Every day or so, someone finds this website through searching some variation of “big ideas in the Common Core Speaking and Listening standards.”
The problem is, an answer to that question isn’t currently easy to find on Teaching the Core!
In order to try providing a better resource for that search, as well as for the sake of increasing my own understanding, here are 9 big ideas that I draw from the CCSS Speaking and Listening anchor standards.
- I go to CoreStandards.org,
- I open up the ELA / Literacy document,
- I scroll down to page 22,
- and I synthesize / summarize what I read in the side column.
Now to the big ideas.
1. A HUGE part of speaking is listening
I love that we’re talking about the Speaking and Listening standards rather than just the speaking standards.
It is absolutely freaking certain that, if you don’t know how to listen, you don’t really know how to speak and you are not optimally prepared for college or career. (Click to Tweet a shorter version of this impressively emphatic statement.)
2. Students need to know how to talk
To you, this might be unforgivably obvious; but, alas, I have spent too many years enabling my shy students to remain in their shells and not insisting that they let me draw them way out.
This last year, I didn’t coddle my shy freshmen, and, rather than shrivel up and die, they actually flourished, and by the end of the year many of them expressed sincere appreciation.
3. Structured, regular opportunities to talk in pairs
If you’ve been doing think-pair-share in your classes, you’ve got this covered. Pair shares are so old school but so darn money. Having students talk in pairs is a great way to let your students process and to let you walk around and check for understanding.
4. Structured, regular opportunities to talk in small groups
The key for success here is “structured” — groups should know how effective group talking looks, and they should be given regular feedback on how they’re doing.
5. Have students talk to the whole class
Hold debates. Assign speeches. Use the index card trick. Whatever you do, just make sure that every kid is getting regular chances to talk to the whole class. The safer you make the classroom and the more regular you make these opportunities, the more efficacious shy kids tend to become.
6. Students should contribute accurate, relevant info to conversations
A mega idea in the Speaking and Listening anchor standards is that college and career ready (CCR) people are productive members of conversations.
Show them how to add accurate and relevant info when they converse. The last thing you want is for them to become like Judy Grimes:
Okay, that video might be irrelevant. I couldn’t help it.
7. Students should respond to and develop what others have said
One major flaw of most class discussions I’ve led is this: students are all talking to me and ignoring each other. What the CCSS (and real life) call for is students actually talking with and responding to their peers.
8. Analyze and synthesize a multitude of ideas in various domains
Basically, the vision of the CCSS is that students can talk about ideas–at home, in school, in math, in science, in history, or wherever.
9. Use technology to increase speaking / listening opportunities
I’m not sure what, exactly, the CCSS are getting at here. Using Skype or some other kind of video chatting? Listening to people talk on Youtube and creating videos in response?
What do you think? Are these big ideas worth pursuing? Do the Speaking and Listening anchor standards make “sense” to you? Are they called for? Get into the conversation below.