Thursday, April 30, 2015

Professional Development Opportunities in Your Area

Looking for a way to earn PDPs, engage in meaningful (and free) professional development with dinner provided? You may want to consider one of the Teach Plus, 5DP Core Collaborative courses being offered Tuesdays and Thursdays at Revere High School. These classes, which are open to all districts are teacher led, providing opportunities for professional collaboration.

Here are the details of the courses being offered:

Tuesdays 4:30-7:30 pm at Revere High School
May 5th, May 12th, May 19th, May 26th and June 2nd
  • Common Core in the Universally Designed Math Classroom (Grades 6-8)
Interested in ways to engage all learners in the Mathematics classroom? Join fellow teachers in collaborative study of Common Core Math Standards through a Universally Designed lens. In each session, you will work with fellow teachers on developing ways of incorporating manipulatives into your classroom while learning about the theory of Universal Design for Learning (UDL).
  • Understanding and Implementing Close Reads in Grades 3-5
Are your students struggling with understanding text? Are they not making significant gains in their reading and ELA tests? Close reading is a common core strategy that helps the reader dig deeper. In this course, you will learn what close reading is, develop rigorous text-based questions, how to implement close reads in your classroom through lessons and constructed responses that relate to the common core standards. You will walk away with multiple lessons at varying grade levels and ability levels, so all learners can access the text.
  • Using Models to Develop Conceptual Understandings in Math Grades 3-5
Are you interested in exploring multiple strategies for modeling Common Core mathematical concepts? In this course, you will collaboratively unpack major standards in grades 3-5 to deepen your understanding of the vertical progressions across grade levels, explore models and conceptual strategies for solving problems, and analyze and create student performance tasks to assess student learning.
  • Designing Rich and Complex Tasks in 6-12 ELA
We all want to help our students learn to transfer skills and achieve real-world tasks in autonomous ways, so why not learn how to design assessments that do just that? Join fellow teachers in a collaborative, inquiry-based environment to design engaging, authentic assessments aligned to the ELA CCSS. In this course, you will learn how to comprehensively unpack the standards and create assessments that mimic real-world tasks as well as align to the standards.

Thursdays 4:30-7:30 pm at Revere High School
May 7th, May 14th, May 21st, May 28th and June 11th
  • Anchor Theme Units and Common Core in Middle School ELA
Are you looking to strengthen your CCSS knowledge and increase students engagement? This course will allow you to increase your comfort with the Common Core by unpacking standards, exploring and creating close readings, and learning how to purposefully incorporate the Principals of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) into your lesson plans. You will collaborate with colleagues to develop CCSS-aligned Anchor Theme Units that weave the five ELA strands together by exposing students to a variety of high interest texts and engaging lessons.
  • Integrating Writing Instruction into Your Subject
Writing is meant to be read! Often times, final graded pieces go to their graves in dusty writing folders in the back of the classroom. This course will help teacher incorporate finished student writing into their curriculum to be used as fodder for other assignments. Goals include:  enlivening a classroom, emboldening students, and re-teaching and refreshing the Common Core standards.
  • Closing the Literacy Gap as We Raise the Bar to the Common Core Standards
How do we motivate students to read challenging texts will supporting their literacy growth? Common Core Standards for English Language Arts require students to engage with complex narrative and informational texts on a daily basis. This course will investigate how to teach students (Grades 1-5) to become stronger, grade level readers while also teaching to meet these higher standards. We will investigate student motivation, student time spent reading, text complexity, they use of assessment data to plan literacy instruction, close reading, and strategies to mediate complex text. This course will be a chance for teachers to gain knowledge about the Common Core Standards and consider how to incorporate new teaching techniques into current practice.
  • Scaffolding Instruction for All Students with a Focus on ELLs
With ELA shifts in the Common Core-text complexity, text evidence, and nonfiction text-students greatly benefit from consistent use of graphic organizers. Together, we will work with two visual comprehension strategy tools, top-down webs and two-column notes, to help our students comprehend higher-level concepts and to assist ELLs to work at a higher level while still building their academic vocabulary. Course topics to be covered include unpacking of the standards and the ELA shifts, review of sample lessons, and discussion of the top-down web and tow-column notes structures. Participants will collaborate to share ideas and create activities and scaffold lessons that they can  implement in the classroom the following day.
  • The Common Core and Elementary ELA
This course will support your alignment of student learning experiences to the CCSS. You will collaborate to evaluate and increase the level of rigor in your classroom by unpacking standards, creating rich questions, and tasks for reading and writing.
  • New MA STE Standard Success in the Middle School Classroom
Looking to collaborate with fellow science teachers on applications you can adopt for your own practice? We all want to help our students learn to question the world around them, but what skills do these new standards require our students to master? In this course, you will experience team and relationship building activities, unpack middle school science standards and create universally designed lessons that align with standards you can take back to your classroom.

To take advantage of this opportunity, click here to register.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

ESE Wants to Hear From You About PARCC

With the PARCC Performance Based Test a recent memory and the End of Year Assessment coming down the line, what better time to provide feedback on your experience thus far to the PARCC Team.  The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) will be holding a series of forums across the state to provide  public opportunities for educators, parents and educational stakeholders to comment on the PARCC test. Unable to attend one of these meetings? Do not fret. Those unable to attend can send their thoughts and experience to More information on the forum structure and details can be found here.

Each forum will begin with information on a variety of topics provided by educators from throughout the state. A list of topics and forum location and dates are listed below.
Tuesday, April 28, 2015, Fitchburg State University, Hammond Hall, 3pm

Topic: Test administration (non-technology) issues, including:
-Ease of administration of PARCC paper test compared to MCAS
-Use of timed tests
-Splitting test into two parts (PBA and EOY)
-Responsiveness of DESE and Pearson call centers
-Special accommodations

Monday, May 18, 2015, Bunker Hill Community College, A300 Auditorium, 4pm

Topic: Test administration – technology issues, including:
-Issues and problems with delivering the online test
·        -Studentsadjustment to online test
-Advantages/disadvantages of moving to an online platform
·        - District readiness for online tests

Wednesday, June 10, 2015, Bridgewater State University, Rondileau Campus Center Ballroom, 4pm

Topic: Test content – English language arts, including:
-Alignment of test content to curriculum frameworks
-Clarity of test items
-Grade appropriateness of test items
-Comparison of MCAS and PARCC test content

Monday, June 22, 2015, North Shore Community College – Lynn Campus, Gymnasium, 4pm
Topic: Test content – mathematics, including:
-Alignment of test content to curriculum frameworks
·         -Clarity of test items
·         -Grade appropriateness of test items
·         -Comparison of MCAS and PARCC test content

Tuesday, July 7, 2015, Springfield Technical Community College, Top of Our City Conference Center, 4pm

Topic: College/career readiness – high school tests, including:
          -Alignment with expected proficiency levels for credit-bearing college coursework
-Usefulness as a tool for college placement
-Relationship to competency determination

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Early Literacy Learning Opportunity

 Have you heard about the Focus on K2 curriculum currently showing positive results in the Boston Public School kindergarten classrooms? Its innovative philosophy of aligning the expectations within the Curriculum Frameworks through daily practices of curriculum integration, purposeful engagement, and authentic student empowerment throughout all learning opportunities is causing excitement among many educators.    If you are curious about what is happening in the field of early literacy, you should consider attending a free conference for kindergarten and first grade educators on May 15th. This conference is an opportunity to learn about Boston Public Schools approach to fostering early literacy in the kindergarten classroom. The Focus on K2 curriculum features learning environments designed for students to explore, research and communicate ideas and questions within carefully crafted units of study. Participants of the conference will learn more about the curriculum, framework, see examples and videos from the classroom. To learn more about the conference or to register visit the registration site.  

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Spring Convening Registration is Open

Spring Convening: Building Momentum, Sharing Success is a one day conference (same agenda and content will be presented May 27th and repeated on May 28th) held at the Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel and Conference Center, in Marlborough, Massachusetts. Districts are invited to send a team of 4 to attend this one day event with workshops focused on teacher leadership, district-determined measures, curriculum and instruction, to name a few.

Registration is now open—learn more about ESE’s Spring Convening: Building Momentum, Sharing Success. Learn more about how to register and read the session descriptions. Districts are encouraged to register early, as session preferences will be assigned in the order they are received. Please email with any questions.