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Articles: Language Arts

Opponents of the Common Core State Standards say they have a variety of concerns about the effects the standards will have on school districts’ curriculum.

Math standards under Common Core will push the teaching of algebra back a year, from eighth to ninth grade, in many districts, say Lindsey Burke, educational policy fellow at the Heritage Foundation and Jim Stergios, executive director of the Pioneer Institute. Both also insist that the teaching of literature will take a backseat as emphasis shifts to informational texts.

Amplify's Lexica sends students into a virtual library that has a collection of classic literature.

The most cognitively challenging and intellectually stimulating video games are more immersive and can take several hours to play, says Justin Leites, vice president for games at Amplify. That’s why the company, which is developing 30 such educational video games for the 2014-2015 school year, wants to take advantage of students’ time outside the classroom, Leites says.

“There’s a huge amount of research, some recent, some going back decades, showing that what kids do outside the classroom is hugely important to their success,” he says.

The Common Core State Standards are no longer coming—they are already here.

“The Heart of Matter," by Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences, says competing nations are focusing on humanities.

Reduced emphasis on the humanities in school could threaten the nation’s ability to innovate and compete internationally, and leave students less prepared to participate in the democratic political process, according to a new report by the Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Two kindergarten classes are speaking Spanish throughout most of their days in a successful opt-in, dual-language program in the Tigard-Tualatin (Ore.) School District.

Joseph Lopez, El Paso ISD’s associate superintendent for curriculum and instruction, talks with the district’s Texas Literacy Initiative administrators. The program has been implemented in 39 of El Paso’s 94 schools to promote better reading and writing skills.

With more than 30 years of education experience, Joseph Lopez brought grant money and state funding to help grow student achievement.

Students in the Allegheny Valley (Pa.) School District use robotics kits to build moving dioramas that integrate poetry and engineering. Robotics and poetry aren’t an ordinary combination.

Chinese teacher Dun Zhang presents a lesson to three different Dublin City, Ohio high schools at once via interactive video conference.

At Dublin (Ohio) City Schools, Chinese teacher Dun Zhang teaches class in three different high school buildings—at the same time. With a shrinking budget and a desire to keep the foreign language program, the district moved to a blended model this year, with a combination of in-person, online, and video conference classes, to save money while reaching as many students as possible.

Starting this April, 1,500 eighth graders across nine middle schools in the Ouachita Parish School System in Monroe, La., will learn the keys of character building and life skills through a new pilot program based on a fantasy fiction novel.

In 2014, elementary students in 45 states must know how to type on a computer when the new Common Core State Standards are implemented, but some states are holding on to an old, basic skill—the art of cursive handwriting.

I have been drawn to the power of satire and parody throughout my life and career, and learned early on that humor can make points more forcefully than other kinds of expression. As a child, I studied how the Jewish comics in New York used humor to emerge from poverty, and later followed black and Hispanic performers who carried on those traditions to triumph over prejudice and injustice.

Whatever approach is used, writing that upholds the standards of Common Core is demanding, acknowledges Gretchen Schultz, principal assessment editor for ELA at CTB/McGraw-Hill and a content specialist in developing ELA assessments.

In the YouTube video, “Keeping Up With the Common Core: the Latest from the Field,” Schultz spells out how teachers must shift their focus to meet the requirements of the Common Core.

Back in 2010, then-elementary school Principal Catherine White focused on writing in the Attleboro (Mass.) Public Schools. And with that, the school’s fourth graders beat the state average for long composition on the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System.

American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. (2011). Foreign language enrollments in K-12 Public Schools: Are Students Prepared for a Global Society?

American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. (2012). The Role of Technology in Language Learning.