Saturday, April 27, 2013

How to go "deeper" with Common Core State Standards

"Going deeper" is a phrase that is very commonly associated with Common Core State Standards (CCSS). But what does that really mean? Well, there's good news and bad news where the CCSS are concerned.

The good news is, there are plenty of resources available for you to dig through to gain more understanding of how exactly we're supposed to implement the CCSS in the classroom.

The bad news is, no one really knows exactly what this will look like in the classroom. (If you know someone who THINKS they know exactly what the CCSS will look like in the classroom, you might politely suggest that they read this wonderful blog post from Shanahan on Literacy. It really is a time for humility).

With that being said, there really is no other way to implement this stuff than to just dive in head first and give it a go. One resource that was introduced to me by our wonderful, amazing, incredible, awesome Instructional Facilitator (and one of my closest friends), Lori Ferren, is Hess' Cognitive Rigor Matrix. A matrix that joins Bloom's Cognitive Process Dimensions with Webb's Depth of Knowledge Levels. After much professional development on close reading (a very important component of the CCSS), it becomes so easy to get caught up in higher level thinking. So caught up, in fact, that we neglect the lower levels of Bloom's and Webb's. And, despite what some people may be telling you, that is not completely necessary. While we can't live in those lower levels, we certainly have to start there. Especially in the lower elementary grades. I can't read a book to my students and after one read ask them to write an opinion piece based on the thematic elements of the book. As we say here in Arkansas, ain't gonna happen! 

So, before you start putting too much pressure on yourself (for those of you that know me personally, QUIT LAUGHING! I'm trying to relax!), take a look at Hess' Cognitive Rigor Matrix and remind yourself, and those around you, that we can't discount the importance of the lower-order thinking skills. And also, remind yourself that everyone is feeling the same since of unease at the CCSS. Until someone comes down and says, "Hey, this is how you do it," I'm gonna keep doing my thing and just trying. If something doesn't work, I'll try something else tomorrow. I think I've posted this before, but I believe it applies to this blog post as well. 

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