Closer Readings Commentary

How EDSITEment Can Help You Deal with Common Core

For the past year, EDSITEment has been watching as the Common Core State Standards are slowly rolled out across the nation. As the new year begins, we decided to start a blog to further knowledge and discussion of noteworthy developments in this educational arena. Here are some of the purposes this new blog aims to serve:

  • To highlight exemplary humanities projects that engage with the Common Core Standards
  • To showcase EDSITEment-vetted websites that are appropriate for CCSS
  • To highlight new and existing EDSITEment lessons useful for CCS
  • To focus on the best of what’s being said in newspapers, blogs, and other media about the Common Core

We'll be covering all this and more... In addition, look forward to a guest blogger from the education community once a month who will be online at the Community to respond to your questions about her/his posts.

What's Happening This Week:

On Saturday January 5, at the American Historical Association Annual Meeting in New Orleans, there was a full day symposium sponsored by the Gilder Lehrman Institute on Teaching the American Story: Immigration and Migration. One of these sessions led by the 2009 "Teacher of the Year" Tim Bailey was devoted to Teaching the Common Core. This session was, unfortunately, not taped. However, we talked to Tim Bailey and he agreed to be one of our guest bloggers in the coming months.

In the meantime, Tim has already developed Teaching the Common Core a suite of 16 short history lessons for the Institute. (Note: free teacher registration is now required for accessing the Gilder Lehrman website)

In his introduction, Tim writes:

The Common Core Standards ask teachers to devote instructional time to the close investigation of historical texts and the crafting of critical written analysis or responses based on that material. Yet, as all teachers know, the greatest challenge of using primary materials is that the difficulty of a text can overwhelm its usefulness in the classroom; comprehension falls apart and frustration builds. When a primary document appears dense or inaccessible the teacher and students may only do a cursory reading, with the teacher telling the students what the document means. The teacher may have students read a secondary source, such as a textbook, that tells students outright what is important about the document.

Read more

On Tuesday January 8 and Thursday January 10, the National Humanities Center will be offering two different Common Core webinars. Teaching through Close Reading Poetry and Fiction and Teaching through Close Reading Historical and Informational Texts.

This is what the NHC has to say about these two seminars:

The close reading of challenging primary documents is central to the Common Core State Standards, yet many teachers may be unfamiliar with close reading as an instructional practice. What is it? How does it facilitate the reading and understanding of diverse kinds of texts? How is it done? This two-part seminar will address those questions by analyzing poetry and fiction, historical documents, and what the Standards call "informational texts," including Common Core exemplar texts. Among other topics it will examine how context, purpose, and point of view shape meaning; how an author structures a text and develops arguments; and how figurative language, strategic silences or gaps, and similar tools convey meaning.

The good news is that both these webinars will be archived and accessible for future reference. Be sure to come back to this blog to find out how to access these archives.

Also on Thursday, David Coleman the head of the College Board and the architect of the English Language Arts Standards will be taking part in a discussion at the American Enterprise Institute entitled "Common Core: What Next for School Systems?"

This discussion will be live streamed and archived. Common Core: What’s next for school systems? - Education - AEI

And of course, this blog goes live. Exciting, isn’t it?