22 Aug

Common Core Initiative: a better tomorrow for the students

The Common Core State Standards Initiative or CCSSI in short is a step taken in the United States which specifies as to what the K-12 students should know in English language arts and mathematics at the end of each grade. This initiative has been taken by the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and it tends to establish proper and stable educational standards throughout the states. This step also ensures the fact that the students who are graduating from the high school are well prepared while they enrol into the credit bearing courses or the work sector.

headphones-for-parcc-common-coreThe objective of the CCSSI is to ensure that the students are ready for entering in the college and career as soon as they complete their high school. There are five major elements for the standards namely, reading, writing, speaking and listening, language and media and technology. As the students advance step by step through each grade, there is a greater level of complexity in terms of what the students are expected to do. Students are expected to go through a great range of knowledgeable books and study materials. The students are made to improve their writing skills so that they can perform standardized writings based on claims, proper reasoning along with relevant evidence. This standard also states students should learn to gain, evaluate and present complex information, ideas and evidence specifically via listening and speaking.

In terms of vocabulary, the CCSSI states accurate vocabulary standards via the combination of conversations, direct instructions as well as reading so that the students can determine the meanings of the words and also expand their usage in their day to day life. The standards require the students to use formal English in their speaking and writing as well. Since media and technology have get tangled with the life of every individual student. In the 21st century, the skills related to the usage of media comprises of the analysis and production of various forms of media. These standards also specify that testing may require headphones.

The Common Core State Standard Initiative aims at improving the educational system in the United States so that the children can be ready for getting them enrolled in various courses or jobs. The CCSSI has drawn support and criticism from various representatives as well as educational commentators. The Common Core initiative only specifies what students should know at each grade level and describes the skills that they must acquire in order to achieve college or career readiness.

13 Aug

The changing face of education

At one time there were chalkboards, and the teacher wrote information in white chalk, so that it stood out against the dark green or black background. Today’s classes probably have smartboards, which enable them and their students to interact and engage with the board in numerous ways. A pencil and paper were once standard fare, as well. That was education then, but learning has turned a corner. Technology has changed the landscape of the classroom today, and it may never be the same.

computer-103577_640iPads are starting to emerge in classrooms. Before that it was PCs and laptops. Teachers can teach a lesson using all kinds of digital technology. This demands that they not only know and study the curriculum, they must know about different forms of technology and how to maximize them in the class. Consider the words spoken by John Dewey when he understood that the classroom would advance forward. “If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow,” he cautioned.

Bell ringers, which are activities for children to start on upon entering the classroom, used to be projected onto a screen with a Buhl or similar projector. Now, teachers can go to various websites and find videos with short lesson activities that students can do by following a tutorial. This keeps the students busy while the teacher takes attendance.

Teaching vocabulary and spelling used to be an involved process. Sometimes the teacher would introduce the words on Monday or day one. For homework that day, students would write each word five times. On day two, the students’ homework might involve using each word in sentence. On day three they had to write the definitions. By Thursday they needed to study all that previous work in preparation for a spelling test to be taken the next day. This system was labor intensive and involved a lot of writing. Today, teachers are using sites like Spellingcity.com to mix things up. Students still have various forms of preparation for the spelling tests, but the options may include games, practice exercises and quizzes. On Dovewhisperer.com students can access vocabulary flashcards already created by others to help them prepare for tests and to incorporate the new vocabulary.

The volumes of encyclopedias that used to drive research have been replaced by internet search engines, and even digital encyclopedias.

Tests can be taken without a pen or pencil. In fact, with online learning, many students take their tests online and complete discussions and other assignments online.

Students today are blogging on subjects as part of the classroom assignment. They are also using podcasts, creating websites, taking virtual field trips and more. The integration of instruction with technology has been the driving force behind good instructional lesson planning for many years running. Furthermore, with common core curriculum, new testing protocol dictates that headphones be used. Headphones also show up in the classroom when students listen to taped lessons, practice vocabulary or listen to a recorded lesson from their teacher. It’s a whole new world.