Common Core State Standards

Common Core State Standards

There is so much debate going around the Common Core State Standards. So I thought I would just give a snapshot as to what these standards mean and what their intention of creating them is. 

First off, these standards were initially created for Reading/Language Arts and Mathematics which were released June 2, 2010 in an effort to “provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them” succeed in life as they grow older (http://www.corestandards.org). 

The Reading/Language Arts Standards are broken down into 6 main categories:

Reading: Literature

  • Starting in Kindergarten, these standards start specifically with having the students focus on key details within text. Relating the illustrations in a book to the text. As well as starting to show differences and similarities between different books or characters.
  • Students are progressed each year and must meet these standards in order to progress. 
  • In 11-12 grade the students must be able to cite their sources correctly. Determine themes and central ideas and analyze the development of them throughout the story. Students must use critical thinking skills to formulate their own opinion on why the author of a story wrote what they did. Students are expected to be able to analyze different interpretations of stories, dramas, and poems. 

Reading: Informational Text

  • Between their time in Kindergarten and 12th grade. Students will learn how to read and comprehend literary nonfiction (i.e. historical documents). They will analyze the authors argument and be able to analyze complex sets of ideas or sequences of events and explain how specific individuals, ideas, or events interact and develop over the course of the text. 

Reading: Foundational Skills

  • These standards only cover kindergarten to 5th grade. It starts from basic reading skills from which way to read (left to right), being able to rhyme, and understand syllables. It then progresses to fluency, comprehension, suffixes and prefixes. Then ending in 5th grade being able to break down unknown words by by prefixes, suffixes, and root words to understand what a word means. 

Writing

  • Starting in Kindergarten, students start with drawing to depict an opinion or idea. Moving up, building skills until 6th grade where the students learn how to organize evidence, support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence, and be able to correctly cite contextual evidence. 
  • Between 11-12 grade the students will need to be able to write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid and relevant and sufficient evidence. The students will need to be able to organize complex ideas, concepts, and information.

Speaking & Listening

  • The students start off in Kindergarten from following rules of discussion such as speaking out of turn while confirming their understanding of a text read aloud or information presented orally or other media sources. 
  • In 11-12 grade the students will need to have the ability to formulate a distinct argument to persuade someone on a certain topic or just give factual information to a peer on a topic. They will need to be able to debate topics while giving factual evidence to their statements.

Language

  • In these standards it is the basics of being able to put together a sentence from where an upper or lowercase letter belongs, punctuation, understand where to use prepositions, understanding nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc. 
  • When the students graduate students should be able to speak english fluently, spell correctly, understand multiple meaning words and phrases and understand figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings. 

I know that that seems like a lot and complex. But if you actually look at the standards in detail, they progress over time to allow students to make those steps toward graduation.

I’m not going to go over the math standards as much in detail but I do urge you to look at them in detail. 

I am huge supporter of these standards. I grew up in the U.S. Public Education system during the time of No Child Left Behind. And when I graduated from high school and started college at the University of Central, I did not feel prepared for what was expected of me in my classes. I had no true concept of how to write research papers. I didn’t know how to thoroughly take notes and I had no time management skills. I had to develop these skills myself. 

Also, when i moved to Florida in 2003 from New Mexico I was two reading levels behind my peers because the standards were different between the states. Then when it came to the new Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) it was stressed so much that it was so important to me being able to move on to 7th grade that it created high anxiety for me as a young boy. I remember the day before the test I was so nervous about it that I was sweating, I was nauseous, and began throwing up in class and then eventually passed out. During the test I was given special accommodations, I was placed in my own room separate from my peers and I was given more time on my test. This made me feel bad about myself and that I was stupid or something.

These new standards will also allow students moving between different states to be on the same pace and not be behind or even ahead of the other students in their new classroom.

 

As for relating to the article attached. I, as well as the NEA President, do not believe that they are implementing these standards in the right way. I know in the state of Florida they have slowly introduced the standards each year by grade levels. However, there has not been enough training for teachers on these new standards. Teachers are having to scrap lessons and spend more time on rewriting them than teaching to the new standards. Also, people are expecting things to be perfect day one of anything new. Something new takes time for it to take full affect and have a true impact. Just give the standards time. Invest in Public education and our teachers. 

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“40 Movies You Might (Regret) showing Your Kids” WHAT!?!?!?!?!?!

“40 Movies You Might (Regret) showing Your Kids” WHAT!?!?!?!?!?!

So, I ran into this article from the Huffington Post and I thought it would be interesting. IT HAD ALL THE MOVIES THAT I GREW UP ON!!!! The movies that they say that you “might regret showing your kids” are mostly Disney movies. All the movies that they listed were listed only because it had death in it. They don’t want their kids to see death, hurt, violence, and sexual innuendoes. GET OVER IT!!! Your kids will grow up sissies if they aren’t exposed to it. You can show your kids these movies, but at least watch them with them. That way if they ask you questions you can answer and explain to them what is happening. Kids need to be exposed to these things so that they understand it when they come across it in real life. 

4 Day School Week

4 Day School Week

I actually support the way that the school districts in Colorado and Idaho did this reform.

In Colorado:
They took a day away from formal instruction on Fridays. 2 Fridays a month are professional development, 1 day is special tutoring for students that need the extra help, and the final friday is left for the teachers own discretion. Administrators, school board officials, and politicians believe that teachers should only need 1 class period to plan their day. A lot of teachers don’t even have that luxury. They continue their work after school and on the weekends but do not get extra pay for working more. Since teachers are not paid hourly and paid on salary and in most states based on performance, they do not get overtime pay.

I’ve known teachers who stay at their school preparing lessons and activities till 6, 7, or even 8pm. But having these set-aside days to have professional development, lesson planning time, and personal time to do what they need to as teachers I think will pay off in the end. As of right now in Colorado in their first year their reading scores increased by a few margins. Math scores stayed stagnant.

House passes proposed GOP Obamacare changes

House passes proposed GOP Obamacare changes

It took me a few reads before I understood what it was saying. The language of the article is a bit confusing. Usually news providers write on a 7th grade level. A little odd. Anyways, 

So, the U.S. House of Representatives Republicans proposed a bill that would change the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Since the ACA rolled out starting back in October, less than 27,000 American’s have signed up for the new health care. Most aren’t doing it because they have their own benefits and don’t think that they need to do it. What they don’t realize is that insurance agencies must meet the requirements set by the federal government now. So, their insurance policies will not be applicable anymore. So a lot of people are actually losing their health insurance right now. This new bill is the House republicans idea to fixing the issue. 

The bill will allow current health insurance policies to be held through 2014 and would allow others to enroll in those current policies and NOT force them to enroll in Obamacare which they will eventually have to anyways. About 40 Democrats went to the Republican side of the bill and it passed the house which is Republican controlled. From talks in the Senate which is Democratic controlled it will be denied. Even if it is passed the President said he would veto it because it would give people a way out of enrolling into Obamacare. 

Each side keep blaming each other for not compromising. But honestly, I have never seen a President being so willing to sit down and compromise. Yes, he has his own ideas and will stick to his morals to do what is right for the country in his and his administrations views. However, the Speaker of the House will not even do anything that is not in his own personal views, won’t hear others points of views and won’t call a bill to vote when there is a majority in favor of it. 

Honestly, if they did not perfect the website to be able to handle the activity that it would have then they should have postponed the launch till 2014. That would have given them more time to perfect the technology as you cannot rely on technology 100%.

School Shooting

School Shooting

Once again, someone without any morals goes and shoots up a school. Why do people feel the need to go to a school and shoot KIDS!! They haven’t done anything wrong to you. They are just there to learn. They are completely innocent children. How can you morally go there and shoot at them and try and kill them. I don’t practice religion but I hope you rot in hell.

Completely Appalled

Completely Appalled

I am completely appalled about what just the title of this says. How can you compare that? He has proven his birth certificate. His name may be Barack Hussein Obama, but that does not mean he is not American. There are millions of Americans that do not have traditional American names but they were born here. So they are American. That does not mean they are out to destroy our country.

Rand Paul saying that Obama is Scaring the American People with Default

Rand Paul saying that Obama is Scaring the American People with Default

Rand Paul is blaming Obama for scaring the American people over the possible default of the American economic system. He’s not trying to scare them. He is giving them straight-up what will happen if Congress does not begin to agree. I know what will happen. Interest rates will skyrocket, no one will be able to get auto, home, or student loans. The budget stuff that they are fighting over is just ridiculous. They took away hundreds of thousands of jobs from American people. There are no benefits for those families that are need food stamps because they are single parents barely making $30,000 a year. 

Please name blaming and just get shit done.

Government Shutdown Can End by Tonight!

Government Shutdown Can End by Tonight!

So, the US Government Shutdown could end tonight? Really, lets actually focus on what is right for the 2 million American’s who are out of a job right now. My own mother is one of those 2 million. Even though she said it is nice to be able to get some projects done and actually have time to workout during the day, however, they have bills to pay. She was already furloughed enough this fiscal year. 

 

But seriously Boehner. The House is willing to go to a vote and will pass a bill that will be passed by the Senate and could get the President’s signature tonight. How about we put you on furlough and have this shutdown affect your pay.