Tag Archives: NCTE

FTF: CCSS/NCTE and Back to School

The CCSS Machine has killed the love of reading. It's killing the need for handwriting..or is it?
The CCSS Machine has killed the love of reading. It’s killing the need for handwriting..or has it?

Back to School ads, articles, and, issues are already in full swing and we’ve just begun August 2015. How’s the CCSS Machine helping? From what I’ve seen, the ‘Machine’ is pumping out plenty of Common Core propaganda. Today’s “From the File Tuesday” is about writing , the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English), and our schools.

Being the researcher I am, I purchased a BTS (Back to School) issue of a magazine I don’t usually buy. Why? I wanted to see just how much CCSS was hiding in plain sight. The magazine has plenty of ‘busy mom’ articles, colorful ads, all the pointers on how to save big when buying all those needed school supplies, and more. It also has one advertisement that is meant to catch your eye. The ad is selling writing pens AND promoting a ‘mission to save handwriting’. Below is a screen shot of the on-line promotion (the hard copy ad is very similar)bichandOn the surface, nothing says Common Core. However, let’s look BELOW the surface, as we’ve learned we MUST when it comes to anything related to modern day classroom related environments.

The Catchy Video:

The Expert Behind the Scenes:

Bic is getting writing help from Pam Allyn. If you’re not familiar with Mrs. Allyn, here’s what the Bic webpage has to say. “Pam Allyn is the Executive Director and founder of LitWorld, a global organization that shares best practices in literacy for all children worldwide. She is also the Executive Director of LitLife, a national organization dedicated to improving academic achievement outcomes in literacy.”

Allyn’s bio from “LitWorld” reveals the following, “Her most recent series, Core Ready, published in 2013, is a 14-book series focusing on the Common Core Learning Standards.” (to see the rest of her biography from LitWorld {which includes awards she’s received}, http://www.litworld.org/staff/ )

Be sure you access the 2013 “LitWorld” Annual Report. It’s got names of the US writing/reading programs. One that caught my eye is in New York and is called “Story21”, so we can have 21st Century Literacy for the entire family. litworldannualreport2013

NCTE, National Council of Teachers of English:

I first wrote about NCTE back in Feb. 2015. While I didn’t feature them, I did give you how they are related to CCSS. See: https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/02/22/rmt-witches-brew-ccss-style/

NCTE is a featured resource in the Bic campaign to save writing. The link you are taken to (NCTE’s statement on the importance of handwriting) from the campaign website (Bic’s) expresses a 2004 view of the topic….not a 2015 view (in my opinion, if the view were more current, I think we’d see a much clearer CCSS vernacular). Here’s an excerpt of the 2004 statement, “Just as the nature of and expectation for literacy have changed in the past century and a half, so has the nature of writing. Much of that change has been due to technological developments, from pen and paper, to typewriter, to word processor, to networked computer, to design software capable of composing words, images, and sounds. These developments not only expanded the types of texts that writers produce, they also expanded immediate access to a wider variety of readers. With full recognition that writing is an increasingly multifaceted activity, we offer several principles that should guide effective teaching practice.” See the rest of the statement (goes into embedded social activities, assessments, and more): http://www.ncte.org/positions/statements/writingbeliefs

For a look at NCTE’s “21st Century” Literacy Framework, see:

Here’s an excerpt of what’s expected: “Active, successful participants in this 21st century global society must be able to Develop proficiency and fluency with the tools of technology;  Build intentional cross-cultural connections and relationships with others so to pose and solve problems collaboratively and strengthen independent thought; Design and share information for global communities to meet a variety of purposes;  Manage, analyze, and synthesize multiple streams of simultaneous information; Create, critique, analyze, and evaluate multimedia texts; Attend to the ethical responsibilities required by these complex environments.”

When you read the full statement, note how the International Reading Association helped NCTE develop this 21st Century plan. Their tie to CCSS? I found over 400 CCSS documents on their website. See: http://apps.reading.org/search/svc/submitquery?query=common+core+state+standards&advanced=1 

Of particular importance, one document titled “Literacy Implementation Guidance for the ELA Common Core State Standards”, names the IRA’s approved CCSS council members!
See: http://www.reading.org/general/AboutIRA/white-papers/ela-common-core-standards.aspx

To access the Bic’s campaign: http://bicfightforyourwrite.com/take-action
As far as my original question about the CCSS Machine killing writing. I believe it is killing all types of learning in every way it can. Using slick ads, catchy videos, and inserting happy kids into it all is a sham.
Be sure to use “Bic” in front of the ‘Fight for Your Write’, other wise you’ll end up at a ‘steamy’ writers website (featuring books to replace or add to “50 Shades of Grey”).


RMT: Witches Brew, CCSS Style?

I recently got a message from a very concerned citizen about a Common Core lesson a kindergarten student in her group of friends was taught. Called “The Earth is Our Mother”, my reader asked me if this was indeed not only a CCSS lesson but a witch’s chant as well. IF this is true, then……

Our riddle today is why would this be appropriate in anyone’s mind for a kindergartner?

The Song, Is It Really a Witch’s Chant?:

Depending on what website you choose, you’ll find the “Earth is Our Mother” has been said to be a Native American song; a pagan ritual song, a witch’s chant, an Earth Day activity, and so forth. So, which one is correct?

Songs for Teaching’s website uses the the song as a Native American culture tie in. See: http://www.songsforteaching.com/gemini/theearthisourmother.php

Better Lesson’s website (which is features expressly CCSS related lessons) had this for “Saving Mother Earth”, which uses the concept for recycling. I couldn’t find a direct mention of the song in today’s riddle, but I wanted to include this so you could see a first grader’s look at a recycling CCSS lesson. See: http://betterlesson.com/lesson/557938/pollution-and-recycling

I found several pagan websites that use the song as a chant. (one example is Chant Goddess’s website. See: http://www.chantgoddess.com/theearthisourmother.htm) One Wiccan website has the “Earth is Our Mother” in their songs/dances category. (See: http://www.thedance.com/wicca101/songs.htm )

Not knowing which vain the teacher was using the song in or being privy to the assignments given, we cannot get a clear cut answer to our riddle. However, we’re not quite through digging yet.

How CCSS fits in:

Since I do know this real life event happened recently in NC, I was able to locate the Kindergarten CCSS Music Standards. I can tell  you based on this information the teacher was looking for relevance, response, and literature. I can also tell you the Kindergartner Music Standards take up 2 pages. Below is a screen shot of just SOME of what a kindergartner is to glean via CCSS in music.

Two pages of the K-8 NC CCSS Music pdf are exclusively for K students.
Two pages of the K-8 NC CCSS Music pdf are exclusively for K students.

To see the entire K-8 Music CCSS pdf: http://www.ncpublicschools.org/docs/acre/standards/new-standards/arts/music/k-8.pdf

If you’d like to see the CCSS Text Exemplars for NC: http://elaccss.ncdpi.wikispaces.net/file/view/ELA+Text+exemplars.pdf

To see some more CCSS resources NC uses for its potential lesson planning: Sample Unit and Lesson Plans and Resources for ELA Common Core


I found the following resources helping in delving into the county’s school system my reader was concerned about. Since these are general links, no privacy has been violated. Since music has long been used as a portion of literacy. I thought some of the information would be helpful, especially as we have to filter so much about CCSS.
1) The NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) has this guide to teaching literacy sample by Joy Foss.  See: http://www.ncte.org/library/NCTEFiles/Resources/Books/Sample/29900chap01x.pdf

2) Here’s a video of 21st Century Communication Skills as per the “21st Century Literacy” site. (website: http://read6351.wikispaces.com/21st+Century+Literacies )

3) A CA based Kindergartner lesson plan for ‘Mother Earth’: http://www.coastal.ca.gov/publiced/directory/global_k.html

4) A Native American lesson plan involving ‘Mother Earth’ from CO: http://static.dpsk12.org/gems/indian/indianedlesson5.pdf

5) If you’d like to search for lessons featuring the song in our riddle from the perspective of Wiccans (witches) and/or other faiths which honor the Earth as a parent (Muslim is among them). Please do so on your own. Based on what I found, I chose to NOT include links in my article due to the nature of some of the information I found. I can share with you, much is available.


So, was my reader over-reacting when she contacted me? I don’t believe so. I think in today’s world, especially in education, we must really question WHY some resources are being singled out as appropriate. Was the “Earth is My Mother” an appropriate choice for a group of Kindergartners? I don’t agree that it is, however, I wasn’t there to see HOW it was used. At the tender ages of a K student, they are just grasping family concepts, forming bonds. I think any THING called as ‘mom’, ‘dad’, or other family names can be a bit too confusing. Especially when you factor in Common Core’s agenda.

I would encourage you to keep a sharp eye out for what’s going on in the classrooms; to question why a teacher is using a resource or asking how it’s suitable for your child. From other readers who’ve contacted me, they’ve shared they do EVER get to see what’s being used or being notified BEFORE a certain resource is chosen. When did the family in today’s story learn of what they were told was a witch’s chant? After it happened.

Finally, if you care to see a You Tube video of the song, I’ve included it below. I searched for a version that would not be too scary to post.