California, along with 44 other states, is in the process of adopting Common Core Standards. This means that, for the first time, all sixth grade students (for example) in those 44 states will be learning the same thing. This makes conversation about achievement more relevant, and makes it easier for students who move away. I am excited about some of the Common Core ideas, like teaching a subject more deeply instead of zooming through it to cover more. I also like the emphasis on critical thinking skills. I’m a little nervous, however, about the trend toward nonfiction in reading. Students already get nonfiction in Science and Social Studies (History). Reading is for fiction. I know some of my colleagues will jump on board and go to the extreme, reading nothing but nonfiction. That scares me. A child needs to experience fiction, especially fantasy, as a way to explore possibilities outside their own experience. Oops, I’m on my soapbox…better stop now.
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