Evaluating Instructional Materials Through the Lens of the Common Core State Standards. Session Goals. Gain a deeper understanding of the ELA CCSS and the shifts they require Examine criteria used to evaluate instructional materials effectively
Materials Through the Lens
Common Core State Standards
If you were designing instructional materials aligned to the Common Core State Standards, what would they include?
How would they look different from the materials used today?
1. Building knowledge through content-rich nonfiction
2. Reading, writing, and speaking grounded in evidence from text, both literary and informational
3. Regular practice with complex text and its academic language
(55/45 in grades 6-8; 70/30 in grades 9-12)
TEXT DEPENDENT QUESTIONS
Not Text Dependent
What makes Casey’s experiences at bat humorous?
What can you infer from King’s letter about the letter he received?
“The Gettysburg Address” mentions the year 1776. According to Lincoln’s speech, why is this year significant to the events described in the speech?
In “Casey at the Bat,” Casey strikes out. Describe a time when you failed at something.
In “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” Dr. King discusses nonviolent protest. Discuss, in writing, a time when you wanted to fight against something that you felt was unfair.
In “The Gettysburg Address” Lincoln says the nation is dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Why is equality an important value to promote?
1. Take the entire first paragraph and restate it as a short sentence that tells what the news was.
2. The speaker says “Martin Luther King dedicated his life to love and to justice between fellow human beings.” What had he been involved in and done that made him so famous?
3. The speaker offered a choice to the audience between greater polarization or understanding, compassion and love. Based on the word itself and its context (in paragraph 3), what does “polarization” mean?
4. “I had a member of my family killed, but he was killed by a white man.” Is there anything odd about this sentence? What race do you think the person was who was talking? Explain your thinking by referring to evidence in the speech.
5. Who was the speaker’s famous brother who was killed?
6. Why was Robert Kennedy giving a speech that night in 1968 when King was assassinated?
4. Text-dependent and specific. You want the students to notice the seeming non-sequitur, which, after the information that King’s killer was white and anger was deserved because of that fact, becomes a clue. This is a challenging question that focuses students sharply on author’s choices.
5. Not text-dependent. You would have to just know this from elsewhere.
6. Not text-dependent. But does this question matter? Many adults would think it does. This needs to be carefully considered.
Materials portray writing to sources as key tasks.
Materials focus on argumentative as well as explanatory/informational writing.
In elementary school - 30% argumentative writing 35% explanatory/informational writing 35% narrative writing
In middle school - 35% argumentative writing 35% explanatory/informational writing 30% narrative writing
In high school - 40% argumentative writing 40% explanatory/informational writing 20% narrative writing
Materials make it clear that student writing should be responsive to the needs of the audience and the particulars of the text in question.
Students are given extensive practice with short, focused research projects.
“Write a persuasive letter to your principal to convince her that mandating school uniforms is either a good or bad idea.”
Draws evidence from a text in one of three ways:
1. After delivering the news of MLK’s death, Kennedy gives several reasons why the audience should choose peace and understanding in the face of violence against MLK. Write an essay in which you tell about an experience in which you or someone you know was faced with a similar challenge between choosing revenge or choosing compassion. Include reasons to justify the choices that were made.
2.After delivering the news of MLK’s death, Kennedy asks his audience to dedicate themselves “to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world.” Write an essay in which you argue whether or not you feel that is the right choice for those listening to him to make given the circumstances. Include reasons to support your argument.
3. After delivering the news of MLK’s death, Kennedy asks his audience to dedicate themselves “to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world”? Write an essay in which you explain what this phrase means and how the argument in his speech arrives at this conclusion.
What it is…
What it’s not…
The five strands of ELA– reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language – are meant to be woven together. This is true for instructional materials as well as for curriculum mapping.
All three shifts are meant to be in play at once.
There is no either/or here. Quality materials need all of this.
Be wary of materials and approaches that seek to segregate the standards.
Texts worth reading and questions worth answering!
What practices and materials are currently in place in our instructional settings to support all students in accessing appropriately complex text?
Where do we have needs (materials, PD, assessment tools)?
Do the current reading selections used in our instructional settings align to the expectations of the CCSS?
Who is engaged in conversations about text selection in our district? Is it really about text selection or standards?
How are content area teachers engaged?