The above statement has haunted me in a manner of speaking for some time now. With the implementation of the Common Core Learning Standards and Core Knowledge Language Arts Program never before has it become more vital to engage the students in our classrooms with wonderful learning experiences. I have heard it said over and over again that the Core Knowledge Language Arts Program is simply awful. It is for this very reason and many conversations that I set forth on an adventure to enhance the use of the Common Core Learning Standards and CKLA Listening and Learning modules within the classroom.
I am a passionate reader and have a love for tabletop role-playing games. I thought about the many hour long sessions of Dungeons and Dragons 2ed. tabletop paper and pencil, dice chucking, story and character creating game sessions I have been a part of since 1983. I reflected upon how reading came alive in my mind as I actually became immersed in the story line being able to change and manipulate that story based upon actions I chose during gaming sessions. I believe that my involvement in role- playing type games enhanced my reading comprehension, questioning techniques, vocabulary, and writing skills. Just about every area of English Language Arts and Literacy were affected in some facet. Based upon my reflections I asked the question, “If this was so impactful in my life can it be just as beneficial to others in an educational setting?” Reflecting on this question, I was interested in determining if the implementation of role-playing style games will enhance the Common Core Learning Standards and the Listening and Learning modules that are being used in the classroom. My goal is simple in a manner of speaking, teach students mandated material without them “really knowing” they are actually being taught. This then leads into the question of, “How will I know if this is all worthwhile?” If the students learn the material presented in a more meaningful and fun way then I will experience increased student learning and engagement in my classroom.
In short, the project will consist of taking New York State Listening and Learning Modules Domain 4 Early World Civilizations, Domain 5 Early American Civilizations, Domain 8 Animals and Habitats, Domain 10 A New Nation, Domain 11 Frontier Explorers, and Common Core Learning Standards and melding those key concepts and material into the confines of a tabletop role – playing games to immerse students into the material. Rather than students being a one dimensional figure so to speak i.e., teacher reading provided story, asking provided questions, completing included activities, and using written assessment contained in the module to deliver instruction; the students will become “three dimensional” learners and actually be in the story guiding, manipulating outcomes, creating, making decisions, assessing material, and best of all having a whole lot of enjoyment in doing so. Can students learn core material in a more masterful way than just ordinary presentation methods? The actual use of, and how role-playing games function is beyond the scope of what this summary can provide. This is just a simple overview of what I am using to drive the Common Core Learning Standards and the CKLA Listening and Learning modules forward in a progressive manner. If anyone has any further interest in this subject you may contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Author:
Christopher Collins is a first grade teacher at Pine Valley Elementary School. He is excited to share his work with others across our region.