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Common Core reform changing Bozeman schools

Editor's Note

This story was awarded second place in the Society of Professional Journalists Region 10 contest in the category Education Reporting.

Close Reading - Common Core State Standard
Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez/Chronicle

Fourth grade student Jakob Livinston, 9, waits to take notes during his teacher's, Luci McCausland's, close reading lesson on Thursday, Dec. 6, at Hawthorne Elementary School in Bozeman. Close reading, paying close attention to vocabulary and meaning, is one of the skills required by the new Common Core State Standards.

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Close Reading - Common Core State Standard
Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez/Chronicle

Fourth grade teacher Luci McCausland speaks to her class during a close reading lesson on Thursday, Dec. 6, at Hawthorne Elementary School in Bozeman. Close reading, paying close attention to vocabulary and meaning, is one of the skills required by the new Common Core State Standards.

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Close Reading - Common Core State Standard
Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez/Chronicle

Fourth grade teacher Luci McCausland goes through key points for close reading during a lesson on the subject on Thursday, Dec. 6, at Hawthorne Elementary School in Bozeman. Close reading, paying close attention to vocabulary and meaning, is one of the skills required by the new Common Core State Standards.

Buy this photo
Close Reading - Common Core State Standard
Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez/Chronicle

Fourth grade teacher Luci McCausland instructs her class during a close reading lesson on Thursday, Dec. 6, at Hawthorne Elementary School in Bozeman. Close reading, paying close attention to vocabulary and meaning, is one of the skills required by the new Common Core State Standards.

Buy this photo
Close Reading - Common Core State Standard
Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez/Chronicle

Fourth grade teacher Luci McCausland instructs her class during a close reading lesson on Thursday, Dec. 6, at Hawthorne Elementary School in Bozeman. Close reading, paying close attention to vocabulary and meaning, is one of the skills required by the new Common Core State Standards.

Buy this photo
Close Reading - Common Core State Standard
Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez/Chronicle

Fourth grade student Ashtyn Ellerton, 9, writes down notes during a close reading lesson on Thursday, Dec. 6, at Hawthorne Elementary School in Bozeman. Close reading, paying close attention to vocabulary and meaning, is one of the skills required by the new Common Core State Standards.

Buy this photo
Close Reading - Common Core State Standard
Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez/Chronicle

Luci McCausland's fourth grade students work on their class assignment during a close reading lesson on Thursday, Dec. 6, at Hawthorne Elementary School in Bozeman. Close reading, paying close attention to vocabulary and meaning, is one of the skills required by the new Common Core State Standards.

Buy this photo
Close Reading - Common Core State Standard
Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez/Chronicle

Fourth grade teacher Luci McCausland leads a note taking session during a close reading lesson on Thursday, Dec. 6, at Hawthorne Elementary School in Bozeman. Close reading, paying close attention to vocabulary and meaning, is one of the skills required by the new Common Core State Standards.

Buy this photo
Close Reading - Common Core State Standard
Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez/Chronicle

Fourth grade teacher Luci McCausland leads a reading session during a close reading lesson on Thursday, Dec. 6, at Hawthorne Elementary School in Bozeman. Close reading, paying close attention to vocabulary and meaning, is one of the skills required by the new Common Core State Standards.

Buy this photo
Close Reading - Common Core State Standard
Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez/Chronicle

Fourth grade teacher Luci McCausland helps Ashtyn Ellerton, 9, with her notes during a close reading lesson on Thursday, Dec. 6, at Hawthorne Elementary School in Bozeman. Close reading, paying close attention to vocabulary and meaning, is one of the skills required by the new Common Core State Standards.

Buy this photo
Reading lesson
Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez/Chronicle

Fourth grade teacher Luci McCausland speaks to her class during a close reading lesson at Hawthorne Elementary School in Bozeman in this 2012 file photo.


“Close reading” was the lesson in teacher Luci McCausland’s fourth-grade class Thursday afternoon, when her Hawthorne School kids read a paragraph about Indian tipis with the intensity of detectives hunting for clues.

The class read each sentence slowly and attentively, circling unfamiliar words like “nomadic” and “Great Plains.” Kids jotted down their own questions, reactions and “thinking notes” in the margins.

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