Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Upping the Ante this School Year

There is something different in the air. It is that time of year, when educators glance at their calendar and have a slight panic attack, “How are we already more half way through August?!?!” A new school year is creeping closer. Regardless of our innate desire to hang onto summer, the thought of lessons and teaching cannot help but invade our thoughts.

Many blogs and websites have already jumped into the new school year feet first, by providing resources and information on how teachers can use last year’s reflections to prepare and adjust their teaching for the upcoming school year. Below are a few helpful articles and multi-media videos to lessen the overwhelming feelings of classroom preparation, class list details and lesson planning overload.

The Teaching Channel recently partnered with to create a set of three videos focused on strengthening classroom instructional plans to the common core. This resource is separated into three videos (Strengthening Lessons for the Common Core, Peer Review in Action – Math and Peer Review in Action - ELA ) all created with the goal of aiding teachers in evaluating their lessons through a common core lens using the EQuIP rubric.  In addition to the video resources, this site provides the EQuIP Rubric for educators to assess their existing lessons. This tool could be a great activity to bring to a PLC or Common Planning Time to reflect and think about enhance teaching practice in correlation to the implementation of the 2011 Massachusetts Frameworks.

Another resource I came across was an article written by Lauren Davis, Senior Editor of Eye On Education, called “5 Things Every Teacher Should be Doing
to Meet the Common Core State Standards”
. What I appreciate about this article is the emphasis and reminder that educators are not scrapping what do, but rather enhancing their current practice with the Common Core shifts in mind. In this article, Davis examines and provides ideas on five different “shifts” in instruction for teachers to keep in the forefront through their instructional plans.

As you trudge through August, take it as an opportunity to set goals. Remember that the shift to the 2011 Massachusetts Frameworks is not negating all the wonderful instructional plans of the past. Rather a new year, with a stronger emphasis on the frameworks, offers new opportunities to challenge yourselves as educators.

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