Thursday, July 29, 2010

Topic: Change in Blog

For quite a while now, I have been giving my readers a step-by-step description of the national standards created by "CCSSI (Common Core State Standards Initiative) for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies and Science." March 10, 2010. You will find the standards at

In general, I am impressed by these standards. I have noticed particularly that the standards emphasize argumentative, informational and narrative writing. They have broken grammar content into the most significant skills and concepts. A little early, I at first thought, but why not try? They balance the reading of literature and nonfiction.

If I were still a language arts supervisor, K-12, at each level, K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-10, 11-12, I would meet with each group to answer five questions:

What does each standard say? They are sometimes technical and need to be clarified.
What are the implications of each standard?
What does each standard mean to us at this grade level?
What materials will we need?
How can we fit the standards into a coordinated program? Right now they tend to be isolated skills and processes.

In 1970, in my school district, we started to build a K-12 English/language arts curriculum in somewhat the same way as these standards. We listed K-12 outcomes, what students should know and be able to do by the end of grade 12. Our outcomes were more general than these outcomes. These outcomes, I believe, are more useful than ours were.

From here on in, this blog, “English Updates,” will return to the format I used at its beginning. I will review interesting articles in the journals of the National Council of Teachers of English and the International Reading Association, as well as The Writer, one of my favorite magazines written by writers for writers. I will summarize the ideas and then comment on their significance in the teaching of English.

Not long ago, I learned that this blog was listed as one of the top fifty blogs dealing with literacy. I look forward to continuing it.


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