Common Core Practice, Anyone?

My entry this week is an explanation of my newest product: the CIM for Common Core CCSS.ELA.6.4 – the figurative language standard. This CIM (Continuous Improvement Model) takes students through an “I Do,” “We Do,” “You Do” model. It focuses on standard 4, which is “Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of a specific word choice on meaning and tone.” It is also appropriate for the LAFS.6.RL.2.4 (Language Arts Florida Standards).

There is a little bit of (controversy isn’t the right word) variation in how to interpret this standard. In my work with teachers, as well as curriculum specialists and other administrators, I have found that some interpret this standard as including (at the secondary level – grades 6-12) questions that ask students to identify figurative language devices. For example, “Which figurative device is used in stanza 1?” The student then answers “simile,” or whatever the appropriate device is. Others, however, do not feel that basic device identification meets the standard at the secondary level unless it is accompanied by a “Part B” question asking about what the device means. For example: “Part A: Which figurative device is used in the first stanza?” and then “Part B: What does the author mean by this figurative device?” Still others, though, contend that the identification of the figurative device does not belong with standard 4 at all, and is, instead, a “content or domain-specific” language question belonging in the Language standards (CCSS.L.6). I’m not (nor is anyone else I know of) sure exactly how the various testing companies (PARCC, Smarter Balanced, FSA, etc.) are going to interpret this standard. Therefore, I have included these styles of questions in this product. Each day students get a couple of questions, one of which asks them to identify various figurative devices. These questions are followed up with the meaning of those devices or the impact they have on the poem (in terms of tone, mood, etc.).

There are 3 lessons designed to take 5 days. Lessons one and two take roughly 15-20 minutes total, so spread over two days, each lesson lasts 7-10 minutes. All together, you get 5 days of a 7-10 minute lesson each day. This makes it perfect for a daily opener or bell work. The idea behind it is that the teacher demonstrates, guides, and assesses, and then uses the results to inform instruction and the need (or not) to reteach. It is ideal for additional practice or remediation to see how well the initial lessons or instruction has gone.

Sound intriguing? Check it out!

6th grade FCIM RL4


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