Collaborative to the (Common) Core

Posted November 13, 2012 under Case Studies, Common Core

Hello everyone,

Here’s another ‘Subtext in the Classroom’ post, from our team of edu consultants, Jenni Higgs and Catherine Miller, doctoral students at UC Berkeley and former teachers themselves!  This week they focused on what they found in Mrs. K’s classroom, specific to Subtext and the Common Core.  We’d love to hear from more teachers- how are you using Subtext? What other tools work well when using technology to better align with the Common Core in your grade level? Get in touch anytime, we’re always up for a call or classroom visit.


Last week, we visited a 5th/6th grade classroom at Sandalwood Elementary in Southern California.  We talked about how the teacher, Mrs. K, felt about embarking on her 1:1 iPad adventure, and how students were using Subtext.  Now let’s dive into how these interactions align with the Common Core State Standards, which we’d like to use as a framework to reflect on our classroom observations.

Self-directed learners

The Common Core State Standards for ELA state that college-ready students “demonstrate independence.” Most specifically, they state that students become self-directed learners, effectively seeking out and using resources to assist them, including print and digital reference materials (National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, Council of Chief State School Officers, p. 7).  Mrs. K managed her large class by breaking the students up into two groups. As she worked with one group, the other group worked on their own. Each group understood their tasks and completed their work independently. We recorded multiple instances of students seeking out and using resources without direct instruction from Mrs. K when they needed support in understanding a word or navigating through the lesson online.

“Lots of discussion”

Another Common Core connection can be made with the Speaking and Listening standards, which detail the various ways in which students might collaborate through discussion. Using the Smartboard and her iPad, Mrs. K displayed her copy of the informational text that the 6th grade students were reading in preparation for their novel (Katherine Paterson’s The Great Gilly Hopkins). Mrs. K had preloaded some discussion prompts in the margins of the article, and she directed students to tap on the first icon to display her question. Mrs. K pointed out that she wanted to hear “lots of discussion” as students read the article; questions could include reactions to the facts in the article (which was about one of the last surviving orphans from the Orphan Train movement), reactions to the article’s images (using Subtext’s various response tools), and reactions to peers’ notes.

These are just two of the Common Core concepts we saw brought to life in Mrs K’s classroom.  Who else is using similar or different approaches?

Until next time,
Catherine and Jennifer

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