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The Common Core State Standards are hugely influencing school policy and reform, especially in regard to curriculum and instruction. 

Burkins and Yaris (2012) contend that the Common Core State Standards foster critical thinking. They reference the reading anchor standards which can be found here: English Language Arts Anchor Standards.  They note, “A quick scan forces us to notice language like “analyze how individuals, events, and ideas develop” and “interpret words and phrases” and “integrate and evaluate content.” These words—analyze, interpret, integrate– reflect the vernacular of critical thinking, suggesting that the intent behind the Common Core isn’t simply better scores on a particular test, but to impact the lives of students in meaningful, long term ways.”

For your Week One assignment, choose one of the following prompts:

  1. Write a three- to five-page commentary (not including title and reference pages) describing your thoughts on the above paragraph. Do you think the Common Core State Standards support critical thinking? If so, support your thinking and provide at least three examples of how teachers can promote critical thinking in their classrooms. If not, support your thinking and provide at least three examples of how the standards need to be changed to promote critical thinking. Also, indicate how you will evaluate students’ critical thinking skills. Read several other commentaries including blogs, op-ed pieces, peer-reviewed articles, etc. Cite at least three scholarly sources and make sure your work is in APA format.
  2. Create a PowerPoint presentation for teachers who think the Common Core State Standards stifle creativity and creative thinking. Convince them otherwise by showing them at least five strategies/activities for teaching critical thinking in either literacy or math. Also, show how you would evaluate the students’ critical thinking skills. You must align the strategies/activities to the Common Core State Standards. You must cite at least three scholarly sources and your work must be in APA format. Your PowerPoint must be six to eight slides in length.  In addition, you must create a one-page handout or infographic for the teachers which summarizes your presentation.

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