Tuesday, June 25, 2013

I Can Common Core!

at 10:35 PM 2 comments
A few weeks ago I was looking for some help with Common Core standards and "unpacking" them for students. Our district has completed dropped the CASS for English and Math, and is working hard on getting us full engrossed in the new CCSS.

As I'm researching the Common Core standards, there are a few things to I need to remember to consider when borrowing ideas from other blogs, etc. The first is that, while the entire idea behind Common Core is that the entire (really, most of) the country will be using the same standards. In reality, this isn't true. I don't know about all the differences between states, but I do know that California added some parts, and didn't keep others - at least in English. Another big issue is that it's so new, especially in California, that it's hard to find someone who has a solid foundation in the Common Core standards and can give concise instruction, lessons, or help. Another thing I've been encountering is that the majority of teachers who blog and post instructional materials to share are in elementary education.

So. Back to my search. I found a wonderful idea on another blog. They had created lovely instructional materials for Common Core. Basically, they took the Common Core standards and "unpacked them" - they re-wrote them language their grade level can understand. They put them in "I can" statements, so that students could check off the standard/skill once they had mastered in.

I was super excited when I found this site. Until I realized that the site only had documents for Kindergarten through 5th grade.

So I decided to make my own!

Monday, June 24, 2013

CM Seminar Day 1

at 5:01 PM 0 comments
This week I am attending the Constructing Meaning 5-day Trainer of Trainers Seminar. That means, already having attended the 3-day Institute, I am now delving deeper in CM strategies, and will exit this week being a certified facilitator and (possibly) presenter for CM.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Pre- The Habits and Setting Up Frame

at 2:48 PM 0 comments
This morning I read the first chapter in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Coveny. The main ideas I took away from that first chapter are things that need to be taught before you start teaching the Habits to your students.

Firstly, they need to know what a Habit is. Luckily for me, we already had a team at school develop a lesson for that. Check!

Secondly, they need to know what a Paradigm is. I added this to my to-do list.

Third, they need to know what Principles are. I have few self-reflective quizzes from various places about learning styles, values, and principles, so I will incorporate these into the first month of school. Then I will use an idea from Mr. Richards' class and have students create their own personal Mind Maps. It will be their first assignment. Last year, I had the I Am Poem be their first assignment. The way I've laid out my first month of school, I think that will be the second assignment. Mind Maps are easier for students who aren't as good with words, such as visual and kinesthetic students.

Then I got excited about what else I could integrate with this, like stories from the Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul series, and needed to remind myself to slow down. So I picked up the best book ever given to me, and started at the beginning.

7 Habits

at 9:48 AM 0 comments
This year our new principal came in stressing The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens. Despite push back from the majority of the teacher, he continued to push this initiative. I admit, I wasn't completely on board. I felt that some of the Habits were too "high" for our students to get. Between seeing cute ideas on Pinterest, and actually seeing our students embrace some of the Habits, I'm more than willing to give it a full attempt next year, rather than the half-hearted attempted I did this year. Through our morning announcements (we have a TV show for announcements) they promoted all 7 Habits throughout the year. Now, I know that the majority of the students didn't learn all 7 just from that. I didn't even learn all 7 this school year. I focused mostly on the first three in class, specifically the first: Be Proactive. Surprisingly, it actually caught on.

By the end of the year, student's knew the first Habit, and how to show it. Students who came in whining about not having their work and not knowing could be silenced with a, "Well, I'm sorry you weren't being proactive." A mumbled, "Oh, yea..." resulted in a return to their seats to get back to work. When students came in announcing, "She gave me a U!" I would ask them to reword their sentence correctly. Students usually had to say the sentence again aloud as they looked for grammar mistakes, because I often corrected them on that, as well, but almost always figured out what I was looking for. If they didn't, their friends did. "Dude, YOU gave yourself a U."

So this summer I am going to delve more deeply into the Habits, for my own knowledge and understanding, and then scour the internet for ideas, lessons, printables, and posters to help utilize in the classroom.

B prepared for more 7 Habits posts soon!

Monday, June 3, 2013


at 10:38 AM 0 comments
Summertime is here, and it's still hard to believe. It just seems like a long weekend, still, and that I'll have to go back to work and see my kiddos again soon. It hasn't completely hit me yet that I'm done. I finished my first full year of teaching full-time. And I'm going back next year!


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