Story Maps #3: Using Esri’s Story Maps to Address Common Core Reading Standards

Story Maps #3: Using Esri’s Story Maps to Address Common Core Reading Standards

Story Map Index for the 10 Common Core Reading Standards

Story Map Index for the 10 Common Core Reading Standards

Reading and thinking are skills that we expect students to master and hone throughout their education careers and beyond.  Good readers and thinkers are lifelong learners. As a former English teacher, I appreciate the pressure on educators tied to testing and standards alignment. I have been on the front lines with my students.  As a curriculum writer, I realize we must utilize a myriad of tools to garner the most student engagement as well as content uptake.  I love the versatility of GIS with any subject.  How interesting that a tool which displays points, lines and polygons (boundaries) does such a beautiful job with helping curricular content boundaries dissolve!

Esri has a wonderful set of pre-designed Story Maps (http://storymaps.esri.com).  One day while admiring them, I discovered some excellent ties to what’s being called the “rigor of common core.” I don’t think the rigor of reading and writing class has dramatically changed; however, the emphasis on purposefully utilizing a variety of reading content has certainly made the education headlines and has many curriculum departments giving their practices and methodologies a second look.

I submit that you can use several of these story maps and the accompanying analysis to suit the Common Core Reading Standards quite nicely (and those writing standards too).  I even created some sample activities for you to show how I would use these strategies in my own classroom. Explore the Common Core with a new perspective! http://www.barbareeduke.com/commoncore

The Power of Questions in Lesson Planning

The Power of Questions in Lesson Planning

Because much of my work these days is based in geospatial technologies, the notion of questions and problem solving is common among my colleagues’ discussions; however, that’s not the same elsewhere.  As you plan your next year’s activities, perhaps we need to examine the right questions.

When you’re creating and planning experiences for students in the classroom, I like to consider the top questions that remind me of my English teacher days and teaching short story anatomy.

WHO: author, audience, subject

WHEN: context, history, time, year

WHERE: place, era, region, location

HOW: methods, plans, philosophy, organization, structure

WHY: purpose, explain, analyze, think, investigate, research

WHAT’S NEXT: plan, propose, conclude, consult

WHAT IF: suppose, conclude, plan, conjecture, imagine

And, ultimately the big question gets answered, “Why do I need to know this?”