Common Core State Standards—a contentious phrase of varied interpretations and concerns—some valid, many misinformed, and most misunderstood.
When examining these standards separate from politically biased curriculum choices and inhibiting administrative micro-management styles, they reveal harmless, unbiased skill sets organized for use as a framework for academic consistency.
It’s summer time. School’s out. Your classroom is closed. Finally—you’re on vacation.
But if you’re like most teachers, you’re already thinking about how to begin the next school year, and with each new experience you wonder, “How can I use this in my classroom?”
You may be out of school for the summer, but your mind is still in the game.
You’re a thinker—
Three of the most powerful classroom techniques are often underutilized, and they don’t seem like techniques at all. They often appear more as categories because several strategies are used to facilitate them. They do, however, qualify as classroom techniques because using them facilitates depth of learning. They can be used independently or in combination, and they apply well to any kind of lesson or unit of study, especially in Project-Based Learning activities, lessons, and/or units of study; however, to be effective, they need to be explicitly taught and strategically directed.
Brief constructed responses are four to five sentence paragraphs with content grounded in evidence. All constructed responses are text-dependent. They require students to think beyond the recall of facts and use analysis, synthesis, and evaluation while citing evidence from text read to support their responses.
Students have to think critically about what they read to produce coherent written responses, and through close readings of text cited, they improve their comprehension of the content.
Everyone is in such a hurry these days, and we in the system of public education are no exception. We want our students to measure up, and we want them to do it right now, and learn bunch of different things at the same time and at the same rate; and we focus on teaching to the test because we have to.
AND—we use measurements that efficiently show how well students think on a lower level—and then we actually bemoan our students inability to think critically, creatively, and effectively on a higher level! It’s time to consider alternatives.