What does Common Core mean?
Our children will face challenges in their careers and in higher education unlike those faced by earlier generations. Educators around the country are working to adapt instruction to meet the changing needs of our students. The “Common Core” standards have been designed to do just that. But what is the Common Core and what does it mean to parents?
First, Common Core is not testing. The state tests are aligned to Common Core curriculum standards, but are not part of those standards. The tests, like all tests, are a snapshot of the progress of a student, a class, a grade level or school taken at one point in time. They are important, but should never be misconstrued as a complete portrait of a student. Nor is the Common Core lesson plans or modules. The modules and other lesson plans we use are designed to build and reinforce the curriculum standards. They are adapted and enhanced by classroom teachers to suits the needs of the class and the individual students in the class.
So, just what is the Common Core?
The Common Core is a set of high quality academic standards in mathematics and English language arts/literacy (ELA). These learning goals outline what a student should know and be able to do at the end of each grade. The standards were created to ensure that all students graduate from high school with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in college, career and life regardless of where they live.
[Common Core State Standards Initiative, 2017]
This year in third grade (2016-2017) we will continue to use the Common Core Modules. The modules are designed to be more rigorous than previous programs, but also to start with simpler, more basic skills scaffolding or building to more complex skills and deeper understandings. They are also designed to integrate language skills with the content area knowledge of social studies and science topics.
As always, we will work on building reading fluency and stamina, growing vocabulary, refining decoding skills, and deepening comprehension all year long.
v LANGUAGE ARTS
The students will work on numerous writing projects throughout the year. These will include: friendly letters, picture prompts, listening prompts, fictional stories, descriptive stories, peer interviews, report writing, note taking and more. The students will also work on capitalization, punctuation, nouns, verbs, adjectives, dialogue and more.
We will be working in a program called Fundations. Each week students will work on spelling rules and patterns to help them become better spellers. The students will be also responsible each week for learning several spelling words based on the patterns and rules they are learning that week. Each Friday the students will take a spelling test on these words.
The students will be reviewing print as well as receiving instruction in lower and upper case cursive letters.
The students will work on the following units during the school year: Role of a scientist (& scientific method), buoyancy, solar system, electricity, magnetism and butterflies & moths.
v SOCIAL STUDIES
The students will learn about different kinds of communities as well as mapping skills. Units during the third grade year may include: Maps & Globes, Plymouth, Massachusetts, London, England, Washington, D.C., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Japan.
We will continue to use Common Core Modules this year. The students will work on the following skills: multiplication, division, addition, subtraction, place value, time, fractions, money, measurement, and solving word problems.
v SPECIAL PROJECTS
During the school year the students will be able to take part in many special projects during the school year. These include art projects, guest speakers, field trips and much more!