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Old 09-04-2015, 02:24 PM
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I am a long time reader - first time responder. I do not have an account so hopefully this will work.... This topic called to me, it was part of a huge discussion at our district grade level curriculum meeting during workshop this August. We spent last school year looking at what our students are expected to learn (standards) and how they demonstrate they learned it, in other words, what we require of them. After a year of reflection and matching our lessons to common core standards then evaluating for proof higher understanding,there are many aspects of our requirements we are questioning. A hot topic became of memorizing and labeling states and capitals on a preprinted map. The newer teachers had us older ones thinking of the real purpose of this requirement. Was it to ensure the students knew all 50 states, their capitals, and exactly where they are located on a piece of paper OR should we be doing something else entirely that requires student to actually learn about each state and/or the region it is located. Maps can be easily reached through the informational technologies we all use on a daily basis. So, why memorize for a test that is quickly forgotten. We all know tests are not a good, accurate measure of knowledge. After spending a great amount of time evaluating and passionately discussing our very loosely worded standards, we have determined that testing for memorization does not match the language of our standards or the expectations of all teaching and learning that takes place in our 4th grade classrooms. Our standards state, "Students should be able to complete a mental map of major areas of the United States......(major lakes and rivers, mountain ranges, states, capitals, ect.)". To us this means a general knowledge and appreciation for location of these major areas.
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