Common Core Standards and Best Practices

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1 Common Core Standards and Best Practices Introduction: The Common Core The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) represent a coherent progression of learning expectations in English language arts and mathematics. They are designed to prepare K-12 students for college and career success. The English Language Arts (ELA) K-5 standards focus on six strands: Three Reading strands Literature, Informational Text, Foundational Skills Writing Speaking and Listening, and Language. Teachers will want to spend time studying and reflecting on the Anchor Standards for the Speaking and Listening Strand. College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Speaking and Listening Comprehension and Collaboration 1. Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners. Building on others ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively. 2. Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally. 3. Evaluate a speaker s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric. Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas 4. Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose and audience. 5. Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations. 6. Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and communicative tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate. In addition, teachers in Grade 3 should become familiar with the standards for students in Grades K-2, which build and lead to the Grade 3 standards. Reading these materials will provide a solid foundation for understanding the why of this particular CCELA Strand and the standards that students will master in Grade 3. Following are the standards for Speaking & Listening for Grade 3. 1

2 Speaking & Listening Standards Comprehension and Collaboration 1. Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 3 topics and texts, building on others ideas and expressing their own clearly. a. Come to discussions prepared, having read or studied required material; explicitly draw on that preparation and other information known about the topic to explore ideas under discussion. b. Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions (e.g., gaining the floor in respectful ways, listening to others with care, speaking one at a time about the topics and texts under discussion). c. Ask questions to check understanding of information presented, stay on topic, and link their comments to the remarks of others. d. Explain their own ideas and understanding in light of the discussion. 2. Determine the main ideas and supporting details of a text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally. 3. Ask and answer questions about information from a speaker, offering appropriate elaboration and detail. Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas 1. Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace. 2. Create engaging audio recordings of stories or poems that demonstrate fluid reading at an understandable pace; add visual displays when appropriate to emphasize or enhance certain facts or details. 3. Speak in complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation in order to provide requested detail or clarification. (See grade 3 Language standards 1 and 3 for specific expectations.) In addition to the Speaking & Listening standards, standards in other areas, such as Language and Writing, are relevant and should be woven into Speaking & Listening instruction. Language Standards Conventions of Standard English 1. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking. Knowledge of Language 3. Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening. a. Choose words and phrases for effect. 2

3 b. Recognize and observe differences between the conventions of spoken and written standard English. Vocabulary Acquisition and Use 5. Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships and nuances in word meanings. b. Identify real-life connections between words and their use (e.g., describe people who are friendly or helpful). c. Distinguish shades of meaning among related words that describe states of mind or degrees of certainty (e.g., knew, believed, suspected, heard, wondered). 6. Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate conversational, general academic, and domain-specific words and phrases, including those that signal spatial and temporal relationships (e.g., After dinner that night we went looking for them). Writing Standards Text Types and Purposes 1. Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons. a. Introduce the topic or text they are writing about, state an opinion, and create an organizational structure that lists reasons. b. Provide reasons that support the opinion. c. Use linking words and phrases (e.g., because, therefore, since, for example) to connect opinion and reasons. d. Provide a concluding statement or section. 3. Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences. a. Establish a situation and introduce a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally. b. Use dialogue and descriptions of actions, thoughts, and feelings to develop experiences and events or show the response of characters to situations. c. Use temporal words and phrases to signal event order. d. Provide a sense of closure. Production and Distribution of Writing 4. With guidance and support from adults, produce writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task and purpose. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1 3 above.) 3

4 Socratic Seminar A test of your ability to READ carefully, LISTEN closely, work COOPERATIVELY, THINK deeply, and SPEAK precisely. The Socratic Seminar Socrates believed the best way to learn was through disciplined conversation. He called this method dialectic. Dialectic is the art or practice of examining opinions or ideas logically, often by the method of question and answer, to determine their validity (The Socratic Seminar). A Socratic Seminar can take place after students read a text or texts. For a Socratic Seminar, choose texts that interest your students, are rich in ideas, and can stimulate extended, dialogue amongst students. Prior to discussion, students prepare questions with answers. For our purpose, answers must come from the text. Students must be able to direct others to the location of the answer within the text. One way to do this is to number the lines of text. Another technique is to use highlighters or sticky notes. A Socratic Seminar opens with a question. At first, especially with younger students (such as Grade 3), the teacher will pose the question. Later, as students gain experience in seminars, they may pose the question. The seminar leader the teacher in an elementary environment consciously leads students to a thoughtful exploration of the ideas in the text. The students roles are to: Come to the seminar having read the text carefully. Share their ideas and questions in response to the ideas and questions of others. Search for evidence in the text to support their ideas. Listen actively. Before implementing Socratic Seminar in your classroom, take the time to study the process in more depth. If possible, seek out a colleague with experience in implementing these dialogues and observe a seminar in action. A Socratic Seminar vs. Traditional Patterns of Classroom Communication A Socratic Seminar utilizes a very different pattern of communication than traditional classroom interactions. Often in classrooms, the teacher asks a question and calls on a student to answer. Then the teacher asks another question and calls on another student. In this traditional pattern, the teacher drives and directs classroom discourse. In a Socratic Seminar, students build off one another s comments. The teacher rarely speaks. In this pattern, the students drive and direct classroom discourse. More students actively 4

5 participate. The teacher may interject a comment occasionally, as part of the overall conversation, but mostly he or she takes the role of observer and participant instead of directing the entire process. This approach supports students in taking responsibility for their learning and helps them practice formulating and justifying their ideas based on the text. Traditional Classroom Communication Socratic Seminar Suggestions for Listening and Speaking The following approaches help students participate effectively in Socratic Seminars. Students will find many uses for these in all academic disciplines and even later in life, including higher education, and in the workplace. Model the prompts and have students practice using them. I agree with because, but I want to add another reason why I think is true. (Give reason). I disagree with, because. I m not sure they said. Can your share again maybe rewording your comments to help me better understand? I understand your point, ; however, I want to add/disagree/give another side:. This is what I think you are saying. Is that correct? 5

6 Accountable Talk Accountable talk is purposeful talk. Teachers focus on helping students increase their understanding of topics through the development of their thinking through talking and discussion. The main difference in Socratic Seminar and Accountable Talk is that a Socratic Seminar is an organized activity that a teacher plans for a specific time within the school day. Accountable Talk is a bit less structured and becomes a focus throughout the day; it is not a separate lesson or activity that only happens at a particular time during the day. Use both Socratic Seminars and Accountable Talk to address appropriate grade level topics within all content areas. When using Accountable Talk, the teacher becomes a facilitator and orchestrates the talk. Here are examples of how this might play out in a classroom. Throughout a day, a teacher will: Spotlight concepts to be learned. Probe for further information from students. Challenge students to return to the text for further information or clarification. Rephrase to help build thinking challenge students to do the same. Be a model for thinking aloud. Provide resources for missing background information as needed. Guide students in summarizing ideas. Every student is encouraged and given multiple opportunities to talk. Purposeful talk will eventually occur in pairs, as well as in small and large group, as students skills and understanding of these verbal interactions grow. Purposeful talk occurs anywhere and hopefully everywhere in the classroom. Use talk within the classroom to build community and enhance learning. Prompts for Purposeful Talk Prompts are helpful in promoting purposeful talk. Provide students with small individual cards with question starters. Or place posters containing prompts around the room, where all students can see. Examples: Can you tell me more? Please say that again. It would be helpful to have another example. This reminds me of. I m sure (not sure) this is true because. Would you read a passage from the text to illustrate your comment? I agree with because. 6

7 Possible Rubric for Purposeful Talk Use this rubric to assess students use of purposeful (accountable) talk. Is the discussion on-topic? Is target vocabulary used? Do student s answers include reasons? Is student engaged in the process? Discussion is offtopic Discussion on Discussion on topic from time to topic more than time not on topic Target vocabulary is not used Answers appear to be random Rather disengaged in the entire process; does not show respect for the process of purposeful talk Target vocabulary rarely used Answers are given without documented reasons or strategies Works to show respect for the process of purposeful talk (listening, attempting to participate); however, loses focus Target vocabulary used more than not used Provides reasons for answers Shows respect for the process through focused listening and attempts to participate in verbal interactions Discussion on topic throughout Target vocabulary used throughout Provides multiple reasons for answers Shows respect for the process through focused listening and on topic verbal interactions 7

8 Additional Ideas for Speaking and Listening in Grade 3 Pick a Topic: Students pull a grade level appropriate topic from a box. Give students three minutes to gather their thoughts and write a few notes. Then have students share their ideas in small groups with other students. Listeners are listening for an introductory sentence, a few details, a summary statement, and the use of complete sentences throughout each one- to two-minute presentation. When you first introduce this kind of activity, provide a clear explanation and model how to prepare and how to present. Then have students share in large group, and give each student constructive feedback. My Favorite Subject/Food/Sport Ask students to identify their favorite school subject. (Alternatively, have students identify their favorite foods, favorite sports, favorite pets, or other favorites.) Group students according to their favorites. Students share and record their reasons for why a subject is their favorite. Students organize their thoughts in preparation for an oral presentation to the class. How much prep time and presentation time is allowed, is the call of the teacher. What Would You Do? Pose a scenario or problem for the students to respond: A new student has just joined the class. He speaks no English. What would you do to make the student feel welcomed? While on a field trip, a classmate s lunch is lost. What would you do and why? This is the third time you ve left your homework at home. What will you do to correct this lack of responsibility? Students need regular opportunities to speak before others, in order to become competent and confident. As with all speaking and listening activities, remind students of the guidelines for speaking and listening and provide opportunities for each student to receive constructive feedback from the teacher and peers, as appropriate. 8

9 References Block, S. (2001). Ask me a question: How teachers use inquiry in a classroom. American School Board Journal, 188(5), Cooper, P., & Morreale, S. (eds.). (2003). Creating competent communicators: Activities for teaching, speaking Listening, and media literacy in K-6 classrooms. Scottsdale, AZ: Holcomb Hathaway. Daniels, H. (2002). Literature circles: Voice and choice in book cubs and reading groups (2 nd ed.). York, ME: Stenhouse. Fisher, K. (2003). If we can talk about it, we can write about it; if we can write about it, we can read about it. Michigan Reading Journal, 35(2), Hiebert, E. H., & Kamil, M. L. (Eds.). (2005). Teaching and learning vocabulary: Bringing research to practice. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum. Kame enui, E. J., & Baumann, J. F. (eds.). (2012). Vocabulary instruction: Research to practice (2 nd ed.). New York: Guilford Press. The Socratic Seminar. (n.d.). Retrieved January 22, 2014, from College and Career Readiness: AVID, Grand Prairie Independent School District: 9

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