English Curriculum’s Tired Texts

Name: Needham, Theresa

CURRICULUM and ASSESSMENT

Brown, D.D. ( 2015, January 25). The crushing boredom of a tired curriculum. Retrieved from https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2015/01/25/the-crushing-boredom-tired-curriculum/DeKoLpBBjydU3EG7GOYm0J/story.html

https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2015/01/25/the-crushing-boredom-tired-curriculum/DeKoLpBBjydU3EG7GOYm0J/story.html

Summary: The article’s purpose is the acknowledgement of the elephant in every English teacher’s classroom, mandated curriculum, especially texts. The underlying problem is the requirement to adhere to a standardized and enforced curriculum which removes a teachers’ freedom to individuality select engaging texts for their students, which will support student’s interests and reading  strengths.  Many teachers are required to teach classical literature, which they themselves do not have a passion for; therefore becoming a hard sell to students.

Evaluation: The article is written by a high school student, which perhaps makes the argument he presents that much more compelling.  He argues that without the freedom of choice, everything which happens within the classroom becomes more of a forced context of tired completion rather than the inspired construction driven by creativity. The classroom of today has become hoops which a student must jump through to earn a grade. This is a good read.

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SC Study Shows Link Between School Librarians and Higher Test Scores

SC Study Shows Link Between School Librarians and Higher Test Scores

Alison Dinicola

IL CA

Gavigan, K. & Lance, K.C. (2016). SC study shows link between school librarians and higher test
scores. School Library Journal.  http://www.slj.com/2016/03/literacy/sc-study-shows-link-between-school-librarians-and-higher-test-scores/#_

Summary:
This article discusses the importance of school librarians and libraries on student success on tests. South Carolina Association of School Librarians (SCASL) worked with RSL Research Group, in 2013, on a study showing the importance of school librarians and library programs. This study documented how school libraries have added to the success of students on test for English language arts (ELA) and writing standards. Data was taken from results of the South Carolina Palmetto Assessment of State Standards (PASS) for elementary and middle schools, and South Carolina High School Assessment Program (HSAP). Schools, with full-time librarians and at least one assistant, either full-time or part-time, had students that showed more strength and less weakness on PASS writing standards. Higher spending on libraries showed significant strengths on student test achievements. This study showed that collaboration between librarians and teachers help students develop “information literacy skills.” The schools that excelled had 20 or more hours of librarian instruction. Study, also, found that this successful schools had an overall checkout of 20,00 items or 36 checkouts per student. Other areas of data were on collection size for both books and ebooks, access to computers, and frequency of library visits. School administrators found that library visits that were based on needs as compared to fixed times were more effective on students’ success. High achieving schools had 4 or more library visit per week in elementary and middle schools, and 15 or more visits in high schools. Administrators valued the library policies and practices and saw school librarians as having a leadership role at their schools.

Review:
I found this article up-lifting in that it showed how important school libraries and librarians are to the success of any type of school, elementary, middle, or high school. Many districts and states feel that a school library can be run by anyone on the staff. However, this article showed that professional librarians are essential to a high achieving school. In the school district I work at, library assistant have been cut back due to the budget and one librarian could be working at several schools within one week. In fact, I work at 3 different schools over 3 1/2 days of a week. This article showed how important a library and an assistant is to each school. Having a librarian onsite all week, working along side the teachers, gives students the structure and support they need to meet today’s 21st Century Skills. This article reinforces the concepts Dr. Loertscher teaches of coteaching and collaborating between librarians and teachers. The more we work together the more our students will succeed. I appreciated the administrators that felt their librarians were the center of their schools success. This article is a great resource in support of school libraries and librarians for successful schools, teachers, and students.

Enablers and inhibitors to English language learners’ research process in a high school setting

Ruth Mitchell

CA, CO, ET

Kim, S.U. (2015). Enablers and inhibitors to English language learners’ research process in a high school setting.  School Library Research, 18. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/aasl/sites/ala.org.aasl/files/content/aaslpubsandjournals/slr/vol18/SLR_EnablersandInhibitors_V18.pdf

Summary This article follows two groups of high school English language learners (ELL) students through their research process.  The study used Carol Kuhlthau’s Information Search Process (ISP) framework.  This article provides teachers and librarians with insight on ways to support ELL students when working on research projects.  Some of these findings include: the importance of student collaboration, guidance from the school librarian, and the need to provide sample work.  In addition, a list of instructional strategies and ways to support ELL students through the research process are included.

CA- Using the CCSS to Meet the Needs of Diverse Learners

Jessica Benson
Curriculum and Accountability 
Halladay, J. & Moses, L. (2013). Using the Common Core Standards to Meet the Needs of Diverse Learners: Challenges and Opportunities. The NERA Journal, 49(1), 33-44.
Summary
Creation of the CCSS has sparked examination of existing practices and a chance to explore alternate routes to the desired outcomes. Because the CCSS focus on outcomes rather than methods, educators have the opportunity to create the curriculum that best suits their ability and knowledge, as well as student learning styles. There are also major challenges: “How can a single set of standards meet the needs of a large, diverse population of students?” This article focuses primarily on reading in the English Language Arts Standards for K-5 in regards to ESL students and others who struggle to meet the the new standard. Text complexity is one issue the authors bring up, reminding teachers that beginning and struggling readers “will still need to spend time with accessible texts to facilitate skill development”.
Evaluation
The authors identify challenges and opportunities for educators implementing the new ELA Standards, and offer practical implications and suggestions for classroom practice. The focus on providing motivational supports as well as individualized instruction and connections to student experience shows how the CCSS can allow educators to create meaningful literacy learning opportunities. Instructional suggestions for literacy with the two groups mentioned provide the reader with clear examples of learning strategies.

While there are still many gaps in the research about reader traits and text characteristics, adoption of the CCSS creates an important opportunity for attention in this area.