Friday, October 19, 2012

A Problem with CCSS Textbook Alignment

Planning

I recently was speaking with a primary grade teacher who had received from a publisher new inserts to add to the literacy teaching guides that 'updated' the basal series so that it was now Common Core State Standards aligned. What was interesting though was that although many, many new questions and scores of inserts were added, little to nothing seemed to be removed. Naturally, it was not such a surprise when the teacher expressed frustration as she held page after page of new material to teach, with little to nothing removed.

"How do I get this done?" she asked.

Now it was just happenstance that later that week I was visiting another primary grade teacher at a different school who was also using the same basal and observed this teacher engaging students in a lesson about author's purpose--a topic that is introduced at the 6th grade level in the CCSS--a time when the complexity of this topic might better be served than at earlier grades where the topic is often rendered too simply.

One way to manage the transition is to remove content and to do so boldly.

Teaching all that is outlined in most literacy basals has always been a fool's errand, as most series are packed with unattainable expectations and lists and lists of skills to be taught. A beginning step to any basal alignment is to identify the topics tat will be removed. To do this teachers can consider the learners (their strengths, interests, and needs), the CCSS (or the state's version of CCSS), and local curricular priorities.

When it comes to basals, less if often more. make sure you leave critical amounts of time for learners to engage in experiences that help them to wonder, to make, to attend closely to the work at hand, and to reflect.


1 comment:

  1. I am in a first grade now. Those basals are so huge for their little hands.

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