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By Suzanne Klein on 8/21/2014 7:10 AM

How do you know that the tasks your students complete will meet the rigorous standards of the Common Core? How do you know they’re reWebb's DOK Graphic by Tracy Watanabeaching the level of thinking required for Common Core assessments and college and career readiness? You know by using a frame of reference called Depth of Knowledge. While Depth of Knowledge (DOK) is not a new concept, it is a new way of labeling the level of thinking required by a question or assignment in the Common Core.

If you’ve noticed the exit questions included in some of our closure activities, or if you have heard of Bloom’s taxonomy, you are familiar with the fact that some activities require deeper levels of thinking. This is the basis for the Depth of Knowledge labeling. The CCSS ELA standards require students to produce at a Depth of Knowledge 3 and 4. On-demand activities and assessments will not include DOK 4.

Click the title to continue reading.

 

By Suzanne Klein on 6/20/2013 1:44 AM

We all need a superhero to swoop in once in a while to change the outcome of history and give us hope for a better and brighter future. On the last national writing assessment, less than a quarter of elementary students, and less than a third of 12th graders, could write proficiently. This is a terrible and disheartening statistic. American education needs a superhero right now. This superhero may not be dressed in blue and red, wear a cape, and have the ability to fly, but she does have a special super power that will change the world. Her name is Common Core Standards, and it is exactly what America needs to turn around writing in our schools.

By Suzanne Klein on 9/10/2012 12:11 AM


"The human race wasn't very advanced... They mostly spoke in monosyllabic grunts... In fact, the last words from their civilization before the meteor hit were "OMG" and "WTF."

This cartoon would be hilarious if it weren’t so ominous. It’s ominous because it pokes fun at a distressing problem: text messaging may be harming kids’ language skills. That's the finding of a new study published in New Media & Society, a top-ranked, peer-reviewed journal. The authors of Texting, Techspeak, And Tweens say:

The question to date was whether or not adolescents were able to switch between writing text messages and using correct English grammar for class work. The results of this study indicate that most adolescents are not able to do so.

Does this worry you? It worries me. But my friend Chris Drew is unconcerned. In the spirit of friendly debate, we decided to trade blogs on the topic. I’d love to know what you think, too!
By Suzanne Klein on 8/12/2012 2:27 AM


WriteSteps Curriculum Creator Katie Davis meets the Common Core technology requirements for publishing K-5 writing with a simple and engaging blogging platform.

Last week, we published "4 Free Technology Tools to Jazz Up Writers Workshop" in the August issue of Inspired Writer. If you missed, it you'll definitely want to check out these powerful motivators for young students developing Common Core writing skills: StoryBird, Little Bird Tales, ePals, and iMovie.

Then, if you haven't found your way into blogging yet, try another publishing option your students will love: a free blogging platform that's so simple, even first graders can use it! Our fourth-grade curriculum creator, Katie Davis, recently gave WriteSteps Coaching Director Arlynn King the scoop on Kidblog.
By David M. Hanson on 4/4/2012 3:33 PM
Photo of Suzanne Klein of WriteSteps presenting Common Core writing strategies to elementary principals at the 2012 NAESP conference. Suzanne Klein presenting at March, 2012 NAESP conference.

A report on Suzanne Klein's Common Core writing presentation to the National Association of Elementary School Principals.

I was drawn to this breakout session not only because Common Core was included in the title, but because writing is an area of challenge for my school, and from what I understand from my peers, for many others.

How many schools have a dedicated "writing time"?
WriteSteps is a Common Core based program that teaches writing to elementary-age students. One of the things I picked up early on in this session is that it is not just the process, but also an attitude, that will make the difference. If teachers are afraid of or unsure how to go about the teaching of writing, the time that is dedicated to writing will continue to be negligible. It seems that most everyone thinks it is important, but the proof is really in the intentional time it is given.
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