Friday, May 22, 2015

Collaborating for Success with the Common Core book study

I have decided to do a personal book study of the book Collaborating for Success with the Common Core A Toolkit for Professional Learning Communities at Work.  In March, my administration took a team of teachers to the PLC Summit with the DuFours, Tim Kanold, and Doug Fisher.  It was life-changing and amazing. Here we are with Becky DuFour and Tim Kanold.

As a district, we've been calling ourselves Professional Learning Communities for about 5 years now, but we still have such a long way to go as a district, as a school and as grade level teams.  My administration is new (only been at our school for two years) and we have a lot of problems that need to be fixed/resolved before we can truly function as Professional Learning Communities.  I chose this book as one of many that I hope to read summer to help our team and school.
Each day, I hope to blog about one chapter's A-Ha moments and important ideas.  I know that no one really reads my blog. But, I am doing this more for me to get my thoughts down that for anyone to read it...

Chapter 1: Understanding the Common Core Standards
This chapter was a basic overview of the Common Core Standards. I feel very familiar with the Common Core standards for a couple of reasons: 1) For the previous 3 years in Kindergarten we've been using Common Core standards exclusively; 2) Because I sell on TpT, I feel that I need to have a good understanding of the standards so I can make items that are aligned well to those standards; 3) I am just weird like that.
This chapter also reinforced the idea of the 4 guiding questions which shape our planning:
1) What do we want our students to learn?
2) How will we know if our students are learning?
3) How will we respond if our students are learning?
4) How will we extend and enrich the learning for students who are already proficient?
These are not new questions to be- our lesson plan format is based on these 4 questions.  But, the interesting addition to this was question "2.5" as the authors called it- What effective practices will lead to student learning of essential skills and concepts, including 21st century skills?
This part hit home with me a little because, although I know these four questions, we don't really USE this four questions in our team meetings.  So, as we plan this summer I need to make sure that we focus on these 4 (or 5) questions.
The chapter went on to discuss the shifts in the Common Core and getting familiar with the structure of the standards- all things that we've done before as a school and district.
I look forward to reading and writing more tomorrow.

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