Common Core Learning Standards: Literacy March 23, 2012
Does It Matter Whether God Exists? “Discussions of religion are typically about God. Atheists reject religionbecause they don’t believe in God; Jews, Christians and Muslims take belief inGod as fundamental to their religious commitment. The philosopher JohnGray, however, has recently been arguing that belief in God should have little ornothing to do with religion. He points out that in many cases — forinstance, “polytheism, Hinduism and Buddhism, Daoism and Shinto, manystrands of Judaism and some Christian and Muslim traditions” — belief is oflittle or no importance. Rather, “practice — ritual, meditation, a way of life — iswhat counts.” He goes on to say that “it’s only religious fundamentalists andignorant rationalists who think the myths we live by are literal truths” and that“what we believe doesn’t in the end matter very much. What matters is how welive.”
Literacy in the Common Core:• “Reading is critical to building knowledge in history as well as science and technical subjects.”• Students need an appreciation of: – the norms and conventions of each discipline – an understanding of domain-specific words and phrases – the capacity to evaluate intricate arguments, synthesize complex information, and follow detailed descriptions of events and concepts
Instructional shifts necessary for students to attain the standards 6 Shifts in ELA/Literacy Regents R Balancing Informational and Literary Text Building Knowledge in the Disciplines Staircase of Complexity Text-based Answers Writing from Sources Academic VocabularyStudents need to “gain knowledge from challenging texts.”
Literacy Shifts in the Common Core:• ELA Shift Two: Knowledge in the Disciplines – Content area teachers outside of the ELA classroom emphasize literacy experiences in their planning and instruction. – Students learn through domain specific texts in science, social studies, and technical subjects– rather than referring to the text, they are expected to learn from what they read.
Literacy Shifts in the Common Core• Shift 3 Staircase of Complexity – In order to prepare students for the complexity of college and career ready texts, instruction must be centered around, grade appropriate texts. – Teachers create more time and space in the curriculum for this close and careful reading and provide appropriate and necessary scaffolding and supports so that it is possible for all students to access the texts.
Literacy Shifts in the Common Core• Shift 4 Text-based Answers – Students have rich and rigorous conversations and writing opportunities which are dependent on a common text. – Teachers insist that classroom experiences stay deeply connected to the text on the page. – Students develop habits for making evidentiary arguments both in conversation, as well as in writing to assess comprehension of a text.
Rethinking Content Literacy• Secondary students have a challenge: – In some classes, they MUST follow written instructions to the letter of the law. – In other classes, students are taught to read skeptically. – In still others, they are asked to question the author’s assumptions. – Perhaps in some they are asked to analyze an author’s style.• Moving from one subject area to the next, they must tap into entirely different sets of vocabulary, background knowledge, and reading skills.• Every academic area has its own set of characteristic reading and writing practices.
Musee Des Beaux Arts—W.H. AudenAbout suffering they were never wrong,The Old Masters; how well, they understoodIts human position; how it takes placeWhile someone else is eating or opening a window or just walkingdully along;How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waitingFor the miraculous birth, there always must beChildren who did not specially want it to happen, skatingOn a pond at the edge of the wood:They never forgotThat even the dreadful martyrdom must run its courseAnyhow in a corner, some untidy spotWhere the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturers horseScratches its innocent behind on a tree.In Breughels Icarus, for instance: how everything turns awayQuite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman mayHave heard the splash, the forsaken cry,But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shoneAs it had to on the white legs disappearing into the greenWater; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seenSomething amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.
Mathematics1. Describe two different methods for solving the equation X2- 4 = 0. Include the steps for each method.2. A cliff diver dives off a cliff 40 feet above water. Write an equation giving the diver’s height (h) in feet above the water after t seconds. How long is the diver in the air?
ScienceDirections: Each question below consists of two statements, I in the left-hand column and II in the right- hand column. For each question, determine whether statement I is true or false and whether statement II is true or false and fill in the corresponding T or F circles on your answer sheet. I II1. The rate at which BECAUSE stirring exposes the sugar dissolves in surface of a solute water increases crystal to a less with stirring concentrated layer of solution
Discipline-Specific Reading?• Algebra: focuses on interactions among real or imagined objects, and it translates those into a shorthand that describes how any give “A” relates to “B” or “C”.• History: focuses on events rich in human significance and prefers to elaborate on them through description, narrative, and logical exposition so as to determine an overarching thesis• Chemistry: tends to value extremely precise description to compose an accurate record of procedure and events
Discipline-Specific Reading• An algebra student: – Translates word problems into an understanding of the problem being posed – Represents the problem in algebraic terms – Works to arrive at a correct, mathematical solution• A modern poetry student: – Reads closely with sustained attention to word choice and tone – Analyzes the relationship between form and content – Evaluates the use of metaphor and symbol to convey meaning – Grapples with ambiguity
Discipline-specific reading?• Every content area has its own vocabulary, textual formats, stylistic conventions, and ways of understanding, interpreting, and responding to words on the page.• In each discipline, authors choose particular sorts of words, arrange them in particular sorts of ways, imagine a particular audience, and bend their language to suit the particular values and purposes of the discipline.• The way knowledge is acquired, developed, and shared in a given field often requires discipline-specific skills.
Why Content-Area Literacy?• It is most helpful to teach comprehension strategies, text-structures, and word-level strategies while students are engaged in reading challenging, content-rich texts.• These strategies include pre-reading activities, activities during reading, and post-reading activities.• Students learn these strategies best when they have compelling reasons, such as the desire or need to make sense of interesting content-rich materials.• Time spent engaging in bland, skills-focused reading exercises instead of time spent engaged in reading, writing, and discussing content only reinforces the misconception that reading amounts to nothing more than pronouncing the words on the page.
Why Content Literacy?• The rationale for organizing content around core ideas comes from studies that show that one major difference between experts and novices in any field is the organization of their knowledge.• Experts understand the core principles and theoretical frameworks of their field. Their retention of detailed information is aided by their understanding of its placement in the context of these principles and theories.• Novices tend to hold disconnected and even contradictory bits of “knowledge” as isolated facts, and struggle to find a way to organize and integrate them.
Why Content Area Literacy• The goal of content area instruction is to introduce students to the ways in which experts in core disciplines: – Look at the world – Investigate the world – Use language to communicate to one another – Form evidence-based arguments – Establish authority
A Vision for Instruction• Individuals must be engaged and involved in the process of learning – actively creating knowledge by reading closely, examining evidence, thinking critically, and problem-solving.• Learners must participate in context‐bound, real-world reading, writing, and problem solving.• To promote greater comprehension and mastery of content, we must emphasize depth of understanding rather than a superficial treatment of subject matter.• Educators are encouraged to refashion their roles to become learning facilitators acting as a “guide on the side” instead of a “sage on the stage.”
A Vision for Instruction• The key is to strike an appropriate balance so that teacher‐directed and student‐centered learning activities complement one another.• Teachers purposefully select strategies during lesson preparation, not because they are “hands‐on” and use up time, but because they are designed to help students construct meaning from the curriculum.• Teachers organize information around big ideas that engage the students interest, assist students in developing new insights, and help students to connect those ideas with their previous learning.
The Task at Hand• We cannot align everything in a single session.• Instead, identify some concerns with student proficiency and use the Common Core as a springboard to discuss and address challenges with teaching and learning as currently structured.
Common Core Questions• Have we identified the content knowledge students will need?• Have we created activities in support of those goals which will help our students to grow as independent learners?• Have we identified the thinking skills that will be required to give meaning to the content?• Have we identified the literacy skills required and incorporated activities that will help with the development of such skills?
Where do we begin…• For content area teachers, a key challenge is to articulate and make concrete the skills, knowledge, and concepts you have internalized, but that many students need to be shown explicitly. 1. Understand and define what is distinct about reading and writing in your discipline. 2. Consider how to make those “expert” rules, conventions, and skills apparent to students. 3. Integrate comprehension strategies into ongoing instruction to help students access the academic content for themselves. 4. Start with the challenge to upgrade one lesson by identifying where the Common Core Literacy Shift is present and how it will be addressed in the classroom.
What does it look like?• Surprisingly, familiar.
Some Reminders• It is not your responsibility to be a reading teacher who remediates basic skills.• It is our opportunity, however, to help students to see and understand the knowledge and reasoning skills that are specific to our particular disciplines.• It is not your responsibility to “prove” to New York State that we are Common Core aligned.• It is our opportunity, however, to talk with colleagues from our own disciplines about the specific literacy challenges we face in the classroom and the specific approaches we can use to try to solve them.