Sunday, April 7, 2013

A Sample Of What "Informational Text" Students Will Use With Common Core

We found a youtube channel for an organization called the Teaching Channel.  It is a "non profit" that has put out videos to help market the new Common Core curriculum.  The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have donated over $11M to the Teaching Channel since 2011.

Let's take a look at a few of the sample subjects such as the 10th grade topic of European Imperialism in Africa.  Sample text for the project came from an "eye witness book on Africa," an essay by 16th century social reformer (anti-imperialist) Bartolome de las Casas, and excerpts from a novel called "Things Fall Apart" by Chinua Achebe (another anti-colonialist) all of which are recommended as standard text in the Common Core appendix.

Sound a little one-sided? 

As we know, the Common Core Standards will now include about 70% of "informational text" in the curriculum.  By "informational text" we mean one-sided text which will be presented as "fact."  Then, students can participate in panels such as this one with their new-found knowledge of evils of imperialism and colonialism:

Teaching Consultant, Jennifer Apodaca critiqued the teacher's performance and said,

"I think the facts were there, but I think it could have been much more specific.....Maybe you want to say, 'Use these sources.' So, maybe you have to specify like 'You MUST use information from the following documents....' "

Well, now that doesn't sound like it encourages critical thinking.

Another video explains that "What you have to be able to do is show that you can argue based on evidence and show that you can convey complex information clearly."

As you watch the videos, try not to focus too much on the number of misspelled words on the student's papers. Spelling isn't important because kids will always have spell check as a crutch....

The teacher in the above video poses a question to the students about the informational text they read, "How do you know what he is saying is real or not?"

Because.  The informational text is from the New York Times.

This information will certainly prepare students for college and career readiness.

As the teacher said, "There are various sources.  Some are reliable and some are not.  They need to be able to independently determine that."

Of course, the sources that the CCSS recommends will be reliable.

Teachers are encouraged to incorporate the ELA CCSS into other classes such as Social Studies, History, Science and Technical Subjects.  In the following video, the English teacher collaborated with a science teacher who selected articles and text for the students who were to write a persuasive essay on natural disasters.  And by an essay on natural disasters we really mean, whether or not the United States should provide foreign aid to countries that have experienced a disaster.

Enjoy these other snippets of Common Core lessons put together by the Bill Gates funded Teaching Channel...

Like this English class lesson on child marriage in Afghanistan and learning to feel badly that their median income is $800/year while it is over $40k in the United States without pointing out the reasons why.

Or the fact that there is global warming    climate change...

and more climate change.....

Well, at least these 4th graders are learning the three "R"s......

Ok.  Not Reading, Writing and 'Rithmatic but "Revolution" "Reaction" and "Reform."

THAT'S going to make them college and career ready for sure.