Blogs About Reading
The Common Core Classroom
Emily Stewart, M.Ed.
Guest blogger Emily Stewart, M.Ed., is a third grade teacher at Murch Elementary, a public school in Washington, DC. During the 2012-2013 school year, Emily will be sharing the real-world strategies, challenges, and successes of implementing ELA Common Core standards in her classroom.
Sharpening your skills this summer and organizing them, too!
Last weekend I broke out my beach towel for the first time this year … it felt oh so incredible! I LOVE the smell of summer! Growing up in Southern California, I truly relish the summer sun, knowing that our two months off fly by. Every year, as I am taking down bulletin boards and filing my piles of papers away, I always have one thought: "this is the summer I will organize myself ahead of time, and plan like there's no tomorrow!" Anybody else have those thoughts (thumbs up)? I feel like organizing for the next year is two-fold. With the Common Core, sharpening my concept of what the shifts of the CCSS are and how they need to look to students is key. Also, organizing techniques and strategies for making sure content ideas are at my fingertips is a must. Here are some ways I challenge myself each summer to refine my teacher skills and organize my piles:
Sharpening Those Common Core Skills
Imagine it's the second week of summer break and you sit down and type "Common Core State Standards" into Google. A plethora of articles, curriculum units, boards on Pinterest and the latest curriculum to align pop up all over the place! It can easily leave you wanting to push that little "X" in the right hand corner, grab your flip-flops and enjoy the summer sun. So here I am, your Common Core Blogging Superwoman to save the day! I have narrowed down some of my favorite CCSS resources that will leave you searching less, and having more time for snowcones!
Achieve the Core
This site is from one of the top researchers who helped develop the Common Core Standards. This year I discovered some modules that helped me look at some of the shifts of the Common Core in ELA and Math. It also includes an in-depth look at how the standards are different from our previous state standards. Additionally, it includes tips for parents and the community on how they can support students as the CCSS rolls out at our schools.
** Just a thought … you can easily use this information to present at a Parent Education Night at your own school, teaching your parents and community how the CCSS will change instruction, and the thinking behind it! **
New York was one of the first states to publish online information about the CCSS shifts as well as professional development support. Many teachers are familiar with their site. I also like the videos featuring David Coleman, one of the writers of the Common Core. His ideas about how the Common Core looks give me a new perspective and is really challenging me in how I am looking at refining instruction in my own classroom.
Enough said. ASCD is one of the leading researchers and publishers of educational journals. Their writing is forward thinking, thoughtful and purpose-driven. My mom pointed me towards their journals at the beginning of my career, and I never looked back. Here you will find various resources and articles to read poolside!
Have you discovered Live Binders? I know that as teachers, having tangible file folders at our fingertips is ingrained in us, similar to the need for having endless amounts of post-its and sharpies on hand. However, Live Binders is SUCH a great resource for organizing your files online! I adore using Pinterest, but it doesn't organize your resources within a board, and I am not really a fan of having a zillion boards on everything under the sun. Scanning documents or saving those ideas from Pinterest to "the cloud" can really help you stay sane and remember all of the different resources you've collected over the summer. You can share documents, too, for that nifty collaboration thing our administrators are always talking about!
** Just a thought … if you have been moved to a new grade level, or are seeking a new position out of the classroom, Live Binders would help you organize your files online, so you don't have to store specific grade level materials, or teaching files that you just can't bear to throw away! **
Formative Assessments, organized by Common Core standards, at my fingertips? YES, PLEASE! Mastery Connect has premade formative assessments to help you with your lesson planning. Pre-testing, as you well know, helps to guide our instruction and differentiate instruction for our kiddos. On the Mastery Connect website, you can upload all of your students and track their data, too — which would be a great resource for re-teaching, parent conferences, and speaking to specific standards and skills on report card comments.
We know our kiddos need to stay motivated and sharp over the summer, so why shouldn't we?!? Take some time by the pool to sharpen your skills and organize all of your brilliant ideas, so your life might be just a tad bit easier next year. Happy planning!