Common Core and Compass are Louisiana’s top instructional priorities. Together, they represent more rigorous expectations for student learning and the necessary shifts in instructional practice to help students prepare for a career or college choice.
Louisiana’s Department of Education is a participant in the Common Core State Standards Initiative, a state-led effort coordinated by the National Governors’ Association, Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). Teachers, parents, education experts and others have worked diligently so that the standards provide clear, consistent expectations for what students should be learning at each grade in order to be prepared for college and career.
This more uniform set of standards and assessments across states will result in student learning and demonstrating competence comparatively with the rest of the nation.
Louisiana is transitioning from the current state standards to the Common Core State Standards. This transition, completed by the 2014-15 school year, is depicted in Louisiana’s Common Core Implementation Chart. Key points in English Language Arts for Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening, Language, and Media and Technology will drive changes in instructional practices and student learning demands. The Compass System will help determine the effectiveness of these changes and direct necessary supports to continue improving student achievement. To better understand how these shifts will begin to impact English Language Arts Instruction, see:
ELA Shifts in Common Core and Implications for Teachers
ELA Shifts in Common Core and Implications for Students
By the 2014-15 school year, Louisiana schools will fully implement the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Awareness of the instructional implications for teachers and the new task demands for students is critical in implementing CCSS. Those who work closely with English Language Arts (ELA) and literacy instruction should give special attention to the newly added ELA Standard 10 (elementary and 6-12) regarding more complex text, vocabulary, and answering text-dependent questions.
The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC) has designed the Model Content Frameworks. The Frameworks were developed through a state-led process that included ELA content experts in PARCC member states and members of the CCSS writing team.
The Model Content Frameworks are voluntary resources offered by PARCC to help curriculum developers and teachers as they work to implement the standards in their states and districts. The Model Content Frameworks illustrate one of a number of ways the standards could be organized over the course of the school year.
RESOURCES for Improved ELA Instructional Practice
--June & July professional development materials regarding shifts in instructional practices for teaching Standard 10 are available on the LDOE CCSS site. See CCSS Summer Institutes (June/July 2012) and choose the appropriate grade level.
--Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy (SRCL) Summit – July 2012 professional development materials (power point and handouts) regarding Text Complexity and Aligning Basal Instruction to Common Core State Standards are available for redelivery.
--Clearinghouse of Information for Supplemental and Intervention Products is a tool that reviews 396 supplemental and intervention reading intervention materials. The purpose of the clearinghouse is to provide districts with product information to compare and contrast features of programs that may meet the needs of their student population. The revised (2012) materials list includes charts to review and rate materials for grades Prekindergarten through 12. The LDOE requires viewers to check a disclaimer box on the website before viewing these documents.
Basal Alignment Project (BAP)
Louisiana is a collaborative partner with the Basal Alignment Project (BAP) in which states and districts have studied basal series teacher editions, grades 3, 4, & 5, for instructional alignment to the CCSS. Educators and families may access free instructional materials focused on text complexity, vocabulary, and text-dependent questions. These instructional lessons as well as teacher training materials can be found at: http://www.edmodo.com/. Directions: 1. Create an account. 2. Find “Groups Join” under picture and your name. 3. Enter this code: etuyrm. Choose “Join BAP” on the left; see; see publishers on right, 4. Select reviewed basal series:
--Medallion Reading --Story Town --Trophies --Open Court
--Treasures --Pearson Reading Street
Achieve the Core
The Common Core of State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy (CCSS for ELA), a nationwide effort to ensure that “all students are college and career ready in literacy no later than the end of high school”, defines what skills every student in America is expected to master at the end of each grade level. In the area of writing, students need to
· learn to communicate their “understanding of the subjects they are studying”
· express their thoughts, imagined or real, clearly
· develop the ability to build knowledge through research
· accurately convey their responses to that information or literature through their writing
According to the CCSS document, “to meet these goals, students must devote significant time and effort to writing, producing numerous pieces over short and extended time frames throughout the year.”
The writing skills our students should master by the end each grade are based on four broad anchor standards/goals. Those anchor standards are:
· Text Types and Purposes—These goals include writing arguments to support analysis of a topic, explain or inform about a topic, or relate experiences or events.
· Production and Distribution of Writing – These standards address the skills that develop clear and coherent writing by planning, revising, editing, rewriting and using technology to produce and publish themselves or collaborate with others.
· Research to Build and Present Knowledge – These goals ask students to find information from literary texts, multiple print and/or digital sources, and then analyze the credibility of these sources. This creditable information must then be used to write short or extensive research projects while avoiding plagiarism.
· Range of Writing – This standard requires students to demonstrate that they can write over immediate or extended time on a “range of tasks, purposes, and research”.
The Writing Next report by Steve Graham and Delores Perin, identifies eleven elements of current writing instruction found to be most effective in helping adolescents (grades 4-12) learn to write well and use writing as a tool for learning. The elements identified to be most effective presented in the order of greatest to least impact on writing proficiency are listed below. For more information about each element and page references within Writing Next, click here.
1. Writing strategies involve "explicitly teaching adolescents strategies for planning, revising, and/or editing, which has a strong impact on the quality of their writing.
2. Summarization "involves explicitly and systematically teaching students how to summarize texts”.
3. Collaborative writing where students work together and help each other.
4. Specific product goals that target the type of writing and the intended audience.
5. Utilization of Word processing.
6. Sentence Combining involves teaching students to combine simple sentences into more complex and sophisticated sentences.
7. Prewriting activities that help generate and organize ideas.
8. Inquiry activities help students analyze information.
9. Process writing approach
10. Study of models of each type of writing (expository, persuasive, compare, compare/contrast) , including poetry where student analyze the features of good writing before the students attempting on their own.
11. Writing for content learning addresses writing in a particular subject area (ELA, Math, Electives, Science, etc.).
“In 1997, Congress asked the Director of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)* at the National Institutes of Health, in consultation with the Secretary of Education, to convene a national panel to assess the effectiveness of different approaches used to teach children to read. The NRP worked for over two years reviewing and creating the document: ‘The Report of the National Reading panel: Teaching Children to Read.” ‘” Currently, NICHD has formed a partnership with the National Institute for Literacy (NIFL) and the U.S. Department of Education (ED) to work on continued dissemination and implementation efforts of the NRP Report, as part of NIFL's overall mission to disseminate and implement research-based reading practices. National Reading Panel Frequently Asked Questions
Phonemic Awareness-refers to the ability to hear, speak, and manipulate individual sounds in words when spoken. This auditory skill is developed prior to letter or word recognition. An example would be to hear the words “moon” and “moose” and be able to identify both words have 3 phonemes but isolate the last phoneme as being different (/m/-/oo/-/n/ vs. /m/-/oo/-/s/) . Phonemes do not have a one to one correspondence with letters. For example the long sound of a, can be represented by 8 different letter combinations –a, ae, eigh, ay, ai, ea, ei, a_e, ey. (There are over 40 phonemes but only 26 letters.) See National Reading Panel FAQs: FAQ #9: “What is phonemic awareness (PA)?and FAQ #10 ” What did the Panel conclude about phonemic awareness (PA)?”
Phonics--the 40+ phonemes or sound units can be represented by at least 250 different letter patterns (spellings). The Alphabetic Principle involves: 1) understanding that words are composed of letters that represent sounds, and 2) utilization of a systematic decoding of the letters and sounds. Some words have a one-to-one sound/symbol association and are readily decodable; many words fall into a particular pattern and must be learned; other words are “irregular”, meaning they have unique letter combinations that don’t follow any correspondence or pattern and must be memorized.
The University of Oregon Center on Teaching and Learning and the National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD) recognize a sequence for systematic phonics instruction. Identification of the breakdown in a student’s ability to decode words and the provision of intensive, explicit intervention will strengthen foundational skills necessary for comprehension and fluency to develop adequately.
Vocabulary-Vocabulary development is essential to comprehension. “As children become stronger, more advanced readers they not only learn to connect their oral vocabularies (the words we know when spoken) to their reading vocabularies (the words we know when used in print), they also strengthen each of these areas by adding new words to their repertoires. Vocabulary development is an ongoing process that continues throughout one’s “reading life”. (Source: http://www.k12reader.com/the-five-essential-components-of-reading/ )
Vocabulary instruction occurs primarily in three ways: explicitly- telling the definition, pronunciation, actively-use of contextual clues( hints within a text) and oral vocabulary skills, and repeatedly-multiple exposures to meaningful encounters with a word. For more information on different types of vocabulary and sample vocabulary instruction, see NICHD-Vocabulary Instruction.
Comprehension-The ability to comprehend what is read is built upon the strength of the other big ideas of reading (Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, Fluency, and Vocabulary. “Comprehension occurs as a consequence of the interaction between the person who is reading, the text the reader is reading, the specific task the reader is trying to accomplish, and the circumstances under which the reading is done (the context)”. (Moats, Louisa C. Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS), Module 6. Sopris West Educational Services. 2005.) Ability to comprehend can be rated according to strength of (or deficit in) word recognition, fluency, verbal ability, and strategy use.
The Washington Educational Television Authority sponsors Reading Rockets which maintain research, resources, blogs, newsletters, etc. for “teaching kids to read and helping those who struggle”.
Fluency-“The National Reading Panel (2000, p. 31) has defined fluency as ‘reading text with speed, accuracy, and proper expression.’" When a student is fluent, decoding skills are efficient, meaning little time is spent on decoding each individual word, and the speed of reading is sufficient using appropriate phrasing and intonation to convey accurate meaning. Fluency is not just reading as rapidly as possible. Fluency is closely tied to comprehension. Appropriate speed facilitated by efficient decoding frees the brain to process meaning (comprehension). The University of Oregon, Center on Teaching and Learning delineates research, best practices in instruction, and the assessment of fluency.