Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Last Friday, we held our first workshop on the new Common Core State Standards. We were able to showcase some of our favorite lessons in our curriculums as well as talk about how we (our attending teachers included!) can achieve these new standards using archaeological curriculums. For those who missed it, here are some highlights from the day.

The Common Core State Standards can be a scary thing to think about. However, we found that they aren’t too far off from how we (and we’re guessing a lot of you, too) have been teaching! The standards have a few main focuses that center on the idea of inquiry-based learning:

  • Urge students to think critically about what is heard and read.
  • Teach them to support arguments with specific and relevant data.
  • Have them use technology to help support and convey main points.
  • Get students to focus on “information texts” as well as literature.

The thing we’re so excited about is that archaeological investigations are by nature inquiry-based! Curriculums that focus on archaeology have already included many of these important elements of the Common Core State Standards. Teachers can use the curriculums to teach these methods of thinking and then apply them to other subjects.

We recommend to teachers to start with activities first and then let the students learn more through the lesson books. The curriculums also feature opportunities to get students involved in further research. A great way to meet numerous standards is to let students work in groups on research-based projects. These groups can present to the class, getting all of the students involved in assessing claims and determining the value of evidence.

We practiced our Common Core skills by working in groups and presenting to the whole class.

Check out our great curriculums: Timucuan Technology, about the biotechnology and archaeology of one of Florida's first peoples aimed at middle school grades, and Coquina Queries, an investigation of Florida's history through an important building material: coquina rock, aimed at grades 4-5.

We also love Project Archaeology, a national curriculum aimed at grades 3-5. We've localized their Investigating Shelter lessons to focus on Kingsley Plantation in Jacksonville.

(While all of these curriculum are aimed at specific grades, you can easily teach them up or down for any level!)

Text by Emily Jane Murray, Photos by Sarah Miller, FPAN Staffers

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