Simple Truths about the Common Core

AA053438The transition to the Common Core has been controversial and poorly handled, particularly when it comes to teacher evaluations and new standardized tests.

However, the harsh reality is that reading scores in the U.S. have not improved in 20 years.

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Common Core Practice Update – October 26, 2012

iStock_000018980120SmallWith the advent of the Common Core, Merit has introduced Open Punch, which helps students brainstorm and write assignments on the Web. In the Open Punch program, writing topics are assigned based on timely events as well as texts students have read. Highlights of the program include:

  • Interactive modules for Opinion, Fact, and Narrative writing topics.
  • Built-in tips that guide students through each step of the writing process.
  • A tracking tool that enables instructors to view pupil writing at different stages of development.

Recently the New York Times began posting three Common Core-aligned writing tasks based on news stories. Open Punch program ties in well with this feature.

In the writing tasks published October 26, 2012, the Opinion module can be applied to the “Chickens Threaten to Divide Brooklyn” task, the Fact-based module can be used for the “Gleaning Clues from the Clouds” assignment, and the Narrative module can be applied to the “Finding Zen” article.

Click here to learn more about Open Punch.

Weekly Common Core Practice – Introduction

School children in high school classRecent research has shown that the vast majority of U.S. secondary students struggle with writing. Merit’s writing programs have a strong track record of helping teachers improve students’ writing skills.

With the advent of the Common Core, Merit has introduced Open Punch. Open Punch helps students brainstorm and write assignments on the Web. Writing topics may be assigned based on timely events as well as texts students have read and personal tastes. Highlights of the program include:

  • Interactive modules for Opinion, Fact, and Narrative prompts.
  • Built-in tips that guide students through each step of the writing process.
  • Instructor monitoring that allows online tracking of student writing.

Open Punch ties in well with the launch today of a New York Times Learning Network Common Core Practice feature. In collaboration with two 9th-grade teachers, the Times began to post actual tasks English students have used in the classroom. Each week the Times will target one or more of the Common Core E.L.A. Anchor Standards and provide ideas for developing the task.

Our goal here is to help teachers know which Open Punch writing prompts can be used with the New York Times’ Common Core Practice activities.

For the Common Core activities posted September 21, 2012 the Open Punch Opinion module can be used for the “Medical Manga” and “Restaurant Review” tasks. The Fact module can be used as part of the “Restaurant Review” assignment.

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