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Schoolteachers to Confer Over Core Curriculum

 Schoolteachers to Confer Over Core Curriculum

09/26/2011 

SUNY Cortland will host a one-day conference for schoolteachers to share practical ways to improve student learning through writing and to incorporate New York state’s Common Core Standards in classroom teaching.

“More Than the Core: Writing to Learn,” a conference devoted to discussing how the state’s standards can improve student writing in all content areas, will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 15, in Corey Union. Registration for the event costs $60 and includes breakfast, lunch and parking. The conference is open to teachers from all subject areas at all grade levels.

“This conference is unique in that it addresses how to use the Common Core Standards as ways to deepen student learning,” said David Franke, a SUNY Cortland associate professor of English and the conference’s keynote speaker. “We are starting from the assumption that teachers know best what individual students need, and the conference will explore how teachers can unpack the standards in ways that support their own expertise and experience.”

New York state’s Common Core Standards are a broad-based effort to ensure that all students are college- or career-ready by the end of high school. Franke said that the conference would also attempt to debunk rumors circulating about the standards.

“I heard, for instance, that teachers would be required to teach “The Grapes of Wrath” to fifth graders,” he said. “That is not the case. By actually reading the standards and discussing what they imply —and finding ways to make them useful to teachers — we see more clearly how the standards are both challenging and useful.”

Following a welcome and introductions, Franke will deliver a speech titled “Teachers and Writers: Two Sides of the Same Coin.” Participants then will pick two “writing to learn” workshops and one “writing to the core” workshop to attend. Classroom teachers will teach the workshops, which include titles such as “History vs. Hollywood: Film as Text in the Classroom” and “Common Core Literacy Threads in Subjects Other Than English.”

“The morning will be devoted to developing ways to use writing to learn in any subject area, especially for teachers who do not consider themselves to be writing teachers,” Franke said.

He said that the conference’s presenters have worked with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Seven Valleys Writing Project’s Advanced Institute and Tompkins-Seneca-Tioga (TST) BOCES.

“The conference is put on for teachers, by teachers,” Franke said.

Sponsors for the event include SUNY Cortland’s Childhood/Early Childhood Education Department, the Seven Valleys Writing Project and TST BOCES.

To register for the event, visit the TST BOCES website, click on the MyLearningPlan menu item and search for Seven Valleys, or go directly to the registration website. For more information, contact Franke at (607) 753-5945.