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Miss Church's 11th Grade Language Arts Class

I hope your Summer went well!

Hello! My name is Savannah Church. I’m a first year teacher who is exceptionally excited to teach your child Junior year English! Since Colorado is one of the 42 states who have chosen to implement the Common Core, it is important to get the facts on this system and having a working knowledge of how this will look in our classroom this year.

What is the Common Core?

The Common Core is a set of standards in math and language arts that students from grades K­-12 need to meet to assure college or career readiness at the time of graduation. There are no further plans to develop Common Core standards for other subject areas at this time because other subjects rely heavily upon Math and English. While there is a commonly held belief that it was created, as well as implemented, by the federal government, the Common Core was rather established by the collaboration of state governments, teachers, and parents at the local level. National Governor’s Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers created the Common Core based on effective methods and research.

Why Change the Standards?

The No Child Left Behind movement brought along with it unintended consequences, such as excessive standardized testing and low levels of proficiency. In response to those negative impacts, 42 of the 50 states in the U.S, have voluntarily adopted the Common Core as a means to establish a common expectation for students across the U.S. at each grade level and to make it simpler for mobile students, who move frequently, to stay afloat. While the Common Core does not eliminate standardized testing, it works to create clarity for both staff and students across the United States. Former educational standards proved each school ineffective and provided irregular standards across the United States. The Common Core works to eliminate the variable expectations and create consistency.

What Does This Mean for My Child and I?

  1. Your role is vital for your child. This year the texts that we use will increase in complexity as the year goes on. You can help your child by engaging them with the reading and asking them to explain key concepts in increase reading comprehension. Ask, "what can you teach me about "To Kill a Mockingbird'" or "what is something I missed when I read that text in high school?"
  2. Healthy Vocabularies are constantly growing. We will be working to use more specific vocabulary throughout the year (using "famished" rather than "very hungry"). Listen to your child and encourage them when they utilize complex words. Ask them to define words they use and acknowledge specific, concise, words that help elicit strong mental pictures.
  3. Research is a big part of college and in preparation, our class will be writing a 3-5 pg research paper. Your role in that paper could vary based on your child. You can help from determining reliable sources (not wikipedia) to allowing your student to read their paper aloud to you for feedback. Your child should learn how to use current research to enhance their own using correct citation and acknowledgement.
  4. Nonfiction readers are knowledge collectors. You know your child best. Encourage reading of nonfiction works that expand learning based on your child's interests. Provide rides to the library whenever possible or suggest possible items of interest to your child. Past the rolling eyes and frequent sighs your child is listening.
  5. Be invested in your child. Make sure he or she knows you believe in them and always try to recognize an attempt to involve you in their education, whether its bouncing paper topics off of you or using complex vocabulary, remember language arts is how students learn to communicate and communication is also power.

* Information was obtained from: http://www.corestandards.org/

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Collaboration is our best friend when it comes to education. My door is always open.