Core Knowledge Sequence


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Core Knowledge Sequence
Content and Skill Guidelines for Grades K–8

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Copyright © 2013 Core Knowledge Foundation www.coreknowledge.org
All Rights Reserved.

ART DIRECTION AND DESIGN: Liza Greene and Holly Lanigan COVER: Liza Greene
© 2010 Core Knowledge Foundation ISBN 978-1-890517-25-0 First printing of Core Knowledge Sequence for Preschool–Grade 8 Ninth printing of Core Knowledge Sequence for K–8 Prior editions © 1988, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999 Core Knowledge Foundation Third printing of Core Knowledge Preschool Sequence Prior editions © 1997, 2000 Core Knowledge Foundation The Core Knowledge Foundation hereby grants permission for individual reproduction of the Core Knowledge Sequence for noncommercial purposes. No part of this document may be reproduced or used in any other form or by other means—graphic, electronic, mechanical, including recording, taping and information storage and retrieval systems—without prior written permission and license from the Core Knowledge Foundation. Requests for permission and license should be directed to:
Core Knowledge Foundation 801 East High Street Charlottesville, VA 22902 telephone: (434) 977-7550 fax: (434) 977-0021 e-mail: [email protected] home page: www.coreknowledge.org
“Core Knowledge” is a trademark of the Core Knowledge Foundation.

Contents

A Letter from the Founder ............................................................................................ i Preface
What's New in the 2010 Edition? ................................................................................ ii What Support is Available for Implementation of Core Knowledge ............................. v
Introduction What is the Core Knowledge Sequence? .................................................................... vi Teaching the Core Knowledge Sequence .................................................................... vi The Sequence as the Core of the Curriculum .............................................................. vi The Consensus Behind the Core Knowledge Sequence .............................................. vii Equal Access to Knowledge Promotes Excellence and Fairness ..................................viii Multiculturalism in the Sequence ...............................................................................viii The Arts in the Curriculum ......................................................................................... viii Core Knowledge Schools ........................................................................................... ix Resources for Teaching the Core Knowledge Sequence ............................................. ix
Preschool Please flip this publication over to view the Preschool Sequence.
Kindergarten Overview of Topics ....................................................................................................... 2 Language Arts .............................................................................................................. 3 World History and Geography ..................................................................................... 12 American History and Geography ................................................................................13 Visual Arts ....................................................................................................................15 Music ...........................................................................................................................16 Mathematics ................................................................................................................18 Science .........................................................................................................................20
Grade 1 Overview of Topics .......................................................................................................24 Language Arts ..............................................................................................................25 World History and Geography ..................................................................................... 35 American History and Geography ................................................................................37 Visual Arts ....................................................................................................................39 Music ...........................................................................................................................41 Mathematics ................................................................................................................43 Science .........................................................................................................................45
Grade 2 Overview of Topics .......................................................................................................50 Language Arts ..............................................................................................................51 World History and Geography ..................................................................................... 61 American History and Geography ................................................................................63 Visual Arts ....................................................................................................................66 Music ...........................................................................................................................68 Mathematics ................................................................................................................70 Science .........................................................................................................................73
Grade 3 Overview of Topics .......................................................................................................78 Language Arts ..............................................................................................................79 World History and Geography ..................................................................................... 83 American History and Geography ................................................................................85 Visual Arts ....................................................................................................................88 Music ...........................................................................................................................90 Mathematics ................................................................................................................92 Science .........................................................................................................................95
Grade 4 Overview of Topics .....................................................................................................100 Language Arts ............................................................................................................101

World History and Geography ....................................................................................105 American History and Geography ..............................................................................109 Visual Arts ..................................................................................................................112 Music .........................................................................................................................114 Mathematics ..............................................................................................................116 Science .......................................................................................................................119
Grade 5 Overview of Topics .................................................................................................... 124 Language Arts ........................................................................................................... 125 World History and Geography ................................................................................... 129 American History and Geography ..............................................................................133 Visual Arts ................................................................................................................. 136 Music .........................................................................................................................138 Mathematics ............................................................................................................. 140 Science ...................................................................................................................... 143
Grade 6 Overview of Topics .................................................................................................... 148 English .......................................................................................................................149 World History and Geography ................................................................................... 153 American History and Geography ..............................................................................158 Visual Arts ................................................................................................................. 160 Music .........................................................................................................................162 Mathematics ............................................................................................................. 164 Science ...................................................................................................................... 168
Grade 7 Overview of Topics .................................................................................................... 174 English .......................................................................................................................175 History and Geography ............................................................................................. 180 Visual Arts ................................................................................................................. 186 Music .........................................................................................................................188 Mathematics ..............................................................................................................190 Science .......................................................................................................................193
Grade 8 Overview of Topics .................................................................................................... 198 English .......................................................................................................................199 History and Geography ..............................................................................................204 Visual Arts ................................................................................................................. 210 Music .........................................................................................................................212 Mathematics ............................................................................................................. 214 Science ...................................................................................................................... 216
Appendix A Why Listening and Learning are Critical
to Reading Comprehension.............................................................................. 223 Appendix B Using Trade Books to Achieve College and Career Readiness: The Principles of Democracy............................................................................. 227 Appendix C Domains and Core Content Objectives for the Core Knowledge Language Arts Program, K–2................................................................................................... 240 Appendix D Core Knowledge Grade-by-Grade Resource Recommendations............................... 266
Core Knowledge at a Glance.................................................................................... 268

A Letter from the Founder

A Letter frTohme CthoereFKounnodweler dogfethSeeqCuoerencKenowledge Foundation, E. D. Hirsch, Jr.

March, 2010
Dear Friend of Core Knowledge,
The Board of Trustees of the Core Knowledge Foundation has long desired to make the Core Knowledge Sequence freely available for all non-commercial use. Frankly, what has held us back is simple economics. Even nonprofits need to pay bills, and the Sequence, our guide to the specific knowledge that forms the foundation of a sound, well-rounded education, has long been our biggest seller. Income from its sale allows us to break even so we can continue to advocate for a solid elementary curriculum and support a growing network of Core Knowledge schools.
While Core Knowledge is still worried about breaking even, times have changed. Today, more people recognize that a core curriculum is critical to significant educational improvement. Growing acceptance of our fundamental proposition is now being evidenced in the promising decision of several states to get behind a common core of K–12 standards in language arts and math. It would be contrary to our basic mission if we did not try to help this promising new effort prosper and succeed.
From its founding in 1986, Core Knowledge has worked to help teachers and parents understand that all of our most important goals in education—reading comprehension, language competence, and critical thinking—depend on broad knowledge, and cannot be successfully attained through language-arts instruction alone. To their credit, the authors of our emerging common core state standards understand this concept. However, standards alone are not sufficient to guarantee success. The effectiveness of the new language-arts standards will depend on the implementation of coherent, cumulative, and content-specific grade-by-grade curricula infused into language arts and the other subjects.
So the question has become not how can we give away our most valuable publication and foundational piece of intellectual property, but how can we not?
In the old sailing days you had to wait for the flood tide before setting forth, so you didn’t miss the tide. That, according to Shakespeare, was true for more than sea voyages:
There is a tide in the affairs of men, Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; Omitted, all the voyage of their life Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
Or as Will Rogers put it: “Even though you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there.”
For those of you who are old hands on this voyage, thank you for your support throughout the years. If you are new to Core Knowledge, welcome aboard. I have never been more optimistic about the prospect for deep, meaningful, and lasting change in our schools.
Sincerely,

E. D. Hirsch, Jr.
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Preface ii

Preface to the 2010 Edition of the
Core Knowledge Sequence
With the prospect that many states will soon embrace a common core of K–12 standards in language arts and math, the future of the American public education system has never looked brighter than right now.
We at the Core Knowledge Foundation fervently believe that our experience over the past twenty years in championing the use of a coherent, cumulative, content-specific curriculum in schools throughout the United States can be of significant value to states and school districts nationwide looking to take the next step forward at this historic moment. The integration of common core standards in language arts and math with a coherent, cumulative, and content rich curriculum holds enormous promise. The Core Knowledge Foundation stands ready to assist states, school districts, and individual schools in taking this step and it is for that very reason that we have decided to disseminate the Core Knowledge Sequence as widely as possible at no cost.
We offer then this updated, 2010 online version of the Core Knowledge Sequence. Our original mission—Excellence and Equity for All Children—and the simple, yet powerful underlying premise of Core Knowledge, that knowledge builds on knowledge, remain unchanged. Nearly all of our most important goals for education—greater reading comprehension, the ability to think critically and solve problems, even higher test scores—are a function of the depth and breadth of our knowledge. Although current events and technology are constantly changing, there is a body of lasting knowledge and skills that form the core of a strong Preschool through Grade 8 curriculum. Explicit identification of what children should learn at each grade level ensures a coherent approach to building knowledge across all grade levels, making efficient and effective use of instructional time. Every child should learn the fundamentals of science, basic principles of government, important events in history, essential elements of mathematics, widely acknowledged masterpieces of art and music from around the world, and stories and poems passed down from generation to generation.
Over the past 20 years, we have been able to refine and fine tune the implementation of Core Knowledge, thanks to the effort and feedback of thousands of teachers and schools who have put the Core Knowledge Sequence into practice in real classrooms with real students. We have attempted to reflect our increased wisdom with regard to effective implementation in this 2010 edition of the Sequence.
What’s New in the 2010 Edition?
We call your attention specifically to the following revisions.
• Preschool and K–8 Guidelines in a Single Document The Core Knowledge Sequence for grades 1–5 was first released in 1988. The addition of kindergarten and the middle school grades soon followed, resulting in a single document known as the Core Knowledge Sequence for K–8, which is now in its ninth printing. In 1997, the Foundation published the Core Knowledge Preschool Sequence as a separate document that offered a coherent approach to teaching 3- to 5-year olds the specific content and skills that lay the foundation for future learning. The Core Knowledge Preschool program has flourished in its own right since that time.
By combining the Preschool Sequence with the K–8 guidelines, the Foundation is reasserting its firm commitment to a fully coherent approach to education that we believe is most effective when started at the earliest possible age.
The two-page spread “Core Knowledge at a Glance” in this document graphically displays an overview of this coherence across the grade levels.

Preface
(continued)

• Explicit Integration of Content and Skills In the early years, in order to distinguish ourselves from other education reform efforts and approaches that focused on process over subject-specific content, we identified the Core Knowledge Sequence as a “set of content guidelines.” Core Knowledge and the Core Knowledge Foundation became synonymous with content among knowledgeable educators. However, as sometimes happens, some began to portray Core Knowledge as an “either/or” proposition, i.e., if you were using Core Knowledge, you were focused only on content, not skills. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. As successful Core Knowledge schools have always known, Core Knowledge is more accurately described as a “both/ and” proposition: effective Core Knowledge teachers know that both content and skills are essential; they embed the teaching of critical skills within the content they share with their students. The skill objectives are most effectively targeted when they are anchored to the content in the context of a domain of knowledge. To that end, you will notice that we are now explicitly referring to the Core Knowledge Sequence as “Content and Skill Guidelines” for preschool–grade 8.
• Increased Elaboration of the K–2 Language Arts Section of the Sequence After many years of hoping that commercial textbook publishers would heed the cognitive science findings and insights about the link between reading comprehension and background knowledge and create new instructional materials for the teaching of reading, the Core Knowledge Foundation made the decision five years ago to raise the funds necessary to develop its own set of language arts materials. To date, we have created and field-tested comprehensive materials for grades K–2 that represent a revolutionary new approach to language arts instruction.
While these materials, the Core Knowledge Language Arts (CKLA) program, are not yet available for widespread sale, we have included the CKLA goals and objectives for kindergarten–grade 2 in this 2010 edition of the Core Knowledge Sequence (see Appendix C, “Domains and Core Content Objectives for the Core Knowledge Language Arts Program, K–2”). These goals and objectives represent our best insights into what effective language arts instruction should encompass—a broader view of “language” within the language arts block, the coherent integration of rich content, i.e., nonfiction, within the language arts block, and explicit, systematic instruction in phonics. Each of these points is further elaborated below and on the following page because we believe they are critical to realizing the full potential of the Core Knowledge program.
See the Core Knowledge Language Arts Program on our website for more complete information.
• A Broader View of Language—Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing Shortly after a baby is born, an amazingly complex, interactive communication process begins between the infant and others in the child’s environment. Listening and speaking are the primary means of communication during the early years of a child’s development. It is important to understand that future reading and writing competencies are predicated on competencies in listening and speaking. Traditional language arts instruction has typically paid little attention to listening and speaking. This failure to focus on the development of oral language in language arts instruction is a serious oversight. The ability to read and write written language is highly correlated with students’ oral language proficiency and the ability to understand a text read aloud is a prerequisite for making sense of the same text in printed form. By listening to written text read aloud, children can experience the complexities of written language without expending cognitive energy on decoding. By then participating in rich, structured conversations with an adult following the read aloud, children are able to orally practice comparing, analyzing, and synthesizing ideas in written text in much the same way as they will be expected to do as independent readers in later grades. The decided advantage of this approach is that children are building these competencies in the
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Core Knowledge Sequence