GTCC Golden Apple News
"Golden" Apple  

                        By Diana Knudson        November, 2016


I am reading an article in “Education Week” about the new national science standards.  Montana did adopt them and they are available on the OPI website.  Eight things to know about them was the focus of the article. (Eight Things to Know about the Science Standards.  “Education Week”, March, 2016.)

·         They prize performance over memorization.

·         They are multilayered.  Each standard has a performance expectation and three additional “dimensions”:  science and engineering practices, disciplinary core ideas, and cross-cutting concepts.

·         They include a lot of engineering and design.

·         The standards link up with the common core.

·         Some people say the standards don’t focus enough on specific science concepts and factual content.

·         Many professors, scientists, education department folks, representatives, and teachers have come out in support of them.

·         Teachers do not presently have enough materials aligned to them.

·         Assessments will be here soon.


As I scanned the list, I thought about another article I read recently in the October, 2016, edition of “Education Week.”  This article focused on E.D Hirsch, a long-time literacy presenter and author.  He balances out the extreme focus we now have about students using strategies and skills to develop higher level thinking abilities.  Hirsch says that more than skills and strategies, students need knowledge. And his points do make sense if you are always looking at both sides of the pendulum.   Hirsch explains that a growing body of research shows the critical role background knowledge plays in reading comprehension.  He talks about David Liben, a senior content specialist for Student Achievement Partners, which is a professional-development group founded by the lead writers of the Common Core.  Liben points to Page 33 of the standards, which calls for systematically building knowledge in English/Language Arts.  He admits that many people overlooked that page, at least at first, because it was not part of the grade-specific goals.  Seven years after the standards were published, educators are noticing that language and beginning to take heed (New Book Beats Drum for Teaching Content Knowledge. “Education Week, October, 2016).


I have always believed we need to build background knowledge and that students who know the most about a topic when they start to study it, will do the best at making connections and applying higher-level thinking schools.  We need to keep both sides in mind as we design our lessons and units. It does not matter if we are reading To Kill a Mockingbird in literature, studying astronomy in science, exploring consequences of World War!! in history, or using Monet’s techniques to paint in art, students have to have the background and content to make higher-level connections.

The winner for our October drawing is Karleen Wolery, North Star Public Schools.  Keep reading the Golden Apple to find out when our next drawing will be announced. Thank you all for last month's entries.


If your school does not yet have a representative for our reading and math curriculum revisions, please look hard and contact  These are crucial content areas and we need help of teachers and administrators from across our coop.  Reading will meet November 14 and Math will meet November 15 at the 3D in Great Falls.  Just let Brianna know you are coming so we have enough support materials.  We are looking at ways to add more to both areas to give strong support to these teachers.  See you then.




Are you tired of being left out of the loop? Need reminding about those Committee meetings? Want to know more about Summer Institutes and other Professional Development? Then subscribe to the GTCC Headline enews. Every month you'll receive headlines from the GTCC enews in your mailbox. Just send an email to gtcc_enews-subscribe@yahoogroups.comBe sure to tell your co-teachers too!


Upcoming Committee Meetings & Events... 


Click here for the printable GTCC 2016-17 Meeting Calendar


November 2016
Reading Committee Meeting 3D International
Great Falls
Mathematics Committee Meeting 3D International Great Falls
Guidance & Counseling Committee Meeting 3D International Great Falls



Web Resources, Grants and Other News...


Strategies to Help Students "Go Deep" When Reading Digitally


Welding Education in the 21st Century: Engaging Today's Students in a Growing Career Path 


back to the GTCC  Home page