Remembering the plot of a short story is no longer good enough in teacher Amy Lawson's fifth-grade classroom.
Today's students are being asked to think more critically. For example, what might a character say in an email to a friend?
"It's hard. But you can handle this," Lawson tells them.
Welcome to a classroom using the Common Core State Standards, one of the most politicized and misunderstood changes in education for students and their teachers in kindergarten through high school.
In 45 states and the District of Columbia, Lawson and other teachers are starting to use the standards to guide what skills students learn and when.
To hear the standards' critics — mainly tea party-aligned conservatives, but also some parents and teachers — tell it, there are few things more dangerous happening in the country.
But in this fast-growing community in northern Delaware, it's just another day in the classroom.