Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Opportunity to work on DDM Anchor Standards

Opportunity to work on DDM Anchor Standards

Please email me for more information!  aldick@doe.mass.edu

During the 2013-2014 school year, all Commonwealth districts will be selecting and piloting District-Determined Measures (DDMs). These measures are a critical component of the educator evaluation system in providing educators in all grades and subjects with data about their students' growth.  The goal is for districts to implement DDMs for teachers in all grades and subjects, including Comprehensive Health, World Languages, and the Arts, during the 2014-15 school year. At the end of the 2015-16 school year, districts will be expected to use the DDMs they selected to determine an Impact Rating for each educator. The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) is partnering with WestEd for the collection, evaluation and posting of assessments that districts may elect to use as DDMs in various grades, subjects, or courses.

The first step in this process is to convene panels of educators at face-to-face meetings to review and develop anchor standards for the state’s “non-tested” grades and subjects. These anchor standards will be at the foundation of the DDM selection process, as assessments aligned to the anchor standards will be eligible for designation as one of ESE’s exemplar DDMs. All meetings will be held in Massachusetts in June and July, 2013.

We now are actively recruiting panelists for these meetings.

Panelists for the first of four meetings will be confirmed by Tuesday, June 4, so please act promptly to nominate qualified colleagues or to indicate your own interest in participating. Those with instructional and curricular expertise - experienced teachers, content specialists, curriculum coordinators, and instructional coaches - will contribute essential skills and knowledge to the anchor standards development process. Panel participants will receive a $450 honorarium and have the opportunity to inform next steps in the implementation of the emerging Model System for Educator Evaluation.

Curriculum and Instruction Resources Now Available!

Curriculum and Instruction Resources Now Available!

Have you heard about the Race to the Top Model Curriculum Units? For those of you who have not yet investigated these units and for those of you who have, there are a key points we would like you to know about the project.

·         The units highlight the key shifts in the MA Curriculum Frameworks for English Language Arts and Mathematics that incorporate the Common Core State Standards. The History and Social Science (HSS) and Science and Technology/Engineering (STE) units are aligned to their corresponding standards.

·         The units can be used as exemplars or starting points for your own district curriculum unit development.

·         The Curriculum-Embedded Performance Assessments in the units can be used as one measure of student growth in the Educator Evaluation system.

·         There are four public Model Curriculum Units that you can use right now, one unit in each of the following content areas:  ELA, Math, HSS, and STE. These four units are available to all districts and can be found at: http://www.doe.mass.edu/candi/model/.

We invite you to review the units and ask that you consider coordinating your teachers’ using them in their curriculum, where appropriate. We’d love your feedback on these units as we prepare them for publication. Feedback from teachers that have taught the units can be sent to us through the following survey link: http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/1051605/Model-Curriculum-Units-Try-Out.

Please share this message to your curriculum coordinators and principals. If you have questions about these units or the Model Curriculum Project, please contact modelcurr@doe.mass.edu. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Post for the week of May 20, 2013

Post for the week of May 20, 2013

This week, we explore #6 on this document:

IN--Mainly evidence-based analyses.  OUT--Mainly writing without sources.

This one makes sense to me.  Common Core is all about students spending more time "in text."  The more you read and write about what you're reading, the better your reading and writing skills are for college and career. 

Writing an argument based on five sources or writing an analysis of a poem forces you to use what you've read to make an argument. 

In the past, many writing assignments didn't require students to read anything.  Thus, skills didn't build as quickly. 

I think that the AP exams are an excellent example of evidence-based analysis, and the released PARCC items are another good vision of how this will work. 

Consider adding writing to the texts you read and requiring students to use evidence. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

FREE Summer Arts PD

Please take this opportunity to sign up for this summer's free arts PD open to all districts (not just Race to the Top!).  Materials will be provided, and Westford is conveniently off 495!  Please let me know if you have any questions at aldick@doe.mass.edu.

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education


Professional Development Institute

Integrating the Arts across the Content Areas

July 17-18, 2013

9:00 – 3:30 (Registration 8:30)

Westford Regency, Westford, MA

Registration Deadline:  July 1, 2013


The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, in partnership with the Collaborative for Educational Services, is presenting a two-day institute on integrating dance, music, theater, visual arts, or creative writing into curriculum units for literacy or the humanities. 

District or school teams of 3 to 5 educators from grades PK to 12 may register for this Institute. All teams must include at least one school or district arts educator. The team may also include a teaching artist or an educator from a cultural institution that partners with the school or district.

Team members must bring with them a standards-based curriculum unit that they plan to implement during the 2013-2014 school year. Because the institute will consist of working sessions, the team should plan to bring a laptop computer or tablet loaded with a file of its unit in order to record ideas for enhancing the unit with the arts. Teams may bring a unit developed in their district or any of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Model Curriculum Units that have been released to Race to the Top districts or Literacy Partnership grant districts. All districts have access to four Model Curriculum Units posted at the Common Core State Standards Initiative website, www.doe.mass.edu/candi/commoncore.

The institute will be led by Lisa Donovan of the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and Louise Pascale of  Lesley University, authors of Integrating the Arts Across Content Areas, a book that makes connections between standards for the arts and the Common Core State Standards in ELA/Literacy and Mathematics. Each participant will receive a copy of the book.


For more information, contact:

Dorothy Earle, dearle@doe.mass.edu or

Lurline Muñoz-Bennett, lmunoz-bennett@doe.mass.edu

Monday, May 13, 2013

Post for the week of May 16, 2013

Post for the week of May 16, 2013

This week, we'll explore #5 on the What's in/What's out document.

#5 is about text-dependent questions vs. text-to-self questioning.  Common Core is all about students spending more time "in text." 

In the past, assessments related only tangentially to text:

This story is about courage.  Write an essay about courage in your life.

A student might be engaged by this question and even do a great job answering it, but he/she didn't need to read the text to write this essay.  In an effort to attract students to reading, we've put the text in the back seat.

Courage is one possible topic of this story.  What is the author saying about courage?  In your response, cite at least two quotes from the story.

The Common Core calls for "text-dependent questions."  This phrase means that the students need to reference the text to answer the questions.  Reading the text is not optional. 

Think of how much more closely students have to read to answer a text-dependent question.  They'll need to annotate and re-read; both are important keys to the Common Core.

Here's one resource on writing text-dependent questions for your students.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Post for the week of May 6, 2013

Post for the week of May 6, 2013

Happy teacher appreciation week!

Two things before I continue writing on the "What's in/What's out" document.

1.  I always keep my eye out for cool summer reading ideas.  Here's one.  A high school (ages 13-19) could easily do this for its summer reading program: free, online, informative, real-world and relevant reading.  It's nine weeks of reading and writing!

2.  Good idea for any English Department: before you go home for the summer, inventory the book closet, but do it in a new way.  Find the Lexile levels of all your books and see if they meet the new requirements.  If they don't measure up, consider moving the text to a more appropriate grade level.  If you can't move it, consider the rigor of the activities done with the text.  If you can encourage more difficult tasks, maybe the book can stay.

Now, back to what's in.  Number four is "coherent sequences of texts vs. collection of unrelated texts."  In the past, organization of texts could be haphazard--whatever is in the book closet, whatever is in the basal reader, whatever is in the textbook.  But students and teachers need structure to make sense of what they're reading and to make connections between the texts.  Consider grouping texts by theme, author, chronology or genre. 

PARCC suggests that for each quarter, there is one extended text (literary or informational) and some shorter related texts (5-9 for the younger grades and 3-5 for older students). 

So one idea is picking four major works for the year and then a handful of texts around those "anchor texts."  In one quarter, you could read one long play, three poems, and two short stories.  In another quarter, you could read one full-length information piece surrounded by three speeches and two critical essays.

Now is a great time to reconsider your curriculum and to make changes to impact student achievement.