Thursday, May 17, 2012

Common Core Standards--English Language Arts and USE OF PRIMARY SOURCES

With the new common core standards being rolled out for English, teachers at the high school level will need to spend 70% of instructional time on informational text/non-fiction materials.  This is long overdue since universities have been urging schools to spend more time better preparing students for college.  In fact, most incoming freshmen must take remedial writing classes in their first year to prepare them for university work.

What will be quite different for students will be working with primary sources on a regular basis.  Many students are foggy on what they are, but this site explains what they are on a student level and then provides examples of primary sources throughout the site. To offer an overview of the key forms primary sources, go to OVERVIEW.  Each form is explained in detail and then students take on "detective" roles to search for evidence to use for solving "problems."  Isn't that what is asked of students in many universities--to THINK, ANALYZE, SYNTHESIZE, PERSUADE, etc.?  Notice that PERSONAL NARRATIVE is no where to be found and yet this writing style is still heavily used in all grades.

In the SPEED ROUND, students have to use their knowledge of all forms of primary sources addressed throughout the site to answer questions against a timer.  If you have struggling learners mixed in your mainstream classes, you could do a numbered heads together (cooperative learning in mixed ability groups) and then do a team competition.  It would be a WIN-WIN opportunity for all (and a bit of fun in the process).

PRIMARY SOURCES   ---  Here is the link to the entire site.  Bookmark it to hold for the unveiling of common core standards:)



PS  If you would like a detailed view of the common core ELA standards and how they will be implemented in school, you should subscribe to ELL TEACHER PROS to receive our monthly newsletter.  I will be providing both overall description of the process as well as providing videos and sample unit lessons in our JUNE NEWSLETTER to be released on May 31st.

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