Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Next Generation Science Standards Draft #2

UPDATE! January 10th, 2013...
The NGSS Second Draft is available. You can see it here:  
For more information, see my original post on the first draft of the NGSS here: NGSS First Draft


Wednesday November 28th, 2012...

The second public draft of the Next Generation Science Standards should be out before the new year. I will post a link to them as soon as they are available to the public. For now, read the following article on the NGSS posted on the SmartBlog on Education and written by Doug Haller:

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Inferences and the Common Core Standards

Inferences are central to the Common Core Standards. For instance, one standard for grades 5-12 specifically states that students must draw “inferences from the text.” Moreover, many of the subsequent standards require that students must continue to make inferences. These standards, for example, state that students must be able to
  • determine a theme;
  • compare and contrast two characters;
  • determine the meaning . . . of metaphors;
  • explain how a series of chapters, scenes, or stanzas fits together to provide the overall structure of a particular story;
  • describe how a narrator’s or speaker’s point of view influences how events are described; and
  • compare and contrast stories in the same genre . . . on their approaches to similar themes.
Specifically, here are some of the standards that require inferential thinking for grade 5*:

RL.5.1. Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text. [This standard also applies to grades 6-12.]

RL.5.2. Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text.

RL.5.3. Compare and contrast two or more characters, settings, or events in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., how characters interact).

RL.5.4. Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative language such as metaphors and similes.

RL.5.5. Explain how a series of chapters, scenes, or stanzas fits together to provide the overall structure of a particular story, drama, or poem.

RL.5.6. Describe how a narrator’s or speaker’s point of view influences how events are described.

RL.5.9. Compare and contrast stories in the same genre (e.g., mysteries and adventure stories) on their approaches to similar themes and topics.

*NB: The corresponding standards for grades 6-12 are more sophisticated variations of these standards for grade 5 and require even higher levels of inferential thinking. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Common Core Standards Resource Highlight

The resource show below was published by Pieces of Learning and is available through their website:

A significant advantage in using Common Core State Standards is that they are general, with broader curriculum application. They can potentially lead to higher-level thinking and mastery of 21st century skills rather than focus on lower-level test-prep answers. Coil’s practical examples show educators how to use differentiated curriculum, differentiated instruction, and differentiated assessment with the Common Core State Standards.
Differentiated Activities and Assessments Using the Common Core
Differentiated Activities & Assessments Using the Common Core Standards
Differentiation is essential when educators work with diverse groups of students while using the same set of Common Core State Standards for each student. These activities and corresponding assessments are specifically designed examples of how the CCSS can be implemented in your classroom with diverse students.

Differentiated curriculum calls for differentiated assessment. Not only are the topic activities differentiated and provide for student choice, but the assessments are differentiated as well. Using differentiated activities and assessments leads to greater success and achievement on high-stakes standardized tests.... See more after the jump...

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Next Generation Science Standards Draft Available

With the push for higher test scores and the implementation of the Common Core Standards in the majority of states across the country, came a push for new Science standards as well. The standards that most science teachers are following at this point are upwards of 15 years old and need at least a refresher if not a full overhaul. The National Research Council and its affiliates decided to take this under their wing and have really put some time into creating the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

The Science standards are still in the draft/review phase and they are taking feedback from the public. The latest standards were developed by the National Research Council (NRC) with the help of the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The NGSS are based on the Framework for K-12 Science Education which was developed by the NRC and released in July of 2011. The Framework is split up into three dimensions: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Disciplinary Core Ideas. The Disciplinary Core Ideas are grouped into four domains we are all familiar with: physical science, life science, earth/space science, and engineering/technology.

I'm not going to get into the specifics of the NGSS on here because you can go see and download the draft for yourself:
Next Generation Science Standards
I have looked through, and even printed a copy of the NGSS (which I don't recommend unless you have a hefty printer). They are very in depth and read like the standards we all know, but they seem very complicated for the everyday teacher. It will be difficult to be an elementary school teacher without a science background and be able to fully understand and teach the standards in their classroom. I realize this isn't the final draft, some science concepts can be difficult to spell out in an easy-to-read manner, there are so many science concepts to cover, etc. I'm not knocking the standards. I think that our standards should be raised for all students and I applaud the NRC for having done that. I am just saying that many teachers will have a little work ahead of them to implement these standards into the everyday classroom science lesson.

Has anyone else looked into the new science standards? I recommend that you do and give your feedback to the National Research Council. The more feedback they receive, the better the Next Generation Science Standards will be! Give me your thoughts in the comment section below:

The second public draft of the NGSS will be out before the new year. Read more here:

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Unpacking the Common Core - Math

  1. Standards for Mathematical Practice 
      1. Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
      2. Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
      3. Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
      4. Model with mathematics.
      5. Use appropriate tools strategically.
      6. Attend to precision.
      7. Look for and make use of structure.
      8. Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.
    • There is a general underlying theme in the Common Core Math standards that the Standards for Mathematical Practice and Standards for Mathematical Content should be connected throughout learning and instruction. (Each practice should regularly be seen within each content area.)
  2. Standards for Mathematical Content K-8
    (Click on each standard for a more specific definition.)
      • Kindergarten 
        1. K.CC - Counting & Cardinality
        2. K.OA - Operations & Algebraic Thinking
        3. K.NBT - Number & Operations in Base Ten
        4. K. MD - Measurement & Data
        5. K.G - Geometry
      • Grade 1
        1. 1.OA - Operations & Algebraic Thinking
        2. 1.NBT - Number & Operations in Base Ten
        3. 1.MD - Measurement & Data
        4. 1.G - Geometry
      • Grade 2
        1. 2.OA - Operations & Algebraic Thinking
        2. 2.NBT - Number & Operations in Base Ten
        3. 2.MD - Measurement & Data
        4. 2.G - Geometry
      • Grade 3
        1. 3.OA - Operations & Algebraic Thinking
        2. 3.NBT - Number & Operations in Base Ten
        3. 3.NF - Number & Operations—Fractions
        4. 3.MD - Measurement & Data
        5. 3.G - Geometry
      • Grade 4
        1. 4.OA - Operations & Algebraic Thinking
        2. 4.NBT - Number & Operations in Base Ten
        3. 4.NF - Number & Operations—Fractions
        4. 4.MD - Measurement & Data
        5. 4.G - Geometry
      • Grade 5
        1. 5.OA - Operations & Algebraic Thinking
        2. 5.NBT - Number & Operations in Base Ten
        3. 5.NF - Number & Operations—Fractions
        4. 5.MD - Measurement & Data
        5. 5.G - Geometry
      • Grade 6
        1. 6.RP - Ratios & Proportional Relationships
        2. 6.NS - The Number System
        3. 6.EE - Expressions & Equations
        4. 6.G - Geometry
        5. 6.SP - Statistics & Probability
      • Grade 7
        1. 7.RP - Ratios & Proportional Relationships
        2. 7.NS - The Number System
        3. 7.EE - Expressions & Equations
        4. 7.G - Geometry
        5. 7.SP - Statistics & Probability
      • Grade 8
        1. 8.NS - The Number System
        2. 8.EE - Expressions & Equations
        3. 8.F - Functions
        4. 8.G - Geometry
        5. 8.SP - Statistics & Probability
  3. Standards for Mathematical Content High School
      • Number and Quantity
        1. N-RN - The Real Number System
        2. N-Q - Quantities
        3. N-CN - The Complex Number System
        4. N-VM - Vector & Matrix Quantities
      • Algebra
        1. A-SSE - Seeing Structure in Expressions
        2. A-APR - Arithmetic with Polynomials & Rational Expressions
        3. A-CED - Creating Equations
        4. A-REI - Reasoning with Equations & Inequalities
      • Functions
        1. F-IF - Interpreting Functions
        2. F-BF - Building Functions
        3. F-LE - Linear, Quadratic, & Exponential Models
        4. F-TF - Trigonometric Functions
      • Modeling
        1. Introduction
      • Geometry
        1. G-CO - Congruence
        2. G- SRT - Similarity, Right Triangles, & Trigonometry
        3. G-C - Circles
        4. G-GPE - Expressing Geometric Properties with Equations
        5. G-GMD - Geometric Measurement & Dimension
        6. G-MG - Modeling with Geometry
      • Statistics and Probability
        1. S-ID - Interpreting Categorical & Quantitative Data
        2. S-IC - Making Inferences & Justifying Conclusions
        3. S-CP - Conditional Probability & the Rules of Probability
        4. S-MD - Using Probability to Make Decisions 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Unpacking The Common Core - ELA

Over the next few weeks, I will be examining the Common Core State Standards and how to unpack them for "ease-of-use." English Language Arts (ELA) is divided into four strands, which are then divided into two distinct grade areas K-5 and 6-12. Each grade level is then highlighted and expanded upon (except for the combinations of 9-10 & 11-12). Math (next post) is a little easier, only because there are fewer divisions. I've created an outline that gives a little easier insight into how everything is broken apart: 

ELA- English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects
(Each "?" stands for grade level, click on either K-2 or 6-12 to view the specific standard for your grade.)

  1. Reading
    • Literature (examples of proper Stories, Dramas, and Poetry are given)  K-5 / 6-12
      1. RL.?.1 - Key Ideas and Details
      2. RL.?.4 Craft and Structure
      3. RL.?.7 Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
      4. RL.?.10 Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity 
    • Informational Text (examples of Literary Nonfiction and Historical Scientific and Technical Texts are given)  K-5 / 6-12
      1. RI.?.1 - Key Ideas and Details
      2. RI.?.4 - Craft and Structure
      3. RI.?.7 - Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
      4. RI.?.10 - Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity 
    • Foundational Skills  K-5
      1. RF.?.1. - Print Concepts
      2. RF.?.2 - Phonological Awareness
      3. RF.?.3 - Phonics and Word Recognition
      4. RF.?.4 - Fluency
  2. Writing  K-5 / 6-12
      1. W.?.1 - Text types and Purposes
      2. W.?.4 - Production and Distribution of Writing
      3. W.?.7 - Research to Build and Present Knowledge
      4. W.?.10 - Range of Writing
  3. Speaking and Listening Standards  K-5 / 6-12
      1. SL.?.1 - Comprehension and Collaboration
      2. SL.?.4 - Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas
  4. Language  K-5 / 6-12
      1. L.?.1 - Conventions of Standard English
      2. L.?.3 - Knowledge of Language
      3. L.?.4 - Vocabulary Acquisition and Use

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Introduction to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) - 2

Part II

(continued from Part I...)   

They establish what students at each grade level need to learn but in general do not dictate the specific topics teachers should teach or how they should deliver instruction.    

The Common Core State Standards do not specify how the states will implement and use the standards. Each state will follow its own procedures in adopting and putting them into practice. States that adopt the CCSS must use all of them but can also add up to 15% of additional content that is state-specific. As of this writing, it appears that some states are using the additional 15% while others are only using the CCSS and nothing more.   

A significant advantage in using the Common Core State Standards is that they are more general with broader curriculum application and can potentially lead to higher-level thinking and mastery of 21st century skills rather than focus on lower-level test-prep answers. Overall there is an increased level of rigor expected when using the CCSS.   

The Common Core State Standards focus on English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics. Many of the ELA standards balance the reading of literature with the reading of informational texts. The expectation is for an integrated model of literacy so that these are not taught in isolation. The Mathematics standards feature an internationally benchmarked integrated model of math instruction, particularly at the high school level. 

Additionally, because the 6-12 Language Arts standards also focus on literacy standards in social studies, science, and technical subjects, these standards provide us with wide latitude in both content and in ways to teach. Instead of focusing on specific content mastery the Common Core Standards rely on major concepts, ideas, and skills that direct students to use the content to examine questions, to look at multiple issues, and to find a variety of ways to solve problems.   

Because the elements discussed above have often been the focus of curriculum and instruction for gifted students, educators are able to use and extend the Common Core State Standards to enhance the learning of these students.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Introduction to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS)

Part I

The Common Core Standards (also known as the Common Core State Standards or CCSS) are the result of an initiative begun by the states and coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO).

These K-12 standards in English Language Arts, Mathematics, and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science and Technical Subjects were developed and reviewed by teachers, professional organizations, content experts, civil rights groups, post-secondary educators, administrators, and other educational experts with the goal of defining “the knowledge and skills students should have within their K-12 education careers so they graduate high school able to succeed in entry-level, credit-bearing academic college courses and workforce training programs.” The CCSS provide an understandable and coherent framework for educating American children.

The Common Core State Standards are based on the most effective standards from states throughout the country and from other countries around the world. They provide guidelines about what students throughout the United States are expected to know and be able to do as a result of their schooling. The major advantage of such standards is that they are consistent for all students no matter where they live. In an age of globalization, and when many students are highly mobile and move from one state to another, such standards are essential.

According to the NGA Center and the CCSSO, these standards: 
  • are aligned with college and work expectations;
  • are clear, understandable, and consistent;
  • include rigorous content and application of knowledge through high-order skills;
  • build upon the strengths and the lessons of current state standards;
  • are informed by other top performing countries;
  • are internationally bench-marked to prepare students to function in a global economy;
  • are a living work that will be revised on a set review cycle;
  • have technology blended into all strands and domains;
  • focus on research as an important skill throughout all strands; and
  • are evidence-based and research-based.

These standards establish appropriate benchmarks for all students and provide a common framework to guide each state in helping all students succeed. While these standards do not specify or stipulate specific texts, they do require certain critical content for all students.

**You can also check out the links on the right (under the heading "Pages") for more information!**

Friday, April 6, 2012

Intermediate Science Lesson: Volcanoes

Common Core Standards:
  • Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
  • Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse formats and media, including visually and quantitatively as well as in words.
  1. Visual - Draw a diagram showing the internal parts of a volcano. Include information in your diagram showing how volcanoes erupt.
  2. Kinesthetic - Make a two-sided diorama that shows a location before a volcano erupts and after it erupts. This should be a real volcano, so research your location carefully. Make an index card telling the location, volcano's name, and other important facts.
  3. Verbal - Choose a well known volcano. Write a folk tale explaining why it erupted.
  4. Technological - Log on to You will find a wealth of information and links to other sites. Explore this site and its links, and write down 10 new things that you learn about volcanoes. Indicate the web site address for each. 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Primary Math Activity: 100s Day


I am going to post activities and the Common Core Standards that they touch on every week or so. Eventually you'll be able to come back and click on one of the labels below to sort through the lessons!

Standards for Primary Math:
  • Count to 100 by ones and tens.
  • Classify objects into given categories; count the number of objects in each category and sort the categories by count.
  1. Visual - Touch Count to 100 using a hundreds chart
  2. Technological - Count to 100 playing Snakes and Ladders on the computer
  3. Kinesthetic - Create a 100s Fruit Loop Necklace grouping colors by 1, 5, or 10s. The total number of Fruit Loops used should equal 100.
  4. Auditory/Verbal - Write or tell a story about the number 100. 

Monday, March 26, 2012


Hi! Welcome to, your resources for learning about the Common Core State Standards. Please take a look at the links on the right giving insights into the CCSS and how to implement them in your classroom.

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