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Note to Readers 11.05.13
Since this post was first written, the PARCC Aligned ELA Common Core Curriculum & Assessment Planners have been updated to include audio files and drop-down toolboxes for user friendliness. They have also grown to include additional space for entering instructional objectives and teaching notes as well as including pop-up boxes that display the grade-level standards as teacher work to build their plans.
I have been working with due diligence to help teachers make sense of the marriage between the PARCC Frameworks released first in the Fall of 2011 and updated in the Fall of 2012 and the most recent significant release of PARCC Assessment information, the Assessment Blueprints released on April 30. The fact is, I posted a blog similar to this one two weeks ago, but since, my website crashed and several blogs were lost. Today, I am doing triage, trying to capture the message I shared then with what what my memory allows me to recover!
As I read through the Assessment Blueprints, I began to see that though they were aligned to the Frameworks, the categories of writing students would be asked to perform were not in direct synchronization with the Common Core. There were not writing assessments of argument, expository, and narrative. Rather, the categories of assessment for reading within the categories of writing were directed towards literary analysis, research writing, and narrative. Narrative, by the way, has been redefined since the 2011 Frameworks were released. The new definition of narrative is one that includes not only story (the conventional definition of narrative) but also the process of description. More on that later.
The result….a quarterly planner that integrates the guidelines of the PARCC Frameworks and the Assessment Blueprints. This two-sectioned document supplies a means by which teachers can provide direct instruction, either as whole group or in guided groups, and also allows plentiful opportunities for students to work as pairs, in small groups, or independently to practice the kind of thinking and writing the Common Core demands and that PARCC will assess. Planners are available for sale in the website Shop. Grade 3-5 year-long planners are $7.00 per grade; Grade 6-11 are available for $10.00 per planner. Completed sample planners will be available by August 1st. Professional development in the use of planners and group purchase rates are available by contacting Dr. Dea.
How to use this document
This organizer is intended to be used as a planning guide for instruction and formative assessment. If students are to meet the changing demands of new generation assessments, they must become accustomed to reading cold text, responding to two-part selected response questions, and writing cohesive textual analysis. Each grade set curriculum and assessment planner is directly aligned to PARCC Model Content Frameworks, PARCC ELA Task Generation Model and PARCC Assessment Form Specifications.
Top Portion: Instruction
The title of each page identifies the grade and quarter for which the planning guide is intended. The top section titled “Close Reading for Instruction and Practice” shaded in green is aligned to PARCC’s Model Content Frameworks and reflects the MCF by indicating the number and types or genre of texts to be read. The form PDF provides ease in entering text titles and writing practices selected by the educator in the middle and far right columns.
Lower Portion: Formative Assessment
The lower section of the document titled “Quarterly Assessment Tasks” integrates PARCC Assessment Blueprints into curricular planning. The three types of writing tasks students will complete on the PARCC assessment are represented on the planner: an analytic task (yellow), a research task (tan), and a narrative task (orange). Corresponding cells provide space for documenting educator’s decisions for specific paired passage titles as indicated by the PARCC Blueprint. The suggested number of writing tasks students should perform each quarter in order to be prepared for future assessment is aligned to the Model Content Frameworks.
The left column provides grade-level writing prompt topics and lists the specific reading standards measured by that task. The right column lists the specific standards measured by corresponding EBSR and TECR items in accordance with PARCC’s Task Generation Model. Want to learn more about EBSR and TECR? Read my blog: HELP! PARCC Testing Acronyms. The “Standards Measured” column indicates whether reading is evaluated through the prose constructed response (PC) or a two-part selected response (SR). Each text should have a two-part vocabulary item measuring one of the standards listed. The center column provides space to enter selected text titles. Educators are advised to select texts from which to develop formative assessments meeting the expectations of the specific standards. These assessments should reflect the PARCC assessments in both text length and testing style: students read two or more separate texts, answer two 2-part selected response questions and one 2-part vocabulary question following the reading of each text, and finally, students write a constructed response (essay) to the performance task.
The planner takes on a different look at grade 6: Beginning at the 6th grade, the responsibilities for teaching to and assessing the research simulation task and the narrative tasks must be shared across disciplines. This adjustment is noted on the planners for grades 6-11. Teaching research and the descriptive narrative rightfully belong to disciplines outside of ELA. The front matter of the Common Core Standards document clearly state the responsibilities for teaching literacy go beyond the English classroom. To make a successful transition to the Common Core and achieve successfully on the PARCC assessment, students will have to be proficient in reading and writing within a variety of disciplines. Preparation for Common Core implementation will take collaboration time among teachers of various content areas.
For further questions or clarifications, feel free to contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org.