We just completed our first week of school. I love the first week of school! It is such a busy, crazy, hectic week, but it's so much fun to see the children come back all fresh and ready to learn and so excited to see their teachers and friends after their summer adventures.
If you are like my school, you are now getting ready for Open House (aka Back to School Night). To help our teachers handle the inevitable questions they will receive about the CCSS we provided the following information for them. I thought I'd share it just in case someone else could use the information, as well.
Highlights of the new standards include:
1. Three types of writing, which are explicitly taught from Kindergarten on: Narrative (telling a story or telling about an event), Informative/explanative (conveying information), and Opinion/argumentation (building a position or explanation using valid rea- soning and credible information).
2. Increased emphasis on reading and writing informational text at every grade level.
3. Greater emphasis on digital reading, writing, and multimedia production.
4. A focus on comprehension of text, including analysis for credible evidence and sound reasoning.
5. Students will be expected to create projects and documents—generating their own language and evidence—to demonstrate what they have learned, in addition to taking and passing tests.
What can parents do to help their child achieve at these higher levels?
Here are some important suggestions:
Stay in touch with your children’s teacher and monitor your children’s school performance. Waiting until the end of a semester or school year to find out about problems will be too late to help. Let your children know school work is important to you and that you expect them to do their best.
Be ready to support your children as assignments become more difficult to read and more challenging to write. Be patient. Provide the time and location and resources needed to study at home.
There is no substitute for reading. Reading a variety of books increases vocabulary, comprehension, general knowledge of the world, and love of learning. The more you read the better reader you are! From the time your children are young, provide regular, structured time for reading. Fill your home with opportunities to read. Show them that you are a reader, too.
Frequently Asked Questions
How will students be assessed on the new standards? Will new standards mean new tests?
Students will be assessed on an ongoing basis as they proceed through grades and courses. Florida is part of a large consortium of states working on new computer-based assessments that will be in place within a couple of years. These new assessments will provide a much more comprehensive assessment of student achievement.
Do the new standards provide adequate challenge for high- ability students?
Yes. The standards are more rigorous than any Florida has used before. They provide excellent guidance for teachers to provide both content and instruction that will challenge high-ability learners.
Are the new standards too hard for students who may already be struggling with read- ing and writing?
The new standards include guidance on best- practices of instruction— not just what to teach, but how best to teach. All students’ learning and progress will be carefully monitored, with teachers making adjustments and re-teaching as necessary.
When can we expect the new standards to be fully implemented in every classroom?
Our goal is to transition to the new standards beginning with the 2013–2014 school year. It is an enormous undertaking! Our teachers will be and have been participating in comprehensive professional development in order to implement the new standards effectively.
Wishing you all a very happy and successful Open House!