The first morning session (Traditional vs CCLS Approaches to Teaching Canonical Texts) included discussions about why we teach the literature we teach and what our pre-Common Core approaches were to teaching these texts. We talked about the potential pitfalls to teaching texts this way and discovered that in some cases too much time was spent on single texts. Our love for these texts would often make us lose sight of the instructional purpose of the literature.
Participants then looked at Unit 3 of Grade 9 Module 1 which focuses on Romeo and Juliet and talked about the different approach to teaching the play, starting with the prologue, including the assessments and standards addressed. The unit includes studying Marc Chagall’s work “Romeo and Juliet” and viewing scenes of the Baz Luhrmann film. This aligns with reading standard 7 which includes making comparisons between two mediums around a topic.
The second part of the morning ELA session was about aligning curriculum, instruction, and assessments. Regents Fellow David Abel talked about how the assessments in the modules are aligned to the NYS Regents Exam. Careful alignment of curriculum and classroom assessments to the Common Core will best help prepare students for the exam, including assessments like those that appear in the modules. The three parts of the Regents exam are aligned to the 11-CCR standards and include close reading and text dependent questions and responses. Reading comprehension, writing from sources, and text analysis make up the performance tasks required by the exam. A strong emphasis is placed on writing evidence-based arguments. Sample Regents items have been released on EngageNY.org.