Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Understanding specific Common Core Standards

As I was teaching this morning (online) I found that many teachers, parents and students might be confused by common core standards such as the World History standards below.

History/Social Studies CCR 2: Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.
ELD Standards Grade 9-10 Part I A. Collaborative 1. Exchanging information and ideas with others through oral collaborative discussions on a range of social and academic topic.
CSS History 10.1 Students relate the moral and ethical principals in ancient Greek and Roman philosophy, in Judaism, and in Christianity to the development of the Western political thought.

These standards are misleading in that the time frame in which they should be taught is ambiguous. These standards are good; however, the public reading them might interpret them as generalities that are too broad in subject matter and too vague about the time frame in which cover the skills and content should be taught.

All of these standards appear so broad with so many subtopics that the lesson ideas could be quite convoluted. For example, the last standard doesn't refer to covering all that material in one lesson, or even several. The question is how much time should students work on the standard. Teachers are now summoned to plan the scope and sequence of the curriculum with grade levels determined by the complexity of the standard, which used to be specifically drawn out in charts and chapter in textbooks.

So, how do high school teachers plan lessons? The get together by grade level and decide what they are going to teach according to the general standard for literacy corresponding to the subject taught and the subject itself. The best way to understand this is to see a sample lessons in a unit that addresses the Common Core.