Special note: Please do not let the controversy over Common Core distract you in any way from our needed commitment to help students achieve one education goal not in dispute. Student achievement in all subjects is directly related to our students' ability to read, write, analyze, and think critically about non-fiction content. Students must become more literate in real-world information. These are the same skills needed to create life-long learners wherever students may go from high school. And developing these skills is easier than you might think.
This year, we pioneered the Reading Academy at the high school, which is a team of 12 students trained to coach other students through an anlysis of informational text. Fellow students bring non-finction reading and sit side-by-side with one of our coaches to produce notes, summaries, and graphic organizers as part of an analysis.
Picture this, as their fellow students arrive with reading assignments, the coaching team, independently and without direction, execute the following. They:
About us: We specialize in creating measurable classroom evidence of new standards and strategies. The most difficult part of implementing change is producing this formative evidence of teaching and learning. Focusing beyond lesson plans to adapting actual teaching materials, we ensure teachers are ready to enter the classroom, teach new standards and strategies (including Common Core), and measure results. Teachers create and analyze common formative assessments; the evidence of new teaching all learning communities need for frequent Plan-Teach-Revise learning cycles. Before lessons are taught, learning standards, teaching strategies, including students mastering informational text, need to take form in planning so they provide the real-time data required for ongoing improvement.
Distinctions between levels of planning are critical. In our standards-based system, we work in a logical sequence from standards and maps (Level 1) to units and lessons (Level 2), and finally to formative assessments and teaching materials (Level 3). The capacity to produce evidence of classroom results is determined in Level 3; however, this is where things usually go wrong due to a shortage of time for PD and planning. Level 3 is precisely where teachers achieve a confidence and readiness threshold for new teaching. Without quality, classroom-ready, formative assessments and teaching materials, lessons do not go well and Plan-Teach-Revise teacher learning cycles are impossible for PLC's. We have to use provem methods in innovative ways.
There are two pairs of two informational text "power" structures found in most informational text, which helps students at all grade levels immediately begin to think critically about the text: Pair 1: Decription-Compare/Contract, and Pair 2: Sequence-Cause/Effect. You'll see these at work in almost every paragraph.
Common Core Resources: CLOSE READING PLANNING AND TIPS. Note: We (K-12) have advanced analytical structures that are beyond resources available here. Call and I'll provide you tips you can use that day. (928-243-1927)
Time for teacher PD and planning is a problem. Our collaborative teacher training is designed to demonstrate ways to respond rapidly when adapting and aligning curriculum to meet urgent needs.
The capacity to implement the Common Core is the same capacity required to adapt and improve lesson plans and teaching to meet a variety of needs. We’ve refined a way to adapt actual teaching materials so learning teams produce results in the “hours” available. Using a streamlined version of Understanding by Design, teachers focus on ready-to-teach classroom materials that represent and support the desired change.
Regarding Common Core, or more importantly informational texts, we’ve used informational text structures since 2006 as a prism through which we design new classroom-ready materials; we naturally support literacy while choosing better ways to teach. We translate the “what” to teach into materials of practice that define “how” to teach it. Both levels of curriclulum alignment are addressed. Teachers feel ready. Brief cycles of improvement become possible. Teachers unite in a common purpose, language, and tools - they become learning teams.
"Thank you for making Common Core not scary!"
"This training has been intense but ultimately so valuable in giving me knowledge I need to successfully implement Common Core ELA standards into my CTE classroom! I have lesson plans, activities and resources that I can walk into my classroom and use NOW!"
"I have specific lesson plans that outline what I will be doing and what standards I am reaching. I have student handouts - graphic organizers - ready to be copied and handed out. I have teacher models to use for assessing what I want my students to "get"
"I am so excited to now have resources and an explanation of how to carry everything out. I now have a deeper understanding and a wealth of resources both from the presenter and participants. Thank you."
"They opened my eyes to a way the Common Core Standards can be embraced and not feared. They provided time to model, explain, and explore the program in relation to our needs."
"I am overjoyed with the strategies and resources I received to aide into the transition of the Common Core Standards."