading After ReadingAgree Disagree Decimals are whole numbers. Agree DisagreeAgree Disagree You can always recognize a decimal Agree Disagree number because it always has a decimal point.Agree Disagree Decimals are not related to fractions. Agree DisagreePre-reading Strategy for activating prior knowledge Anticipation Guides (mathematics)
    24. 24. Anticipation Guide: Social StudiesDirections:Before reading: In the column labeled “Me,” place a check next to any statement with which you agree.After reading: Compare your opinions on those statements with information contained in the text. Puta plus sign under the “Text” column if you originally had a check in the “Me” column. If you had nocheck to begin then, leave the “Text” column blank.Me Text______ ______ 1. Before the building of the canal, ships traveled South to get from the Caribbean Sea to the Pacific Ocean.______ ______ 2. The fastest way from the Caribbean to the Pacific was by plane.______ ______ 3. The building of the canal continued the US policy of isolation.______ ______ 4. The geographic conditions helped make the building of canal easier.______ ______ 5. A canal through Panama would benefit the US politically and economically.______ ______ 6. Latin America welcomed US control of the Panama Canal.______ ______ 7. The control of Latin America by the US required the US to send troops to protect its interests. Pre-reading Strategy for activating prior knowledge  Anticipation Guides (social studies)
    25. 25. STORY IMPRESSIONS for Science Write in this space what passage you are about to read might say. Key events and terms Use the chain of words on the left to form your paragraphs. Gregory Mendel 1843: age 21, Monastery of St. Thomas studied agriculture Key words, dates, events, terms, from a soon-to-be read passage, are provide interested in heredity prior to reading. studied pea plantsself-fertilizing & had observable characteristics 7 years 100s of generations & 1,000s of mixes 4 principles discovered Students then use the flow of 1865: presents to National Science Society information to write an impression of what the coming reading will be about. 1866: writes results formally 20 years later: collecting dust 1886: head of monastery no more experiments Pre-Reading Strategy involving writing  Story Impressions
    26. 26. Gregory Mendel1843: age 21, Monastery of St.Thomas This can easily be adapted for students toHe studied agriculture include signal and/or transitional words to assist with the writing.But , he was mostly Or…interested in heredity A writing frame can be embedded in the writing impressions area.He worked with pea plants In 1843, at the age of _____, Gregory Mendel joined thebecause they were Monastery of St. Thomas. There he studied agriculture, but he was mostly interested in _______________________. He workedself-fertilizing & had with ______________ because they wereobservable characteristics .....and so on....after7 years Pre-Reading Strategy involving writing  Modified Story Impressions
    27. 27.  Imagine the air moving through the room. As the air slowly circulates, notice that on these air currents are carried thousands of microscopic, round, bead-like spores. They are so small you have to look very closely to spot them. These spores are looking for an opportunity to grow. They are like tiny seeds, searching for a food source that will enable them to grow and live. If they locate a food source with enough moisture, they can grow. As you watch them drift by, you notice a loaf of bread on the counter. The plastic bread bag has been left opened. The spores get closer and closer and some of them begin to land on a slice of bread. Watch carefully as tiny little strings of cells begin to grow from a spore. More and more cells grow out, farther and farther from the spore. Soon there are so many of them that you see a tangled mass of little strings; these are growing denser and denser as they feed off of the bread. You see some of them with little hooks attach to the bread fibers. They continue to wind outward and further outward. Now you can see a velvety fuzz appearing on the surface of the bread. What colors are you seeing? What have you witnessed?Pre-Reading Strategy for activating prior knowledge Guided Imagery (science)
    28. 28. Common Core expects that less subjectmatter be covered, rather than more.Covering less subject matter allowsstudents to delve deeper withtheir understanding, which is akey driver behind the Common Core.How is this accomplished?One way the Common Core sees this asbeing met is by examining multipleresources on a topic.Deeper Not Wider
    29. 29. Glastonbury Public Schools Grade 6 Reading Draft Unit: Short StoryOverview: In this unit, students will recall what it means to be an active reader and will strategically apply their comprehensionstrategies. Through reading short stories, students will explore literary elements such as setting, conflict, plot, and theme.Students will understand that short stories are a part of our pattern of communication. They will develop an awareness of thestructure of the short story and the elements that comprise this genre. Students will realize that short stories convey informationin an effective, concise manner. Common Core StandardsKey Ideas and DetailsCCSS.6.RL.1- Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.CCSS.6.RL.2- Determine a theme or central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary ofthe text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.CCSS.6.RL.3- Describe how a particular story’s or drama’s plot unfolds in a series of episodes as well as how the charactersrespond or change as the plot moves toward a resolution.Craft and StructureCCSS.6.RL.4- Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotativemeanings; analyze the impact of a specific word choice on meaning and tone.CCSS.6.RL.5- Analyze how a particular sentence, chapter, scene, or stanza fits into the overall structure of a text and contributes tothe development of the theme, setting, or plot.Vocabulary Acquisition and UseCCSS.6.L.4- Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 6 readingand content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.a. Use context (e.g., the overall meaning of a sentence or paragraph; a word’s position or function in a sentence) as a clue to themeaning of a word or phrase.Language Arts unit of study sample: Short Story
    30. 30. Essential Questions: Enduring Understandings:How do literary elements such as setting, conflict, plot, and When readers know and understand story structure, they aretheme contribute to my understanding of the short story? better able to use their comprehension strategies strategically in order to comprehend text on a deeper level.What comprehension strategies can I use to better understandtext? Although short stories share common elements with novels, the concise nature of the genre can impact readers differently.What elements in this story combine that made this an effectiveExample of this genre?Concepts (What students need to know): Skills (What students need to be able to do):Literary Elements: Reading Strategies:Character Noticing/WonderingAntagonist VisualizingProtagonist InferringPlotClimax Quote accurately from textConflict Ask and answer questionsExposition Gather text evidenceRising Action Summarize theme, main points and supporting evidenceFalling Action Speak clearlyResolution Decode multisyllabic wordsStory Theme Use context to confirm or self-correct word recognition and Central lesson understanding, rereading as necessary Message MoralLanguage Arts unit of study sample: Short Story (continued)
    31. 31. Related Reading Strategies/Weekly Focus Learning Outcomes/Related Mini Lessons ResourcesWeek 1:  Lesson 1 Possible Short Story CollectionsLiterary Elements Characters Every Living Thing*Readers are aware of story elements such as *Notice character traits to infer Baseball in Aprilcharacter, setting, plot, theme, and point of character’s motives, feelings, beliefs, Friendsview. and reasons for actions and change. Guys Read Teacher Resource: Literary  Lesson 2 Elements Setting/Plot *Understand the setting’s influence on Short Story: “Eleven” the story and the development of plot. Handouts For Lesson 1:  Lesson 3 * Noticing Language and What It Theme Reveals About Characters *Examining Characters’ Decisions  Lesson 4 * Point of View Handouts for Lesson 2: *plot diagram *conflict *conflict type chartWeek 2:  Lesson 5Predicting (Wondering)* Predicting and Confirming Predicting and Confirming *Use prior knowledge to anticipate what*Readers continually anticipate, confirm, and will happen in the text before, during,revise predictions as they read. and after reading. Making PredictionsLanguage Arts unit of study sample: Short Story
    32. 32. One Topic Multiple ResourcesGraphic Novel Biography VideoDeeper Example: Amelia Earhart
    33. 33. Opportunities to engage with biographies… documentaries…various genres: articles… fiction…Practice with note-taking skills from text from a documentaryStudents wrangled with interesting questions:How does a graphic novel help a reader What discrepancies did you noticeunderstand a time period better than a between the information in thenovel? documentary and the information in the biography?How did sampling multiple resourcesdeepen your understanding of the topic? Which genre form was most informative? Most compelling?Who (what audience) was this written for? Using facts from a biography, compare them to the events in a graphic novel? The Deeper Payoff when using Multiple Resources
    34. 34. Hits on many fronts: examining text structure, partner & group work, & recognizing essential concepts in the reading. For a history chapter on Ellis Island Section A: Intro to Ellis Island, pages 1-2 2. Partner X: Read aloud paragraph 2 Partner Y: Listen and decide how to answer the 1. Class: Listen and follow along in the article as I following questions: read. Then based on what you remember respond • Were the earliest immigrants to the U.S. to the questions below. If you need to, you can regarded as a good thing? locate information in the article. • Why or why not? (provide text support)• Ellis is located in what city?• What famous landmark can be seen from Ellis 3. Partner Y: Read aloud paragraph 3 Island? Partner X: Listen and decide how to answer the• List 4 reasons why immigrants came to the following questions: United States. • Did the government keep close track of early immigrants? Section B: Early Immigration to the U.S., pages • What clues in the reading helped you figure 2-3 this out? 1. Partners: Read paragraph 1 silently and 4. Partner s: Read silently paragraphs 4-6. List 4 decide on an answer to the following: things that attracted people to the U.S. • Who were the first immigrants to the U.S.? And another… Here’s another way to go Deeper with Comprehension: Interactive Reading Guide Strategy
    35. 35. Writing in math is a great way to help students grasp mathematical concepts. 3-Cloumn Notes NOTES PERSONAL MORE EXAMPLES/ CONNECTION SUMMARY fractions, percents and one-half of a candy bar on a number line, 50% decimals is the same as 50% of is the same as ½ and the candy bar. I could .50 ½ = .5 = 50% also divide it equally 3/3 = 1.00 = 100% between two people.STEP #1: The teacher presents the concept while students jot notes. Severalclear examples are given and recorded.STEP #2: The students work on connecting the math concept to real worldexamples. They may also try to draw conclusions about the concepts.STEP #3: The students add more examples, drawings, graphs, etc. and workon summarizing the important ideas.Going Deeper in mathematics
    36. 36. This is a writing to learning activity that can be done at any stage of a lesson. Theidea is to systematically summarize text.Grade 6-8 example Text Passage: Ratios express how one number is related to another. It may be written as a/b, a:b, or as a phrase, a to b. For example, the ratio 1:8 is read as 1 to 8, and means that the second number is 8 times as large as the first. A proportion is a statement of equivalency for two or more proportions. Given the proportion of a:b = 3:8 and asked to find b if a = 12, follow these steps. 1. First substitute 12 in the proportion for a, 12:b = 3:8, 12/b = 3/8 2. Then use cross products, 3 x b = 12 x 8 3. Solve the equation 3b = 96, b = 32 4. Therefore, if the ratio of a to b is 3:8 and a = 12, the b = 32Teacher models the steps to writing the GIST for this math problem until students can do this on their own.STEP 1. Read the text (or portion of a longer piece) and write down important ideas. • how numbers relate. • a:b is 3:8 and a = 12 • 96 divided by 3 = 32 • how numbers can be written in different • the proportion is 12:b = 3:8 • B = 32 ways. • 3 x b = 12 x 8 which is 3b = 96Still looking at mathematics: Generating Interactions BetweenSchemata and Text i.e. GIST
    37. 37. Grade 6-8 example Text Passage: Ratios express how one number is related to another. It may be written as a/b, a:b, or as a phrase, a to b. For example, the ratio 1:8 is read as 1 to 8, and means that the second number is 8 times as large as the first. A proportion is a statement of equivalency for two or more proportions. Given the proportion of a:b = 3:8 and asked to find b if a = 12, follow these steps. 1. First substitute 12 in the proportion for a, 12:b = 3:8, 12/b = 3/8 2. Then use cross products, 3 x b = 12 x 8 3. Solve the equation 3b = 96, b = 32 4. Therefore, if the ratio of a to b is 3:8 and a = 12, the b = 32STEP 2. Using the important ideas, summarize in your own words the concept. Try limiting yourselfto a certain number of words or lines, i.e. 25 words or less or 2 lines or less.• how numbers relate.• how numbers can be written in different ways. Summary: ratios express how• a:b is 3:8 and a = 12 numbers relate and if the ratio is• the proportion is 12:b = 3:8 3:8 and a = 12, then b = 32.• 3 x b = 12 x 8 which is 3b = 96• 96 divided by 3 = 32• B = 32 Mathematics example GIST continued
    38. 38. Credit Where Credit is Due. Scholastic is Getting it Right these Days {Select image for Common Core Info.} • online issues available • issues aligned to Standards. More Awesome Sauce! • lexile levels provided • paired reading materials available • on & off-line comprehension sheets • solid planning and writing forms • links to vetted websites • content is interesting to read {Select image to visit Scope.}Less is More is Critical to Developing Deeper Thinking
    39. 39. Yeah, there’s an App for that.Other Avenues, Same Process
    40. 40. More andmore we’rebecoming aneye consumingsociety. The key is to take what’s observed and draw relevant information from itPictures aretelling the tale. Using the Reuter’s app, The Wider So…And, let’s face Image, what could be done with thatit, there are image of a Chilean eruption?some amazingthings to see. Future Tech, Time-Tested Thinking
    41. 41. Using The Wider Image app, students can take observational notes (scienceterm) from images related to the eruption. observations: possible impact: planes unable to fly costly repairs & clean ash in waterways up runways covered in loss of drinking water ash reduced tourism possible impact: observations: fewer farmers dead livestock producing food divers in water long-term damage to damaged farm soil increased cost of foods Then, their using observations, they can try to infer the potential impact.
    42. 42. Still using the same app, thestudents can then examine agraph, which graphs how acountry compares to theUnited States in areaslike, population, armedforces, electricityconsumption, Internetusers, life expectancy, andso on.Using the defined termsfor these areas of measure,students can work ontrying to understand theimpact the volcanic falloutcould have on a countrygiven the strengths andweaknesses displayed bythe graph. Regrettably I only have a graph for Myanmar here.
    43. 43. One important way to improve students’ writing is to engage them in critical thinkingabout a topic at hand.Critical thinking leads to more thoughtful writing and can be incorporated in a numberof ways: (1) As an exploratory writing task How might DaVinci’s lonely childhood have influenced his art? (2) As a formal writing assignment Explain how percentages can help interpret nutritional labels. Of the following languages: French, German, and (3) As an essay exam/question English, which can be said to be the most romantic? (4) As a problem-solving task for small- Art, athletics, & music move people greatly. group discussion; So why do most societies pay their athletes so much more? As a group, come up with a plan to balance this inequity. (5) As an opening question for whole- Viruses: Living or Dead. You be the judge. class discussion or as a problem for an in-class debate, mock trial, simulation Should scientists clone extinct animals? game, or individual or group presentation. Being a little more specific then, we can get assignments like:
    44. 44. Thesis support assignments, in which students are given a controversial thesis to defend or attack.Problem-posing assignments, in which the teacher gives the students a question which they have to try toanswer through thesis-governed writing, or to contemplate through exploratory writing or small groupproblem solving. Often the assignment specifies an audience.Frame assignments, where the teacher provides a topic sentence and an organizational frame that studentshave to flesh out with appropriate generalizations and supporting data, generating ideas and arguments tofill the open slots in the frame. Often the frame is provided by an opening topic sentence, along with themajor transition words in the paragraph. Students report that such assignments help them learn a lot aboutorganizational strategies.Data-provided assignments, which in a sense are the flip side of the thesis-provided assignment: theteacher provides the data, and the students must determine what thesis or hypothesis the data mightsupport.“What if” assignments that ask the students to step out of their normal point of view and to adopt anunfamiliar perspective or assumption. Such assignments stretch students’ thinking in productive ways,and are excellent critical thinking exercises.Writing summaries of articles, passages, or class lessons, is a another way to develop reading andlistening skills, and to improve the precision, clarity, and succinctness of students’ thinking and writing.Summaries force writers to determine structure and sequence of a text. Summaries are without writer’sopinions. Summaries can vary in length: 200-250 words all the way down to a 25-word, single sentence toforce revision, clarity, and succinctness. Critical Thinking (continued)
    45. 45. Music Listening ExerciseMusic educator can encourage age appropriate discussions at both the primary and secondary levels usingmusic listening activities. The teacher selects several recordings in different styles and moods. Afterplaying an excerpt, the music instructor engages students in a discussion using critical thinking questions.Some sample questions include: • “Why do you think this song makes you happy?” • “If the musician played a drum instead of a flute, what would happen?” • “Does this type of music always have strings?” • “What do the lyrics mean to you?”For older students, the teacher can divide students into several small groups and give each group a seriesof critical thinking questions. After fifteen minutes, each group shares their responses to the questions. Theteacher follows up with challenging questions that encourage students to view their discussion fromalternate viewpoints. Questions like “Why do you think that?” and “Group A stated the opposite view.How can you support your viewpoint?” Or, what’s the theme for this song? What would make the bestlyrics for this instrumental piece?Writing component:Exit Tickets: This strategy requires every child to answer a critical thinking question before leaving theclass. This strategy encourages the concept of asking a question instead of giving the answer.Critical Thinking & Writing in Music
    46. 46. Conley’s researched prescriptions for what makes students college readyare both simple and relatable to Common Core standards.Students must be able to: This compares to Common Core…• read to infer or interpret • close reading• read to draw conclusions • text-dependent questions • critical writing; argumentative• support arguments with evidence and informational• resolve conflicting views • premium on evidence from the text• examine source documents • comparative reading • culture studies• solve complex problems with no obvious solution • math: procedural skills, fluency, and application Flashing Back to David Conley, whom I quoted on writing, he’s also got some reading points to make.
    47. 47. Always try to answer the following about a lesson… • What activities will students do before the reading? • What activities will students do during the reading? • What activities will student do after the reading?Also… At which points will I include writing, because this is how you know for sure how well a student understands something.And… Where will I incorporate student discussion?Last, not least… What’s the final outcome I’m expecting students to have learned and did my prior reading & writing activities prepare them for how they were assessed and will finally be assessed?The Simplest Formula to Follow
    48. 48. Many of the shared strategiescome from this source.I selected this text because…the strategies are… …practical… …sensible… …and fit well with the Common Core.Each TEAM will have a copy forreference. Same with our school library. Keeping it Simple. We’ve one resource…for now.
    49. 49. Other Sources I can lend to you…