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Mar 062014
 

This is the first in a series of posts dedicated to helping teachers understand specific changes the Common Core requires them to make in their instruction and sharing how StarrMatica’s content can help facilitate that transition.

One of the major shifts in ELA (and to some extent Math) is the requirement for students to write extended responses.  Rather than just answering multiple choice questions about a text, students will be asked to construct written responses so they can demonstrate not only a deeper understanding of a text but also their abilities to apply the higher order thinking skills of synthesizing, justifying, and evaluating when reading a text.

Here is an example of a typical standardized test question previously used:

Why were the Wright Brothers successful?

  • They didn’t go to school for airplanes or engineering.
  • They researched, made careful sketches, and learned from their mistakes.
  • They gave up when their first planes didn’t work.

Here is an example of a Common Core question:

Why do you think the Wright Brothers were successful even though they hadn’t gone to school for airplanes or engineering?  Use evidence from the story to support your answer.

Can you see the challenge for us as teachers?  The first question requires students to refer to the text to find an answer.  The second question requires students to refer to the text to construct an answer.

As teachers make the shift, it is important for them to have access to both fiction and non-fiction texts that allow them many opportunities to model constructing these types of responses and that allow their students to practice this important life skill.

In StarrMatica’s library, teachers have access to 150 fiction and non-fiction content guides to draw upon as they help their students learn to construct thoughtful responses that include evidence from the text.

Here is one example:

http://www.starrmatica.com/siteresources/docs/resources/StarrMaticaContentGuide_TheFirstAirplane.pdf

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