In April, I’ll be delivering a two-day training session in California that is designed to introduce science and social studies teachers to the role that they can play in implementing the Common Core.

My goal is to help skeptical teachers better understand the kinds of literacy skills that the Common Core expects students to master and then to identify activities that can be easily integrated into the work that they are already doing in their classrooms.  Given my extensive background as a middle grades language arts teacher and my current position as a middle grades science teacher, I’m having a ton of fun pulling materials together for this workshop.

If you are working to help teachers better understand the Common Core, you might be interested in the activity that I plan to open my workshop with:

In it, participants wrestle with whether or not national standards are a good idea for America by exploring a New York Times Room for Debate segment that spotlights several different perspectives on the issue.  While reading, participants are asked to complete four different tasks ranging from finding common arguments in the positions of different authors and identifying tangible evidence used to defend those arguments to spotting gaps in the logic of each author and summarizing what they’ve learned.

All of the tasks are tied directly to one of the Common Core Literacy in History/Social Studies standards, making them perfect for introducing teachers to the core behaviors that students should be mastering as readers of nonfiction content.  Better yet, all of the tasks are likely to be approachable to science and social studies teachers because this is the kind of work that we’ve done informally with our students for years.  My hope is that once participants see a tangible example of a Common Core lesson in action, they will be FAR less intimidated by the thought of incorporating more literacy work into their daily planning.

If you decide to use this with your teachers, I’d LOVE to hear how it works.  More importantly, I’d love to hear how you modify it to make it better.


 Related Radical Reads:

Teaching Nonfiction Reading Skills in the Science Classroom

Teaching Innovation with the Curiosity Box

More on Teaching Innovation with the Curiosity Box

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