The Common Core State Standards are asking us to critically analyze text in a deep and meaningful way for students. Please click on the above video to see what methods some teachers are using to help students identify key concepts in a text. This is a 5th grade example from teachingchannel.org but can easily be modified to meet the needs of all learners.
Yesterday, the 4th and 5th Grade Curriculum Realignment and Assessment Committee met to discuss the effectiveness of the district wide 5th grade social studies exam as well as the curriculum taught in both grade levels.
All agreed that the assessment which was designed to emulate the past NY State exams did not provide the feedback required to inform instruction in an effective way. Therefore we have decided to put on hold the implementation of the 5th grade social studies exam this year.
We also analyzed the social studies curriculum maps for 4th and 5th grade and noticed that 5th grade had several more weeks of social studies instruction. We also were able to determine that Unit 1 (US Gov. Federal, State and Local), Unit 2 (Erie Canal and Industrial Revolution), and Unit 3 (European Immigration) were out of sync with the NYS Social Studies Core Curriculum Map for elementary grades. The Committee discussed the past need for these units in 5th grade while the 5th grade assessment was in place, however with the aforementioned change in thinking, the committee agreed that Units 1-3 should be shifted to the end of the 4th grade curriculum as units 6-8. This would also put us back into alignment with the NYS Social Studies Core Curriculum Map for elementary grades for this year.
Essentially 5th grade will continue teaching to the old social studies curriculum for the remainder of the academic year. 4th grade will be adding these units onto the end of this current academic year. Next year 5th grade would use the new curriculum.
The committee also asked that there be time for discussion on these two items. Please feel free to create a discussion thread below by commenting on this post or email me directly with any questions or feedback you may have. Barring a major outcry of concerns I can have the revised curriculum maps posted on the website by 10/21/2011.
The feedback that I received from the committee’s 4th ,5th grade teachers and administrators was invaluable. I thank everyone for helping us begin this conversation. We hope that these changes will provide for a more cohesive and balanced approach to social studies in the 4th and 5th grade classrooms across the district. We also hope that this new assessment direction will truly empower the teachers with feedback that will be more diagnostic.