That cluster of standards that govern how Idaho teachers teach and how students learn are now aligned with common core. The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction came up with the cluster of integrated instruction that is used in Idaho. If the idea that people almost 2,400 miles away contributed to how children in Idaho are instructed and what learning goals should be applied at each grade level, consider this: Common core is really a uniform approach to instruction and learning that a whole host of people across most of the states in the union agreed upon. One reason why they were able to forge a common core is that they all agreed that children should graduate from high school either career ready or college ready. College ready means that the students are able to enroll in credit based basic classes at two or four year universities. Since it takes a certain set of skills and a particular level of knowledge in order for this to occur, it wasn’t hard for them to agree upon what this picture would look like. Common core provides a guide for how to get to that outcome.
So now, in Idaho, standards are aligned with other common core participants from Kindergarten through 12th grade related to English Language Arts (ELA), Literacy and Math. One thing you’ll see in English Language Arts classes is students learning how to read and comprehend more complicated text. This means that a child in a ELA classroom in Idaho will be gradually introduced to more complex texts when they move to higher and higher grades. They also will see vocabulary that will help them to grasp more academic terms and their meanings. With direct instruction, a mix of conversation and reading; students are expected to be able to tackle more advanced vocabulary along these lines.
Reading ELA Instruction
Students will read all types of text that align with common core. They will still read narratives, but they will get exposure to more informational text. This won’t happen exclusively in Reading or ELA classes. Instead, there will be reading of foundational US documents in Social Studies, like the Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, the Constitution, Bill of Rights, the Emancipation Proclamation. Social Security Act and the Brown vs Board of Education court decision. Other possible American documents that they may read include the Voting Rights Act, speeches, The Apollo Flight Plan and personal letters of historical significance.
Students will also read Shakespeare, classic myths, stories from around the globe, American literature and more. Technical subjects and Science reading will also be included. With common core, when students read such text and are called upon to answer questions about what they read, they will have to refer back to the text for evidence before answering. For example, they may find their answer in paragraph three, line two. In order for students to accomplish these evidential responses they must be able to read for comprehension. Skimming the text will not get them the results they are required to provide.
When it comes to writing, students in Idaho will still do narrative writing as before. However, they will also be called upon to write informational pieces, sequential pieces and argumentative pieces. In regards to the later, they will have to soundly support their arguments. Students in Idaho will now be writing in Science, Social Studies, History and technical subjects.
Common core is largely about helping students become independent learners able to build knowledge.
Even speaking and listening skills have to be developed in order for students in Idaho to be ready for college. Speech classes will be governed by new standards with common core. For example, students will need to be able to start and participate in discussions where they collaborate with others. This includes one-on-one, teacher led, and in groups of various sizes. They will learn to build on one another’s ideas, engage in decision-making dialogue, read and be prepared to discuss the reading material. In addition, students in speech classes in Idaho will have to provide evidence from the read text to support the points of their discussion. The students will engage in civil discussions by voting after discussions, reaching a consensus on matters and presenting ideas.
The well-prepared student exiting a speech class should even be able to clarify, verify and challenge each others’ information during discussions, probe for details and more information; as well as listen to diverse perspectives and respond to such. They will be able to justify the position or stance they take on an issue. Summarizing and synthesizing the comments they hear will also be some of the fruits of their experiences in speech classes under common core.
Common Core in Idaho is on another plane. The rigor and more specified objectives will mean that teachers will have to prepare lessons with more details, use a more diverse set of materials and execute their lessons with new outcomes in mind. The expectations and demands on the students are on a higher plane when it comes to Blooms Taxonomy.