Yes, This Will Be On the Test

Writing, Reading, Laughing

Thursday, December 5, 2013

View From the 5th Grade Trenches: Common Core Standards #2 - Break It Down ELA

Welcome to the second installment of wrapping our heads around the Common Core State Standards. I'm going to aim binoculars at the English Language Arts - ELA- standards this week.

Below are the 6 ELA standard strands and a few examples of what fall under each. A key factor in Common Core State Standards is added academic rigor for the students. Please know, my scant examples do not do the complexity of each strand justice.  

If you are itching for more detail - you can go to your state's Department of Education website and they will have a Common Core Standards link with a plethora of information.

And now - English Language Arts... 

Reading Literature
Structure of literary forms (fiction, drama, poetry), figurative language, themes, tone, author's purpose, comprehension, inferencing, quoting accurately from a source

Reading Informational Text
Structure of non-fiction texts, comparing sources across media for relevancy, extracting information, judging with criteria, proving with evidence, comprehension, drawing conclusions, citation of resources

Speaking and Listening 
Oral presentations, cooperative group strategies such as negotiation and task completion, academic conversations (I will be focusing on these in a future post)

Application of learning from both Reading Literature and Reading Informational Text standards, purposes for writing, writing across forms such as narrative/informational/opinion pieces, use of multi-media to express ideas and information

Conventions of language, grammar, punctuation, parts of speech, etc.

Reading Foundational Skills
Phonics, decoding, syllabication, morphology

In grade K-5, they are embedded within the ELA strands.

This weeks video is a quick overview of the purpose and benefits of national standards. And the doodler in me loves the graphic style of the presentation.

Common Core Link of the Week: Engage NY - Shifts for Students and Parents
This is the link I share with the parents in my class. Don't be put off by the length of the PDF. Each slide is a mini-poster of info. not a barrage of headache-inducing verbiage.

Question from last week:

Are standardized tests going away? 
The style of the test is changing. It will be online and include both individual and group tasks/assessments. I will focus on this topic in a future post.

Next week: Common Core Math Standards and Practices 


  1. Group work for standardized testing? Wow - never heard of that happening before. I like the fact that it's online - so much easier and less expensive than all that paper.

    Our curriculum has a lot of similarities with these standards - our current push is toward more inquiry and research skills too

    1. The group part of the testing is probably the part that is freaking me out the most. We are piloting the tests again this year and I hope that component is part of it. Last year it was single student vs. "the machine."

  2. It warms my heart to see that citing and proper quotation is on here. I just had a grad student submit a paper to me that couldn't do it properly! Yeesh! :)

  3. Okay, so I'll be brave, is Common Core not the evil monster we are all hearing it is? Can it actually be good for our students? Sounds like it from what you are sharing. (Don't kill me!) I know you won't Leslie Rose!!

  4. I left an earlier comment but I don't think it went through.I'm still confused about all this but I know my kids will be fine. Their teachers are amazing.

  5. The common core is putting many teachers in a bad place. Not only will the teachers have to suffer, but it will end up hurting the students. I am glad I am not a student in this generation.

    1. It is a HUGE shift and several boatloads of work for teachers. We are having to reinvent some tride and true lessons to sync up with Common Core. At best I'd say it's a two year process to slide all the way over.

  6. These posts have been really enlightening. Thanks.

  7. I'm homeschooling my girls using the K12 curriculum which I know is based on the core, but we just started this fall so it's all new to me, with nothing really to compare to. I chose to homeschool cause my girls barely pick up anything in a group setting. But anyway, it's been fascinating getting into the lesson plans and really getting involved in what my kids are learning. I'm looking forward to reading more from you about this.

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