Monday, January 28, 2013

Post for the week of January 28, 2013

Post for the week of January 28, 2013

The DESE has recently made four Model Curriculum Units (MCUs) public. 

As part of the MCU project, teams of teachers from across the state have been working to create units at all grade levels in all subjects.  The Race to the Top districts will eventually have access to all one hundred units. 

There are four released units on the Web site, about halfway down the page, that are open to the public as prototypes or examples.

Even if you don't teach grade 3, it's really helpful to read the ELA unit over to see how the writers used the Understanding By Design (UBD) format to explain their ideas and how the lessons approach the new standards. 

To help myself understand them, I had to develop a working vocabulary of UBD terms that help me navigate the units.  See if you know the terms, or inspire your department to have a scavenger hunt!  Knowing these terms make the MCUs easier to understand and to teach.

1.      Stage 1
2.      Stage 2
3.      Stage 3
4.      Transfer
5.      Meaning
6.      Understandings
7.      Essential Questions
8.      Acquisition
9.      CEPA
10.  Evaluative Criteria
12.  Learning Events

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Post for the week of January 21, 2013

Post for the week of January 21, 2013 (the resource and lesson planning wing of NCTE) has a great collection of Martin Luther King lesson plans. Enjoy!

The Next Generation Science Standards in draft form are now open for public comment (until next week). Please send them to your science teacher friends for feedback.

I have been looking over the standards and am really impressed by the integration of literacy. For example, here is a 4th grade science standard:

4-LS1-a. Use simple models to describe that plants and animals have major internal and external structures, including organs, that support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.

The applicable ELA standards (the connecting ELA standards are shown at the bottom of every page) include the following:

RI.4.9 Integrate information from two texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably. (4-LS1-b)

SL.4.4 Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace. (4-LS1-a)

SL.4.5 Add audio recordings and visual displays to presentations when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or themes. (4-LS1-a), (4-LS1-c)
Seeing this nice marriage of content and literacy skills so closely connected really gives me hope for these new standards.  The CCSS and the NGSS have made many efforts to keep the outcomes connected, resulting in continuity for teachers and student learning.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Post for the week of January 14, 2013

Post for the week of January 14, 2013

Common Core implementation has created a rush to buy new materials.  Books and programs labeled "Common Core Aligned!" are flying off the shelves.

You may be lucky enough to have some money to spend on some new materials, but not everyone does.  Good news!  Sometimes you can use what you have, but it may have to be taught with different goals.  But first, you need to know what you already have.  Take inventory!

The advice for this week is to make sure you use your current literacy program(s) to the fullest.  Lots of programs have online components that have changed to accommodate CCSS.

For example, schools are looking for more resources on teaching more modes of writing: narrative, expository, and argument.  Go to your publisher's Web site and see if they're offering any new prompts, rubrics, or supplements.  The textbooks might not change, but the online materials could have great new units, lessons, and additions to help your students meet the Common Core.

Take a few extra minutes to analyze your current resources, and it could save you time and money.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Post for the week of January 7, 2013

Post for the week of January 7, 2013

The Common Core standards require us to change the way we do some of our work.  Many states, districts, and schools are re-writing or writing curriculum maps, units, and lessons to meet the new standards. 

But how do you know if your work is more Common Core "aligned"?  One helpful way is with the "tri-state rubric."  Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island have been working together to develop this checklist of requirements for new work.  MA has been using it in our work on the Model Curriculum Units. 

See this rubric on the EngageNY Web site.

It's helpful to me because it includes thinking about concepts such as the new text-complexity bands, content knowledge, close reading, text-dependent questions, media, writing in response to text, and other Common Core main ideas. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

PARCC 101 Presentation in Wakefield

PARCC 101 Presentation in Wakefield

Next Wednesday, January 9th, there will be a PARCC 101 presentation in Wakefield. 

This is a great opportunity to learn more about Common Core, PARCC, and the MCAS Transition!

PARCC 101: Updates on PARCC Resources for Implementing the MA Curriculum Frameworks
The Partnership for the Assessment of College and Careers (PARCC), and the Massachusetts Departments of Elementary and Secondary and Higher Education are supporting 24 P-16 educators as Massachusetts PARCC Educator Leader Fellows. Members of this group will discuss the 2012 revised edition of the PARCC Model Content Frameworks for ELA/Literacy and Mathematics, assessment prototypes, and their experiences as “ambassadors” for PARCC. Participants will discuss how to use the Model Content Frameworks, the standards in the Curriculum Frameworks for English Language Arts/Literacy and Mathematics, and other tools to create and evaluate curriculum units, lessons, and assessments.

Audience: This session is designed for K-12 and higher education faculty