Post for the week of March 4, 2013
For a few years, people have been speaking of "unpacking the standards." It would also be a good idea to "unpack" the questions in Appendix B.
Appendix B provides us with lists of texts at appropriate Common Core Lexile levels. It also provides excerpts and "sample performance tasks."
For example, here's one on page 129:
Students compare George Washington's Farewell Address to other foreign policy statements, such as the Monroe Doctrine, and analyze how both texts address similar themes and concepts regarding "entangling alliances." (RI9-10.9).
Yes, this is an assignment for English class! It's for grades 9 or 10, informational text. I added the links to the texts.
So, think about everything students have to know and be able to do to approach this task:
1) Be able to read and understand both the Farewell Address and the Monroe Doctrine (with some background info to help with comprehension, and some pre-taught vocabulary, possibly).
2) Be able to know what it means to "analyze" (take something apart). To analyze informational text, you also need to know some basic vocabulary for rhetorical analysis: author's purpose, tone, occasion, theme, diction, style, etc. All of these words need to be taught with models and examples.
3) Be able to compare--possibly using a Venn Diagram to separate and combine shared characteristics.
4) Be able to pull all this knowledge into an essay!
A task like this is certainly rigorous when you take into account how much work will go into understanding the task and applying the concepts.
Appendix B is a great, free place to find these prompts and start analyzing them with staff.