My Mission Statement

I write to serve, to unite, to educate. I write to share literature and flesh out ideas that may be of interest to others. I write to document an emotion, experience, or a blip in time. My mission is to write in such a way that the reader is reminded that we can find humor in all situations. It's one of the great blessings of life.


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Common Core Curriculum Series English and Language Arts Kindergarten-Unit 1

**Today, I will discuss the first unit in the Common Core Curriculum.  I will begin with Kindergarten and work my way up in age.  "" designate EXACT QUOTES from the CCC (Common Core Curriculum--and I will continue to refer to it as the CCC).  All other comments are my thoughts and opinions.

"A COLORFUL TIME WITH RHYTHM AND RHYME In this first unit of kindergarten, students are introduced to colorful picture books, traditional poetry, and nursery rhymes filled with rhythm and rhyme."

I just LOVE that the first unit for kindergarteners involves rhythm and rhyme.  I am a huge fan of children and poetry (Happy National Poetry Month, by the way).  I cannot think of a better way to introduce children to the joys of reading than with poetry.  Rhythm and rhyme lends itself beautifully to musical interpretations, another hugely important resource to use with young children, and movement.  What better way to enjoy a class full of wiggle worms than by dancing, marching, clapping to rhythms and rhymes.

As writers, we want to be certain that teachers have a VAST EXCELLENT SUPPLY of rhyming picture books and poetry collections.  Many already exist, but for this first unit of the year, teachers will want some fabulous go-to rhyming stories to kick the year off.  As we consider this need, we should also be aware of the reading level of entering kindergarteners.  The teachers will need several levels of books in this category.
1. Teachers will need great rhyming read-alouds.  These books should have strong story structure, character development, and fun, musical rhymes.
2.  Teachers will need some early reader rhyming books.  Simply stories with great rhymes.  I learned to read on Dr. Seuss, as many of you did.  What better context clues than rhymes?  Truly, it offers the young reader a reasonable guess on unfamiliar words based on the rhyme scheme.  That said, a predictable, consistent rhyme scheme is probably best in these books.  These books will be the kind of books that go home with students at night, either from classroom library or school library.  People, please write some good books in this category.  My kids brought home some pretty awful stuff in those days, and I wondered why ANY child would EVER want to read that junk.
3.  Teachers will want and need good poetry collections and musical adaptations (even recordings) of such collections.  I can't help but think that great links that support your writing (with music) would be awesome.  When my kids were young, they loved a book called HEY LITTLE ANT (Hoose).  It had sheet music in the back, so I could play it on the piano and my kids would sing it.  They LOVED that.
Technology gives us a lot of cool options in this category.

What a great start to our examination of the CCC!  In some units, I will go into more detail with the standards.  However, in the early grades, the standards are pretty obvious.  Ex: recognize and produce rhyming words, recognize a poem, etc.

I will continue with this series through the elementary grades with the focus on Language Arts.  Then, if you are all interested in continuing the study with me, I can continue into middle grades with Language Arts OR return to kindergarten with Math.  Let's just roll with it, and see what you think!

Thank you all for your interest and support in this series!  More interviews to come!

1 comment:

Shannon Hitchcock ~ Children's Writer said...

Hi Donna, So glad to see you're addressing the Common Core. I've never been a teacher so I only know what I read in magazines and on social media sites. It seems to be a very polarizing topic. I had a curriculum guide designed for my book and paid extra to have it linked to the CCSS. After reading lots from educators who are upset with the CC, I've been wondering if that was a dumb move on my part. If you're interested in my curriculum guide, it's available for free download on my website at http://www.shannonhitchcock.com/forteachers.html

Isabel by Donna Jones Koppelman

Isabel by Donna Jones Koppelman

Major Bear at the Grove Park Inn by Donna Jones Koppelman

Major Bear at the Grove Park Inn by Donna Jones Koppelman