Testing/Assessments and Learning Standards
June 11, 2013

Educators Voice VI: Common Core Learning Standards

Source: NYSUT Research and Educational Services
educator's voice 6 common core

Instructional Shifts in English Language Arts and Literacy

The Instructional Shifts which accompany the New York State P-12 Common Core Learning Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy are explored. The Shifts can be summarized as achieving a balance of informational and literary texts in instruction; building knowledge primarily through text; building learning activities around complex, grade-appropriate texts; writing with use of evidence; focusing on text-based questions; and building academic vocabulary.

Authors offer descriptions of their experience with implementing these Shifts. Topics as varied as social justice research in high schools; high-quality professional development models; and the importance of School-Related Professionals in every educational endeavor, including implementation of the Standards, are presented.

Other authors explore game formats as a vehicle for addressing the Shifts in a systematic way (while maintaining the joy of learning); the use of poetry as a source of inspiration and engagement for learners, as well as the focus of a "close read"; and the importance of a shared school and district vision for English language learners during Standards implementation. A primary classroom teacher offers ideas for building a foundation for the Standards, and a technology education teacher and literacy specialist use complementary skills for addressing Standards. Authors offer practical strategies that can be used by a range of practitioners as they build their expertise with the Instructional Shifts.

Additional Common Core Resources. NYSUT supports the Common Core Learning Standards as they are deeper, clearer, and if implemented appropriately, they have the potential to improve student learning. Educators across New York state have made it clear that additional resources are required to make the implementation of the Common Core standards a success. NYSUT has developed www.nysut.org/commoncore as a starting point for Common Core resources, to assist members in identifying and organizing potential resources.

In this volume of Educator's Voice, authors may have referenced particular products or websites in the discussion of their work. These mentions do not imply approval or endorsement by NYSUT of any particular product, service, or link to a website.


Table of Contents

All files are in the PDF format.

Welcome from Maria Neira

Glossary and Resources

Call for Proposals for Next Issue

Common Core, Common Good, and Uncommon Student Engagement. This teacher asks her students, "Are you learning, or are you just getting it done?" Issues of social justice are paramount to this author, and many of the Common Core Learning Standards in ELA focus on gathering accurate information from reliable sources. These students are engaged with projects related to improving their world. They track down the facts about human rights violations and point toward solutions - based on research and evidence. ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Maureen Connolly is an English teacher at Mineola High School in the Mineola School Distict.

"The Amazing Race": A Fun Approach to Implementing the Common Core Learning Standards in ELA. Can depth of learning coexist with joy of learning? These authors describe how a reality show format functions as a vehicle for addressing new learning standards and instructional shifts in a systematic way. Rich activities with integrated curricula result in student engagement and progress towards standards. ABOUT THE AUTHORS: Amy Shaw teaches third grade at Lake Avenue Elementary School in Saratoga Springs City School District. Colleen Carroll is the director of literacy in Saratoga Springs City School District. She has been an elementary principal and teacher.

Classroom Partners: How Paraprofessionals Can Support All Students to Meet New Standards. School-Related Professionals are important team members in every educational endeavor, including implementation of the Common Core Learning Standards. This author presents steps that teachers can take to build stronger partnerships with teaching assistants as the team engages with the Instructional Shifts and new Standards. ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Barbara Carter Ellis is an adjunct instructor at Empire State College in New York City.

Structuring Professional Development to Build Expertise with Common Core Learning Standards. High-quality professional development opportunities are key to continuous improvement in teaching. New York state teacher centers provide professional development on a range of topics including the New York State P-12 Common Core Learning Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy. This author describes a process for assisting educators in deepening their understanding and use of best practices with the Standards and their accompanying shifts in instruction. ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Elaine Altman is a staff development director at Kenmore Town of Tonawanda UFS District in western New York and is a co-chair of the Far West Teacher Center Network. Elaine also serves as first vice president of the Kenmore Teachers Association.

Technology Education and Literacy Teachers Collaborate for Success with Common Core Standards. Collaboration among teachers is vital to addressing the Common Core Learning Standards in English Language Arts and Literacy. A technology education teacher and literacy specialist implement the Standards using complementary skills and embracing a common mission. The outcome is student-created digital Author Studies. Students demonstrate principles of effective website design and in the process enhance their abilities to write and speak grounded in evidence from texts. ABOUT THE AUTHORS: Angelo Carideo is a technology education teacher for grade 6 at Ditmas IS 62 in New York City School District 20. Rose Reissman is the director of the Writing Institute which serves grades 6-8 students at Ditmas IS 62 in New York City School District 20. In addition, she has worked with a range of schools throughout the U.S.

Strategies to Assist English Language Learners in Accessing the Common Core Standards. A shared school and district vision for English language learners is necessary as the implementation of Common Core Standards unfolds. These authors describe various strategies for scaffolding student learning, each relevant in student access to new Standards. They highlight the importance of collaboration and commitment regarding outcomes for students who are learning English as a new language. ABOUT THE AUTHORS: Carissa Hagan is a kindergarten through eighth grade ESL teacher at Sagamore Middle School and Grundy Avenue Elementary School in the Sachem Central School District. Aristea Lucas is a sixth through eighth grade ESL teacher at Sagamore Middle School in the Sachem Central School District. Andrea Honigsfeld is a professor in the Division of Education at Molloy College, Rockville Centre, NY. Maria Dove is an associate professor in the Division of Education at Molloy College, Rockville Centre, NY.

Close Reading and Personal Connection: The Power of Poetry. Literary forms such as poetry are important and vital elements of the curriculum. This author describes how poetry can be used to inspire and engage learners. It is a form of text that can serve as the focus of a close read, similar to other texts. She offers examples of text-dependent questions that can be used in conjunction with questions that seek personal connections and expressions. ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lindamichelle Baron is an assistant professor and chair of the Department of Teacher Education at York College, City University of New York.

Common Core in the Primary Classroom. A primary level teacher shares his experience working with the Instructional Shift of asking text-dependent questions during a read- aloud. This Shift can be implemented in developmentally appropriate ways that can set a foundation for future student success. ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Andrew S. Palumbo is a kindergarten teacher at Moses DeWitt Elementary School in the Jamesville-DeWitt Central School District. He is the author of Prosperous Teaching Prosperous Learning: Inspirational Thoughts for an Educational Paradigm Shift (Balboa Press, 2011).