Four states and one territory have not yet adopted the Common Core State Standards Initiative. They are: Texas, Alaska, Virginia, Nebraska, Minnesota (this state has chosen to accept the Language Arts Standards but not the Key Points in Mathematics Standards) , and Puerto Rico. Let’s examine and expand on the vital information provided by the official Common Core State Standards Initiative planners.
There are two primary subjects that the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) seek to standardize, Language Arts, and Mathematics (capitalized to account for their official standing). This means that the subjects of history, science, foreign languages, political science, and any electives that may be offered will not necessarily be impacted or undergo curricular changes (www.corestandards.org). This article will provide clarity on the CCSS Language Arts plans.
The elements of Language Arts (traditionally referred to as English) that the Departments of Education (accounting for both state and federal agencies) seek to modify and improve on are; reading, writing, speaking and listening, language and media and technology. Beginning with reading, the CCSS provide sample documents intended to emphasize the standards that must be met/covered during each lesson. The drafters of this Initiative may have been careful not to identify specific texts that must be used by teachers and students, but they have established a sort of unspoken rule about non-fiction works. School administrators across the public school nation are encouraging Language Arts teachers to incorporate more so-called informational texts into their curricula. The goal is to prepare students for life after high school where they will need more information to compete in today’s complex job marketplace.
Concerning the CCSS writing plans, there is now a greater concentration on student research. It is incumbent on teachers to show their kids how to find quality, relevant information that they can include in their essays. Basically, if a high school graduate wants to learn more about any number of subjects, they will likely enter the world prepared to research and to understand how to use to their advantage the information they find.
CCSS has in large part encouraged the transformation of the classroom by way of reconfiguring the desks. Teachers are now encouraged to establish small groups of students, called learning communities, that are ready for speaking and listening activities. With this change, students will play a different role each day in their assigned group. One class session a student might read to their group, and they might proofread papers the day after. Teachers will monitor these groups and offer encouragement rather than directly instructing (lecturing) the students.
The architects of the Common Core State Standards Initiative well-understand that technology is ever-evolving and students need to learn how to utilize the medium to be prepared for their future careers. This may take the form of utilizing interactive technologies such as tablets, whiteboards, laptops, etc.
Ultimately, the mission of the Common Core State Standards Initiative is to provide clarity for all teachers across the country. Instructors will have a better grasp of the standards and expectations as outlined by the Departments of Education.
Jonathan Jacobs is a veteran school teacher as well as a writer for ScreenSpotlight.com. Follow him on Twitter @screenspotlight