KAYSVILLE -- Learning to better integrate reading and writing into every aspect of a student's education was the focus of training this week for hundreds of Davis County teachers, librarians, counselors and administrators.
As part of the new Common Core State Standards, high school and junior high school educators gathered at several secondary schools to participate in what they termed DESK Academy. The training focused on the new Davis Essential Skills and Knowledge (DESK) strategies for teaching literacy standards in every content area.
"In this (core) are the types of reading and writing and thinking that are important in individual content areas. It's talking about those discipline- specific kinds of reading and writing skills that teachers in your individual content area have to do," Superintendent Bryan Bowles told educators during his keynote address at Centennial Junior High.
He encouraged teachers to teach and use the vocabulary and styles of writing specific for their content area.
For example, Bowles encouraged science teachers to teach their students how to read and write using the vocabulary and writing styles found in scientific journals. He encouraged history and social studies teachers to teach their students how to read primary historical documents.
Also mentioned was the importance of teaching students how to properly dissect and understand a math story problem.
"Our goal is to take a look at the new Utah core standards and DESK and to figure out how they affect every student and every teacher in every content area and work together to plan their implementation," said Patty Norman, Davis School District curriculum director. "But even more importantly, we're here together today as colleagues to look at how we can teach our students most efficiently and effectively."
The Common Core State Standards are being implemented in Utah and 46 other states to unify standards so that students across state lines can learn to the same levels of depth and rigor.
Educators, content experts, parents and school administrators worked across state lines to create a set of standards that states could voluntarily adopt.
"It makes our students competitive with students from other countries," said Daron Kennett, Davis School District's English Language Arts supervisor. "Students are competing at an international level. (The Common Core) puts our graduates on a level playing field with students from other countries. This is very good news for our students and our schools."
Librarians and school counselors who attended the training said they were hoping to learn ways to support teachers and their programs, as well as learn effective strategies for teaching.
"It's helping all teachers implement reading and writing in their curriculum so students learn that in every subject, especially the writing component. Also, it's about using different reading strategies so that they can understand better," said Jacqueline Holbrook, an English teacher at Millcreek Junior High.
Jan Moore, who teaches art at Bountiful Junior High, said she was hoping to learn techniques to implement more reading and writing strategies into her course work.
Moore said she already has students keep a journal to help support the language arts. She also incorporates pre-readings before her lessons, followed by class discussions about what the students learned.
Educators were given the choice to attend six of 18 possible breakout sessions. Subjects included using writing as a means of class discussion, applying content material to the real world, strategies for helping students remember and understand what they read, annotation strategies and vocabulary instruction.
"Our goal is to have kids college and career ready when the graduate. We want them to have success in college or on their first day on the job after graduation," said Kennett.