Common Core Standards In Action

LiteracyTA has taken the Common Core Standards and made them actionable. Our Teacher Assistant (TA), student resources, and professional development for teachers build confidence and expertise that teachers need to effectively implement the Common Core Standards in the classroom. Our goal is to offer a common language around literacy that will help unite schools as they strengthen their efforts to make literacy instruction and college and career readiness a part of their every day routine.

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Understanding the Common Core

As schools prepare for new assessments aligned to the Common Core, it is important to remember that students will be tested against newer, more rigorous standards and a change in scores does not mean our students know less than they did the year before. Rather, it means we have a new beginning and a new set of goals against which to start measuring progress."

- Executive Director of Smarter Balanced

In order to ready students for college and careers and the Common Core exams, we first need to look at how we teach. Our instructional decisions and classroom practices should focus on teaching the types of skills our students need to be independent thinkers, readers, and writers. If we find that content-based instruction is the focus of our daily work in the classroom, we need to question if this is the best thing for kids. Traditionally, content-based instruction teaches students how to copy, memorize, and recall facts. Skill-based instruction, on the other hand, teaches students how to make meaning from the texts they read, communicate sophisticated ideas through writing, and use verbal communication to reflect on and process new ideas. Students don't need to know facts to be successful in the future.

Students need to know how to think critically.
Students need to know how to analyze information.
Students need to know how to solve problems.

So how can we make the shift to Common Core expectations? First, we should consider how content-based instruction compares to skill-based instruction. How can skill-based instruction give students the academic and life skills they need to be ready for the rest of their lives?

Content-Based Instruction
Skill-Based Instruction
The central focus is on acquiring content knowledge through gathering and organizing facts, dates, and names. The central focus is on learning transferable literacy skills that help students independently make meaning from new information.
Students are engaged in classroom activities that help them study and memorize information. Learning is dependent on the teacher. Students reach mastery of literacy skills and critical content knowledge through a process of rehearsal and relearning of ideas (Walqui). Responsibility for learning transfers to the student over time.
Assessments are used to measure what students have memorized. Little to no reteaching occurs. Assessments are used to measure growth and to identify supports to help students meet standard.
Reading, writing, and speaking tasks are assigned for points and may not teach students what it means to read and write in a particular discipline. Reading, writing, and speaking in the content area is explicitly taught and practiced every day.
Information is given to students through worksheets or PowerPoint. Ideas are copied from a screen and onto notepaper. Information is learned through a process of analysis, evaluation, application, and synthesis. Higher level thinking as defined by Bloom, Costa, and Webb is the focus of daily academic work.
The classroom teacher does most of the thinking and presents solutions. Students are taught how to think critically and are expected to solve problems on their own.
Students are asked to take notes on what they read and answer comprehension questions as a way to assess understanding of the reading. Students engage in authentic reading experiences. They practice various reading skills and explore written and spoken texts as readers and writers. Students seek to understand how meaning is constructed in texts.

By themselves, the Common Core State Standards is a static list of student competencies. But with the help of LiteracyTA's high-level literacy skills, teaching tools and resources, and skill instruction methodology, the Common Core is achievable.

We have designed engaging lessons, practical student handouts and tools, and interactive activities that will help students learn the right types of skills they need to be ready for rigorous academic and professional work.

LiteracyTA provides a common language and approach to skill-based instruction that will help guide and support teachers as they focus more squarely on the Common Core College and Career Readiness Standards.

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Common Core English Language Arts Standards
Common Core Math Standards
LiteracyTA and Common Core

Common Core
Readiness Planning

Get ready for Common Core with LiteracyTA's Common Core Roadmap.
TA (Teacher Assistant)
Teach Common Core with confidence and get your students ready for the new national standards.
Literacy Skills Activity Books
Practical student resources to support literacy skill development.
Literacy Skills Activity Books

Support all students.

Professional Development
Interactive workshops that deliver confidence and expertise teachers need to implement effective literacy instruction across content areas.
Professional Development for Teachers

Ready for Common Core?

Why does LiteracyTA support the Common Core State Standards (CCSS)?

  • Basic alignment of academic skills and content knowledge
  • Learning outcomes that focus on developing students' skills
  • Rigorous learning goals
  • Emphasis on analytical thinking and problem solving
  • Intense focus on mastering skills and content
  • Cross-disciplinary approach to teaching and learning

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