Common Core Standards in English Language Arts and Math are being implemented across the county. These standards focus on helping youth develop a deep understanding of the skills they will need to think critically and solve problems. Two web addresses you might want to access for additional information are:
"Common Core State Standards Initiative" --You can find the standards themselves here, resource links, and information about the “why” of the standards.
"Teaching Channel"-- Here you can find You Tube videos of teachers actually implementing common core lessons—which might serve as a jumping off spot for you.
One of the ways that afterschool programs can do to support the mastery of common core standards is helping youth with reading informational text. When you engage youth in a service project, one of the first things they must do is some research on the topics of interest so they can make a decision about what project they would like to do, what is already being done, some possible ways to address the need and so on. All of this reference work requires youth to read factual and informational text. Helping youth to take a look at a variety of points of view is all part of formulating an informed opinion—a key part of the common core. Youth will also need to be able to ask and answer the question, “What is this author trying to tell me?” and “What is it that this author would like for me to think?” Helping them answer those questions will also promote the common core. Reading for a service project is relevant and meaningful to youth. They can certainly do this reference work collaboratively, it will improve their skills in reading, and it will require them to actively engage in learning. All essential parts of quality learning experiences.
Common Core is as much an approach as it is a list of identified standards. Your work with youth is to get them to think and to consider and then make informed decisions and articulate the choices they’ve made. Plugging into the common core doesn’t mean changing everything you do in program it means putting a different spin on in and really going for deep understanding rather than just a regurgitation of facts.
Consult 4 Kids welcomes knowing about your work with the common core standards. Share your progress with us at firstname.lastname@example.org