Magazine article Technology & Learning

Reading and the Two C'S: Common Core: How Are Teachers Using Technology to Prepare for the New Common Core English Language Arts (ELA) Requirements? Let Us Count the Ways

Magazine article Technology & Learning

Reading and the Two C'S: Common Core: How Are Teachers Using Technology to Prepare for the New Common Core English Language Arts (ELA) Requirements? Let Us Count the Ways

Article excerpt


WHO: Shannon Kinkead, Title 1 teacher for grades K-2 at Bainbridge Elementary School in Indiana.

WHAT: Uses Burst: Reading from Wireless Generation to offer targeted assessments and reading intervention.

THE DETAILS: "In the past, we would determine where students had problems but didn't know how to help them," says Kinkead. "Burst: Reading focuses in on the problems so they can be turned around." Kinkead particularly likes how the program gives suggestions for groupings, such as grouping students by the skills and help that they need. It also allows her to regroup as she'd like. The technology analyzes thousands of data points to group students with similar needs and aligns instruction to those needs every 10 days for a complete solution to literacy intervention. She also likes the modifications included in the lesson plans because "even in a small group, you may have children who struggle and children who understand."

COMMON CORE CONNECTION: Burst: Reading meets the Common Core requirements by providing students and teachers with a balanced amount of literary and informational texts, carefully leveled texts that incrementally increase in readability requirements, and opportunities to read and comprehend increasingly complex grade-level literature. At the top of every lesson is a summary of the day's goals. "There's a Common Core connection, but it isn't explicitly stated," says Kinkead.


WHO: Michael Casey, director of technology at Del Mar Union School District (USD) in California.

WHAT: 4th- and 5th-grade students use Google Docs to focus on writing.

THE DETAILS: About two years ago, instructors at Del Mar USD looked at their curriculum to try and figure out how to meet the developing Common Core standard. They looked for an app that would let teachers focus on the entire writing process, including communication, critical thinking, and collaboration. Google Docs gives them all the essential elements and tools, including the ability to share documents and let teachers comment and coach in real time. This year, they deployed 700 Chromebooks for the 4th- and 5th-grade students. "We sat with teachers and mapped out the first trimester's curriculum so they could insert the technology appropriately," says Casey. "When students make a collage on early explorers, they use Glogster and present their collage to their classmates."

Andrea Sleet, a 3rd-grade teacher who formerly taught 4th grade, says the 4th graders use Google Docs to write stories, summaries, and responses to literature. "I can log into Google Docs and give feedback at every stage. They address my comments and make revisions." Sleet says the amount of writing her students have done since they implemented Google Docs is incredible. "They produce so much more and it's of a much higher quality than ever before."

COMMON CORE CONNECTION: Teaching students to write expressively, revise their work, accept criticism, and collaborate are all a part of the Common Core ELA standards.


WHO: Allison Oxford, director of instructional support services for Murray County Public Schools in Georgia.

WHAT: Struggling readers get help with Scientific Learning Reading Assistant.

THE DETAILS: "Our goal is to increase all student's Lexile scores so they can work with the complex tests the Common Core requires," says Oxford. "We want them to be able to read, comprehend, process information, and apply it." Students log in to Reading Assistant and do assessments to key in to where they are having problems. Oxford knew the product was a good fit after conducting a pilot test last year with 64 high school students who had not passed their 8th-grade standardized test. After using Reading Assistant from November to March, 78 percent of them passed all sections of the Georgia state test. In May, 100 percent of those children graduated. …

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