• Recently Visited
  • Teachers' Responses to CKLA

CKLA Is Online for Free

CKLA Is Online for Free From student activity books to teacher guides, everything needed for preschool–third grade and several units from grades 4–5 are fully available for free using the CKLA Download Manager. More…

CKLA in Action

CKLA in Action Wondering what CKLA really looks like? Get a glimpse into CKLA classrooms, and hear from pilot teachers and principals about their experience with the program. More…

Teachers' Responses to CKLA

 Melinda Temple, Ta'iala Academy, American Samoa:

We love the Core Knowledge materials here at Ta'iala Academy in American Samoa!  I'm...now teaching 11 first graders. I was lucky to get the [Listening & Learning] materials, and we have been having great success with them. The students love each unit.  The parents comment how surprised they are at the content their students are learning.... Many of our students are dual language learners and have spent their whole lives on this island.  Many are completely unfamiliar with the "core knowledge" content. We are experience firsthand the spread of knowledge equality, and it's a wonderful thing!

Deanna Maynard, NBCT, Instructional Coach, Matewan Elementary School, Mingo County, WV:

I observed [a kindergarten teacher] as she was introducing the read-aloud for Colonial Towns, lesson 5A: Dressmakers, Tailors, Hatters, and Cobblers….  As she opened the discussion with, "I’m thinking of a tradesperson who makes thread out of cotton, flax, or wool…." the students began talking to their partners. One student said, "I think it’s the miller." The partner, however, disagreed saying, "The miller has the flour from the wheat. The miller doesn’t make the thread." They continued discussing for a few seconds until pairs were asked to share out. Several students had thought miller, and some suggested weaver. One student gasped, "Wait! The weaver uses the thread. He gets it from the spinner!"… I sat down with the…teacher to ask her about her impressions of the lessons. She is a veteran teacher with more than 25 years at multiple elementary grade levels. She opened with, "I want to tell you these kids LOVE it. They are excited about the content in a way I haven’t seen with kindergarten before. They are constantly making connections with previous lessons."

Christina Tracy, Goldie Maple Academy, New York City, NY:

Core Knowledge curriculum provides great enrichment for all levels. I have been a teacher in the NYC Board of Education for seven years. I feel blessed that I entered a school where the Core Knowledge curriculum was being implemented. As an early childhood professional for twenty years, my hesitation was there. But once I started teaching the Core Knowledge curriculum I was overwhelmed with amazement at the ability of first graders who were able and eager to grasp the topics of the program.  Going back in time to Ancient Egypt happens to be one of the first graders' favorites. Learning about the Tutankhamen and Hatshepsut intrigued them to be curious and think about life during that time. Exposing students early in their education career only builds their knowledge which in return builds their confidence. Some of the best compliments are when a parent reveals their first grader is educating them. There are so many great topics in the Core Knowledge curriculum that entices a teacher’s creativity. As educators we know students thrive on knowledge and when exposed to profound topics early in life this helps them build their critical thinking skills and their curiosity to learn. In addition, I feel our school is one step ahead with the Common Core Learning Standards because of the enriched curriculum of Core Knowledge. 

Heidi Cole, Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy, Forest City, NC:

For the past seven years of my 13-year teaching career, I have educated second graders using the Core Knowledge curriculum. With confidence, I can say that I have not only “taught” my students about ancient China, the War of 1812, Westward Expansion, and the Civil War, but my students have truly “learned” something about these topics. Before moving to a Core Knowledge school, I would never have believed that children would be capable of learning about these sophisticated topics at such a young age, much less enjoy doing so. However, through the use of Core Knowledge’s Listening & Learning strand, which is part of the Core Knowledge Language Arts program, my students brighten as history comes to life during our literacy block.

The texts featured in the program are designed to enrich the vocabulary of our students and build their comprehension as they delve into domains typically reserved for middle and high school students. Seven- and eight-year-old children listen attentively to stories about immigrants who entered America through Ellis Island in the early 1900s, and then respond to questions in which they showcase their knowledge about the push and pull factors which lured these foreigners to a “land of opportunity.”

Each year parents comment on how much they are learning at home from their second grader. Long gone are the days when the children shrug when asked what they learned that day in school. It has been replaced with students begging for trips to see the Statue of Liberty, or asking if the family can travel to Baltimore just so they can witness the site where Francis Scott Key crafted the words to our National Anthem.

To learn more about Heidi Cole’s instruction, read her blog post—which includes a student writing sample—and watch this video of her reading aloud a story from Early Asian Civilizations.

Gina DiSipio-Parrish, Pioneer Preparatory School, Phoenix, AZ:

All of the lessons spiral and build on each other year after year so that children are repeatedly exposed to the academic content. As a result, students are able to deepen their knowledge base as they progress through their educational career. For example, in second grade students will learn about ancient Greek civilizations, and listen to Greek myths. Then in sixth grade, children will have the opportunity to read these same myths themselves and build on their prior knowledge. We all know that the more a child already knows about a topic, the better their attention and the more increased their interest and subsequent learning experience.

Jena Peluso, Goldie Maple Academy, New York City, NY:

I am currently a second grade teacher and have been following the Core Knowledge curriculum for four years now. At first glance, I couldn't believe what I was going to have to cover with these young students, but to my surprise the kids loved it! Not only did they love it, but also they responded to the material exceptionally well. For example, last year I visited the Museum of Natural History with my first grade students, and as we were walking through the ancient Egyptian exhibit in the museum, the students were amazed that they were getting to see things in person that they were learning about all month. Not only were the students amazed, but other museum goers and tourists were amazed at the rich vocabulary that was coming out of these little six year old's mouths. The students were able to recognize everything from the Sphinx to the sarcophagus, it was truly rewarding as a teacher to see this happening as a result of teaching this rigorous curriculum. It's something that you have to actually see and implement for yourself to understand how it works. I feel that the Core Knowledge curriculum exposes students to a variety of topics that will be useful in their everyday lives.