Muddling through the blogosphere

October 21, 2013
by blogwalker

Benefits of Being a Connected Educator: CCSS Resources

I am a connected educator. Through dynamic networks such as Twitter, the National Writing Project, MERIT, and Google Certified Teachers, I can start every day with amazing new resources and thought-provoking, shared conversations on educational topics – such as the Common Core State Standards. Below are a few of my favorite CCSS-related links that have come my way over the past year:

    • Common Core and Ed Tech blog – In less than a year since going live with this blog, middle school teachers (and MERIT 2011 colleagues) Gene Tognetti and Karen Larson have had over 30,000 visitors to their site. It’s the inviting conversational tone and innovative mix of technology and CCSS that makes this blog such a valuable resource. I thought, for instance, that I was pretty familiar with the resources posted to the Buck Institute’s Project-Based Learning pages until I read Gene’s post Three easy to understand presentation rubrics from Because I’m fortunate to know both Gene and Karen personally, I know the CCEdTech blog will continue to be a resource that connected educators can contribute to and learn from.
    • Buck Institute of Education’s Rubrics – The BIE’s CCSS-aligned rubrics, such as the Presentation Rubric for PBL, help teachers guide students in making effective presentations in a PBL project and assess their performance. To keep up with all-things PBL, I recommend connecting with Suzie Boss via Twitter (@suzieboss) and  through @edutopia.
    • Teaching Channel –  With 117 videos to date focused on making the CCSS understandable to viewers by filming real teachers with real students, the Teaching Channel is an invaluable just-in-time resource. I welcome the regular email  updates from Sara Brown Wessling‘s listserv letting me know when new videos are available, such as the examples below that provide insights on different approaches to teaching “close reading.” A great teachers-teaching-teachers model!

It’s hard to imagine fully embracing/questioning/teaching the Common Core without my daily dose of connected educators’  mentoring and inspiration via a variety of social networks. My goal for the new school year is to share a monthly post with more CCSS resources. Please jump into the conversation if you have favorite CCSS resources and/or strategies to share.

August 12, 2011
by blogwalker

David Coleman on Teaching Reading

What the world needs most right now is wonderful questions about things worth reading. Things worth read and rereading that don’t avoid the text but bring kids into a deeper consideration of it.” David Coleman

David Coleman?  Although I’ve been visiting the Common Core State Standards site for over a year now, it was just this morning that I came across a link to New York State’s Bringing the Common Core Standards to Life. So I now know that David Coleman is a “leading author and architect of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).”

I scrolled down the menu of video clips uploaded from Coleman’s April 23 presentation and clicked on the Discussion for Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy and “Letter from the Birmingham Jail” Letter by Martin Luther King, Jr:

It took a few minutes for the clip to download – but it was worth it! Simply put, Coleman wants students to learn to think by analyzing what they’re reading. He also questions some popular pre-reading strategies, such as providing students with background information on a document by starting with a summary: “You would be stunned in curricular materials how often a text is trivially summarized before it begins. If this is all King had to offer were those conclusions, we should not do the work of reading the letter altogether.” Lots of food for thought! And I like that a transcript for each video is also available.

Heading back to the Bringing the Common Core Standards to Life in search of some more David Coleman gems…

June 18, 2010
by blogwalker

Common Core State Standards – What do you think?

Just started looking through the newly released Common Core State Standards. I like the fact that technology is integrated through writing – across the curriculum, rather than as a separate subject.

So what’s the downside of Common Core State Standards? I’ve read through Ben Boychuk’s  special to the Sac Bee and can see that:

The standards are billed as “voluntary,” but that’s a joke. The Obama administration has already announced plans to make $14 billion in federal Title I funds and another $15 billion in future Race to the Top grants contingent on states adopting the national standards. In short, the standards would be as “voluntary” as reporting personal income to the IRS regulating the drinking age or maintaining the speed limit. Just try to opt out and see what happens.”

But, unless I’m missing something, I don’t really see much difference between going with state standards as opposed to national standards.  Talk to any teacher  in California and he/she will tell you that the state content standards are fine – but there are just too many of them to be covered in a single school year.

So I’m in agreement with the Sac Bee’s Monday editorial –  Big step for level school standards – that “…certainly, after 13 years in place, California’s existing standards deserve a new look” and that the state commission should review the standards with two questions in mind: “Are they significantly better than what we’re using today? And how could they be improved?”

I am in support of some type of national road map for guiding districts, teachers, and parents on what students should know/be able to do by the end of elementary, middle, and high school – as long as the standards are not tied to a mandated set of federally-sanctioned lesson plans and/or an accompanying mandated testing requirement that would simply be a repackaging and re-promoting of the test-the-heck-out-of-students frenzy fostered by NCLB.

It would also be my hope that the connection to social studies and science via language arts would guarantee that ALL students are entitled to social studies and science, even students at sites that are “in program improvement.”

I’ll be joining the CCSS discussion on the NWP Leadership ning and will be looking for other venues and opinions on this important (and already contentious) topic.  What are your questions, concerns, resources? I hope you’ll jump in and share

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