Monday, August 3, 2015

ELA/ELD Performance Tasks: Connections to Instructional Shifts for ELA and ELD

Click HERE to access today's presentation slides

See my previous presentation on "productive work groups" for more resources. 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Moving on to a Bigger Space and Let the Summer Begin!

Most of my posts are about Common Core resources and presentations that I lead for teachers, but one of my goals this summer and upcoming year is to blog more about personal and classroom experiences. I want to be able to demonstrate what the CCSS look like in my classroom.
So here is a rewind on the school year, 
this was my second grade classroom at the beginning of the school year:
It was a tiny classroom and I always felt so cramped in there. So when a bigger classroom opened up at the end of this school year, I jumped at the opportunity to move to a bigger room. I spent a week boxing a getting rid of stuff that I haven’t used in a while. If you are a teacher, then you know the amount of unnecessary things we collect. I found myself with Q-tips, cotton balls, and more googly eyes anyone can imagine. I have a problem… I confess to buying these things and then forgetting that I did, and buy more. Hence, another one of my goals this upcoming year is to be better organized with all my arts and crafts items and not to hoard as many things.
It has been a momentous year of professional and personal growth and changes. Moving appears to be the theme of the year. Last year, we moved into a bigger home and did a huge remodel on our home. We had remodeled our previous home in stages, but this time around we decided to do it all before we moved in. It was quite the adventure and task! There isn’t an inch of the house we didn’t touch. We gutted the bathrooms, kitchen, floors, rooms, molding… really, everything was transformed and renovated into what I call my new sanctuary. I love remodeling and designing, I think if I hadn’t been a teacher, architecture and design would have been second interest.
Here are a few pics of the remodel:

This is my son, helping mud the kitchen walls:
These are some pics of the bathroom remodel, garage and kitchen:

I also finished my fifteen year teaching! It was quite a year! This summer, I am looking forward to the first ever, California Teachers Summit. On Friday, July 31, 2015, more than 20,000 California teachers will gather at 33 locations across the state for Better Together: California Teachers Summit, an opportunity to connect with other teachers, share what’s working in classrooms throughout the state and learn cutting-edge strategies to implement the California Standards, including the Common Core. The program will include nationally renowned speakers; educational presentations titled “EdTalks,” and facilitated discussions led by teachers and for teachers. You will walk away with access to resources and concrete tools you can immediately use in your classroom. The event is FREE to all California PreK-12 teachers and teacher candidates. The event also offers a .5 unit continuing education credit for teachers who attend and pay a minimal enrollment fee. This event is a cooperative project of the New Teacher Center, the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities (AICCU) and California State University (CSU).   
Lastly, the NEA GPS Network has changed. It is now called the NEA Professional Practice Communities. I will post all Common Core K-5th Grade resources. I love the new format and it is very user friendly! I like to compare it to Facebook, as it feeds all the updates from groups and resources are easier to access. Try it out! 
Join the NEA Professional Practice Communities!
What is this?
The NEA Professional Practice Communities, a place where teachers, parents, school support and administration professionals, and community members share ideas and resources to improve student success. It is free and open to all!

Click on the following link to join my online community:

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Common Core Cafe for Parents - Session 2

Slides for Today
Click HERE

Free Learning Websites for Elementary, Middle School and High School Students

PBS Kids is committed to making a positive impact on the lives of children through curriculum-based entertainment. With a 360-degree approach towards learning and reaching children, PBS KIDS leverages the full spectrum of media and technology to build knowledge, critical thinking, imagination and curiosity. By involving parents, teachers, caregivers and communities as learning partners, PBS KIDS helps to empower children for success in school and in life.

ABCya focuses heavily on building math, reading, and writing skills, but it also covers some additional topics as well as holiday themes.

Fact Monster™ This site combines reference materials, facts, and trivia quizzes for kids on all subjects. Parents, educators, and kids can get homework help and access almanacs, an encyclopedia, a dictionary, and an atlas.

Discovery Education offers free student resources that bring learning to life both inside and outside the classroom. We invite you to take a look at our interactive games, videos, contests, virtual labs and activities designed to help you dive deeper into a topic —and have fun too!  http://ww (2th - 6th Grade) helps students review multiplication tables as well as addition and subtraction facts. It has interactive games, classroom games, and worksheets that can be downloaded.

Light Up Your (K–8th Grade) The brainteaser games and audio stories featured on Light Up Your Brain help students hone their problem-solving, reading, color-matching, math, and fine motor skills.

Chem4Kids! It's not just for kids, it's for everyone. If you are looking for basic chemistry help and information, stay on this site. We have information on matter, atoms, elements, the periodic table, reactions, and biochemistry.

Khan Academy Learn for free about math, art, computer programming, economics, physics, chemistry, biology, medicine, finance, history, and more. Khan Academy is a nonprofit with the mission of providing a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere.

CNN Student News is a ten-minute, commercial-free, daily news program for middle and high school students produced by the journalists and educators at CNN. This award-winning show and its companion website are available free of charge throughout the school year. After viewing CNN Student News, use the Daily Discussion to help students discuss and understand the stories covered in the program. The questions are designed to promote critical thinking and are written for middle and high school students, but they can easily be adapted for upper elementary school classes if you feel the topics addressed are appropriate.

CK-12 Foundation is a non-profit organization providing access to education materials for K-12 students and teachers.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Fostering “Academic Conversations” in ALL content areas in K-12 Grade Levels Speaking and Listening Across the Common Core

You can access today’s slides by clicking HERE.

Learning Targets for today:
  • Analyze the College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Speaking and Listening
  • Learn how to integrate academic discourse into classroom conversations
  • Learn how to incorporate productive group work routines 

It has been my experience that teachers have some form of group work imbedded in their weekly lessons. However, it usually is a simple task that student leaders or “worker bees” complete easily. Students that tend to struggle allow others to take the lead and are usually left out of the discussion. In the Common Core standards, instruction needs to be deliberate and students need to be provided with multiple opportunities to collaborate and engage in group tasks. How can we do this and what does it look like? Today’s presentation is all about what that looks like in our classroom. Angelica Paz, David Keys, and I put together some of our best tips of how to incorporate productive group work in your classroom. We also recorded our class collaborating. Our goal is that teachers begin to find ways to gradually release the responsibility of learning to the students. We should be the facilitators in the classroom and students should guide their own learning.

Productive Group Work
Productive group work is part of a larger discussion of effective instruction. Incorporating group work into lessons involves lessening a teacher’s control over every aspect of the instructional process, toward asking students to assume greater responsibility for their learning (Fisher & Frey, 2008). Fisher and Frey describe the transition in a classroom as moving from one where the teacher “does it” to one where students “do it together.” They identified four components to such a classroom:
  1. Focus Lesson - The teacher establishes the lesson’s purposes and models his or her own thinking for students.
  2. Guided Instruction - The teacher strategically uses assessment, prompts, and cues and questions to guide students into increasingly complex thinking and students’ assumption of greater responsibility.
  3. Collaborative Learning - The teacher designs and supervises tasks that enable students to consolidate their thinking and understanding and that require students to produce individual products that enable the teacher to assess their learning.
  4. Independent Tasks - The teacher designs and supervises tasks that require students to apply the information they have learned in new and authentic products. (SOURCE: Frey, Fisher & Everlove, 2009, p. 6).
Steps that move the learning to collaboration:
ü Focus Lesson to establish purpose and modeling
ü Guided instruction with cues, prompts and questions
ü Collaborative Learning- Consolidating Thinking with peers
ü Independent Learning tasks

The Keys to Productive Group Work
§  Students must be taught how to talk with one another.
§  Teachers need to know how to move them.
§  Know what you’re looking and listening for.
§  Make tasks engaging and interactive.

How do we know when Group Work is productive?
§  Knowledge is built and extended between the exchange of ideas
§  Task must require Individual Accountability
§  Level of difficulty so students can consolidate their understanding
§  Too Easy – Students will divide and conquer and reassemble to turn in
§  Should be hearing academic language and academic vocabulary – “Using the language of the lesson”
§  If the conversation is mostly about logistics then we’ve missed the mark

I prepared terrific freebies for you! Click on the following link to access a bunch of my posters I use to set up collaborative groups and rubrics to measure success.

Productive Group Work:  

The Role of Collaboration in Learning

§  Done properly, productive group work results in:
       Increased self esteem
       Improved relationships among students
       Enhanced social and communication skills
       Higher levels of academic learning and retention than peers working individually
In successful cooperative groups, each member has a task with the teacher as a frequent monitor and “guide on the side” instead of the “sage on the stage.”

Join the NEA Professional Practice Communities!

What is this?
The NEA Professional Practice Communities, a place where teachers, parents, school support and administration professionals, and community members share ideas and resources to improve student success. It is free and open to all!

Click on the following link to join my online community:
Common Core K-5