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PreK teachers and the Common Core: Preparing Young Children for Success in Kindergarten and Beyond Dr. Lisa S. Goldstein Santa Clara University, Santa.

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Presentation on theme: "PreK teachers and the Common Core: Preparing Young Children for Success in Kindergarten and Beyond Dr. Lisa S. Goldstein Santa Clara University, Santa."— Presentation transcript:

1 PreK teachers and the Common Core: Preparing Young Children for Success in Kindergarten and Beyond Dr. Lisa S. Goldstein Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, CA

2 Common Core State Standards?

3 Big questions about the CCSS What are they, actually? Why do we need them? How are they different from the HCPSIII? Are they developmentally appropriate for young learners? How can we prepare our kids to be successful in CCSS kindergartens?

4 Getting to know the CCSS Common Core State Standards –English Language Arts (& Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects) –Mathematics Common Core State Standards –Adopted by 45.5 states Common Core State Standards –Meant to comprise 85% of the curriculum

5 CCSS Adopters PLUS: District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Northern Mariana Islands, US Virgin Islands, Dept of Defense schools

6 Why did we need the CCSS? Establish and maintain greater consistency and continuity across states Clear goal: all students will graduate from HS college and career ready Benchmarked against the curricula of countries that have highest rates of literacy and numeracy Increased rigor

7 How are the CCSS different from the HCPSIII? Fewer Higher Clearer

8 Are the CCSS good for young learners? Yes! And no… It depends on –How the CCSS are framed and interpreted in grades K-2 –How K-2 teachers are required to implement the CCSS

9 Good for young learners! Implementation of the CCSS should not create a rush for “academic shovedown” –No long lists of content and skills to teach –No emphasis on testing testing testing The CCSS are compatible with DAP –The implementation of the CCSS in K-12 education might protect DAP in preK classrooms

10 No way! Really? Yes, really! The CCSS reflect respect for the developmental realities and needs of young learners

11 CCSS-DAP Alignment Areas 1. Explicit attention to role of development in learning 2. Holistic perspective 3. Support children’s language development 4. Focus on children’s thinking 5. See children as capable, active learners 6. Teaching as guidance, not telling 7. Instructional decisions belong to teachers- use DAP to enhance learning

12 1. Explicit attention to the role development plays in learning CCSS- Mathematics  Young kids need more Repeated exposure to new concepts Focus on the most powerful knowledge

13 1. Explicit attention to the role development plays in learning CCSS-English Language Arts Certain anchor standards aren’t on the kindergarten list because they’re not age appropriate for kinders

14 2. Holistic, integrated perspective Integration across academic disciplines is expected –CCSS- English Language Arts (and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects) Give children flexibility and choices in showing what they know and can do Similar habits of mind are presented in the CCSS-ELA and the CCSS- Math Leads to more coherent learning experiences

15 3. Emphasis on English language development Support English language development for all children in all content areas –Expressing ideas and opinions –Presenting evidence to support ideas –Communicating clearly –Using rich and precise language –Developing academic vocabulary Deliberate English language development is not reserved for ELLs

16 4. Focus on student thinking and metacognition Students are guided toward deep understanding of concepts Not just mastery of procedures or memorization of information Emphasis on critical thinking Explicit efforts to develop students’ awareness of themselves as learners, thinkers, and problem solvers

17 5. See young children as capable, active, sense-making learners Student-directed investigations and presentation of findings begin in kindergarten –Provide evidence to support statements –Discuss rationale and reasoning Standards require higher order thinking –Students pose questions, solve problems

18 6. Understanding of teaching Teaching should involve –More asking, listening, observing, reflecting Less telling and talking –Giving students opportunities to develop confidence in their own capabilities –Fostering independence, perseverance –Guiding students as needed Use lots of engaging, age-appropriate strategies to build students’ connections with the content

19 7. Acknowledge teachers’ specialized expertise Teachers are the only professionals who have the knowledge and skills to make principled, informed, intentional instructional decisions –CCSS specify what students should learn, but not how it should be taught –CCSS was designed to be 85% of the curriculum in a given grade- room for additions and customization –Teacher discretion is expected

20 An example from the CCSS-ELA “The use of play with young children is not specified by the standards, but it is welcome as a valuable activity it its own right and as a way to help students meet the expectations in this document.” (p.9)

21 Questions?

22 “Elbow partner” discussion 1. How much did you know about the CCSS before today? 2. What did you think about the CCSS before today? 3. How have your knowledge and/or your feelings changed?

23 Small group discussion debrief Thoughts? Comments? Questions?

24 How to teach the CCSS content to young learners? You don’t need to teach the CCSS –You need to build a foundation that will prepare young kids for success in kindergarten and beyond –A strong foundation will make it easier for students to be highly successful in grades K-12 But you do need to know what will be expected of kids who enter kindergarten

25 Best preparation for kindergarten? Spending every day in a –stable, –developmentally appropriate, –play-based, –language-rich, –interesting, –nurturing learning environment Resist pressure to turn preK into K

26 PreK and the whole child Strong social-emotional skills and productive approaches to learning are more important than academic skills for success in kindergarten This has become even more true as kindergarten has become more academic and structured

27 Protect the PreK learning space Academic activities become top priority as early as kindergarten PreK is truly the last child-centered learning environment in the U.S. Getting ready for K-12 academic success is critically important

28 Preparing kids for kindergarten Kindergarten CCSS-Math standards What do five-year-olds need to know and be able to do before they can learn this academic content? What kinds of educational activities can you do with your kids next week that will prepare them to learn this mathematics successfully when they start kindergarten?

29 Activity #1: CCSS-Math Develop answers to the two questions on the previous slide –What do kids need to know and be able to do BEFORE they can learn kindergarten math content? –What NEW experiences can you provide next week that will help prepare your kids for successful math learning in kindergarten? Work in small groups of your choice We will reconvene and debrief at____.

30 Activity #1 Debrief What do kids need to know and be able to do BEFORE they can learn kindergarten math content? What NEW experiences can you provide next week that will help prepare your kids for successful math learning in kindergarten?

31 Activity #2: CCSS-ELA What do kids need to know and be able to do BEFORE they can learn kinder speaking, listening, & language skills? What NEW experiences can you provide next week that will help prepare your kids for successful English Language Arts learning in kindergarten? Work in small groups of your choice We will reconvene and debrief at____.

32 Activity #2 Debrief What do kids need to know and be able to do BEFORE they can learn kindergarten listening, speaking, and language skills? What NEW experiences can you provide next week that will help prepare your kids for successful LA learning in kindergarten?

33 Concluding Q&A Q: Are the Common Core State Standards great? Are they “meh?” Are they awful? A: It doesn’t matter. The CCSS are already here (in 45.5 states).

34 Our most pressing task? Preparing PreK students for success in CCSS kindergartens by helping them develop strong social-emotional skills and productive approaches to learning in a developmentally appropriate classroom environment.

35 Mahalo! Contact me at


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