Wednesday, July 22, 2015

No Summer Learning Loss Here! Resources to Help ALL Summer Long!---Part 5

Part 5: Needed Key Skills for Next Year's Curriculum
(The last in a series of 5 articles)

This is the fifth and concluding article in our series entitled No Summer Learning Loss Here! Resources to Help ALL Summer Long! Previous articles in this series addressed the following topics:

A. Part 1: Build a GREAT Book List!
B. Part 2: Reading and Learning Games That Count!
C. Part 3: Discover MORE Reading & Learning Activities to KEEP Them Engaged!
D. Part 4: FREE & Low-cost Educational Field Trips for Families

This week in Part 5, the last article in the series, we wanted to conclude by addressing the skills that will be required in grade levels K-12, so that parents and teachers can use the summer months as a good time to effectively prepare both students and themselves for the coming school year.

Many of our readers here may be more than aware of the current controversy over CCS, better known as the Common Core Standards. More than a few parents and some teachers are concerned about how this push to standardize specific academic goals for each grade level across all 50 states. As in the past, each state does have its own expectations at each grade level for language arts, reading and math skills. From state to state, however, those expectations and standards required can vary significantly. More than a few groups are anxious about the fairness of this potential standardization of the country's academic standards. We at Brennan Innovators are most concerned about how these state standards could impact the students challenged with special needs. What levels will they be required to reach in order to be promoted to the next grade or academic level? Will enough flexibility be allowed for these students who learn differently? How will this be fair to these students?

We wanted to raise further awareness about these state standards but also provide resources to allow parents and teachers to access information about what levels of achievement are considered appropriate for each grade level. We thought it prudent to list links to websites not officially affiliated with CCS as well as those links from the CCS sites. This way, our readers should have more information to form their own conclusions, as we attempt to present resources from more than one side of what is currently a hot-button issue across the nation.

At the same time, we do recommend that you consult with other educators, school administrators and other qualified individuals about the important skills to be learned and the main units of study to be presented in your students' or children's NEXT grade level. Viewing and possibly sharing such a "preview" list with your children could very valuable. Students will be able to get a bird's-eye view of what to expect AND how the summer vacation period can be an important time to use for preparation. Please refer to the list here as a guide for keeping the summer's reading and activities on-track.

Resources for Needed Key Skills for Next Year's Curriculum

Grade Level Expectations for Language Arts/Reading and Mathematics by State
Expectations for each grade level in language arts/reading and math for each of the 50 states. Direct links to individual state resources included here.

List of State Education Departments and Related Math Documentation---from
Math skills by state with direct links to state information. FREE printable math worksheets also available on this site.

BrainPOP Educators' Academic Standards Tool
Helpful online search tool that can be used to find the academic standards for specific subjects and grade levels.

State Standards—Specific Learning Guidelines for Each Grade
by Rynette R. Kjesbo, M.S., CCC-SLP (a Handy Handout from Super Duper, Inc.)
Each state has its own set of standards for academic achievement. This FREE, printable handout for parents gives information and resource links in order to find out what the academic standards are in an individual state.

Standards in Your State
Forty-three states, the District of Columbia, four territories, and the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) have adopted the Common Core State Standards. The map here provides information about the process each state and territory followed to adopt their new academic standards. In addition, links are provided to state and territory department of education websites that provide information about how the standards are being implemented, plans for aligned assessments, supports for teachers, and plans to help all students succeed.

The FREE K-12 Academic Standards Digital Library---from Academic Benchmarks
Over 8 million standards searches have been conducted on the Academic Benchmarks site since 2004, with more than 2 million searches in 2010. This digital library includes 3 sections: Standards Authority Search tool, a Standards Document Collection and a Standards Digital Deployment Report.

The Common Core Is Tough on Kids With Special Needs from The Atlantic
The standards don't allow enough flexibility for students who learn differently.

For information on customizable low-tech & digital reading tools for all kinds of challenged readers, please visit: Tools for struggling readers of all ages! Info and support for struggling readers

Image courtesy of:
Brennan Innovators, LLC at

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