Common Core State Standards (CCSS) ... Literacy is the core.
Several excellent resources have recently come out to help teachers and school leaders interpret how the CCSS might be implemented. One such resource is Pathways to the Common Core, by Lucy Calkins, Mary Ehrenworth and Christopher Lehman, in which is noted what most would consider a fairly dramatic shift away from the “culturally normative model” of what takes place in most classrooms in America today. The focus of the CCSS is on learning through content-literacy-based instruction – the routine use of reading, writing, speaking, listening, and higher-order thinking that results from such a regime – to be implemented in all content areas.
According to Pathways to the Common Core, the CCSS
... emphasize much higher-level comprehension skills than previous standards.
... emphasize reading complex texts.
... call for proficiency, complexity, and independence.
... support cross-curricular literacy coaching.
... require that every student is given access to higher-order thinking and complex text.
... emphasize argumentative literacy.
... expect a minimum of 90 minutes per day of silent reading in the classroom.
A set of new action guides to the Common Core State Standards offers a solution, of sorts, to a brewing controversy about the balance of fiction and nonfiction in U.S. classrooms. "Informational text" doesn't have to displace fiction, the guides say, if the overall amount of reading students do increases "dramatically."
The "action guides" were created to help school leaders put the CCSS into practice. Issued by Achieve, College Summit, and the two groups that represent elementary- and secondary-level principals, the guides explain how to interpret the standards and provide some tips on how to implement them in schools.
"From a practical standpoint, middle schools and high schools currently lack the capacity to integrate literacy instruction in the content areas. Even if teachers are receptive to the idea of incorporating literacy into their daily instruction, they lack the training and resources needed to deliver that instruction. The result is the need for building principals to begin immediately to start building teacher capacity, which begins with addressing common misconceptions about literacy instruction." Let’s face it – the CCSS curriculum is very different from the “culturally normative model” of teachers presenting information to students. The new requirements are for teachers to become facilitators of active student processing of ideas through the use of reading, writing, speaking, listening, and thinking. Most teachers have not been prepared for this behavior, and not everyone is qualified to perform such preparation. This is where MAX Teaching comes in. We have been helping teachers use content-literacy-based instruction in their classrooms for over 20 years.
MAX Teaching Professional Development is Unique.
The consultants of MAX Teaching have been working with teachers for more than twenty years, and during that time, have developed unique methods that other professional developers cannot or will not duplicate.
First – we do not talk at teachers with slide shows. In our professional development workshops, we model exactly what teachers will be able to do with their own students immediately after the workshop. We model behaviors that obviate the success of content-literacy-based instruction with students because we have the teachers play the role of students in the workshop. Instead of mathematics or science or career-technical text, we use professional text that helps teachers to understand why students are often not motivated to read, what teachers can do to make reading complex text accessible to students, and how to best incorporate cooperative interaction among students in order to facilitate all students’ abilities to use literacy skills for learning. The teachers read and work in cooperative discussions as if they were students in a Common Core classroom.
Second – we also model in the classrooms of the schools. Following the workshop for teachers, we offer in-classroom modeling with real students and real lessons that use the school’s own materials and schedule. These lessons may be in mathematics, science, social studies, language arts, or any technical subject that the school sees fit to use. (We suggest that principals hire extra “roving substitute teachers” for these modeling days so that no teacher in the building has a reason to miss out on seeing the modeling.) We follow each modeling session with an immediate debriefing opportunity so that observing teachers are able to discuss what they saw in the classroom. These post-observation discussions are usually seen to be at least as valuable as the observations themselves.
Third – we provide a teacher's manual that provides generic, yet precise step-by-step procedures for teachers to follow once we are gone. The Common Core asks for significant changes in teacher behavior, and providing procedures to facilitate the process has been a tremendous aid to teachers making the transition.
Fourth – we offer embedded coaching as a follow-up to our work. During these sessions, a MAX Teaching consultant works with one to five teachers for an entire day, observing and providing feedback, modeling activities if needed, and assisting in designing materials and lessons that will facilitate the growth of the teachers receiving such coaching. The Common Core State Standards represent the prospect of a change for the better for all students. Find out how MAX Teaching can help your school succeed in making the move into 20th century teaching techniques to help your students to become college and career ready.
Classroom Activities for Helping Students Learn New Subject Matter While Acquiring Literacy Skills.
Classroom Demonstrations of Reading & Writing Activities that Help Students Learn New Subject Matter while Acquiring Literacy Skills. (Set of 4 DVDs)