Common Core Part 2: A Look at English Language Arts Standards

News Sentinel, September 16, 2013 | Go to article overview

Common Core Part 2: A Look at English Language Arts Standards


New standards have kids thinking critically, reading more nonfiction

Editor's note: Common Core State Standards are being implemented in every Tennessee math and English Language Arts (ELA) course in grades K-12 this fall. This series of stories asks, "What is Common Core, and what does it mean for your child?" Today we look at the standards for ELA. In October, we'll look at Common Core math standards.

On a recent morning at Karns Middle School, an eighth-grade English Language Arts class read an early 20th century short story called "A Retrieved Reformation," by the American writer O. Henry.

It was chosen by teacher Merry Anderson to meet new Common Core State Standards for ELA.

"O. Henry states his stories mirror his own life because they are full of hard luck, unusual twists, and colorful characters," Anderson said to the students. "Can you find evidence in the text that supports or contradicts that statement?"

Students begin to consult with each other. But one stops Anderson to ask quietly, "Ms. Anderson, what exactly is hard luck?"

Anderson smiled. "Hard luck is when you can't get a job. You can't get a break," she said.

The new Common Core State Standards -- touted as tougher standards for math and English -- are supposed to help kids have much better luck finding a job or going to college. Currently, some 20 percent of new college students take remedial math and English courses, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

"Common Core is here because our kids aren't ready for college, and they're not prepared for careers," said Anderson. "We're hoping that by upping the rigor and making them read deeply, we're preparing them for the next level."

Implemented this year by 45 states and the District of Columbia, Common Core has not yet been tested (and won't be until 2015), and no one knows for sure if it will better prepare students for college and career. But local teachers say Common Core is a step in the right direction.

Alcoa Elementary first-grade teacher Hope McDonald spent about a week on the children's classic, "Are you my mother?" by P.D. Eastman. She was pushing her students to understand literary "point of view," which was previously a sixth-grade standard in Tennessee.

"We try to figure out, 'Is this story in first person? Third person?' " said McDonald.

"Each day we're going into different story elements, like inference, point of view. We really tear the story apart," she said.

"They have been understanding it," McDonald said. "I really think it is because we discuss it with every book we read."

Point of view aside, ELA standards for Common Core are not drastically different than previous Tennessee standards, according to the state's website document called "Crosswalk," which compares the two sets of guidelines. Most standards are fairly similar.

And according to the Fordham Institute, a nonprofit think tank supportive of Common Core, Tennessee had good ELA standards previously. Fordham says it's "too close to call" whether Common Core standards will be better. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Common Core Part 2: A Look at English Language Arts Standards
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.