Monday, September 19, 2011

Step 2 - Common Core Curriculum Standards in the Classroom

Step 2 of implementing Common Core Curriculum Learning Standards into the school culture is to have subject area meetings. In the subject area meetings, teachers had a chance to look and develop a mechanism that could be rolled out to all of the students. The first step was using the time designations that are currently used in high schools: marking periods. There are state assessments which occur in January and June of each year. There are 6 marking periods. There are 6 weeks in each marking period. There are finals given at the end of each marking period. The essential question: How do you get the students in your class to perform for the final for the marking period.

At first the cabinet and the teachers looked at the unit bundles. That provided very intensive discussions about how positively overwhelming the unit bundles were. It almost seemed like a torrential downpour of words. In the subject meetings the departments deconstructed the central elements of the sections within a unit. Using the Vygosky model, the assistant principals modeled how they would create a unit.

Click here to see a unit developed by Ms. Noreen Mullen, Assistant Principal ELA / ELL / FL / Science for Junior English AVID class.

Click here to see a daily lesson plan by Ms. Noreen Mullen, Assistant Principal from the unit for the Junior English AVID class.

Click here to see a unit developed by Mr. James Barbieri, Assistant Principal Social Studies / Career and Technical Education for History 1.

Once the teachers saw, heard, discussed and chewed on the elements of putting a unit together, they worked in teams of three to generate units.

As the teacher goes through a unit, they select the CCLS that align with the unit. They make sure the students get a copy of the updated unit contract. The students are required to sign off on it. The purpose is to reinforce the standards to be covered for the unit, the instructional objectives, the course requirements, and the school policies.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

George Tarr, McKee 2010 Graduate, Highlighted in The Daily News

George Tarr (pictured on the left) graduated from McKee in 2010. Click here to check out what George has been up to in the year since he graduated from Ralph R. McKee Career and Technical High School. The take away message for me is the perseverance, endurance and courage displayed by both families that are covered in the article.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Common Core Curriculum Standards: Step 1 is Professional Development

The McKee Community completed two intensive days of professional development. The key to successful professional development involves several steps. Here are just a few of those steps:

1. Brainstorming the end goal

2. Prioritizing the big ideas

3. Listening to strategies about how to impart those big ideas. For example: we listened to a consultant about what mechanism could be used by every teacher to ensure that Common Core Curriculum Learning Standards (CCCLS) was a common practice frequently referred to in every unit. The consultant was Alan Siegel. He shared a course requirement contract in which 5 standards were selected for the course. After presenting the course requirement contract to the McKee cabinet, they liked the central concept of making a course requirement contract a flexible, and living document.

4. Collaboration,

5. Discussion (sometimes heated, always respectful)

6. Creating templates; Revising the templates

7. Creating agendas. Revising Agendas

Day One, September 6, 2011, dealt with an overview of the Citywide Instructional Expectations. A powerpoint was shown along with activities based upon summer workshops presented by Jodi Siegel and Libby Gershansky from CFN 405. The teachers had a chance to chew on the central ideas, understand the basic principles of "backward planning", and comprehending the 4 standards that should be initially included in unit planning. To see resources used on September 6th PD, check out the school website: Click on THE TOOLS. Then click on September 6th PD.

For teachers to understand CCLS it required several steps. One was preparing packets in which a hard copy of the standards was prepared so that teachers could "stickie" and highlight key standards. Two was putting all resources in a folder on the school website: on "THE TOOLS" tab in the folder marked September 6th PD and September 7th PD.

Day Two, September 7, 2011, dealt with having subject area meetings and grade team meetings. Protocols were established. Teachers drafted unit contracts using CCLS. Information was relayed about the growth points for the grade teams based upon comments from the Spring 2011 Peer Review.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

"Twenty Tips for New Teachers'

Click here to see 20 useful tips for new teachers.

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