Sixth grade science is a survey course ... While covering so many topics means each student usually finds at least one unit they truly enjoy, it also makes cohesiveness challenging. To help make the varied units and projects tie together I use a three-pronged approach: make it relevant, make it about the students, and show progress. Here is an example of how I embodied this approach in a engineering design project.
With the shift to Common Core State Standards, there has been lots of talk of “close reading.” ... And how do you get a reluctant and struggling adolescent reader to read the same text more than once and pay close attention to the details? ... these go-to strategies have helped me enable my students, across grades 7-12, uncover the multiple meanings of text.
Using Graphic Organizers in Math to Increase Independence
... instead of a paper and pencil test, students would complete tasks modeled off the Next Generation Science Standards sample tasks. The goal was for the final to reflect students’ ability to do science rather than their ability to memorize facts and by using their science knowledge in various ways improve their understanding and retention of the facts.
Transitioning to the Common Core has pushed an old question back into the limelight: How do teachers ensure their unit planning is truly standards aligned? And how do instructional leaders evaluate if teachers have planned backwards from the new standards in order to effectively build curriculum that is based squarely in Common Core?
Corroboration, Conflicting Sources, and Competing Narratives
Common Cores, Accounting, Facts, Beekeeping, Common Core Math, Truths
We talk about foundations and scaffolds, but how can we build students’ vocabularies? How can we create a class culture that values curiosity and consciousness about new words? How can we raise students’ word consciousness?
Being an urban charter school principal is hard work. In my fourth year in the role, I’ve learned that days are unpredictable—sometimes you find yourself fishing clementines out of the boys bathroom toilet, or trying to coax a 10 year old girl back to class while she cries about the possibility of One Direction splitting up, and you wonder, like the Talking Heads, how did I get here?
Developing Systems to Encourage Reflection, Growth, and Mastery
The tracking system provides a concrete plan for all students to take their learning into their own hands and provides our class as a whole a common language with which to discuss progress. The tracking system I use today has gone through several iterations to reach its current format and usage; I’m sure moving forward the system will continue to evolve as I work to improve the efficiency and accuracy.