News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Hospice of the Western Reserve

Wayside Furniture

NOCHE


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Education


Common Core makes its mark on Ohio classrooms
Nonfiction readings and harder materials are incorporated in Ohio classrooms under the Common Core standards
by WKSU's MOLLY BLOOM


Reporter
Molly Bloom
 
Akron fourth-graders discuss nonfiction, which is getting greater emphasis under the Common Core.
Courtesy of MOLLY BLOOM
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

Ohio schools are teaching to a new set of math and English standards called the Common Core. For English classes, that  means students spend less time with storybooks and more time with non-fiction texts. StateImpact Ohio’s Molly Bloom reports on the impact.

LISTEN: The impact of the common core on an Akron classroom

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (3:22)


Teacher Karen Hazlett’s fourth graders spent much of this fall learning about child labor – during English class.

Hazlett teaches in Akron’s Miller South School for the Visual and Performing Arts. This is her 34th year in the classroom.

And until recently, child labor probably would not have been a central topic in fourth-grade English. Instead, Hazlett’s students would have read mostly fiction, and answered questions about their opinions on plot and characters.

Integrate, infer and draw conclusions
But Hazlett says one of the biggest changes with the new Common Core English standards is a greater emphasis on non-fiction material.

“It used to be maybe 20-30 percent of our teaching was non-fiction and now it’s 50 [percent] or more,” she says. “That’s a huge difference.”

The new standards are tougher than Ohio’s old standards, Hazlett says, and they require students to analyze writing more deeply.

She has the Common Core standards for today’s lesson posted on her chalkboard and reads them aloud to me:

“Integrate information from two topics, explain the reasons using evidence, looking for details, drawing inference, drawing conclusions, main idea…”

Harder than in the old days
Hazlett’s students have already read a series of articles about child labor, written at perhaps a sixth- or seventh-grade level – higher than what they would have encountered a few years ago.

Today, she has them work together in pairs to draw some conclusions from what they’ve read.

As she talks to her students, the phrase you hear over and over again is “cite evidence.”

“You are going to use the text and support your answer with evidence,” she tells them. “Where in the text did you get that idea what is one important new thing you have learned from reading these texts? Why is that information new? What is one thing you think differently about how that you have read these texts? Cite evidence.”

Pairs of students pore over the photocopied articles.

CSI evidence
Teaching these young kids to work with factual evidence, to find specific facts to support their opinions, is a big change, Hazlett says.

“I’ve been teaching a long time, and I was like why didn’t we think of that before? It helps them focus on the text,” she says.

Other English classes in Akron are studying topics like CSI-style forensic anthropology, space exploration and food safety. The lessons are part of Common Core-aligned units developed by the University of Pittsburgh.

Akron teacher Anna Panning’s fifth graders are learning about space exploration.

“It’s really rigorous,” Panning says. “I sortof have them pumped up with, ‘This is going to be tough but we can do it.’ But they’re really enjoying it. And they love the topic.”

Bills to void Ohio’s adoption of the Common Core are pending in the Ohio House and Senate. But Akron English curriculum supervisor Toan Dang-Nguyen says she hasn’t heard any complaints from parents.

Three years down the road
Akron began introducing the Common Core to Akron teachers three years ago.

Since then, the district has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on things like new materials and substitutes so teachers can attend Common Core training.

“It’s here are the standards, here’s a model unit, here’s some training to see what you can do with those standards,” Dang-Nguyen says. “We’re not just sending them off and saying good luck.”

She says the long phase-in may mean that teachers and students will have fewer surprises when the new Common Core-aligned tests start next school year.

 

Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook




Stories with Recent Comments

Will Ohio's marijuana initiative follow casinos' lead?
We just ask to have marijuana legalized and here comes some nimrod trying to rob us of our rights and make us buy it from some legalized new type DRUG DEALER th...

Fancy dinners from humble beginnings at The Blue Door
Grandma of Chris Miller moved to Florida in a retirement community but I sure miss the Falls and the Blue Door, and the fine service and the true friendship of ...

The Black Keys guitar tech's moment in the spotlight
Nice job, Vivian. It's always nice to hear about the unsung heroes getting their due! Thank you, Chuck Johnston (Full disclosure - I'm a friend of the Carney fa...

A guide for gift-shopping for older Ohians
I'll never be to old for peanut brittle.

Akron's Tuba Christmas: A resounding blast of holiday spirit
Nice piece, Vivian! Looking forward to hearing you move from flute to tuba on Saturday. Love hearing your interviews and this seemed extra special since I kno...

Cleveland Hugo Boss workers are fighting for their jobs again
Bro. Ginard; I support your effert to keep your jobs, I understand all about concesions, I was a Union offical from 1965 until 1991 and the company th...

Asian Carp control could benefit from bill passed by House, heading to the Senate
help me fight the battle against invasive carp by method of harvest

Ohio's Portman supports lifting limits on party political money
If Portman was legitimately concerned about outside groups influence on elections he would have supported the DISCLOSE act. Instead he helped block it being bro...

Study shows trade with China has cost more than 3 million U.S. jobs
I disagree with James Dorn! If we don't change the playing field and make it a fair competition the whole US industry will be weaker and weaker. Eventually all ...

Copyright © 2014 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University