Common Core and #engchat

I have the privilege and honor of hosting, along with Paul Oh (or @poh), this coming Monday’s #engchat (9/27/2010 at 7 pm EST).

Our topic is: How will the Common Core ELA standards impact your practice?

I thought it might be useful prior to our chat that I blog a little something for those who might not be familiar with the Common Core State Standards Initiative. (Not to be confused with Common Core, another fine initiative focusing on liberal arts education).

From the Common Core State Standards Initiative website, they state:

The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a state-led effort to establish a shared set of clear educational standards for English language arts and mathematics that states can voluntarily adopt. The standards have been informed by the best available evidence and the highest state standards across the country and globe and designed by a diverse group of teachers, experts, parents, and school administrators, so they reflect both our aspirations for our children and the realities of the classroom. These standards are designed to ensure that students graduating from high school are prepared to go to college or enter the workforce and that parents, teachers, and students have a clear understanding of what is expected of them. The standards are benchmarked to international standards to guarantee that our students are competitive in the emerging global marketplace.

The English Language Arts standards are broken into largely Reading and Writing standards, with an additional focus on speaking and listening.  While the documents are somewhat long, I do encourage you to take a careful look.  Whenever I am looking at new standards, I like to consider a few things:

  • What words are the standards writers using?
  • What words are missing from the standards?
  • How do the standards reflect what I know to be best best practices?
  • How do the standards reflect the developmental needs of the reader or writer?
  • How do these standards reflect what is currently going on in my classroom/school/district/state?

If you are curious whether or not your state has adopted the standards (many of the states adopted them over the summer), the full list can be found here.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have blogged about the Common Core State Standards as they’ve evolved over the past year or so, and I’ve largely had negative opinions.  In the final, adopted iteration, there are many changes that I find validate my own understandings about best practices in the teaching of reading and writing.  For some of my criticisms, please follow the links at the bottom of this post.  In my role as #engchat moderator, I am really interested in an honest and open discussion, and I am willing to set aside some of my misgivings and approach with an open and inquisitive mind.

For more information:

In the interest of full disclosure, my previous ramblings about the standards:

POST EDIT: How to participate in a twitter chat

  • A twitter chat is a pre-arranged time when all participants “meet” on twitter and tag their chat tweets with a specified hashtag (in this case #engchat).  The hashtag allows individual users to follow the conversation even if they don’t follow all the participants. Many people choose to utilize a third party twitter client since the search feature in twitter can be a little difficult in the quickness of a twitter chat.  There are many to choose from and the author welcomes possibilities in the comments.
  • For more information on how best to interact with #engchat, please visit the #engchat website.


  1. Hi Andrea
    OK — so question of ignorance here: how does the #engchat work? Do we just tweet away at that hour? I’ve seen the tag but never dove in. Can you give a quick tutorial on what folks can do to be part of the conversation? (or is it so obvious that only I need the explanation? If so, sorry.)

  2. Hi Kevin,

    Thanks for the great questions. I just went in and added some information about how to participate in a twitter chat as well as the website for #engchat itself. I hope that helps with your questions. If not, just let me know!

  3. Dive right in, Kevin! When you see something you think you can speak to, put it out there with the hashtag #engchat. Don’t worry about whether it’s late in the hour – I followed other chats for quite a while before I dove in, afraid that I would post something too slowly for it to be welcomed as part of the conversation. Don’t. Some of these discussions go on well past the hour mark, when the moderators are done with their official duties. I smile when that happens and just wait to see when the stream has slowed down enough to do an archive of that night’s conversation.
    Thank you for adding that part to your blog post, Andrea, and also thank you for giving us a bit of background reading on the topic. I knew that PA had adopted the Common Core, but it seems like PA is adopting many things at once. Keystone Exams are starting – with the plan that they will eventually replace the current tests. PA has decided to be part of both groups working to create new tests – – so I never know which initiative is going to stick. 🙂 Trust I will be doing some reading between now and Monday night.
    So glad you and Paul will be leading us in this important discussion! I’m looking forward to it!

  4. California adopted the CCSS with absolutely no controversy – well, hey, even though Arnie Duncan refers to the CCSS as optional, if your state is in a fiscal mess like California’s – and you count on Title 1 funding and, perhaps hope for RTTT$$$ – then adopting the CCSS was pretty much a no brainer.

    Important to me is that the magical word “collabrate” is woven in, which gives Title 1 teachers the opportunity to stray from the sit’n get, drill ‘n kill day.

    I also like that states can enhance the CCSS up to 15%. Via Sandy Hayes, I know that Minnesota has used that 15% to boost media literacy skills.

    Looking forward to joining Monday’s #engchat,

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