NYC Parents Urged to Discuss Learning With Children
By Zachary Stieber On October 23, 2012 @ 2:03 pm In New York City | No Comments
NEW YORK—Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott held his first webinar Monday evening, taking questions from parents and others, mainly about Common Core, the new set of higher standards impacting school curricula and tests citywide.
Learning under the new standards becomes more analytical so parents should press their children more about what they are learning and not settle with surface level answers, Walcott said. He encouraged conversation around the dinner table about what students are learning and reading about, including news.
Walcott said he recently asked a student what their favorite subject was. The student answered “earth science.” Walcott asked why.
“They told me why, but then I pressed them a little more,” Walcott said. “I wanted them to think, I wanted them to analyze the information, and not just take it for granted that giving a general answer satisfies me.”
At a school in East Harlem recently, parents underwent the same training as students in transitioning to Common Core.
“Parents were really having a challenge transitioning to the whole flavor of Common Core in their example, because as adults we’re used to not saying too much, not interacting a lot in class at times, where we’re trying to make sure we foster interaction between students in small groups,” Walcott said.
The reading portion of Common Core requires students to do significantly more writing and to read increasingly more complex texts, with an emphasis on nonfiction, Walcott said.
Third graders under Common Core, for instance, are asked when reading literature to “recount stories and determine the central message, lesson, or moral, explaining how it is developed in the text.”
Reading for information, in another example, has fifth-graders quoting accurately from a text when explaining what the text says, part of encouraging students to become more observant readers.
The Common Core Library, an online database on the city’s Department of Education website, has been visited by nearly 140,000 unique visitors. In September alone, materials that help teachers plan lessons were downloaded 18,000 times.
Common Core will be fully implemented through the 2014-2015 school year.
The webinar wrapped up after about 32 minutes with Walcott telling participants it was “the first of many.”
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