Tag Archives: Common Core

Chris Lehman on the Common Core

Recently, Chris Lehman gave an impassioned talk at the University of Wisconsin-Madison discussing literacy and how teachers can integrate components of the Common Core into their practice. The talk, “Exploring a Route Toward Adoption of the Common Core,” was just made available online! Here is the talk Chris gave:

If you have some time, check out the presentation–Chris is an amazing educator. (Here is a link to his slideshow.)

I’m also happy to announce that all of our department’s new copies of Falling in Love with Close Reading are out on loan.

Common Core–Speaking, Listening & Creating


This week on the Learning Network, I tackled some of the Common Core anchor standards for speaking and listening. In the post I explored a Times podcast called “Bringing Up the Modern American Family” and how it could be used to encourage students to listen closely and take notes as they listen. The Common Core emphasizes listening skills in a few standards:

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.1 Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.2 Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.3 Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric.

After writing, I started to think about other podcasts that might work with these standards to inspire close listening. Here are a few favorites that might work: Image

Try letting students listen to a podcast of their choice for homework. All of these podcasts are able to be downloaded from the iTunes store for free so students could even listen to them on their bus ride home. After listening, ask them to write a reflection on what they heard. Many of the selections can be easily tied into classroom topics like immigration, economics, current events, or presidential politics, so using podcasts is not a stretch. By incorporating podcasts and reflections into lessons, students will be encouraged to develop the important skill of listening closely and evaluating a speaker’s point of view–which will only become more vital as news and information continue to migrate away from print.

Students can also be creators by recording their own podcasts with Garageband, software that comes free on Macs. Podcasts can be used by students to create oral reviews of material they learned in class or to recap current events they’ve read or heard about in the news. I used podcasts as a way for students to get creative with content they learned in history class. With world history students, I had them create historical fiction podcasts about turmoil in India, Africa, and the Islamic heartlands during the nineteenth century. Here’s the project I used. I also used podcasts in my United States history classes when I taught about the 20s. I had students create their own original radio shows in the style of early radio hits like The Green Hornet and The Lone Ranger. Here’s the project and rubric. If you use this project, make sure you show this amazing video which highlights how radio shows were made (at around the 2:30 mark):

Listening to and creating original podcasts are great ways to meet some of the Common Core anchor standards for speaking and listening–and have some fun in the process.