Does Common Core Have Room For Dr. Seuss?

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by teacherman1, Mar 8, 2014.

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  1. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    I've been out of the classroom for quite a while now, and I was wondering if Common Core allows for "immersion" in one author or one genre.

    All of the K-3 kids at New Hope (private school) spent their week reading Dr. Seuss books in honor of Dr. Seuss' birthday. I personally think that Dr. Seuss books are a great motivator when it comes to getting beginning readers to love reading.

    The Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham are my favorites.

    I think that The Lorax is one of his most difficult books, but here's one of my former PI kids reading it and doing a pretty good job.

    He's a first grader and Scholastic rates the book at a level 3.5

    If you're interested, here he is just a year ago:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKZUzZtANpg
     
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  3. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    To answer your question, yes.
     
  4. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Yes, CCSS addresses reading literature, in a variety of genres.
    Here are the grade 1 literacy standards...Dr Seuss fits here...


    Key Ideas and Details

    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.1.1 Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.1.2 Retell stories, including key details, and demonstrate understanding of their central message or lesson.
    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.1.3 Describe characters, settings, and major events in a story, using key details.
    Craft and Structure

    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.1.4 Identify words and phrases in stories or poems that suggest feelings or appeal to the senses.
    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.1.5 Explain major differences between books that tell stories and books that give information, drawing on a wide reading of a range of text types.
    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.1.6 Identify who is telling the story at various points in a text.
    Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.1.7 Use illustrations and details in a story to describe its characters, setting, or events.
    (RL.1.8 not applicable to literature)
    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.1.9 Compare and contrast the adventures and experiences of characters in stories.
     
  5. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    OF course...Dr. Seuss is here to stay. :)
     
  6. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Even if Dr. Seuss is "not common core" that is no reason to remove it or anything else for that matter.

    I get genuinely angry when I hear people say "Oh, that's not common core so we can't do it anymore."

    The purpose of a standard is not to purge your curriculum of anything that does not align with it.

    For a few years, we were under a regime where "curriculum fidelity" was buzzword of the day. A lot of teachers thought they were not supposed to talk about weather with their first graders except during the weather unit. And others avoided stories about perseverance except during the "Keep Trying" unit.

    I would hear teachers say things like "I teach Open Court" and "You can't use that because it's not Open Court." Sorry, you don't "teach" Open court. You teach kids how to read. Open Court is just what you use in order to do that.

    It's the same with Common Core standards. That's not what you teach. You teach math, reading, science, history, etc. The Common Core standards are just the level to which students are to master those subjects.
     
  7. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    This is pretty much the approach my school takes. Thankfully.
     
  8. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    I believe teacherman has been looking for things that are "iconic" like Doctor Suess, that are outlawed by common core. He just wants to demonize it.
     
  9. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Nothing is "officially" outlawed by Common Core. It's the terrible roll-outs and even worse curriculum development that has led to that perception.
     
  10. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    What are you referring to when you say worse curriculum development?
     
  11. RadiantBerg

    RadiantBerg Cohort

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    Be careful how you answer this---Pashtun is a member of the AtoZ "Common Core Four".
     
  12. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    OMG, i feel like I am part of a super hero group. SWEET!!

    I am going to use your quote as my signature.

    Pashtun, member of the common core four.
     
  13. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I mean that the curriculum which has been written specifically for common core to date has been terrible.
     
  14. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Correlation doesn't mean causation.... The curriculum development problems may have nothing to do with CC but those who are developing the curriculum. Since CC doesn't outline curriculum, you can't necessarily blame CC for the horrible curriculum being produced except for the fact that people want new curriculum to support CC.
     
  15. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    I am curios to what curriculum you are talking about. Our district doesn't really have any. Are you referring to like canned programs like Houghton Mifflin?

    I thought these were terrible with CST standards.
     
  16. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Specifically, I'm talking about garbage like EngageNY, though I've yet to see any "Common Core" curriculum set that wasn't pretty crappy.
     
  17. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    Pashtun,
    I am not out to "demonize" Common Core. I asked a simple question because I'm not actually in the public schools any more.

    I do know, though, that if I had tried to use Dr. Seuss in place of my scripted and very specific READING STREET lessons, I would have been written up. Pacing, pacing, pacing......

    But that was my experience and hopefully is not happening anywhere else.....
     
  18. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Teacherman, your experience has nothing to do with the standards that your state had at public schools. It has everything to do with the fact that your administration or district decided HOW they wanted the standards implemented. It doesn't even mean that the program you were using was a good program for the standards your state had, just that someone decided that is what you should use and how you should implement it.
     
  19. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    agreed
     
  20. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    I agree with what you're saying here, Sarge, but what happens if you're in a school that demands complete fidelity to a specific reading program - READING STREET was the one we were using - and they do not allow you to deviate from the daily lessons?

    And I do realize that this is not a Common Core problem. But the administration chose this program because it supposedly meets the standards....
     
  21. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    The terrible curriculum being developed and sold to schools are, for the most part, made by the same people who developed CCSS in the first place, and who will be making the tests for it.
     
  22. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    That doesn't mean the standards are necessarily bad. It still proves nothing. I have great ideas that I could never have the ability to implement. It doesn't mean the idea is bad, just that I suck at application of some ideas.

    I'm not judging CC or the curriculum being produced. The argument was bad. If you want to support your argument, you need different reasoning.
     
  23. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Well, that's where we need to become advocates for our students. We went through the same issues with Open Court and the old California ELA standards.

    I always look at it this way. Tell me what I have to teach, and I'll do my best to teach it. But when you start telling me what I CAN'T teach, then we might have a problem.

    I agree with the others who said the problem isn't with common core, but rather with incompetent administrators. The problem of districts making teachers adhere to "curriculum fidelity" can happen with common core, old state standards, or even in the absence of any standards at all.
     
  24. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    Personally, I really think it all comes down to your administration and their view on how to implement educational standards. There will ALWAYS be standards-CC or otherwise. I don't think we'll ever get away from that (nor would I want to).

    Last night a fellow fifth grade teacher, my principal and myself had a brief training on using Google Docs with the students. We were brainstorming all sorts of collaborative activities we could with it that would meet the CC standards. GOOGLE DOCS. Not a textbook or a program. We loved that the kids could collaborate on a piece of writing and we could see who contribute what. Then I thought-what if we did that with performance tasks-we could have them on docs and the kids could work together to solve them and all contribute to the writing up of the answers, and we could see exactly who wrote what! And then we were thinking about the presentations and how they could collaborate on projects, perhaps providing evidence from books for text-dependent questions. The possibilities are endless.

    We don't need a program or a textbook to meet the standards, and luckily my principal is giving us the freedom to experiment. In fact, our grade level is kicking our Open Court program to the curb next year in exchange for novel studies (thank GOD because I didn't use it this year anyhow), with our principal's complete blessing. But I'm sure there are principals and directors out there that couldn't conceive of that, regardless of what the standards are or what they are called.
     
  25. sevenplus

    sevenplus Connoisseur

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    I can't believe I'm commenting on this but it doesn't even seem like a legitimate question. OF COURSE there is room for Dr. Seuss (or any other author). CCSS don't tell us which texts to read.
     
  26. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    CCSS was developed by Pearson?
     
  27. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    You could put out a basket of Dr Seuss books for kids to 'check out' and take home to read

    You could use a Dr Seuss book as a 'mentor text' for a writing lesson

    You could read a Dr Seuss biography during your social studies time

    You could read The Lorax during science and teach a lesson about ecology (others of his books could be incorporated into character Ed lessons, etc)

    You could simply not do a unit on Dr Seuss

    You could 'fight the system'

    You could put in for a transfer to another school

    You could quit

    Bottom line, teacherman, many professional educators are given freedom in the responsible choice of resources, lesson design and plans. And those who don't either find creative solutions or pursue other options.
     
  28. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    Common Core curriculum giant Pearson (also the high-stakes testing people) produce READING STREET which is what the Providence schools decided to "embrace with fidelity".

    There's no room in that scripted reading program for immersion in Dr. Seuss.

    Anyone else using Reading Street? Am I wrong?
     
  29. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Did you purposely ignore what czacza wrote?
     
  30. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    Yes. CzaCza knows that did fight the system and that I left the public school system over a year ago.

    But that doesn't mean that I'm going to ignore what is going on in the educational system today. I still have to deal indirectly with it through the kids I tutor every week and I do have grandchildren who will eventually have to navigate the system.
     
  31. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    But the issue you keep bringing up over and over is not a problem with common core. You keep brining up decisions made at the district or administration level (maybe most teachers depending on the school) to use something that claims to be representative of the common core in an all or nothing way. Common Core does not state that Pearson's curriculum has to be used with fidelity.

    Please don't confuse the standards and the implementation.
     
  32. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    Again, that is a district/administration decision. Like I said, our grade level is going to novel studies and we will easily be able to teach all the CC standards. I think reading workshop, where you could use Dr. Seuss as a mentor text (as Czacza mentioned), is awesome for CC. If an admin adopts a rigid program such as Reading Street (I know nothing about this program, but you make it sound rigid), then they would probably do that with any set of standards. I think the district's reaction to CC is how they would react to any set of standards or mandates that come from above.

    Our district is very laid back, so I don't think we'd react that way to any set of standards. Others are very different. I agree that we should not be blaming the standards-they are fine. We should be asking ourselves why the admin feels they need to adopt such rigorous programs. I'm on the math adoption committee for next year, and we're putting everything on the table-even AIMS! And that is NOT a textbook. ;)
     
  33. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    I'm not sure I think those programs are rigorous. However, this is the question to be asked.
     
  34. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    I think she meant rigid and accidently typed rigorous.
     
  35. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Teacherman, this is sort of along the lines of "it's the admin not the program" - there are many intervention packages or curricula which do not include particular content, but are also not ruling it out either. For example, Wilson reading does not focus on Dr. Seuss. However, that doesn't mean the folks at Wilson don't want you reading Dr. Seuss - it's just that it's not covered in that particular curricula.

    If something very important is left out - let's say "good children's literature" - we have 3 things to look at:

    1) The curriculum chosen specifically bans the use of any other materials.

    2) The admin chooses a curriculum and bans any other materials.

    3) The district/state curriculum bans any other material.

    If Reading Street doesn't specifically ban the use of other materials/instruction, it's #2 or #3.

    The next argument would be that pressures from CCSS or related events informally force admin/district folks to ban things like Dr. Seuss, recess, arts instruction, etc. There may be truth to this to an extent, but I'd say you'd have to make a specific statement about how a specific CCSS event/curricular component has led to extreme coercion of admin/district folk in making the decisions they have.

    Here is an example of what I don't believe counts: Pressure to test well is high, so admin chooses to cut arts instruction for the sake of additional test prep.

    Here is an example that would count: The state mandates a certain number of minutes be spent on academics, leaving literally no room for all related arts instruction. As a result, the admin cuts art from 1x/week to 2x/month because there is no other way to get the required minutes in.

    In short, Pearson is an easy target, but if we're going to be a part of fixing problems, we have to understand them first. Corporate interest and Pearson have not caused all of our problems today, even if they play a role.
     
  36. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    Once again we agree...
    And as you know, Sarge, I chose to advocate for the kids. That's why I'm where I am today....
     
  37. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Teacherman, what are you doing to advocate for the kids in your state or district?

    I don't consider coming to this board as advocating because it is too general to make a dent.
     
  38. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    You asked, A2Z, so don't accuse me of blowing my horn....

    In addition to providing free dyslexia tutoring for anyone in Rhode Island who requests it (through non-profit corporation Reading for All) I've paired up with RI dyslexia advocate Suzanne Arena to push through local legislation recognizing dyslexia as a major problem in our schools and steps that need to be taken to address it - including earlier intervention and better PD for teachers.

    Suzanne and I have spoken together in public for the Masons and on local public radio and have a meeting scheduled with the RI Commissioner of Education. We are both involved with an effort to get Orton-Gillingham to recognize PI as an accommodation for visual dyslexia that can be used in conjunction with their program.

    My resignation video from last year continues to draw a lot of attention (510,000 views) to the problems in the Providence School System, and as a result of it, I was asked to speak in Washington, DC at the United Opt Out Occupation of the DOE last spring. That video can be seen on the United Opt Out website.

    In addition to comments on A2Z, I continue to spread the word about PI as a cost/free reading intervention through numerous dyslexia web sites and have spent countless hours in constructing and maintaining the PIreading website.

    Like I said - you asked....
     
  39. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Thanks, teacherman.

    I was not clear enough. I made the mistake of assuming you would understand the context because this entire thread was about common core, not about struggling dyslexics. What are you doing to advocate against common core which you are claiming is ruining the educational system?

    I do applaud advocating for better instruction for struggling readers early on even if we disagree what that instruction will look like.
     
  40. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    There's only so many hours in the day, atoz.
    Specifically where did I say that CC was ruining the educational system?
     
  41. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    You didn't say those exact words, but your title for this thread strongly suggests and led myself and many other posters to believe that you saw a problem with Common Core and being able to read certain books. You also said, "But that doesn't mean that I'm going to ignore what is going on in the educational system today. I still have to deal indirectly with it through the kids I tutor every week and I do have grandchildren who will eventually have to navigate the system. "

    So, exactly what are you fighting based on the title of this thread. A problem your district had for a long time even before CC or CC?
     
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