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Sunday, October 21, 2012

COMMON CORE and ACADEMIC VOCABULARY

Though every one of the 46 states who adopted the common core might weave a few state related adjustments here and there into their state education plans, they will leave the bulk of common core in place.  This will hopefully lead to national standards eventually.

One common thread found in every state's version of the CCSS is the need to build academic vocabulary of their students.  Two issues surface here.  One is WHICH words does a teacher focus on in a given lesson.  Here, teachers have to differentiate between words which will be used in different content areas and which ones are words that are so content specific (ex. mitosis) that they will rarely, if ever, be found outside of that content area.  Then teachers must devise ways to activate student prior knowledge to the new word.  Once that occurs, teachers can refer back to it as needed to ensure that the student can apply this new knowledge to the reading in which the word is found.  Second, as the teacher covers such key vocabulary, s/he needs to build on that word knowledge by showing different forms of the words, bringing in antonyms/synonyms/examples/non-examples, visuals, etc.  Further, students need time to strengthen that knowledge not just with reading, but also writing.

COMMON CORE AND ACADEMIC VOCABULARY is from New York.  In this 6 minute video, NYS Commissioner of Education John King, David Coleman (contributing author to the Common Core), and Kate Gerson (a Sr. Fellow with the Regents Research Fund) discuss the shift in academic vocabulary. 

How will this change the way a teacher addresses new vocabulary choices?  Here are some areas to think about in viewing the video. 

1.  They will need to decide on how many words in a given selection must be taught.
2.  Teachers will need to select words deemed useful across disciplines. 
3.  They will need to see which words are worth the time to fully explore and reinforce with students. 
4.  They will need to create writing activities  to provide practice in using the words. 

To support teachers in making these decisions, download the PDFs at the bottom of the page under the paragraph describing the video.


You may register for updates to their plans for implementation of the new standards.  You will also have access to many more resources including videos, lesson plans, lesson plan templates, common core exemplars covering K-12, etc.  It is one of many sites teachers will want to save:)

Denise

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