Let’s face it, weak rivets notwithstanding, the Titanic wouldn’t have sunk if the iceberg had been spotted in time. And let’s face it, the CCSS won’t be classroom-worthy unless practitioners chart our course. Depend on Michael Smith, Deborah Appleman, and Jeff Wilhelm to help you navigate through some potentially treacherous waters.
Uncommon Core puts us on high-alert about some outright dangerous misunderstandings looming around so-called “standards-aligned” instruction, then shows us how to steer past them—all in service of meeting the real intent of the Common Core. Smith, Appleman, and Wilhelm counter with teaching suggestions that are true to the research and true to our students, including how:
- Reader-based approaches can complement text-based ones
- Prereading activities can help students meet the strategic and conceptual demands texts place on them
- Strategy instruction can result in a careful and critical analysis of individual texts while providing transferable understandings
- Inquiry units around essential questions can generate meaningful conversation and higher-order thinking about those texts
- Selection criteria that consider interpretive complexity can take us so much farther than those that consider textual complexity alone
Given the number of strategies, lesson ideas, and activities in the book, Uncommon Core is really less about the standards and more about timeless, excellent teaching and how to use it like never before to meet the Core ideals. Let’s put instruction where it belongs: back in the hands of the experts.
“Finally! A book with more light than heat on the issue of standards and their implications for learning.”
Coauthor of Understanding by Design