Monday, June 24, 2013

Post for the week of June 24, 2013

Post for the week of June 24, 2013

Today we tackle the last of What's In/What's Out in the Common Core for ELA: Reading Foundations (Central and Integrated) vs. Reading Foundations (peripheral and detached).

When I reflect on the changes between the 2001 and 2011 standards, I like to look at their structures:
Basic Structure of the 2001 ELA Frameworks
Language Strand
            1. Discussion
            2. Questioning, Listening, and Contributing
            3. Oral Presentation
            4. Vocabulary and Concept Development
            5. Structure and Origins of Modern English
            6. Formal and Informal English
Reading and Literature Strand
            7. Beginning Reading
            8. Understanding a Text
            9. Making Connections
            10. Genre
            11. Theme
            12. Fiction
            13. Nonfiction
            14. Poetry
            15. Style and Language
            16. Myth, Traditional Narrative, and Classical Literature
            17. Dramatic Literature
            18. Dramatic Reading and Performance
Composition Strand
            19. Writing
            20. Consideration of Audience and Purpose
            21. Revising
            22. Standard English Conventions
            23. Organizing Ideas in Writing
            24. Research
            25. Evaluating Writing and Presentations
Media Strand
            26. Analysis of Media
            27. Media Production

Basic Structure of the 2011 ELA Frameworks
Reading Standards for Literature
            Key Ideas and Details
            Craft and Structure
            Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
            Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity
Reading Standards for Informational Text
            Key Ideas and Details
            Craft and Structure
            Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
            Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity
Reading Standards for Foundational Skills (ends after grade 5)
            Print Concepts
            Phonological Awareness
            Phonics and Word Recognition
            Fluency
Writing Standards
            Text Types and Purposes
            Production and Distribution of Writing
            Research to Build and Present Knowledge
            Range of Writing (begins in grade 3)
Speaking and Listening Standards
            Comprehension and Collaboration
            Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas
Language Standards
            Conventions of Standard English
            Knowledge of Language
            Vocabulary Acquisition and Use

When I compare them, one thing I notice is the amount of emphasis on beginning reading skills.  In the old standards, it was 1 of 27 elements.  Now, it's 1/6 of the entire document.  Clearly, building students' reading foundations (emphasizing basic reading skills and strategies) is a priority for all students.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Request for Course Descriptions

ESE is requesting course descriptions for help with DDMs.  See emails highlighted below.  If you have questions, feel free to email me at aldick@doe.mass.edu.  Thanks!

The purpose of this request is to solicit a collection of course descriptions and/or class syllabi for the courses below. These descriptions will be useful in the DDMs meeting, which are also listed below.

Please send any course descriptions and/or class syllabi to Beth Peabody bpeabody@doe.mass.edu or Ron Noble rnoble@doe.mass.edu.

Massachusetts District-Determined Measures, Meeting Support

Courses for Which Descriptions Would be Useful

Subgroup
Courses for Which Descriptions Would be Useful
A7*
Pre-Algebra
Algebra I
Algebra II

*Course descriptions will be useful as the MA Curriculum Frameworks in Mathematics—while very useful as a source document—do not present course-specific standards. Brief descriptions also may help panelists focus on a common understanding of the course scope as a starting point.

Subgroup
Courses for Which Descriptions Would be Useful
B1*
English 9
English 10
English 11
English 12
B4**
Civics/Government
Economics
B5*
Environmental Science
Earth and Space Science
B6***
Marine Science
Astronomy
B7***
Team Sports
Health & Life Management

*Course descriptions will be useful as the MA Curriculum Frameworks in these content areas—while useful as source documents—do not present course-specific standards. Brief descriptions also may help panelists focus on a common understanding of the course scope as a starting point.

**Panelists primarily need to know if they should address these as a semester or year-long course.

***Even brief descriptions will help as starting point so panelists can focus on a common understanding of what is taught in these courses.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Post for the week of June 17, 2013

Post for the week of June 17, 2013

There are some cool Twitter discussions happening this week:

Twitter Town Halls

PARCC is holding a series of Twitter Town Halls for educators. The handle for PARCC is @PARCCPlace and the hashtag for these events is #askparcc or #parcctownhall. The schedule is:

  • PARCC English Language Arts/Literacy 101 with Bonnie Hain (@bonniehain) and to be determined state experts: Thursday, June 20, 6-7 pm EDT
This week, we explore #9 of What's In/What's Out: Reading Strategies (as means) vs. Reading Strategies (as goal). 
 
In the past, teachers were convinced that students would be successful readers if they just learned strategies.  Strategies are great, but it's important that they are used in service of reading achievement.  Assessing students on strategies is a good idea, but it's better to assess them on their comprehension of complex texts.  

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Post for the week of June 10, 2013

Post for the week of June 10, 2013

It's time for #8 on the What's In/What's Out document: emphasis on reading and re-reading vs. emphasis on pre-reading.

In the past, teachers would spend time preparing students for a "first read" of a text.  They pre-loaded a set of information: maps, presentations on time periods, anticipation guides to establish the major themes of the text.  All this time, the books sit unopened.

All of this information was helpful, but it doesn't reflect real-life reading experiences.  It takes up a lot of instructional time, it can be teacher-centered, and it does not necessarily align with building the independence students need in college and career.

When I am given a piece of unfamiliar text, I read it, making connections to what I can.  Then I read it again.  And maybe again. 

As I read, I am building my resilience, and I am building my ability to comprehend what I am reading.  I take notes, and I highlight passages that are important.

In the past, I would spend a day preparing students to start, say, "The Crucible."  Now, instead of talking about some facts about the Puritans, I may show a quick video clip and start an activity where students use evidence from the video to support their answers.  I may give a text about the Puritans and write some text-dependent questions for the students to discuss as they read and reread. 

Building background knowledge before students read is important, but the more time students can spend "in text," the better!

Reminder! Curriculum Mapping Events this Summer

Reminder! Curriculum Mapping Events this Summer

Curriculum Mapping Summer  Institutes 

The MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, in partnership with the Governor's Readiness Centers, has developed a new Curriculum Alignment and Mapping Project (CAMP) presenting curriculum mapping as a core tool for communicating about and aligning curriculum and instruction across grades, subject areas, and schools. The series includes free summer institutes in 2013, and a variety of follow-up activities in the 2013-2014 school year..

Registration for the Summer CAMP Institutes is now open.  These two-day sessions will provide substantial time for district teams to evaluate the status of mapping in their districts, work collaboratively on district maps and implementation plans, and learn from colleagues about how other districts are using mapping to improve teaching and learning. Districts are encouraged to register teams of 3-6 people, including district curriculum leadership.

Summer institutes are offered on the dates/locations indicated below. We ask each participating district to identify a team leader, who can then complete the registration on behalf of the participating team members.  

Team leader: please click on the corresponding link to register your team for the Summer CAMP Institute your team would like to attend. Your team may only attend one summer institute. Please select the number of registrations that reflects the size of your team. You will be prompted to enter the following information about each member of your team during the registration process:  name, followed by grade level (if appropriate), position, and email, with each element separated by a comma. Example: Tom Smith, 9-12, Math teacher, tsmith@seaview.edu

June 27-28 - Marlborough

July 1-2 - Northampton

July 8-9 - Bridgewater

July 11-12 Wenham

For more information, visit the Curriculum Alignment & Mapping Project (CAMP) website at https://sites.google.com/a/lpvec.org/camp/.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Post for the week of June 3, 2013

Post for the week of June 3, 2013

This week, we'll explore #7 on this document: accent on academic vocabulary vs. accent on literary terminology.

Watch this six-minute video about the difference between these two topics.  In the video, the speakers mention paragraph 20 from Martin Luther King's "Letter from Birmingham Jail."  You can find that text here.  The paragraphs are unnumbered, but it's the paragraph that starts with "I hope you are . . . "

Literary terminology is useful in analyzing literature, but it might not be as useful as words that pop up in every field. 

When I think of "academic vocbaulary," I think of Appendix B.  Each grouping of texts comes with sample assignments.  Here are some of the words on page 129 (9-10th grade assignments):
  • compare
  • analyze
  • address similar themes and concepts
  • unfold
  • the order in which the points are made
  • introduces and develops
  • evaluate
  • argument
  • claim
  • assess
  • relevance
  • evidence
  • validity
  • reasoning
In short, we will get more mileage out of academic vocabulary because these words appear in all disciplines, not just in the ELA classroom.