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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

ELA Common Core Activities for Teachers

Looking for Common Core ELA Activities for your students? Visit my Pinterest page. This is where I list ALL of the CCSS and College Readiness Resources I find as I search the web for resources that will help me in developing activities for Stars Educational Consortium programs.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

First step to improving achievement at a low performing school

First steps in improving achievement at a low performing school, so that it becomes a 90/90/90 school is not to fire everybody all at once then create chaos when re-calling them back. Stirring up anger among teachers is definitely not the right way to start a school district on a path to success, that's the path to bitterness and resentment and who suffers the butt of this resentment...the kids of course.

The first step to improving academic achievement in low performing schools should be to put in place a teacher evaluation system that is fair, unbiased and accurate. Evaluation of teachers should be based on rather or not their students are improving on interim/benchmark assessments or getting worse. After all, the students are the number one reason why teachers are there. According to DPS assessment data, academic achievement has stayed the same or in many cases gotten worse. DPS has had the lowest test scores in the nation in recent years and it does not seem to be getting better, but I am hopeful that it will get better soon with the new leadership coming in.

In order to have a fair and accurate system of evaluating teachers based on student performance, students should be assessed weekly district wide using computer adaptive testing applications from company's such as Renaissance Learning and Plato Learning. These are two of the best that I have found. This will enable Principals to better monitor and get a clearer sense of rather or not students are improving and ultimately show teacher effectiveness. I know a lot of teachers (and students) complain about too much testing, but if you put a fun little spin to the testing then it's not as stressful for the kids or the teacher. First of all, don't call it a test, call it something like, Super Star Showtime! A time for students to show what they've learned and give them a star for completing the test, regardless of rather or not they got a high score. Maybe give gold stars only to those that have shown improvement and silver to all other students. You have to be creative. I don't like tests myself, so I feel their pain. But it is undeniable that consistent and organized assessing helps to monitor student progress. No matter what kind of goal you are trying to reach you have to stop an check yourself along the way just to make sure you're still on the right track and the same is true for our kids.

You'll notice that in every blog I post I usually refer back to the Common Core Lesson Plan Templates and it's more than simply to sell. I can not stress enough how helpful these are in keeping teachers on track as they prepare their students for the CCSS assessments coming in the 2013-2014 school year. Each lesson plan has the standards within drop down menus for a different strand and domain. The lesson plans a set up so that if your students are performing at only a 3rd grade level, but are actually in the 5th grade, then you would start by using a lesson plan that has the 3rd grade CCSS in the drop down menus and work your way up until students are ready to use the 5th grade CCSS lesson plans. The main objective is for teachers to raise the % of Students At or Above Grade Level with each lesson plan. The performance data would come from the weekly assessments. I would recommend that the lesson plan be handed in each week and attached to a printed classroom data analysis report generated by the chosen assessment program (i.e. Renaissance Learning or Plato Learning).

Monday, November 12, 2012

Dr. John Telford: Restoring and transforming the Detroit Public Scho...

It's about time someone stepped up!

Dr. John Telford: Restoring and transforming the Detroit Public Scho...:                                                     DETROIT PUBLIC SCHOOLS                             Off...

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Key Design Considerations of the High School Common Core Lesson Plan Templates

Because student's advancing through the grades are expected to meet each year's grade specific standards, the Common Core Lesson plan templates have been organized so that teachers can switch between the standards they are teaching at any given time. For example, as a teacher you can easily use your textbook and your own knowledge about Literature to help students meet the expectations in Literature. You can also use these lesson plan students to work collaboratively with teachers of other subjects.

To further explain how this works let's think of the popular book Holt McDougal American Literature Grade 11 and British Literature Grade 12. We can use the grade bands 11-12 in designing our curriculum because according to the CCSS teaching lessons using these bands allow flexibility in the way in which these are taught to students in both grades. The same is true for grades 9-10.

The Common Core Lesson Plan Templates for grades 11-12 contains all of the standards within drop down menus, the key to lesson planning to school districts is to match lessons/chapters from both of the books above to the corresponding standard on the template. Likewise, so does all other lesson plans for different grades and strands.

Teachers of other grades and subjects have their own set of standards that are included in the Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science & Technical Subjects Common Core Lesson Plan Templates. Using the same process, teachers from different subjects can work collaboratively to devise lessons using their own class textbooks and materials.

Key Ideas and Details

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.2 Determine two or more themes or central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to produce a complex account; provide an objective summary of the text.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.3 Analyze the impact of the author’s choices regarding how to develop and relate elements of a story or drama (e.g., where a story is set, how the action is ordered, how the characters are introduced and developed).

Craft and Structure

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including words with multiple meanings or language that is particularly fresh, engaging, or beautiful. (Include Shakespeare as well as other authors.)
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.5 Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure specific parts of a text (e.g., the choice of where to begin or end a story, the choice to provide a comedic or tragic resolution) contribute to its overall structure and meaning as well as its aesthetic impact.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.6 Analyze a case in which grasping a point of view requires distinguishing what is directly stated in a text from what is really meant (e.g., satire, sarcasm, irony, or understatement).

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.7 Analyze multiple interpretations of a story, drama, or poem (e.g., recorded or live production of a play or recorded novel or poetry), evaluating how each version interprets the source text. (Include at least one play by Shakespeare and one play by an American dramatist.)
  • (RL.11-12.8 not applicable to literature)
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.9 Demonstrate knowledge of eighteenth-, nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century foundational works of American literature, including how two or more texts from the same period treat similar themes or topics.

Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.10 By the end of grade 11, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, in the grades 11–CCR text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Stars Speech Master Program and the Common Core

I know I promised to share how we aligned our Speech Masters program to the Common Core without spending a dime on expensive textbooks and consultants. Click here and you will find our Course Syllabus for the Middle School Speech Masters Program which includes the standards addressed in our program. We used the Speaking & Listening Common Core Lesson Plan Template from the CD for 6th-8th grade and added in all of the weekly activities directly underneath the corresponding standards. The attached syllabus simply shows which standards we aligned our program to. Keep in mind that these standards are all in drop down menus within the Common Core Lesson Plan Templates themselves, so it was very easy to stay organized and focused as we matched our weekly activities with the corresponding CCSS.