Common Core changes approach to education in NFDL

Sep 22, 2014 by

English teacher Katelyn Crabb has changed the way she thinks about how her students learn.

It’s mid-morning and 30 ninth-graders with Chromebooks are focused on a smart board in her classroom at Horace Mann High School in North Fond du Lac. There’s an assignment due Sept. 22 on investigating journalism leads. More work is expected on an independent reading blog as well as in individual student journals.

Since the district began embracing Common Core Standards, Crabb says the goal of educators in the school district has been unified, yet they continue individually to teach the best way they see fit.

“The standards do not control our day-to-day assignments or procedures, but rather encourage us to think of different ways to help our students understand their (own) learning,” Crabb said.

While parents may be struggling to decipher what the academic guidelines mean for their children and their local schools, ongoing political debate over Common Core has muddied understanding and placed education under the guillotine of party lines.

“Simply put, they are just a list of skills students will need by the time they move on from each grade,” Crabb said. “They are not lesson plans or homework assignments. Those are curriculum programs or teacher-created aspects of education.”

Ninth-grader Griffin Brunet says he learns best by listening to his teachers present information while he takes notes. He’s working on an essay about his goals for the school year.

“I’ve heard of Common Core but I’m not sure what it means,” Griffin said. “I know that teachers are harder on us in high school — definitely they expect more.”

The Wisconsin standards for language arts posted online are 200 pages long. They expect ninth-graders to have an in-depth understanding in the categories of reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language. Students must be able to — among a multitude of other skills — cite evidence to support analysis of text; analyze in detail themes, central ideas and the cumulative impact; write arguments to support claims; engage effectively in collaborative discussions; and delineate a speaker’s arguments.

via Common Core changes approach to education in NFDL.

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