The March session of the Core Task implementation Project, for 3rd through 5th grade teachers, focused on academic vocabulary. Teachers, working with Basal Alignment Project lessons or close reads, reviewed two instructional moves to enhance these resources—Questions, Reasons, Examples and Making Choices.
Educators also reviewed a video from the www.teachingthecore.org project. The lesson demonstration focused on a rich and rigorous conversation for the text, A Game of Catch. These were viewed through the lens of the Instructional Practice Guides.
March CTiP PowerPoint for Grades 3-5
Teacher Reflection Notetaker
Staff at Caughlin Ranch Elementary learned more about the Core Knowledge curricular materials and about sites currently working with the resource. The session included some learning on why you would build a coherent body of knowledge followed by teachers hearing more about the context for why some classroom teachers initially gravitated to the resource. In fact, this is one of the little known facts about CK in Washoe. The first work around CK had no district sponsorship. Instead, it was classroom teachers who saw value in the materials and started sharing their successes with the district. In turn, the district started observing what was happening and this led to a more formal pilot at one elementary school.
You can download the session PowerPoint here.
Article 1: Impact of NCLB
Article 2: The 4th Grade Slump
Session 6 of the Core Task implementation Project featured three activities to strengthen Tier 1 instruction. The first was a blast from the past in which participants looked through elements of NELIP (remember that?) and noted which were addressed through the Core Knowledge Listening and Learning Strand. Educators also shared teacher and student artifacts to demonstrate how to scaffold children through rich curricular material and keep students engaged. The last activity had teachers working with the vocabulary activity, Making Choices (linked in the PowerPoint).
As with every CTiP, teachers viewed a videotaped lesson demonstration from a Washoe teacher. This time, educators watched Adrienne Bemus teach a lesson on the animals of the Sonoran Desert.
Session 6 PowerPoint
Teacher Reflection Form (updated 3.12.15)
At the March 13th IS training, educators were presented with “differentiated” session choices for future spring gatherings. The session options reflect current learning from the 2014-2015 academic year as well as a review of material from previous school years. If enough interest is expressed in a topic, content will be presented on the topic in the coming months. You can review the PowerPoint introducing the choices as well as look over the last slides that list vetted ELA material for the elementary grades.
Number 1: An overview of the Core Task implementation Project (CTiP) sessions this year with an opportunity to engage in the same work 200 teachers have. This would include learning from Lauren Resnick, Timothy Shanahan; Robert Pondiscio; and Lily Wong Fillmore.
Number 2: There are a number of resources that K-6 ELA is using to help classroom teachers shift instruction. The list includes BAP, RAP, Text Sets, In Common, Core Knowledge, nonfictionminute, close reading exemplars, Text Project and ReadWorks. This session would focus on the aforementioned resources, implementation ideas, and the learning that helps support their appropriate use.
Number 3: Text Complexity. A review of content shared during the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 school years with a close look at the research that informed the inclusion of reading standard 10 in the CCSS.
Number 4: Building a Coherent Body of Knowledge: Again, review from previous school years with discussions about video from Dr. Daniel Willingham, Dr. Timothy Shanahan, the ACT Report, Reading Between the Lines, and the MetaMetrics study on Lexile Measures.
The final session of the Literacy Unit Project finished with participants vetting the units before sharing them with members of C&I, RPDP and Striving Readers for final edits. The Literacy Units, which span grades 3rd through 5th, will be available in April. Each unit maps to enduring understands and essential questions that stretch across the grades. Moreover, each unit only includes vetted and free materials so that any educator can take full advantage.
Session 5 PowerPoint
Dr. Frederick Hess will be visiting Washoe County School District this Friday as part of the Leadership Institute of Nevada. If you don’t know Dr. Hess’ work, and if you are not attending the event, it might be worth watching the video presentations below.
In the this video for the Missouri Department of Education, Hess gives some context for why many of the reforms we are asked to implement in our classrooms often do not have the desired effects. At minute 5:37 he provides several specific examples including block scheduling, site-based management, comprehensive school reform, small high schools, and turn arounds. At minute 9:50, he outlines that some ideas are good but implementation is more challenging than we fully anticipate (e.g. differentiation). Consequently, sound ideas appear to be failures.
In a second presentation before the American Enterprise Institute, Hess asks the question, “Are American schools just not designed to succeed?” Hess makes his case that many of the challenges facing schools may seem intractable before sharing—at minute 10:25—two examples of solutions. These would include the Basis Schools in Arizona, and the Equity Project in New York.
Given that many of our district leaders and administrators will be hearing from Hess, might be worth opting into some of his content.