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What's 'In' and What's 'Out' According to the Common Standards

You've probably read quite a bit already about the "key shifts" of the common standards. You know, those are the Big Messages, stuff like "building knowledge through content-rich nonfiction" in English/language arts and "focusing strongly where the standards focus" in math.

Typically, these ideas are presented in big Power Point slides in rooms full of people, or distributed in handouts divided up into little boxes, each with a description of the big changes. There is a version that goes into a bit more detail on the shifts, and there are videotaped explanations, as well.

But there is another, lighter version of the shifts (at least in English/language arts) going around, and I wanted to share it with you.

This version, which I saw last weekend at an American Federation of Teachers meeting on the common core, appears to be inspired by those omnipresent wrap-ups that media outlets can't seem to resist doing on New Year's Eve. It's called "What's In and What's Out" in the common standards.

Predictably, as soon as Sandra Alberti of Student Achievement Partners presented it, teachers zeroed in on the change in the approach to prereading strategies ("emphasis on prereading" is out, "emphasis on reading and rereading" is in). It was yet another sign of the controversy this piece of the work has caused; as we reported in April, many educators are upset about this.

Alberti hastened to clarify that what is "out" is "poor practice in prereading." What is in, she said, is "effective practice in prereading."

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