K-12 instructional shifts (notes from CCSS spring regional mtg- COSA at the KROC Center)

Fall regional COSA meetings focused on the why of the CCSS (why were they created, who created them, how were they developed, who has adopted them).

The spring regional COSA meetings focus on the what of the CCSS (what is different, what are the shifts that instructors will need to make in terms of material being taught). The CCSS are not a curriculum and don’t tell how to teach or that an instructor must use a specific text. We met as a large group of K-12 instructors and administrators. After a general introduction, the math instructors went to one room and English language arts (ELA) along with social science and history instructors stayed in another room. Administrators joined either group for part of the morning and then met separately.  The large ELA group was comprised of K-12 instructors, one social science person, one history person, one librarian (me), and three people from higher ed (Ed Woods, Kevin Dye, me).

Emphasis on informational text

    • In 12th grade, students should read 30% literary and 70% informational
    • Use of informational text raised several questions about how/where do we find these
    • Note that we want to encourage deep, contemplative reading so this will be a balance
    • Students will need appropriate supports to make the text accessible (e.g., reference sources)
    • Instructor told me “hard to find complementary texts and it takes hours of research”

Writing framework

  • Increase in informational and argumentative writing
  • My question, what kind of practice making connections between texts
  • Who finds the complementary text (who chooses, the student or the instructor, or both)

Increase in text complexity (some anxiety around students who are not meeting current reading standards necessary to graduate)

Appropriate text complexity determined by three facets:

1. Lexile (vocabulary and sentence length)

  • For 11th grade to College Career Ready (CCR) the old lexile ranges were 1070-1220. New lexile ranges for 11-CCR = 1215-1355
  • We looked at a website that will generate a lexile score for blocks of text, free to use for text of 900 words or less so we experimented with entering a sample block of text from a larger work
  • Presenter commented that lexile scores for informational text are pure- but that doesn’t seem correct to me

2. Content (Stephen King = 4th grade reading lexile but not 4th grade content)

3. The individual who is reading (lexile is appropriate, content is a nice book about clowns, but reader was once attacked by a clown and emotionally this book is very difficult)

Fall 2012 regionals will focus on the how. This is huge for librarians! We need to be involved and out in front informing this because I’m guessing that by fall they will be talking about a plan. If I were a textbook company, I would want to be part of the plan (e.g., McGraw Hill education handout  “Master the Common Core State Standards” resources online http://www.mhecommoncoretoolbox.com/). Likewise, this is the moment for libraries to describe what we do and how it fits in here. A common level of understanding is that librarians might be able to help because we can purchase books to support this. Hmph. Not good enough. We need to take every opportunity to describe our instruction and consultation roles and the resources we already have (OSLIS). Summer, August 9th there is a CCSS training for administrators. I would love to go- I would love to see librarians there, and someone like Jennifer Maurer to talk about use of OSLIS. It is $329 to attend and says there is capacity for 80 K-12 administrators. Librarian(s) may be able to attend as presenter(s).

While this is a great moment for librarians to jump in, it may not be realistic to expect that K-12 librarians will be able to participate proactively right now. I attended the Oregon Association of School Libraries district meeting in Salem last weekend. They made it very clear that school librarians cannot attend happenings during the week. Structurally, in districts like Salem-Keizer where all K-8 librarians have been let go, the high school librarians are asked to function as consultants to the assistants or aides who were left running the grade and elementary school libraries. Note that assistants and aides are not supposed to provide instruction. Also note that no assistants or aides attended the district meeting (this really surprised me). Beaverton School District may be on the brink of losing their librarians. High school librarians in S-Keizer are seeing their first groups of kids who did not receive library instruction in middle school and the librarians report having to play catch up to get this group up to speed. How do we support our K-12 colleagues and how do we support students in the current system?

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