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Common Core SL.CCR.1 Explained

By Dave Stuart Jr.

SL.CCR.1 — that’s the 1st College and Career Readiness anchor standard within the Speaking and Listening strand of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for ELA/Literacy — reads as follows:

Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

As always, I’ll be discussing this as an anchor standard. For greater specificity, you’ll want to check out the grade level Speaking and Listening standards.

Now then: what is SL.CCR.1 all about?

Let’s play talk to the teacher!

The first Speaking and Listening anchor standard in the Common Core involves several key skills.

No. Let’s not.

But seriously, have you ever noticed how, even during discussions, students have this instinct to talk to you (the teacher) rather than talk to each other?

SL.CCR.1 is impossible to carry out if your class operates only in talk-to-the-teacher mode. (If I were you, I’d probably want to tweet that.)

Come to convos prepared

SL.CCR.1 basically says, “The most productive members of conversations begin by being prepared.” This may mean reading the homework, doing the practice problem, completing the quickwrite, or taking notes on the lecture.

We’ve all seen this: the more knowledgeable students are on a topic, the more ready they are to share during discussions.

Great speaking requires planning. Being a productive group member means preparing to be one.

Participate effectively with anyone on the planet

I’m glad this standard mentions diverse partners because the college and career-ready person sure as heck needs to know how to work with all kinds of people.

Fact: your chances of flourishing are higher when you know how not to tick people off.

In the rural school that I work in, my students need to know that, whether or not they appreciate every kind of person in the world, they’ll imperil their futures if they don’t figure out how to work well with them.

Build on others’ ideas and clearly/persuasively expressing your own

There’s such a balance between these two conversational “moves”:

  • A bonafide egocentrist ignores the ideas of others and only expresses his/her own.
  • An unremarkable shadow talks only about the ideas of others and seems to have none of his/her own.
  • An effective conversationalist listens to and builds on the ideas of others and expresses his/her own.

Here are some key ways that I’ll help students practice this balance:

  1. Explicitly teach students about the two conversational actions.
  2. Give students opportunities to practice each kind of conversational move in isolation and in conjunction.
  3. Give students feedback on how they’re doing.

Last school year, I used a lot of in-class debates and discussions, and I was amazed at how students began to get better talking to and with each other. This was part due to explicit instruction, part due to frequent practice, and part due to simply striving to balance these two conversational moves as I spoke with my classes. It’s amazing how much of this we teach simply by how we engage with our students.

So, what SL.CCR.1ish things do you do with your students? How do you help them balance the two conversational moves? Share your wisdom in the comments section below!

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2 Responses to Common Core SL.CCR.1 Explained

  1. Jonetta Jonte' August 4, 2012 at 11:07 am #

    The hardest part of this for my urban students is the “being prepared.” School started this week for me and the first task in my senior literature class is to help the students learn how to read the text while having a conversation with that text. Yesterday was our first attempt. The outcome was the prepared discussed and the unprepared did not. We definitely will need to practice this a lot more.

    The other item that reminds me of my students is the “egocentrist.” It is my task as the classroom facilitator to make sure that this student learns to listen and that this student especially comes well-prepared to give value to the self-centered comments.

    • davestuartjr August 5, 2012 at 2:21 pm #

      Hi Jonetta, thanks again for commenting. Some of my colleagues and I are also really struggling with the issue of low homework completion — in other words, students not being prepared for class. We’re going to try getting together a focus group of students, parents, and teachers this fall to determine how we can improve homework completion rates in our rural school.

      As far as egocentrist discussions, I find that my many of my students have these habits ingrained pretty deeply. I need to consistently tell them that this is a discussion amongst intellectuals, not a recitation for a teacher!

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