Professional Book Review

The Core Six:
Essential Strategies for Achieving Excellence
with the Common Core

Attention Content Area Teachers, Literacy Coaches, Grade Level Team Members, and Administrators: What might the conversation below about the NYS Common Core Literacy Standards look like in your school?

“I am not a reading teacher; why do I have to teach reading? Isn’t that what English teachers do?”

Teacher: Continue reading

Thanks for the APPR “Help”

On December 10th the Governor’s Common Core Commission issued 21 recommendations about the Common Core and related issues. The 21st recommendation targeted the use of Common Core-based assessments for teacher evaluation and suggested a four-year moratorium on the use of Common Core assessments, Common Core-derived growth scores, and other applications of Common Core-based assessments. From the report:
Continue reading

Let’s Get a Few Things Straight

Common Core ArtThe Common Core State Learning Standards are standards. Not curriculum. Not tests. Not evaluation. Standards.

Standards are the “to do” list for learning. They are a list of the things we want students to know, understand, be able to do, and be like. In 1996, New York State issued a complete set of standards for all subject areas and grade levels. There were twenty-three sets of standards that were organized into seven bundles. For example, math, science, and technology were grouped together in a bundle of seven standards (and the accompanying detail). Continue reading

Common Core Highlights from the Year

As we swing into summer and reflect on the past year, here are some highlights of the top Common Core blogs from our Network Team.

Teacher trainer, Randi Downs, wrote a blog focused on “ ‘Shifting’ to the New English Regents Exam”. She blogged, “In facilitating various dives into the test, it seems that the shifts most evident in this new assessment, at least for the Part 2 (Writing Argument) and Part 3 (Writing Analysis) pieces require the movement towards utilizing text-based answers and employing evidence from sources to inform or make an argument (Shifts 4 and 5).” To see posters of Continue reading

Common Core Parent Concerns


Image: EngageNY

In the news lately and in our communities, we have encountered parents frustrated with Common Core. In some case, parents are seeking to understand expectations and progressions within the Common Core to assist their understanding and enable them to support their children. Engage New York has included a section specifically for parents and offers multiple resources for families to increase understanding of WHAT the Common Core seeks to accomplish. Continue reading

It’s Like Riding a Bike: Writing, Research and the Common Core

RideBikeChartSo, here’s something you might not know about me.  I LOVE analyzing the progression of learning standards across grade levels.  I’m not sure what it is about it.  Maybe it’s the chance to see the big picture… starting something with a young student in kindergarten and knowing that the experience will lay the ground work for something he or she will do as a senior in high school (and beyond).  Maybe it’s being able to recognize the intentionality that is built into the sequence of skills that students will acquire as they progress.  Continue reading

What’s HOT?

hotHigher Order Thinking skills are!

The Common Core State Standards have been developed to be “Inclusive of rigorous content and applications of knowledge through higher-order skills, so that all students are prepared for the 21st century”.  So, is this something new that just came along with the Common Core State Standards?  Not really.  If you have studied learning taxonomies such as Bloom’s, then you have been at least exposed to ways that educators can be HOT teachers!

By applying higher-order thinking skills, the idea is that students are using more cognitive processing.  These skills include such things as:  critical, logical, reflective, metacognitive, and creative thinking; as well as analysis, evaluation and synthesis (creation of new knowledge).  Continue reading