CCSS Instructional Practice Guide Coaching, Released

The Instructional Practice Guide: Coaching tool is for teachers, and those who support teachers, to build understanding and experience with Common Core State Standards (CCSS)-aligned instruction.

Designed as a developmental tool, the coaching tool can be used for collaboration, coaching, and reflection. It is intended for use in non-evaluative observation to facilitate instructional coaching conversations. The Shifts in instructional practice required by the CCSS provide the framing for the coaching tool. You can access the free resources here.

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Instructional Move 6: Four Corners

If you have taken part in a Core Task Project training, then you know we typically start with the Four Corners activity. The website does a nice job summarizing the move as follows:

A Four Corners Debate requires students to show their position on a specific statement (strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree) by standing in a particular corner of the room. This activity elicits the participation of all students by requiring everyone to take a position. By drawing out students’ opinions on a topic they are about to study, it can be a useful warm-up activity. By asking them to apply what they have learned when framing arguments, it can be an effective follow-through activity. Four Corners can also be used as a pre-writing activity to elicit arguments and evidence prior to essay writing.

7th grade teacher Melanie Thomas explains how she uses Four Corners as a means of formative assessment. At minute 2:40 in the video, you can see Thomas use Four Corners with her students.

Maria Worley explains Four Corners here.

The West Virginia Department of Education outlines the approach here and links to several resources.

You can download a Word document of the approach from the Center for Teaching and Learning here.

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Instructional Move 7: Quiz, Quiz, Trade

Quiz, Quiz, Trade is a learning strategy that that has students working with multiple partners to review key learning outcomes. The move allows for practice with a large problem set and for students to use each other to problem solve and coach.

Expeditionary Learning has posted a 4th grade example here.

High school teacher Brett Addis outlines the approach and narrates an example here.

Stefanie McKoy’s 3rd grade classroom demonstrates the move here.

You can read through the instructional move here

And Here are student directions in a PowerPoint.

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Instructional Move Number 8: Stand Up, Hand Up, Pair Up

In this move, student pair up with other students in the classroom to do two things: 1) share an academic problem they have been working on and 2) work on the problem their partner shares with them. Naturally, there are a number of advantages to this approach including the fact that when done well, teachers have set conditions for learning, which is an important part of Social Emotional Learning and a prerequisite to doing Common Core well. In the links below, you can see the move in action with teachers explaining how to set it up and why it promotes student learning.

6th grade teacher Amanda Hicks explains the approach and viewers can see it in action.

The directions are listed here.

And in this Kagan Training video, students work with the move for the first time.

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Instruction Move Number 9: Keep It Or Junk It

Two years ago I posted on a move titled, Keep It or Junk It. The approach has students identifying vocabulary from a text they feel is relevant to answering a focus question instead of the teacher prioritizing words for the students. In the video linked here 5th grade teacher Jennifer Brouhard describes the move and viewers are able to watch its application in Brouhard’s classroom.

Following the initial post in August of 2012, Dr. Pete Cobin shared his thoughts on Keep It or Junk It for English Learners:

There are two things in particular that I noticed.

  1. The emphasis on “What are you thinking? How do you use this information?” requires students to grapple with how to use language to express their ideas.  This leads students to struggle with how to be more informative, and challenges them to go beyond staying on firm ground where they feel comfortable.  The result is that students are using language that is rather complex, and the text serves as a model for how to use this more complex language.
  2. The “Keep It or Junk It” activity begins with learning vocabulary and extends to discussing and arguing how the vocabulary relates to the main ideas.  As a result, the amount of paragraph level oral language shown is quite high.  The progression of language functions–from identifying vocabulary, to repeating it, describing it, making an example with it, explaining it, arguing about it–forms a nice WIDA-like strand across the range of proficiency levels.

You can learn more about how other classroom teachers are using Keep It or Junk it in the links below.

5th Grade Students work with the question, Why Did the British settle in Jamestown and what happened as a result. You can view part 1 here and part 2 here.

Raye Wood blogs about using the strategy here. outlines the strategy here

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Instructional Move Number 10: Cold Call

“Cold Call” is outlined in Doug Lemov’s book Teach Like a Champion. The move involves calling on students whether they have their hands up or not. The technique has the advantages of keeping the pace of the class moving, increasing the number of students a teacher can call on and elevating the level of student engagement. To be clear, it is important to normalize the routine in your classroom so that the Cold Call does not become stressful. You can see the move in action and read more about it in the links below.

Doug Lemov annotates a teacher using the move here.

Kindergarten teacher Jennifer Shaffer explains the Cold Call and shows what it looks like in her classroom.

A 2nd grade example here.

You can read a thorough description of the Cold Call here.

Boyd County Public Schools summarizes all 49 Teach Like a Champion moves here, including the Cold Call.

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Instructional Moves to Help you with the Common Core

Over the course of the last three years, as teachers asked for assistance with the implementation of the Common Core State Standards, three questions consistently came up:

  1. What is the research that governs why we are being asked to shift instruction?
  2. What curricular resources will support our move to the CCSS? and
  3. What instructional moves are well matched to the CCSS?

The first two questions have answers littered throughout this blog as well as our parallel space,

Judging from the number of emails I’ve recently received, however, the how is not being adequately addressed. That is, teachers—you—want more lesson demonstrations and pedagogical moves that are well matched the expectations of the CCSS and/or creating the conditions for Common Core learning. Consequently, this blog will take the next few weeks to promote 10 lesson demonstrations for teachers interested in instructional techniques that allow access to the standards by attending to vetted moves to promote student learning. Further, the links will all be to free resources so any educator can take full advantage of what is listed.

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