Several items in yesterday’s ASCD SmartBrief (June 4, 2013) caught my eye. But the one that captured both my mind and my heart was the pdf available titled “Multiply Your Minutes” in a preview from Great Habits, Great Readers: A Practical Guide for K-4 Reading in the Light of Common Core by Paul Bambrick. My first read was while waiting for an appointment to meet with a curriculum coordinator. (With my iPad in hand, I even shared some sections immediately.) My second read was to consider which co-workers would get an email link. My third read was after a co-worker commented on “I like the part about. . .”; I had to reread to find that “evidence.” I wanted to make sure that we both had a common understanding and that my enthusiasm had not been misplaced. Then I sent the link to another circle of co-workers. My morning drive to work was spent rehearsing a title for this blog entry that I just had to write. And then before I began writing, gasp! I read the pdf AGAIN!
Time is one of our most precious commodities in school. As a teacher and administrator, I was often cavalier when I would use the excuse, “I just don’t have time,” so I did not have to change what I was doing. It was a well-worn excuse! But in my role as a literacy specialist, I see time as a critical factor that with “better management” has the potential to lead to increased student learning. I find it incredibly hard to listen to conversations about how longer school days will improve learning when the day that we have just does not seem to always be used wisely. Is this important? Doug Fisher spends time on “Routines for the First 20 Days” and Daily 5 is all about the “routines” that need to be taught in order to allow students to become both independent and productive.
So what was so illuminating? The 3 pdf sections available for preview are perfect for end of year reflections as well as August resolutions to “Maximize Time!” and increase student learning! (and to “tide you over” until your book arrives!) Check out these three GEMS!
1. “Core Idea: You can’t add more hours to the week, but you can add more hours of instruction; just build tighter routines.”
2. “Core Idea: Time lost to systems is time lost for learning.”
3. And the amount of instructional time gained if transition time was reduced from 4.5 minutes to just 30 seconds because of explicit instruction and practice.
Ten school days! Wow! Have you timed your transitions lately? Maybe you are at 2.5 minutes. You could still gain five days in a year!
What routines do you teach your students in order to maximize your time? What routines SHOULD you teach?
What are you thinking of changing for next year?
Please add your ideas below!
“CCR.ELA Anchor Standard for Reading Informational Text #9 (K-12)
Analyze how two or more texts address themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.”
“CCR.ELA Anchor Standard for Writing #8 (K-12)
Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.”
When you are looking for resources, how do you determine which resources are relevant, accurate, and appropriate? (And by extension, how do you “teach” those skills to your students?)
Just because the label says “Common Core,” it doesn’t mean that it really is the Common Core. How do you know? Check for the icon that represents Common Core. Check reputable sources. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! Be careful out there!
In the beginning, consider these primary sources:
- Common Core State Standards Initiative This is the official site for the CCSSI, featuring information about the standards, news, resources, and answers to frequently asked questions.
- National Governors Association The NGA played a major role in the development of Common Core, so their website is a great place to look for answers about the standards.
- Council of Chief State School Officers The other major group behind Common Core is the CCSSO, an organization you can learn more about by visiting their site.
Possible Secondary Sources from ASCD:
- Common Core Webinars – ASCD is working on new webinars on Common Core, but educators can take a look at their archived resources from earlier this year in the meantime.
- ASCD Resources – Common Core resources
- Educore – Free resource from ASCD with sponsorship from Bill and Melinda Gates
- Common Core Adoptions by State – The ASCD website offers up information on which states are adopting Common Core, along with links to each Common Core state website.
10 Additional Resources to Consider
To find out more about what Common Core will mean for your teachers and students, follow these links. (How will you decide which ones meet your needs?)
- The Common Core Standards in kid-friendly terms (handy if you need to post standards or “I can” statements) In English and Spanish from our friends in California.
- Common Core Standards App: This iPhone application (it is also available for Android) lets teachers keep essential information about Common Core at their fingertips.
- The Teaching Channel – 100 videos about the Common Core Many are excellent and range from broad topics to specific lesson plans based on standards.
- P21 Toolkit for the Common Core – A Guide for Aligning the CCSS with the Framework for 21st Century Skills is available here.
- achieve.org – Additional resources for implementation of the Common Core.
- CCSSI Wiki: One simple way to learn more about the CCSSI is to visit the program’s Wikipedia page, which is packed with useful information on the subject.
- Common Core Workbook: Use this workbook from Achieve and the U.S. Education Delivery Institute to help guide the Common Core implementation process at your school.
- Bi-Weekly Newsletter from the Chief Council of Officers Useful information about all things Common Core and includes a free tool to evaluate CCSS text (registration required).
- Common Core State Standards for School Leaders A Scoop.it! site that is filled with resources compiled from around the web.
- CommonCore.org: Here you’ll find an organization dedicated to ensuring that the Common Core is about more than just reading and math, instead promoting a well-rounded education that includes reading literature, studying culture, and engaging with the arts.
The promise of increased student learning through the implementation of the Common Core Standards will depend upon the decisions that you make about the resources that you consult on a regular basis.
Is the most reliable and valid information available from a Google search?
What other resources do you use for your information about the Common Core?
Please comment below if you have additional resources that you believe I should add!