Et tu, Common Core?

He came, he saw, he taught a class.

He came, he saw, he taught a class.

This is not all that far off.

Common Core is a framework for teaching and learning that attempts to bridge the gaps between different content areas. Too many students wind up going to college or the workplace unable to actually solve any kind of problems for themselves. They fall back on cognitive crutches, or can’t actually incorporate math or science into a written proposal.

It’s a good idea to remedy this problem.

As a result, my co-teacher and I have been trying to work out lesson plans that utilize the Common Core concept, and standard sets, across our two classes. History and English are a good starting off place for this kind of thing, since the subjects are literacy skill intensive. That means, simply enough, that you need to read information about history, digest it, and be able to answer questions about it.

The starting off point was a pair of articles, with seven questions related to them. The articles were summative secondary sources about the reign of two Roman dictators, comparing a good dictator to a bad one. The questions demanded citations of source in their various answers, and evaluative content generated by the students. All in all, a pretty good start.

After that, the students are tasked with writing a fictional narrative, set in Ancient Rome, about the life and times of a fictional dictator. At this point we are firmly in the English standard group, with an outline incorporating history elements as the setting, and comprised of the five parts of fiction (Exposition, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, Denoument) generated as an initial product. Then students produce a draft based on the story framework, incorporating dialogue.

From there we have guided peer editing, leading to a final draft. All that is turned in tomorrow, and graded by both myself and the History teacher. As an added tie in, I will be analyzing Antony’s speech from Act III, scene 2 of “Julius Caesar,” with my students tomorrow. Mostly to tie into the History teacher’s current assignment about the legacy of Rome. In speaking to the legacy of Caesar, and further, a great play about the Roman Empire written hundreds of years later, her point is made clear while having my students read above their grade level.

The best part? My lesson planning is greatly reduced. Another teacher writes about half of it.

I don’t understand why the other teachers aren’t just jumping on board. On some level, it is a whole lot like having a guest lecturer, or at least a guest planner.

The origins of the art, then, are pretty clear.

Next Issue: Homage to Jack Kirby, who would have been 96…and the coming of the Rosh Hashanoid!

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