Many educators in the public, private, and homeschool settings get a bit frazzled when the words, “Common Core Standards” are mentioned. My goal for this post is to break down the Common Core Standards for English Language Arts in the primary elementary grades; into bite size pieces. By doing this, we can better understand the scope and sequence of these standards and use that knowledge to benefit our students. Think of it this way, if I owned a fruit stand and there was another fruit stand just around the corner it is, “good business” to understand the workings of that stand as well as my own. This way I can make informed and educated decisions about my own fruit stand!
I know for myself, I was very pleasantly surprised to see that the approach our family took to homeschooling not only met, but exceeded the standards in many areas. In addition, I also saw one area that I needed to increase my students’ exposure. I am not using the CCSS to develop my, “Early Writers’ Quest” class. I want to use these standards to look and see how I can make this class even better.
Let’s peel back the layers and see what we find! Keep in mind that these are the basics! For more specific information see www.corestandards.org/ela-literacy. Under the English Language Arts layer we find: Reading Literature, Reading Informational Texts, Reading Foundational Skills, Writing, Language, Speaking and Listening.
Reading Literature: Fiction, nonfiction, informational, persuasive, narrative, and poetry
- Displaying comprehension of complex texts with questioning, retelling, determining central themes, and author intentions for writing.
- Demonstrating knowledge of key literary terms, concepts of story structure, and points of view of characters.
- Using prior knowledge blended with information gained from text, illustrations, and digital sources to interpret and/or compare multiple texts.
Reading Informational Text: Across all content areas
- Expressing understanding by both asking and answering questions pertaining to key information and main topics in text.
- Identifying main purpose of text as well as connections between historical events, scientific concepts and technical procedures.
- Evaluating and interpreting diagrams, maps, and illustrations as they pertain to the text and to prior knowledge.
Reading Foundational Skills: Phonics, word recognition, and fluency
- Applying grade-level appropriate knowledge of phonics and word analysis.
- Reading with accuracy and fluency to aid in comprehension.
- Using context to confirm word recognition or apply self-correction or rereading for comprehension clarification.
Writing: Fiction, nonfiction, informational, persuasive, narrative, and poetry
- Enhancing prior knowledge by researching to strengthen the writing process and to develop evidence for author’s purpose in writing.
- Collaborating with peers and teachers in the pre-writing, writing, and editing stages.
- Using digital tools for collaboration, editing, and publication.
Language: Conventions and mechanics
- Demonstrating understanding of grammar and word usage when writing or speaking.
- Expressing English standards for capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
- Ability to use reference materials such as dictionary for clarification of spelling, definitions, or selection of alternate words when writing.
Speaking and Listening: Comprehension, collaboration, and oral expression of knowledge
- Participating in discussions over content that has been read or heard.
- Collaborating with peers or adults for the purpose of giving or getting feedback on written work or oral presentation.
- Using digital tools for production of oral presentation or interpretation of digital information.
Many of the Common Core Standards are very intentional about incorporating technology into each facet. This is becoming more and more important for our 21st-Century students! We have heard that many jobs of the future will look very different from jobs and careers of the present. These 21st-century jobs will require critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, problem solving, media and technology literacies. This was the area that I needed to be more intentional about educating myself as well as my students. In the past I have not done much to incorporate technology into my family’s course work nor that of my Literature, Grammar, or Writing classes. In the primary elementary grades I will be suggesting to my students’ parents to incorporate keyboarding into their curriculum. If we are going to be asking our students to use desktop computers or laptops to complete assignments this will be a beneficial skill to help them on their way to becoming independent writers. Do your research and find a curriculum that fits your student and your family. Here are some suggestions:
Free Online Programs:
Free Online Typing Course http://www.goodtyping.com/
Peter’s Online Typing Course http://www.typing-lessons.org/
There is also a blog that I have found incredibly helpful when I have questions about anything having to do with technology. This will be a good place to keep in mind as the year progresses and we potentially want to incorporate things like blogging, digital story telling, podcasting, and maybe even book trailers!
My roles in the field of education have reached a pretty full spectrum; from public school teacher, homeschool mom, homeschool co-op teacher, public school parent, homeschool consultant, private educational therapist, and tutor. My goal for this post was to look at the Common Core State Standards just as we would the scope and sequence for a curriculum or a text-book series. As teachers of our children, it is good to understand the world going on around us. Let’s set the stage for great learning communities that work and grow together. We can do this by realizing that we will always be students; learning from each other…and from our kids!