Introduction to English Language Arts with the Finch

To help teachers integrate the Finch into their classroom, we have compiled a webpage to show how the Finch can be used to meet the Common Core (CC) English Language Arts (ELA) Standards*. The CC ELA standards focus on anchor standards in reading, writing, speaking & listening, and language. We have placed each anchor standard into one of the following two categories:

Icon Category

A Finch project can meet this standard.

This standard may be difficult to meet with Finch projects.

The color of the icon for a given standard tells you the category for that standard. In addition, an explanation is given to indicate why we selected that category. Here we will describe each set of anchor standards in more detail.

Reading

While completing Finch projects, students will have the opportunity to work with informational texts that instruct them in programming the robot. They will have to read closely in order to interpret the technical language within those texts. To incorporate other types of text while using the Finch, activities can be supplemented with selections from our Suggested Reading list. Items on the list include informational texts about robots, narratives about making mistakes, and fairy tales that incorporate computer science. These texts can be helpful for creating cross-curricular connections and relating Finch activities to the broader fields of computer science and robotics. They may also emphasize “soft skills”  such as perseverance and how to accept and provide feedback effectively. 

Writing

Students can meet the CC ELA standards by creating a written summary of their project to defend the choices that they made while programming. They can also keep a journal to describe and reflect on the process of learning to work with the Finch and creating their own projects. These types of writing are more suited for standards that relate to informational texts. More generally, working with the Finch challenges students to be very precise in how they use and organize commands. This provides an excellent analogy for the importance of clarity and precision when writing.

Writing can be more directly integrated through projects in which the Finch acts out a story. This can be done in one of two ways. Students can read a story and write an abbreviated version, choosing the key details so that it is short enough to present to the class. Telling a Story gives an example of this type of project. Students can also write their own story. Write a Story for Finch gives an example of an original story that is acted out by the Finch. By completing these types of projects, students can meet standards which relate to the narrative style of writing.

Speaking & Listening

For many Finch projects, students will have the opportunity to work in pairs or groups. This provides an ideal setting for working on collaboration and informal communication. In addition, students may present their projects orally, either to the class or via video. This will enable students to practice communicating orally in a more formal manner. Students can also evaluate the presentations of other groups and provide constructive feedback.

Language

As described above, students can present their projects to one another using oral or video presentations. Students can also create a written summary of their project that defends their programming choices. The reading, speaking, and writing components of such a project are all aligned with different ELA standards in language.

* Common Core standards are the property of the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and Council of Chief State School Officers.