In this article, you will learn how SLPs can (1) Support classroom instruction, and (2) Align IEP goals with the CCSS.
Forty-five states have already adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). In the modern global economy, the demand for skills is changing. Today’s jobs increasingly require analytic and non-routine interactive thinking skills. In order for our students to have the most opportunities in the job market, we must change the way we prepare them accordingly.
What the Common Core State Standards ARE:
- 12 broad instructional shifts in ELA and Math that promote depth of knowledge over breadth.
- Learning standards that outline general cross-disciplinary expectations.
- Expectations for knowledge and skills that all students need to succeed.
The Common Core State Standards DO NOT DEFINE:
- Advanced learning beyond the standards
- Full range of supports for ELLs and children receiving special education supports
Six Shifts in ELA/ Literacy
Balancing Informational & Literary Text.
Knowledge in the Disciplines.
Staircase of Complexity.
Writing from Sources.
Six Shifts in Math
The CCSS require students to master complex language which provides a unique opportunity for SLPs to facilitate learning. Check out the Common Core State Standards website: http://www.corestandards.org/the-standards
How can the SLP Support Classroom Instruction?
SLPs are uniquely trained to identify the linguistic demands the CCSS create in classroom instruction. Informational texts often use complex syntactic structures, higher-level and abstract vocabulary and contain assumptions about background knowledge. Providing appropriate classroom and curriculum support allows the student to perform academically in the least restrictive environment (LRE).
The SLP has the opportunity to:
- Support teachers’ classroom instruction by identifying linguistically complex/challenging language and providing linguistic support and scaffolds.
- Find the linguistic underpinnings of the child’s challenge in accessing the curriculum and texts and create a plan for addressing that challenge in the classroom.
- Teach metacognitive and metalinguistic skills.
- Incorporate classroom material into pull-out therapy.
- Help teachers identify students who need more explicit support such as scaffolding or visuals.
Remember: Each grade level requires a “step” of growth on the staircase. Teachers provide necessary scaffolding and supports to students experiencing difficulty.The scaffolding should not replace the text. It should enable all students to experience the complexity of the text, not avoid it.
How Can the SLP Align IEP Goals with the CCSS?
SLPs are an important component of the IEP team.
There are 8 steps SLPs can take to develop IEP goals aligned with the CCSS:
- Identify WHY the student is having difficulty—what are the underpinnings?
- Distill what would benefit the student most
- Choose the standard
- “Unpack” the standard and break it into its component parts.
- Analyze the subskills.
- Develop the goals.
- Create short-term objectives for planning and benchmarks.
- Monitor the goal.
To understand how the 8 step process is applied, begin by familiarizing yourself with the case study of fourth grader, Oscar. Once you feel comfortable using the CCSS as a starting point for determining therapy goals, try to develop your own goals with the remaining examples on the LEADERSproject website. The numbers in parentheses refer to the steps that you are asked to practice in each case study.
- Oscar: 4th grade bilingual child with speaking, listening, and reading comprehension difficulties (Sample case study)
- Monica: 12 year old, 6th grade ELL who struggles with grade-level texts (Steps 7-8)
- Joey: 6 year old first grader who has difficulty expressing himself verbally at grade level (Steps 3-7)
- Amanda: 13 year old 6th grader with severely delayed writing skills (Steps 1-8)
- Caitlin: a first grade bilingual child at risk forgrade level reading (Steps 1-8)