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.