For our last issue of the 2015–2016 school year, we make what has become an annual foray into issues surrounding the Common Core State Standards. This time, Victor Rivero riffs on the CCSS’s focus on nonfiction, or more specifically, complex texts. The idea is that we “continue to create literate students—astute readers who demonstrate independence and build strong content knowledge, who comprehend as well as critique …” It’s a complex task, particularly as the Common Core Standards raise the bar considerably on what is expected of students. Good thing? Bad thing? One thing is certain. Tools and resources exist to help address CCSS standards. Victor lays out an array of them to ease the task of “working with, teaching about, and processing ‘complex texts.’” See The Common Core and Complex Texts–Learning experiences, engaging strategies, and more, on page 4.
Meanwhile, our columnists for this month are revisiting and expanding upon subjects that interest them deeply … and repeatedly.
Mary Ann Bell is at it again! She’s produced another thoughtful column on filtering and the internet. But … “This article is not about what is/is not blocked in schools,” she writes. “I wrote about that just last year.” Instead, she has focused this time on a simple solution to “blocked all the time, for all users” environments. She suggests “affording trusted school faculty members the right to bypass or override internet filters with a password or other means.” Makes sense! See Internet Filtering, School Faculty, and Trust: A Modest Proposal … Really! on page 8.
Next, Mary Alice Anderson’s column picks up on a favorite new resource of hers, and, of course, on a favorite topic: primary sources and primary source artifacts. While she introduced the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) last time, now she delves further as she explores its vast content, its tools for educators, and the wonderful partnerships it has forged with other fabulous content providers. Read The New Media Center: Digging DeeperIinto DPLA starting on page 11.
David Hoffman, editor