Tag Archives: common core

ELA Live Binders: A Great Resource for You

Have you had an opportunity to check out the two live binders developed by the English Language Arts Section at NCDPI?  These binders were developed to support ELA teachers and administrators through varying levels of study and understanding.  The Self-Study Binder and the Resources Binder provide a great place to start your study of the Common Core State Standards for ELA or to increase your understanding of resources available to support your work at the classroom, school, and district level.

Here’s what you will find in each binder:

The Self Study LiveBinder of the ELA Common Core

The Self Study Binder can support you as you learn about the CCSS for ELA.

This LiveBinder is directed to those interested in learning about the English Language Arts Common Core State Standards and provides an overview as well as an in-depth, close reading of the standards. The range of tasks offers users an opportunity to determine their own specific needs and follow a path that is suited to their understanding and specific direction.

Each tab contains one lesson. Within each lesson, participants may engage in activities, review informative slides, read articles, and view videos. Each lesson culminates with a checklist of skills and learning objectives to provide users with an expectation or framework of understanding.

The lessons and resources have been taken from the professional development opportunities that have been offered across the state. The ELA team will continue to add to the binder and keep the links updated.

Though this could certainly be used by individuals, the ELA team strongly encourages users to use this resource within a PLC (Professional Learning Community) as discussion and interaction would certainly enrich the experience.

The Resources LiveBinder

The Resources Binder can support your PLC work and your Professional Development Plan.

This binder provides an organized collection of resources for the ELA Common Core State Standards. The ELA Section hopes this binder will help to inform your district’s professional development or add clarity to current initiatives. The ELA team will continue to update this binder as they learn of more resources that will assist educators in implementing these new standards.

Please direct questions to ncdpi.ela@gmail.com
The NCDPI ELA team wants to support you in your quest for clarification and deeper understanding of the ELA CCSS.

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Inquiry-Based Math Lessons

As I continue to work with middle and high school math teachers regarding the implementation of the Common Core State Standards, one of the most difficult concepts for many to grasp is “how” to use the flipped classroom design or structure lessons that are inquiry-based, project-based, or problem-based.

As I have said before, very few teachers in the classroom today have experienced inquiry-based mathematics instruction — not as students, not as prospective teachers, and not as classroom teachers. Teachers have said to me, “I want to do this, but I don’t know how. If someone can just show me how, then I will do it.”

Today, I had the opportunity to work with Cheryl Rhea, an exceptional math teacher from Hickory High School, who shared these two videos on inquiry-based math instruction she found on the Teaching Channel. I think they provide a good source to start some initial conversations about how math instruction needs to look and about how we get from where we are now to where we need to go.

Using Stations to Explore Algebra Expressions

How Many Peas Fill the Classroom

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Making Sense of Integrating Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects

Helping teachers and administrators understand the meaning of "literacy" is an important first step.

I don’t really understand why there has always been this push back from teachers who think that teaching and reinforcing literacy skills are the responsibilities of the English teacher.  I never took at science, social studies, art, or technical course that did not include reading, writing, speaking, listening, presenting, and communicating with others.

Occasionally, teachers in these courses did as well or better at teaching literacy skills than did my English and Language Arts teachers.  I think one of the biggest barriers is that not all teachers have a true understanding by what is meant by “literacy instruction.”

All students deserve quality literacy instruction. Good teachers include literacy instruction instinctively throughout each lesson regardless of their content.

When I worked as a Curriculum Specialist, one of my greatest joys was mentoring young teachers, observing them, and providing clear, specific feedback on their instruction.  I worked with some outstanding teachers who were just starting their careers.  One thing the strongest and most effective teachers had in common, regardless of their content-area or grade level, was that they intuitively and purposefully created learning opportunities for students in which literacy strategies were embedded throughout each class period, each lesson, and each unit.

So, what does this mean to non-ELA teachers?

I challenge you to take a look at the bullets below no matter the subject you teach and decide which bullets are important for students in your class.

The Common Core State Standards define students who are College and Career Ready in Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening, and Language as those who have the following attributes:

1.  They demonstrate independence.

  • Comprehend and evaluate complex texts across a range of types and disciplines without significant scaffolding
  • Construct effective arguments
  • Convey intricate or multifaceted information
  • Independently discern a speaker’s key points
  • Build on others’ ideas
  • Request clarification, articulate their own ideas, ask relevant questions, and become self-directed learners
  • Seek out and use resources to assist them
  • Demonstrate command of the English language
  • Acquire and use a wide range of vocabulary

Image courtesy of Discoveryschool.com

2.  They build strong content knowledge.

  • Establish a base of knowledge across a wide range of subject matter by engaging with works of quality and substance
  • Become proficient in new areas through research and study
  • Read purposefully and listen attentively to gain general knowledge and discipline-specific expertise
  • Refine and share their knowledge through writing and speaking

3.  They respond to the varying demands of audience, task, purpose, and discipline. 

  • Adapt their communication in relation to audience, task, purpose, and discipline
  • Set and adjust purpose for reading, writing, speaking, listening and language use as warranted by the task
  • Appreciate nuances – such as how the composition of an audience should affect tone when speaking and how connotations of words affect meaning
  • Understand that different disciplines call for different types of evidence — i.e. documentary evidence in history and experimental evidence in science.

4.  They comprehend as well as critique.

  • Engaged and open-minded
  • Discerning readers and listeners
  • Work diligently to understand precisely what an author or speaker is saying
  • Question an author’s or speaker’s assumptions and premises
  • Assess the veracity of claims and soundness of reasoning

Valuing evidence as well as using technology and digital media strategically and effectively are skills our 21st century students must master to be prepared for college and the workforce.

5.  They value evidence.

  • Cite evidence when offering an oral or written interpretation
  • Use relevant evidence when supporting their own points in writing and speaking
  • Make their reasoning clear to the reader or listener
  • Evaluate others’ use of evidence constructively

6.  They use technology and digital media strategically and capably.

  • Employ technology thoughtfully to enhance reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language use
  • Tailor their searches online to acquire useful information efficiently
  • Integrate what they learn using technology with what they learn offline
  • Are familiar with the strengths and limitations of various technological tools and mediums and can select and use those best suited to their communications goals

7.  They come to understand other perspectives and cultures. 

  • Appreciate that the 21st century classroom and workplace are settings in which people from often widely divergent cultures with diverse experiences and perspectives must learn and work together
  • Actively seek to understand other perspectives and cultures through reading and listening
  • Able to communicate effectively with people of varied backgrounds
  • Evaluate other points of view critically and constructively

This resource includes research, recommendations, vignettes, and professional development suggestions.

The Common Core State Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects were built on the premises that reading in the content area is critical to building knowledge and writing is a key means of asserting and defending claims, showing what students know about a subject, and conveying what they have experienced, thought, imagined, or felt.

When I read through the standards, I found that they provide a great reference to guide the classroom teacher in terms of what students should be doing with the content.  The standards provide an opportunity for the teacher to ensure that students are engaging with the content in meaningful ways that will help ensure that they are indeed college or career ready. We know that most college and workforce training programs require informational readings, and to ensure our students are well-prepared for college and the workforce, we ALL owe it to them to teach and support our students’ literacy development.

If you are looking for support as you begin to think about the role literacy plays in your planning, curriculum design, and daily instruction, check out these great resources.

Bringing Literacy Strategies into Content Instruction:  Developed by the Center on Instruction, “this document provides research-based guidance on academic literacy instruction in the content areas, specifically focusing on the effective use of text in content areas.”

Common Core for Social Studies Teachers!:  (Look for Episode 15)  ASCD’s Michael Fisher interviews  Bruce Leader, a 10th grade Global Studies teacher at Starpoint High School in Lockport, NY.  In this interview Bruce Leader discusses integrating the literacy standards for writing and reading from the Common Core into his professional practice.

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Computer-Based Assessments: The Future is Here!

If you want to see a teacher’s anxiety level rise, mention computer-based assessments.  There is a good reason for this!  Too often districts have administered online assessments without the proper infrastructure in place to support the initiative.  Firewalls, freeze ups, and other technical issues have frustrated teachers and sometimes brought students to tears.  Even though we have all experienced the “bumps in the road” associated with online assessments, much to the credit of most LEAs, plans have been developed and funding has been secured to begin the important work of preparing our schools for online assessments.

As part of the ACRE Reform Effort, NCDPI conducted research to determine each district’s readiness for the transition to online assessments.  The study measured readiness in terms of hardware, personnel, and connectivity.  (Access the findings here.)  This study provides specific readiness data for each district in our state.

However, just because we have current EOGs and EOCs that can be administered online, changes are on the way.  With the adoption of the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics and English Language Arts as well as the North Carolina Essential Standards, the face of curriculum, instruction, and assessment are in the midst of a shift to add rigor to prepare students for college and career readiness.

SMARTER Balanced Assessment is all the buzz right now as North Carolina has joined the SMARTER-Balanced Assessment Consortium that will be developing our new ELA and Mathematics computer-based assessments.  Catch a sneak peek of SMARTER-Balanced sample assessment items by clicking here.  Check out the five bullets under the heading:  Sample Assessment Items.

One thing you will notice about these items is that they are not multiple choice.  SMARTER items provide students opportunities to evaluate, analyze, synthesize, compare/contrast, and hypothesize.  SMARTER items are more clearly correlated to real-world problems and tasks students will be expected to perform in the college and work place.   Check out the benefits of SMARTER items…

If you have an interest in taking a look at the many different types of computer-based assessment item types out there, you won’t want to miss this interactive taxonomy resource.

Click on the table to visit the website.

I continue to believe that all of these changes are indicative that we are headed in the right direction.  We are providing our students with curricula, assessments, and resources that resonate with the world that they will inherit.  What better way to teach them how to build a better tomorrow than to give them every opportunity to use the tools available in a rigorous and meaningful way?

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Reaching Gifted Students

I, for one, think that North Carolina is on the right track for our gifted students.  For far too long, “proficiency” has reigned, while only recently has the emphasis on “student growth” become a center point for our state.  Unfortunately, for many gifted and over-achieving students, the emphasis on high-stakes testing and the push for proficiency has shifted the focus from all students to the students who are in danger of not making a level “3.”  Don’t get me wrong, I firmly stand on the fact that our charge as educators is to reach and teach ALL of our students with equal gusto.

Now, however, with the valuable and revealing data we gain from EVAAS in terms of both student growth and teacher effectiveness, we can paint a more accurate picture of how much our students are learning and growing each year.   Couple this data with our new Common Core State Standards and North Carolina Essential Standards, and we are beginning to develop a recipe for success.

The backward design of the Understanding by Design model by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe ensures that we begin with the end in mind.

As I work with school districts to develop their curriculum maps, pacing guides, and unit plans, I am seeing more emphasis than ever before on formative assessments, higher-order thinking, conceptual design, student choice, multiple criteria for success, and overarching essential questions.  Districts are pulling from research to make decisions that will affect instruction and student learning.

When I went back to school to work on my master’s in gifted at UNC-Charlotte under the tutelage of Dr. Brenda Romanoff, my experience changed my life, but most importantly, it changed my classroom.  I thought I was a good teacher and was told I was a good teacher, but when I learned about conceptual design, providing students with more ownership and choices, and depth over breadth, I became a much better teacher.  My program of study transformed my classroom.  Ironically, one of the most enlightening aspects of my education was learning that strategies and instructional methods that I was learning about to enhance the schooling experience for the gifted student were just as important, valuable, and effective for students who are not gifted.

I am so excited about the future of education in our state.  These curriculum changes are going to provide us all the opportunity to examine how we facilitate instruction and challenge us to take into account inquiry-based instruction, 21st century skills, and student readiness as we prepare out students to live in our exciting, stimulating, and ever-changing world.

Check out ASCD’s October 17 article on supporting gifted students by clicking here!

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Understanding the Standards

On August 26, 2011, NCDPI released the Understanding the Standards module.  This module provides an overview of the new standards, instructional support tools, and timeline.  After a brief overview, content-area teachers can complete specific module sections on the subject areas of their choice.  These content-specific sections provide clear examples of the major differences in the standards as well as the difference in student expectations.

Understanding the Standards lends itself to a blended approach of professional development.  The module provides interactive activities and questions best explored in small groups.

Access Understanding the Standards by using your NC Registration ID at https://center.ncsu.edu/nc.  Click “New Standards” and “Understanding the Standards.”  This module will help you get started in your journey to understand and implement the new Common Core State Standards and North Carolina Essential Standards.

If you have questions, please contact me!  heather.mullins@dpi.nc.gov

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Upcoming DPI Training Sessions for Region 7

NCDPI will be conducting a variety of training sessions at Northwest RESA for teachers, administrators, and other leaders in Region 7.

September 7:  Teacher Evaluation Process Professional Development: Support for Principals and Assistant Principals (Half Day — Choose Morning or Afternoon)

Audience:  Principals, Assistant Principals, and selected District-Level Administrators

The purpose of this meeting is to provide principals with a conceptual perspective of each of the NC Professional Teaching Standards.  Participants will explore how to:

  • Describe how the elements of a 21st Century classroom relate to the NCPTS.
  • Use data to distinguish among the ratings.
  • Organize the evaluation process and/or assume their role in the process.
  • Apply coaching strategies to help teachers grow in their effectiveness.

Register Here

September 12:  Math Common Core Support

Audience:  Maximum of 8 teachers/leaders per district responsible for professional development – K-2 (2), 3-5 (2), 6-8 (2), and 9-12 (2)

RESA Professional Development for Mathematics will focus on specific content from each of the 4 grade bands.  Content lessons will be modeled with participants being the students.  After debriefing the mathematics we will have participants examine the lesson structure used.  Connections will be made to Van de Walle’s Before, During, and After Lesson Plan.  Additional connections to the Common Core State Standards For Mathematical Practice, 21st Century Skills, New Teacher Evaluation Standards, Universal Design for Learning, Professional Learning Communities, English Language Learners, and Exceptional Children will be emphasized.

Register Here

September 13:  Process Support

Audience:  District/Charter PD Leadership Team Members (up to 13 participants)

This session will provide your Summer Institute Professional Development Leadership team with an opportunity to work on your professional development roll out plan.  Feel free to bring any or all members of your team that attended Summer Institute.  At minimum, bring your math folks to continue the work on your math Common Core State Standards roll out.

Register Here

September 28:  Teacher Effectiveness and New Accountability Model Meetings

Session will be 9-4 and will be presented by Leadership from DPI

November 16, March 21:  Repeat Sessions

The purpose of this meeting is to bring together groups of teachers and leaders to learn about the State’s educator effectiveness initiatives, as well as provide feedback on proposed policies; and to discuss the proposed new school accountability model, why we believe it will lead to better outcomes for students in North Carolina and gather feedback on the proposed model.

Audience:  Teacher Leaders and Administrators

Group Size:  50-60

Time:  9-4

No CEUs given for this workshop.

Register Here

October 25:  Phase II – Principals’ Training Implementing the Common Core State Standards and North Carolina Essential Standards

Audience: Principals

This training will provide site-based administrators with an broad overview of the Common Core State Standards and North Carolina Essential Standards.  Principals will also have an opportunity to engage in formative assessment to determine how to support implementation in their schools.

Register Here

November 3:  District-Level and Charter Team Fidelity Check

To facilitate follow up sessions with local leadership teams that will gather information on their progress with their implementation plan as well as provide continued support for their district leaders.

Audience:  District/Charter PD Leadership Team Members (up to 6 participants)

The purposes of this session include establishing and maintaining consistent information regarding knowledge and expectations, promoting and facilitating cross-team collaboration and dialogue, and providing protected planning time for the leadership core of each LEA team.

Register Here

November 14:  ELA Common Core Support Session

Audience:  Maximum of 8 teachers/leaders per district responsible for professional development – K-2 (2), 3-5 (2), 6-8 (2), and 9-12 (2)

RESA Professional Development for English Language Arts will focus on the Six Shifts in ELA /Literacy in the Common Core State Standards.  Brief segments of videos explaining the shifts will be shared with time for group discussions of each shift. Consultants will follow-up with suggested resources, “Less is More: Teaching Literature with Short Texts” by Kimberly Hill Campbell and “Deeper Reading” by Kelly Gallagher.


Register Here

November 15:  Process Support Session

Audience:  District/Charter PD Leadership Team Members (up to 13 participants)

This session will provide your Summer Institute Professional Development Leadership team with an opportunity to work on your professional development roll out plan.  Feel free to bring any or all members of your team that attended Summer Institute.  At minimum, bring your math folks to continue the work on your ELA Common Core State Standards roll out.

Register Here

November 16:  (Repeat Session) Teacher Effectiveness / New Accountability Model Meetings

The purpose of this meeting is to bring together groups of teachers and leaders to learn about the State’s educator effectiveness initiatives, as well as provide feedback on proposed policies; and to discuss the proposed new school accountability model, why we believe it will lead to better outcomes for students in North Carolina and gather feedback on the proposed model.

Audience:  Teacher Leaders and Administrators

Group Size:  50-60

No CEUs given for this workshop.

Register Here

January 19: Science/Social Studies Professional Development Support Sessions

Audience:  Maximum number of teachers/leaders per district responsible for professional development TBA

Science:  RESA Professional Development for Science will focus on North Carolina’s Transition to the new NC Science Essential Standards. This training extends and builds upon the initial kick-off 2011 Summer Institutes.  The purpose of the follow-up training is to delve deeper into the Science Essential Standards by engaging in dialog and activities that will assist LEAs with refining and implementing their transition plan to the new Science Essential Standards.

 

Social Studies:  RESA Professional Development for Social Studies will focus on developing rigorous and engaging assessments and learning experiences to support the new Social Studies Essential Standards.  Participants should bring a copy of a unit that they have developed along with a computer with internet access.

Register Here

January 20: Process Support

Audience:  District/Charter PD Leadership Team Members (up to 13 participants)

This session will provide your Summer Institute Professional Development Leadership team with an opportunity to work on your professional development roll out plan.  Feel free to bring any or all members of your team that attended Summer Institute.  At minimum, bring your math folks to continue the work on your science/social studies North Carolina Essential Standards roll out.

Register Here

March 8:  Process Support

Audience:  District/Charter PD Leadership Team Members (up to 13 participants)

This session will provide your Summer Institute Professional Development Leadership team with an opportunity to work on your professional development roll out plan.  Feel free to bring any or all members of your team that attended Summer Institute.  At minimum, bring your math folks to continue the work on your K-12 Programs and Healthful Living North Carolina Essential Standards roll out.

Register Here

March 9:  K-12 Programs and Healthful Living Essential Standards Support Session

Audience:  Maximum number of teachers/leaders per district responsible for professional development TBA

RESA Professional Development for Arts Education will give Arts Education leaders continued training on the NC Arts Education Essential Standards, designed to provide more in-depth implementation strategies in preparation for full implementation of the standards in the 2012-13 school year.   The newest instructional tools, including graphic organizers that will assist with implementation of the common clarifying objectives that area aligned with social studies content, and other support tools will be used, and there will be opportunities for collaboration and sharing of implementation strategies and plans.

RESA Professional Development for World Language will focus on the sharing of information, resources, and activities that can be used locally to help educators teach and assess for proficiency in the classroom.  Research-based presentation materials, online training resources, and assessment tools will be discussed, and program-specific adaptations will be explored.

RESA Professional Development for ESL will provide an overview of WIDA’s Guiding Principles of Language Development which have guided the development of the 2012 edition of the WIDA English Language Development Standards. ESL will discuss the new elements added to the strands of model performance indicators and the changes in the Performance Definitions, and Speaking and Writing Rubrics. In addition, we will continue to show connections with the English Language Development Standards (ELD SCS) and the Common Core State Standards.

RESA Professional Development for Healthful Living will extend and build upon the initial kick-off 2011 Summer Institutes.  The physical education topics will include, but are not limited to motor skills, movement concepts, health related fitness.  Health topics will include nutrition, mental/emotional health, personal/consumer health, and interpersonal communications and relationships.

Register Here

March 14:  District-Level and Charter Team Fidelity Check

To facilitate follow up sessions with local leadership teams that will gather information on their progress with their implementation plan as well as provide continued support for their district leaders.

Audience:  District/Charter PD Leadership Team Members (up to 6 participants)

Register Here

March 21:  Teacher Effectiveness/New Accountability Model Meeting

The purpose of this meeting is to bring together groups of teachers and leaders to learn about the State’s educator effectiveness initiatives, as well as provide feedback on proposed policies; and to discuss the proposed new school accountability model, why we believe it will lead to better outcomes for students in North Carolina and gather feedback on the proposed model.

Audience:  Teacher Leaders and Administrators

Group Size:  50-60

No CEUs given for this workshop.

Register Here

May 2:  DSW Meeting for District/Charter RttT Leadership Team Members

Register Here

May 3: ELA and Math Common Core Support Session

Audience:  Maximum of 8 teachers/leaders per district responsible for professional development – K-2 (2), 3-5 (2), 6-8 (2), and 9-12 (2)

RESA Professional Development for English Language Arts will focus on the Six Shifts in ELA /Literacy in the Common Core State Standards.  Brief segments of videos explaining the shifts will be shared with time for group discussions of each shift. Consultants will follow-up with suggested resources, “Less is More: Teaching Literature with Short Texts” by Kimberly Hill Campbell and “Deeper Reading” by Kelly Gallagher.

RESA Professional Development for Mathematics will focus on specific content from each of the 4 grade bands.  Content lessons will be modeled with participants being the students.  After debriefing the mathematics we will have participants examine the lesson structure used.  Connections will be made to Van de Walle’s Before, During, and After Lesson Plan.  Additional connections to the Common Core State Standards For Mathematical Practice, 21st Century Skills, New Teacher Evaluation Standards, Universal Design for Learning, Professional Learning Communities, English Language Learners, and Exceptional Children will be emphasized.

Register Here

May 4:  Process Support Session

Audience:  District/Charter PD Leadership Team Members (up to 13 participants)

This session will provide your Summer Institute Professional Development Leadership team with an opportunity to work on your professional development roll out plan.  Feel free to bring any or all members of your team that attended Summer Institute.  At minimum, bring your math folks to continue the work on your ELA and math Common Core State Standards roll out.

Register Here

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