Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Common Core Blues

So. I'm struggling.


Let me rephrase. I'm teaching better than I ever have. But it's not easy.

Let me explain. Our district uses Reading Street, which I used to love, but now it is in no way aligned to the Common Core. Last week, for example, we were supposed to read Animal Park. The focus skill was cause and effect, which is no longer in the first grade standards. I thought, oh, maybe I'll just keep the text and pick a different standard to focus on... It's technically informational, but the text is essentially "Bump bump bump. The truck goes bump. Ooh, look! A Lion!"

I decided NOT to use Reading Street. It was scary. It was liberating. It felt great.

Instead, I decided to focus on main idea and details with informational text. Our school has a license for Reading A-Z, which is fantastic. It has leveled books galore, both informational and literature. They even come with comprehension quizzes and lesson plans. I ended up finding a different book for each reading group. We read and discussed the books one day, used graphic organizers to list the main idea and supporting details from A Year of Many Firsts (these are fabulous and you need them,) then took the comprehension quiz the following day. The only thing I kept from Reading Street was the spelling/phonics, phonemic awareness, and grammar. Not that I'm even using the materials any more, but I'm trying to stick to the pacing for those things.

We use EnVision for math, which is aligned to the Core Standards, so that's been much easier...

Does your district have a series that's no longer aligned to the Common Core? How are you adapting?

Stay tuned for some upcoming posts on how I'm adapting my instruction to meet the Common Core standards and how I'm trying involving my students in planning/instruction to meet some of those "distinguished" boxes on our teacher evaluation rubric!
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kate said...

As a 1st grade teacher fresh out school (2 years ago), where they taught us to use thematic units to integrate subject areas and differentiate instructuon, I absolutely LOvED throwing our reading street basal out the window and teaching using Reading a-z and other comprehension and phonics resources from TPT. This year we are using Words their Way for a phonics pacing guide. We are using phonics lessons from West Virginia Phonics lessons online. Google it! They are wonderful. Many multiple learning styles engaged in research based strategies. There are 3 decidable stories with eah lesson week ad they are FREE!

savewithcherie said...

How funny..I used Reading A-Z many years ago..Our principal said we don't need it at the school i'm at now..But we adopted Reading Street last year When we went Common Core...silly right!!!

MR Lakshmi said...

Reading Makes Your Child Smarter

Reading is known to have numerous benefits. It increases your world knowledge, enhances your vocabulary, and works to improve your reading comprehension abilities.

But did you know that reading can actually make you smarter?

In fact, reading not only can make a child smarter, the very act of reading can even help to compensate for modest levels of cognitive ability in children by building their vocabulary and general knowledge! This is a finding reported by researchers Cunningham and Stanovich in a report titled "What Reading Does For the Mind".

The simple fact here is that reading can make your child smarter, and that learning to read early on is directly linked to later success in life.

1) Did you know that your child's vocabulary at 3 years old predicts his or her grade one reading success? [1]

2) Did you know that vocabulary and reading ability in first grade strongly predicts grade 11 outcomes? [2]

3) Did you know that your child's reading skill in grade 3 directly influences high school graduation? Studies have found that children who cannot read proficiently by grade 3 are four times more likely to leave school without a diploma than proficient readers! [3]

>> Give your child the best possible head start. Teach your child to read today. Click here to learn how.

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I can understand if you find that hard to believe... In fact, I had a difficult time believing it myself as well... that is, until I saw the videos they posted documenting the reading progress of the their children - not to mention all the videos other parents have sent in showcasing their children's reading progress after using the Children Learning Program. After learning more about their methods and techniques, it became clear how it's possible to teach young children to read effectively.

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1. Vocabulary Development and Instruction: A Prerequisite for School Learning
Andrew Biemiller, University of Toronto

2. Early reading acquisition and its relation to reading experience and ability 10 years later.
Cunningham AE, Stanovich KE.

3. Double Jeopardy How Third-Grade Reading Skills and Poverty Influence High School Graduation
Donald J. Hernandez, Hunter College and the Graduate Center,