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  • Common Core Standards and Essential Questions

    September 1, 2011 by

    This year we are implementing the Common Core Standards for ELA and Math in my Archdiocese. It is a bit overwhelming for the teachers. I wish they had chosen one subject at a time. Luckily, my principal had us join up with some nearby schools at the end of last year to begin reviewing the ELA standards. We got some lesson ideas from the Common Core Maps. They help a bit but some of us do not agree with the selection of books chosen in these maps. We are also going to use our regular reading text and just jump around to follow the standards. The standards are a bit open ended which is good in some respects because it allows a lot of time for enrichment with technology but it also makes them a bit vague to me. I am hoping that we will have a lot of in service opportunities to help us make this changes. If you know of any good websites to help us with this incorporation, please share them!

    All of our lessons are now to revolve around the “Essential Question” of the lesson. What are essential questions and how do you write one? Here is an answer to that from Mary Alice Osborne.

    I see many examples of essential questioning for upper level students but I am teaching 8 year olds. So I am still struggling with bringing it down to their level as we still work on many basic skills at that age. Can anyone share some ideas for essential questioning with younger age students?

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    1.    mskirwin said,

      on September 9th, 2011 at 4:33 am   Reply

      Hi Tina,

      I understand your struggle. The slides you shared about essential questions are great. I work as a teacher librarian in an elementary school and was struggling with this when working on inquiry units last year. Many of the students I work with are English language learners which brings another layer of difficulty to the work. I found I needed to guide the students a bit and we worked from there.


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