Project #1 : LUSENET : M.Ed./International Falls : One Thread

Kevin Erickson Project #1

Core Knowledge

Emily Ottaway, the regional director for Minnesota Core Knowledge Center gave a presentation on Core Knowledge on Tuesday, February 15 at Northhome School. She discussed the important points about Core Knowledge. I found her presentation to be very interesting. One thing I have found in my teaching experience is that educators need some sort of plan as to what they want the students to learn during the school year. An educator also needs to know what other teachers in the school are teaching so as to not overlap. Core Knowledge provides a clear outline of content to be learned grade by grade. This sequential building of knowledge not only helps ensure that children enter each grade ready to learn, but also helps prevent the many repetitions and gaps that is characteristic in many schools. Core Knowledge is an idea, a guide and a school reform movement. Core Knowledge provides common ground for uncommon success. Many people say that knowledge is changing so fast that what students learn today will be quickly outdated. Core Knowledge is a K-8 curriculum that includes essential elements in all subject areas. Emily Ottaway states that Core Knowledge is a solid curriculum that covers important aspects in all subjects. Core knowledge is a sequence. Knowledge, building on knowledge. Children learn new knowledge by building upon what they already know. Ottaway stressed that only a school system that clearly defines the knowledge and skills required to participate in each successive grade can be excellent and fair for all students. For this reason, the Core Knowledge Sequence provides a clear outline of content to be learned grade by grade. Core knowledge also provides all children with a way to become literate regardless of background, so that they will be included in our national literate culture. The benefits of Core Knowledge for the students are numerous. Core Knowledge provides a broad base of knowledge and a rich vocabulary. It also motivates students to learn and creates a strong desire within the student to learn more. It provides the ways to develop knowledge necessary for higher levels of learning and helps build confidence. For the school, Core Knowledge provides academic focus and encourages consistency in instruction. It promotes a community of learners for both adults and children. So why do we need Core Knowledge? It eliminates gaps and repetitions in student learning, provides an important foundation for future learning and promotes fairness and excellence for all students. Educators have curriculums to follow and if teachers work together we can eliminate much of the overlapping and inconsistency in instruction. I found in the Indus school where I teach that there is always a big turn-over in teachers resigning and being hired. This causes problems in consistent planning from year to year as to what is being taught in each grade level. Core Knowledge could be a helpful guide for new and old teachers. Everyone would know what the other teachers are covering in class academics. Implementation of this program is fairly easy. You could easily start your school year out with full implementation or you could phase-in one subject at a time with each grade level , prioritizing the topics. Then phase in over 2-3 years the remaining subjects or phase-in vertical teams of teachers within the school. I found that there are many districts using this curriculum. In Minnesota alone there are ten different districts using Core Knowledge. Across the country over 950 schools in forty-six states are using the Core Knowledge curriculum. One thing that I didnt like about Core Knowledge is that it gives all the subject area to be taught but it doesnt give all the resources needed. It would cost the school a lot of money to get all the additional material for each subject. There has been a lot of research done on Core Knowledge since 1990 and it has been revised since then after being implemented into different schools. One thing that Ottaway said is that there will be no further changes with Core Knowledge. The divers group of parents, teachers, scientists, professional curriculum organizations, and experts from the Core Knowledge Foundations advisory board feel that they have devised a final product. What is the most fair and effective educational practice around the world? Evidence suggests that every nation that manages to achieve universal readiness in the early grades for all its children does so by following grade-by-grade standards. A common core curriculum appears to be the only practical means for achieving universal readiness at each grade level. If this is true, Core Knowledge would be a beneficial curriculum to implement into the school. Core Knowledge can help a school become more organized as well.

-- Anonymous, May 08, 2000

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