Working with the “Instructional Shifts:”
What Parents Can Do to Help their Children Learn
The Common Core State Standards ask teachers to make twelve major instructional “shifts” (or changes) in their classroom—six shifts in English language arts/literacy and six shifts in mathematics. These changes may be tough at first as students and teachers adjust to higher expectations. As a parent, you can help and learn more by talking with your child about what they are learning. Ask open-ended questions about what they learned in school each day, read their homework, and attend school events to learn about what their teachers expect.
This document explains some of the ways that your child’s classroom is changing and how you can help; for more information, visit Connecticut State Department of Education.
The “Instructional Shifts”
| English/Language Arts and Literacy || Mathematics |
|Read as much non-fiction as fiction ||In each grade, study fewer concepts, but in greater depth |
|Learn about the world by reading ||Build skills and knowledge across grade levels |
|Read more challenging material ||Develop speed and accuracy in simple calculations |
|Talk about reading using“evidence” from what has been read ||Develop deep understanding beyond getting the answer correct |
|Writeabouttextsusing“evidence” from what has been read ||Think fast AND solve problems through understanding |
|Know more vocabulary words ||Use math to solve problems in the real world |
English language arts & Literacy in other subjects:
Expectations for Students & Ideas for Parents
|What’s the Shift? ||What will students have to do? || What can parents do to help? |
|Read as much fiction as non-fiction ||Read more non-fiction Understand how non-fiction is written and put together Enjoy and discuss the details of non-fiction ||Supply more non-fiction texts (information, not stories) Read non-fiction books aloud or with your child (start with what interests your child - sports, hobbies, animals, space, etc.) Have fun with non-fiction in front of your child (discuss information you learned from reading) |
|Learn about the world by reading ||Learn more about science and social students through reading Use “primary source” documents (example: a copy of the Declaration of Independence) Get smarter through the use of texts ||Supply series of texts on topics that interest your child Find books that explain how things work and why Discuss non-fiction texts and their ideas |
Go to the Library of Congress website http://www.loc.gov/index.html) or the National Archives http://www.archives.gov/education/research/ for “primary source” and other non-fiction materials.
|Read more challenging material ||Re-read until they understand Read books both at and above their comfort level Handle frustration |
Keep pushing to improve
|Know what is grade-level appropriate Go to a website with book lists such as: http://www.readingrockets.org/books/booksbytheme/ Provide challenging texts as well as books they can read easily |
Read challenging books with your child
Show that challenging books are worth reading
Highlight new vocabulary, discuss it, and look it up if necessary.
|Talk about reading using evidencefrom what has been read ||Find evidence to support their arguments Form judgments and opinions Discuss what the author is thinking |
Make predictions about what will happen next
|Talk about texts (simply ask a question to start a conversation about the text) Require evidence even in everyday discussion and disagreements (“show me the evidence!”) Read aloud or read the same book as your child and discuss |
Make and discuss predictions about the text
|Write about text using evidencefrom what has been read ||Make arguments in writing using evidence Compare multiple texts in writing Learn to write well ||Encourage writing at home or write together using evidence and detail Review samples of excellent K-12 student writing (go to http://www.corestandards.org/assets/Appendix_C.pdf |
|Know more vocabulary words ||Learn the words they will need to use in college and career Get smarter at using the “language of power” ||Talk constantly with young children in either English or their native language Talk to your children, read to them, explain what words mean, ask them questions, listen to them, sing with them, make up silly rhymes and word games Read constantly with young children in either English or their native language |
Read multiple books on the same topic
Go ahead and use complex words and explain the meaning to young children, discuss it, or look it up if necessary.
If parents speak a language other than English, continue to converse and read with your child in your native language. Oral language development in all languages makes us better readers and communicators!
Our mission as a community of learners is to nurture the academic, social and emotional potential of the whole child. We do this by encouraging individuality and promoting a safe learning environment, while striving for academic excellence. We will inspire a love of learning to prepare students to become responsible citizens capable of facing the diversity and challenges of life.