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Transitioning from VT's Reading and Writing GEs to the Common Core: Benefits/Opportunities? Challenges? VTCLA January 6, 2012. Sue Biggam; Co- Coordinator Literacy Leadership Initiative at UVM. Learning Intentions….

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Transitioning from VT's Reading and Writing GEs to the Common Core: Benefits/Opportunities? Challenges? VTCLAJanuary 6, 2012

Sue Biggam; Co- Coordinator Literacy Leadership Initiative at UVM

learning intentions
Learning Intentions…
  • Participants will leave with an understanding of what it looks like to be college and career ready.
  • Participants will leave with some possible new practices and resources that are linked to the Common Core.
  • Participants will leave with an understanding of what might be benefits and challenges related to the Common Core and the upcoming SBAC assessment - and some ways to address these.
  • Participants will leave with an understanding of how they might share these ideas in their school, district, or SU.
three questions
Three questions!
  • 1. What was the best part of the holiday break for you?2. In your school or SU, what kind of professional development has there been related to the Common Core? ( school level? SU wide, ESA sessions; other?)3. What questions do you have about the upcoming Common Core and the upcoming SBAC assessment?
intention purpose of the common core standards
Intention/purpose of the Common Core standards
  • The purpose is to help ensure that all students are “college and career ready.”
  • The Common Core standards also lay out a vision of what it means to be a literate person in the twenty-first century
  • Several key features of the standards:
    • Focus on RESULTS, rather than means
    • Integrated model of literacy
    • Research and media skills blended into the standards
    • Shared responsibility for literacy development
Basic Structure /Parts of the English Language Arts Common Core & Literacy in History, Social Studies, Science and Technical Subjects
clusters for reading literary and informational text
Clusters for Reading Literary and Informational Text

(same clusters for both literary and informational– but different content)

  • Key Ideas and Details
  • Craft and Structure
  • Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
  • Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity
clusters for foundational skills
Clusters for Foundational Skills
  • Print concepts
  • Phonological awareness
  • Phonics and Word Recognition
  • Fluency
clusters for writing
Clusters for Writing
  • Text Types and Purposes
  • Production and Distribution of Writing
  • Research to Build and present Knowledge
  • Range of Writing
clusters for speaking and listening
Clusters for Speaking and Listening
  • Comprehension and Collaboration
  • Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas
clusters for language
Clusters for Language
  • Knowledge of Language
  • Vocabulary Acquisition and Use
  • Conventions of Standard English
some sections of the common core to pay particular attention to
Some sections of the Common Core to pay particular attention to…
  • Introduction…
  • Page 7 : Students who are college and career ready demonstrate… independence, content knowledge, etc.
  • Standard 10: Measuring text complexity: and range of text types for gr K-5( p. 31) for gr 6-12 p. 57
  • Appendix A ( very helpful): Research Supporting Key Elements of the Standards; Glossary of Key Terms
  • Appendix B ( Text exemplars and related Performance tasks) & Appendix C (examples of student writing) : Might be useful when thinking about instructional resources for a particular unit, formative assessments, etc?
other shifts in emphasis to pay attention to
Other shifts in emphasis to pay attention to…
  • Changes in reading: literary vs informational text ( 50-50% at gr K-5; 45-55% at 6-8; 30-70% at gr 9-12.
  • Changes in writing:
    • at gr 4: 35% literary; 35% informational; 30% opinion
    • At gr 8 30% literary; 35 % informational; 35% opinion/argument
    • At gr 11: 20% literacy; 40% informational; 40% opinion/argument
    • Turn and talk – what kind of impact do you think these shifts will have on instructional practice and assessment?
still more aspects to pay attention to
Still more aspects to pay attention to….
  • Emphasis on higher order/complex thinking
  • Emphasis on text complexity
  • Emphasis on vocabulary
  • Emphasis on grammar
  • Emphasis on using technology
  • Emphasis on comparing two or more different types/genres of text or other forms of media
what is not part of the common core standards
What is NOT part of the common core standards…
  • Early reading strategies ( rereading, self-correcting, self monitoring, etc.)
  • Comprehension strategies ( predicting, making connections, etc. ( although summarizing, asking questions and inferring are part of the common core: these may be seen as “results” vs strategies?)
  • Stamina in reading (although stamina in writing IS addressed!)
  • Poetry ( it is included in the reading standards, not in writing)
  • Other?
vision activity page 7 what students who are college and career ready should be able to do
“Vision activity” Page 7: what students who are “college and career” ready should be able to do…
  • These are not actual standards, but give a “portrait” of students who meet the standards as set out in the Common Core.
  • Read through this page (in your handouts) …
  • Turn and talk with someone beside you…
    • What do you think of these descriptors? What do they actually mean?
    • What would instruction look like in an environment that models and engages students in this kind of learning?
    • * at the primary level? (choose one)
    • * upper elementary
    • * middle- HS level
    • .
whole group debrief
Whole group debrief…
  • How might you introduce these descriptors to teachers, or students?
  • Ideas?
assessment based on common core standards
Assessment based on Common Core Standards
  • Assessment Framework ( also known as “content specifications”) is now available for feedback: go to:
  • First SBAC ( Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium) assessment will take place in spring of 2015
    • Will consist of computer –adaptive assessment and also performance –based assessments

DIGITAL CLEARINGHOUSE of formative tools, processes and exemplars; released items and tasks; model curriculum units; educator training; professional development tools and resources; scorer training modules; and teacher collaboration tools. (free)

INTERIM assessments ( need to be purchased)


Last 12 weeks of year*




Re-take Option





Four Major Claims for SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium Assessments of the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects ( FINAL VERSION!)

Claim #1 - Students can read closely and analytically to comprehend a range of increasingly complex literary and informational texts.

Claim #2 - Students can produce effective and well-grounded writing for a range of purposes and audiences.

Claim #3 - Students can employ effective speaking and listening skills for a range of purposes and audiences.

Claim #4 - Students can engage in research / inquiry to investigate topics, and to analyze, integrate, and present information

turn and talk
Turn and Talk…
  • How similar do you think these 5 claims are to some of the “big ideas” (enduring understandings) or “power standards” that are currently being used at your school or SU?
  • What might be a benefit of these claims? a challenge?
  • Whole group debrief
resources approaches that might be useful for schools and curriculum leaders
Resources/approaches that might be useful for schools and curriculum leaders
  • Areas of the Common Core handout: what is different/new? What approaches are we already using that could help in these areas? What else do we need in terms of resources or professional development? (in handouts)
  • Highlighting what is different/across the Common Core’s grade-level progressions ( perhaps at a vertical team mtg?)
  • “Unpacking” the Common Core standards template (in handouts)
  • “Publisher’s Criteria” ( from David Coleman and Susan Pimentel) – for gr K-2; 3-12 (available at the VT DOE website)
  • VT’s Transition to the Common Core State Standards – with embedded resources - available on DOE site-----
  • Hunt Institute videos – available on You Tube and on the VT Dept of Ed website: or

other resources that might be useful for schools and curriculum leaders
Other resources that might be useful for schools and curriculum leaders

*Standards of Practice from the DRAFT State Literacy Plan . These were drafted by a team of VT teachers, literacy specialists, higher education professionals and consultants to link intentionally to the “anchor standards” in the Common Core, and provide a resource for instruction. (See sample page in your handouts.) To find the resource online, go to the VT READS website:

  • “The Challenge of Advanced Texts” by Marilyn Jager Adams, in Hiebert’s “Reading More, reading better: Are American students reading enough of the right stuff? NY: Guilford Publications, 2009.
  • Learning Progressions from Karin Hess. (Dec. 2011) (see pages in handouts) Soon to be posted at: Let’s take some time to look closely at these …
turn and talk1
Turn and talk…
  • What other resources or professional development have you found to be useful?
  • How might you use these in your work?
  • Whole group debrief
integrating literacy standards across the content areas two key areas
Integrating literacy standards across the content areas: Two key areas:
  • Text Complexity, higher level thinking, vocabulary and discussion to build comprehension
  • Writing (especially argument/opinion and short research reports)
Text Complexity, higher level thinking and discussion… for strengthening comprehension and demonstrating understanding

Some familiar (and some of these may not be so familiar) approaches and resources that might be used: ( we’ll try some of these…)

  • Questioning The Author (Beck and McKeown) – in handouts
  • Two text complexity templates (adapted by by the VT DOE from Kansas Dept of Ed)- in handouts
  • Jennifer Seravallo’s post-it approach for assessing comprehension strategy use:
    • From basic/concrete to sophisticated /abstract ( in handouts)
Text Complexity, higher level thinking and discussion… for strengthening comprehension and demonstrating understanding
  • Peter’s Johnston’s work: Choice Words – see handout of “dialogic “ talk
  • Text structure categories and lists of signal/transition words ( K Hess) – in handouts
  • Comprehension Conversation cards ( from Fountas and Pinnell assessment) – in handouts
  • Four Door approach for Reciprocal Teaching ( Lori Oczkus) – in handouts
  • Socratic Circles – in handouts
  • Others?
  • We’ll try some of these approaches… (some familiar, some may not be as familiar…)
    • Morphological analysis- Gr 2- 12
      • Chart of roots to be taught – in handouts
      • Root tree- in handouts
      • Ode to a root – in handouts
    • Powerful Vocabulary approach ( adapted from Sandra Whittaker, author of Word Play, Stenhouse) for gr. 3-12-( in handouts)
    • Other approaches you have found successful for vocabulary? ( e.g., vocabulary notebooks, Concept of Definition charts, subject specific word walls, Overheard conversations… others?)
writing especially opinion argument and short research projects
Writing: especially opinion/argument and short research projects
  • “TBEAR” approach for response to text, opinion/argument or other constructed response tasks (adapted by Karin Hess - in handouts
  • Discussion web (Alvermann, 1991)- in handouts
  • Proposition/support outlines (Buehl, 2001) – in handouts
  • Inquiry chart (Doug Buehl) ( in handouts)
  • “Put it in your own words” Julie Coiro’s template for “synthesizing from online sources without plagiarizing” (adapted by Sue Biggam, and teachers at Union 32 Middle School) – in handouts
  • Other?
  • Which of these approaches and resources might be useful at your grade level/span?
  • What are some other resources that you are currently using that you are wiling to share? (place on a post-it and we’ll collect and disseminate/share …)

Exit cards:

    • What was useful about today?
    • What might have improved the day?
    • Other thoughts/comments?

Thank you for coming!