News Home
Quick Bites
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
On AirNewsClassical
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

The Holden Arboretum

Hennes Paynter Communications

Northeast Ohio Medical University

For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )

Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us

Common Core makes its mark on Ohio classrooms
Nonfiction readings and harder materials are incorporated in Ohio classrooms under the Common Core standards

Molly Bloom
Akron fourth-graders discuss nonfiction, which is getting greater emphasis under the Common Core.
Courtesy of MOLLY BLOOM
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

Ohio schools are teaching to a new set of math and English standards called the Common Core. For English classes, that  means students spend less time with storybooks and more time with non-fiction texts. StateImpact Ohio’s Molly Bloom reports on the impact.

LISTEN: The impact of the common core on an Akron classroom

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (3:22)

Teacher Karen Hazlett’s fourth graders spent much of this fall learning about child labor – during English class.

Hazlett teaches in Akron’s Miller South School for the Visual and Performing Arts. This is her 34th year in the classroom.

And until recently, child labor probably would not have been a central topic in fourth-grade English. Instead, Hazlett’s students would have read mostly fiction, and answered questions about their opinions on plot and characters.

Integrate, infer and draw conclusions
But Hazlett says one of the biggest changes with the new Common Core English standards is a greater emphasis on non-fiction material.

“It used to be maybe 20-30 percent of our teaching was non-fiction and now it’s 50 [percent] or more,” she says. “That’s a huge difference.”

The new standards are tougher than Ohio’s old standards, Hazlett says, and they require students to analyze writing more deeply.

She has the Common Core standards for today’s lesson posted on her chalkboard and reads them aloud to me:

“Integrate information from two topics, explain the reasons using evidence, looking for details, drawing inference, drawing conclusions, main idea…”

Harder than in the old days
Hazlett’s students have already read a series of articles about child labor, written at perhaps a sixth- or seventh-grade level – higher than what they would have encountered a few years ago.

Today, she has them work together in pairs to draw some conclusions from what they’ve read.

As she talks to her students, the phrase you hear over and over again is “cite evidence.”

“You are going to use the text and support your answer with evidence,” she tells them. “Where in the text did you get that idea what is one important new thing you have learned from reading these texts? Why is that information new? What is one thing you think differently about how that you have read these texts? Cite evidence.”

Pairs of students pore over the photocopied articles.

CSI evidence
Teaching these young kids to work with factual evidence, to find specific facts to support their opinions, is a big change, Hazlett says.

“I’ve been teaching a long time, and I was like why didn’t we think of that before? It helps them focus on the text,” she says.

Other English classes in Akron are studying topics like CSI-style forensic anthropology, space exploration and food safety. The lessons are part of Common Core-aligned units developed by the University of Pittsburgh.

Akron teacher Anna Panning’s fifth graders are learning about space exploration.

“It’s really rigorous,” Panning says. “I sortof have them pumped up with, ‘This is going to be tough but we can do it.’ But they’re really enjoying it. And they love the topic.”

Bills to void Ohio’s adoption of the Common Core are pending in the Ohio House and Senate. But Akron English curriculum supervisor Toan Dang-Nguyen says she hasn’t heard any complaints from parents.

Three years down the road
Akron began introducing the Common Core to Akron teachers three years ago.

Since then, the district has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on things like new materials and substitutes so teachers can attend Common Core training.

“It’s here are the standards, here’s a model unit, here’s some training to see what you can do with those standards,” Dang-Nguyen says. “We’re not just sending them off and saying good luck.”

She says the long phase-in may mean that teachers and students will have fewer surprises when the new Common Core-aligned tests start next school year.


Add Your Comment


E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook

Stories with Recent Comments

Pluto: The Browns split from Manziel is long overdue
Get Brock Osweiler from the Denver Broncos! He's fantastic and seems like a great person.

Democratic Senate hopeful P.G. Sittenfeld pushes for local gun control
That makes no sense at all... why not let cities determine driving codes as well? Maybe Cincy want's folks to drive on the left side of the road. What could go ...

Exploradio: Autism in the workplace
I would love to get more information re: Autism on The Town and other such programs in Northeast Ohio. Thanks!!

Human trafficking cases rise in Ohio
It is about time this is presented to proceed with a plan of protect our youth.And very necessary to inform communities through school, churches ...

Fermented food company aims to preserve Cleveland's farm-to-table movement
This is terrific! I make my own sauerkraut and consider it vital to good health. Well done, I wish you all success.

Ohio doctors get new guidelines for prescribing certain painkillers
I would gladly smoke pot to get off pain killers but its not legal.It would save the hassle of doctor visits for pill counts,pee tests,blood tests,driving to pi...

Ohio unemployment cuts are nearing a Statehouse vote
What about those that are laid off seasonally? My husband has been employed by the same company for 26 years and has been laid off (for the last 17) mid-Januar...

Ban on microbeads is a big step in fighting plastic pollution
What a bunch of liberal "so open minded their brains fell out" tree huggin yuppies. Professing to be wise they became fools.

Who's on -- and left off -- Ohio's medical marijuana task force?
Biggest joke everm these people are evil they know marijuana is harmless they rigged the polls last nov everypne kmows it

Dayton 'Black Lives Matter' protesters to appear in court today
Police to fast with the trigger finger and not the brain.A lot of police officers out here judge by color first instead of accessing the situation first. If a p...

Copyright © 2016 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University