In last month's parent newsletter I described the Common Core State Standards. This month, I would like to provide you with some tips to help your child get ready for the Common Core in 2014-15. We will begin phasing the new standards into our teaching between now and then.
First a brief review...
The Common Core State Standards were created in response to concerns about American student achievement. They are a set of learning skills and not a federal curriculum. They are the guidelines for what each student should learn, not how or what teachers teach.
Now for the tips...
Look through the Common Core Standards for English Language Arts and Math at the Common Core website (http://www.cde.ca.gov/re/cc). You will see that the standards are a progression of skills.
As your child completes homework, help him/her hone in on the most important core concepts. The CCSS focus on the most important topics that students need to know. For example, in math in elementary school students will be focusing on really understanding "number" before they apply that understanding to data in middle school.
As you read with your child, ask him/her in-depth how and why questions that encourage analysis and synthesis of information. For example, read 3 different versions of Goldilocks and the Three Bears and ask your child to compare andcontrast them as you read. Comparing and contrasting is one of the skills that is continuous throughout grades K-12.
Encourage your child to research a topic s/he is interested in using information texts and original documents. More and more of our students' readings will be from informational texts. By the end of elementary school reading will be 50% informational and 50% fiction.
Ask your child to explain or show how they're solving problems. Then, have them think of multiple ways to solve a math problem, or answer a reading discussion question. The Common Core assessments will likely be more difficult for our students at the beginning as they will shift away from multiple choice tests and towards written responses describing their thinking process and analysis.
As your child completes his/her homework, ask him/her how someone might use what he's working on in "real life." Help connect thinking in school to thinking at work by explaining how you solve problems or use math every day. Since the new standards were designed with the workplace in mind, students will be asked to take on the role of scientists, historians, researchers, and more.
While it may feel like many things are changing, many things will stay the same. Keeping informed and staying in touch with your child's teacher are the best ways to navigate the change ahead.
(adapted from an article by Samantha Cleaver, education.com)