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Why Teachers Should Read the ELPD Framework

I was recently asked by Larry Ferlazzo to answer this question for his blog: How can ESL teachers use the CCSS to teach their ELLs?

One of my six suggestions, which will be posted soon in Larry’s upcoming blog, is for ESL teachers to look at the Framework for English Language Proficiency Development Standards Corresponding to the Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards to get a better grasp of the language needed to bridge their ELLs’ success achieving the CCSS.

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Common Core Instruction, Like All Good Instruction, Is Not About Fish Tossing (Part 1)

Seems like everyone has “Common Core” stamped on their products and approaches these days, a bunch of it is great and a bunch of it is meh. The good news is that you get to decide just how to support your students in achieving the expectations of the standards (as I described in this post). I would like to suggest some considerations as you wade through instructional choices.

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Video as a Tool to Understand CCSS Mathematical Practices

As an instructional coach, I hear time and again: “Show me what it looks like. Let me see it, so I can understand it.” Tonight, I answered that request, specifically focusing on visual examples of perseverance. I began the session with a video of an elementary-school child working through a word problem. The video documented the student struggling with the problem – for almost two agonizing minutes. When he finally came up with his answer (the correct one, I might add), our teachers clapped and breathed an audible sigh of relief.

When I asked the teachers to reflect on why the student succeeded, the two most common answers were: “The teacher gave him the time he needed,” and “The teacher didn’t help him.” Indeed, the video drove home the teacher’s patience. As I watched it – and reflected on the audience’s responses – I thought about how often I’ve come to the aid of a struggling student. In those moments, I often find myself asking whether I’m actually keeping that student from developing the perseverance needed to solve the problem. Clearly, I’m not alone.

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Baseball and The Common Core: Lessons in Leveling Playing Fields

While writing about the Common Core keeps us very busy, we do find time occasionally to curl up on the couch and watch a movie with our families. One of Kim’s recent views was Moneyball starring Brad Pitt depicting Billy Beane, general manager of the Oakland Athletics in the 2002 playing season. In case you haven’t seen this movie, Billy Beane is left with the daunting task of rebuilding a winning team after his three best players signed with other teams. To add insult to injury, Beane has a mere $39 million to work with while other clubs in the Major Leagues have upwards of $120 million to spend on recruiting talent for their teams. From the start, it’s clear to Billy that he’s going to need to be resourceful because buying a winning team in traditional ways, isn’t an option.

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Common Core Comics

It’s hard to believe that November is knocking on the door and the school year is well underway. (If it wasn’t for Hurricane Sandy, I’d be thinking about elections, Thanksgiving, and yes… the Winter Holidays!) Of course, what my thoughts are constantly busy with are the buzzwords “Common Core” that are being chirped up and down every corridor in our school building.

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A Helpful Guide to Common Core-Related Acronyms (and some other FAQs)

Anybody drowning in alphabet soup? I swear the only people who can beat educators for acronym use are military folks. With that in mind, I thought I’d create a little resource her for some questions I see popping up every now and then at the Teaching the Core blog.
Let’s pwn some acronyms, shall we?

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Can we find Common Ground with the Common Core?

I have been hopeful that the new adoption of the Common Core State Standards might help us find some common ground. Unfortunately that is yet to be experienced.

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The Coming Storm for Common Standards: Public Knowledge?

It's taken more than two years for the Common Core State Standards to trickle down into schools and classrooms in a significant way. So it's no surprise, then, that a recent poll found that most people know nothing about the standards. But when public knowledge of the new guidelines becomes more widespread, what level of support will they have? That's where the poll offers some interesting tidbits.

The poll of 600 Pennsylvanians, conducted for the Pennsylvania Business Council Education Foundation, shows that 80 percent of those surveyed had heard, seen, or read nothing about the common standards. Of the 20 percent who knew about them, six in 10 said that what they had heard made them more inclined to support them, and three in 10 said they'd be less inclined to do so.

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Google Search and Common Core Standards

Most students think they know how to search Google, but most of them don't search as effectively as they could be searching. These lessons can help you help your students become better users of Google search.

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CCSS Math - no wonder students get confused!

Working on alignment of math learning targets with the CCSS. No wonder the students get confused...?

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Every Common Core Standard Related to Technology

I’ve had a LOT of traffic on a Google Document that I created last year while exploring the Common Core State Standards. At the time I created it I was looking for a way to impress upon the teachers in my district that technology standards are now for the first time being embedded within the content standards (at least here in Michigan). Previously, the technology standards were published by the state separately from the core content areas, which created a convenient excuse for many teachers to basically say “well, they aren’t my concern, because they aren’t in my standards.”

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Document: Implementing the Common Core State Standards: A Primer on "Close Reading of Text"

To assist teachers in understanding and employing the Common Core instructional emphasis on Close Reading in the classroom, this primer addresses the following key questions:

1) What is Close Reading of text, and what are its essential attributes? How, and for what purposes, should teachers employ this strategy?

2) What is the role of background knowledge in the development of reading comprehension, and when should teachers activate and/or provide background knowledge?

3) What should teachers and district leaders consider about Close Reading as they prepare to implement it in practice?

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Common Sense for the Common Core, Part 2

In part two of our webinar series, we looked at the assessments, released items and more to help teachers understand what the national assessments coming in 2014-15 for mathematics will look like.

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Common Core and ELLs

The blog will include updates from the ELL field about language proficiency standards, assessments, and professional development, as well as ELL considerations for other initiatives around the CCSS.

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Good Teaching is Good Teaching

Do you remember when teachers used chalkboards, when all students took PE wearing matching gym uniforms, and when boys and girls were divided into shop and home economics classes, respectively? I do. I was teaching back then. And with all of this teaching I have come to believe, deeply and completely, that no matter the tools, the content, the age group, or the demographic, good teaching is good teaching. Good teaching questions, engages, challenges, probes, models, guides and manages. Where there is good teaching, students will learn.

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Three-Minute Video Explaining the Common Core State Standards

This three-minute video explains how the Common Core State Standards will help students achieve at high levels and help them learn what they need to know to get to graduation and beyond.

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Project-Based Learning and Common Core Standards

There is an overriding reason that the Common Core State Standards will challenge our professional capability as educators: Teaching inquiry and skillful problem solving is not a simple change of strategy to, let's say, favoring one reading method over another. Instead, success relies on shifting a number of teaching practices simultaneously. When aligned, these practices act synergistically to activate a student's desire to learn, support growth over time, invite deeper engagement, and stimulate the reflective and critical faculties—often in a team-based, collective environment—that lead to superior solutions and analysis.

I call these shifts the six "moving parts" of PBL. They help meet the goals of the Common Core State Standards in the following ways:

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Do the Smarter Balanced released assessment items measure up?

In the world of standards-based and data-driven instruction, knowing precisely how the Common Core will be assessed is critical. After all, while standards help explain what students should know and be able to do, it’s the assessments that clarify how student mastery will be measured. And that information is critical to ensuring that what is taught in the classroom matches—in terms of both content and rigor—what is articulated in the standards and measured by the assessments.

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How to Design Open-Ended Assignments to Meet the Common Core

What exactly is an open-ended assignment? It doesn’t mean asking students a subjective question and accepting all of their random opinions. In Students Taking Charge: Inside the Learner-Active, Technology-Infused Classroom, Nancy Sulla gives a great example of what an open-ended assignment does and does not look like. First, she explains what an open-ended assignment is not.

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10 Mobile Learning Activities

Richard Byrne gave a short presentation at iPad Summit USA. The title of the presentation was 10 Mobile Learning Activities. He tied some Common Core standards into the activities. You can view the apps and standards in the slides of this presentation.

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Google Documents and Common Core Standards

Common Core standards that you can address while using Google Documents.

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Google Maps and Common Core

This week I had the opportunity to introduce some teachers to using Google Maps for more than just looking up directions. I was asked to address Common Core standards as a part of the workshop. These are some of the Common Core standards that I think you can address through the use of Google Maps.

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AFT to Host Event on Common Standards, ELLs

The American Federation of Teachers is set to host its second event in six months that will be focused on common-core implementation and what the new standards mean for English-language learners and the educators who work with them.

On Tuesday, Nov. 13, AFT will webcast a series of presentations on issues related to the new standards and ELLs from its Washington headquarters. The event—from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. EST—will feature two leaders from the Stanford University Understanding Language initiative, which is developing resources for common core and English-learners. Officials from the two, multistate testing consortia (the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consoritum and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC) will talk about how the needs of ELLs are being considered as the new common assessments are designed, which is a major area of interest and concern in the field.

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Mapping Media to the Common Core (Nov 2012)

(Presentation in Norman, Oklahoma on November 6, 2012) As 21st century educators, we should to provide opportunities for students to demonstrate mastery and understanding of the curriculum not only with text but also with images, audio, and video. Dr. Wesley Fryer will invite and inspire you to become a better multimedia communicator and a pioneer with digital media in this dynamic presentation. Learn how to “expand the map” of assessment options in your classroom to include student products like narrated slideshows, enhanced eBooks including recorded audio, five photo stories with images, and more. Learn practical ways to overcome the anxiety and fear which often accompanies technology integration proposals by creating personal media products. Learn how to enhance your digital resume as a professional educator with examples of your own media creations as well as students projects you facilitate. Links to student media examples as well as project storyboards/tools are available on maps.playingwithmedia.com.

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Common Core: 7 Recommendations for Effective Implementation

Conflicting reform efforts, poor communications, and "initiative fatigue" are among the factors presenting challenges to Common Core State Standards implementation. In order to overcome these potential barriers, states, districts, and schools need to take new approaches to professional development, technology adoption, and reform efforts, according to a new report released Thursday by ASCD.
The report, "Fulfilling the Promise of the Common Core State Standards: Moving from Adoption to Implementation to Sustainability," identified challenges and best practices for Common Core implementation and offered recommendations for easing the transition from state to common standards. It was funded through a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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