Common Sense: Writing, Thinking, and the Common Core

April 25, 2014

As education analyst Diane Ravitch points out, “There are many ways to be a good teacher,” but how do we keep this in focus and improve student learning while in the midst of ongoing reforms? It is no secret that the Common Core State Standards are on the minds of teachers and administrators nationwide, but do these standards actually distract teachers and administrators from focusing on improving learning in our classrooms? How can teachers meet the requirements of the Common Core without relinquishing their creative authority in the classroom? The Common Core standards place a new emphasis on “informational texts” in the curriculum, but as teachers and administrators, how do we know what is a good example of an informational text—in history, science, literary studies—and ensure that teachers and administrators are confident in their choices? Common Core standards require students to do close readings and use text-based evidence in class discussions and in papers, and to become more “nuanced readers” and critical thinkers. This conference will offer educators principles and practices to select rich informational texts and teach them rigorously and imaginatively, while also considering whether Common Core–recommended texts need to be reconsidered.

The Institute’s writing-based teaching practices can help administrators and teachers experience the kinds of teaching that promote Common Core objectives. IWT practices help students understand what close reading entails, and foster the kind of careful listening, attention, and respectful response required of good class discussions. The day includes workshops for both administrators and teachers that demonstrate how the writing-based practices support teachers creatively and practically as they strive to meet both educational standards and the needs of individual learners in their classrooms and schools, and how assessment can be incorporated as a guide for teachers as they pursue a steady course of lively and purposeful learning.

8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
$200 (includes morning coffee, lunch, and anthology of texts)