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Showing posts with label Common Core. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Common Core. Show all posts

Friday, January 18, 2013

Rubrics for Reading

Hello everybody.  It has been a wild ride here with the weather....first a two hour delay on Wednesday  morning, an early dismissal for sleet/ice on Thursday, and a two hour delay again this morning due to ice.  We live in a mountainous area with lots of drop-offs so we have a high freakability rate when it comes to inclement weather!!

Today I wanted to pose a question:  Do you use rubrics to assess reading?  As Common Core is depended on more and more and my district has encouraged the use of rubrics to assess accuracy, fluency, comprehension, understanding of fiction and non-fiction,etc--basically the whole reading enchilada--it has made me really ponder how I can increase the use of them.  It's also made me question where I can go to get information on them.  Right now I am going through a book that I have mentioned here before 

and it has several suggestions about rubrics that can be used and even suggests that these rubrics be attached to other reading assessment forms in order to fully plan for students.  When you think about how many rubrics that are needed with common core, it could lead to chaos or a lot of extra work.  

If any of you have sources for common core rubrics, please leave them in the comment section below!  I would love to get some resources gathered.


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Common Core Vocabulary Posters RF K.3, 1.3, 2.3, 3.3

A few weeks ago I shared with you the posters that I had made for my classroom that will help with the Reading Foundations Standard 2.3  I had several comments left asking me to make them for all grades.  I am glad to let you know that they are made for grades K, 1, 2, and 3. I hope that these will help someone out there!!  I've included the links to Teachers Pay Teachers in case you want to go and check them out. All you have to do click on the picture and it will take you right there!

Here is what the posters look like.  

Here are the covers!

Hope that this helps you!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Mathmatical Practices

I am having a lot of fun being back to school <believe it or not!!> but it sure is exhausting.  You will see quite a few of my friends helping me out with posting for the next week or so as I am trying to get all of my ducks in a row.  But for now....I have something of great importance to share with you from my math professional development.

It seems that there are 'mathematical practices' that are supposed to be embedded in all math lessons 'as frequently as possible, all year long'.  We got loads of articles on this today that I could share with you, but to be honest, they overwhelmed me.  So...I thought to myself....why should I overwhelm you, too!  I am going to give you the cut and dried version just to make it easy!

That's all folks.  I'll let you chew on that for a while!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

More Common Core--Installment 2

I LOVE new professional educational books.  Some of you collect children's books.  I collect professional educational books.  There are times when I will refer to these books over and over and then there are times when I will read a few chapters and realize that it hasn't helped me in the least and I put it back into the shelf.  However, there are 3 authors that I go back and re-read time and time again:  Fountas and Pinnell (you either hate to love them or love to hate them) and Lucy Calkins.  Lucy is a wonderful resource in the language arts areas.  In fact, straight from the Heinemann Professional Development Catalog, you can now read more about Common Core.So, go and explore some more Common Core information!  Read this exerpt from Pathways to the Common Core from Lucy Calkins. 

I have read this book, but it is sort of one of those books that you would have to read 2 or 3 times to get the gist of it.  It is so full of information that I read 2 or 3 chapters and sat it down. Then, I would read 2 or 3 chapters, and so on.  It is really good, but spurs you to think on a High Order Think level.  HOTS anyone?  I recently got it back out to reread and decided it was too close to the end of the school year to really give it my all and figure out how to apply it.

Lucy also has 2 other books that will be released soon.  I looked at the samples, which I provided the links for below and they look really well laid out and easy to read.  If you take a look at these addresses, you will see portions of each grade level

The big question that I have is how do these 2 books, her pathway books, and the book I have featured several different times Common Core Curriculum Maps are supposed to work together.  Or, ARE they supposed to work together.  As you read the Pathways book, you get the sense that Lucy Caulkins isn't very fond of it!  

Also, while looking around on the Heinemann website, I found theTeacher's Lounge which is the housing site for free podcasts which are provided for educators to watch.  FREE professional development to list when you are asked to explain what kind of professional develepment you have been part of!!  Plus, most of them are short enough to give you some great information, but they aren't overwhelming!


Recently there has been a lot of discussion on the pricing of activities between bloggers and sellers from Teachers Pay Teachers in regard to games vs. units.  Do you feel that you should pay more, less, or the same for games or units with the same amount of pages.  For example, would you pay the same for a 10 page unit and a 10 page game?  Just curious and would like reader input.  


And, finally.....the Freebies!  I created these to be used with a non-fiction unit.  Enjoy!


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Common Core Coercion?

Common  Coercion?

I blogged a week or two about the book, Pathways to the Common Core:  Accelerating Achievement by Lucy Calkins, Mary Ehrenworth, and Christopher Lehman.  I am not familiar with Ehrenworth or Lehman much at all, but Lucy Calkins is a name that I can trust.

When I bought the book, I was expecting an addendum, or change in mapping in comparison to the other Common Core book that I purchased, Common Core Curriculum Maps.  What I read, though, was very surprising.    The book disputed almost everything that I had thought about the Common Core.  As a result, it took me this long to digest it all.  Now I am ready to share.

Here is what I learned:

1.  The Common Core has been presented as a 'group effort' by presenters, authors, and teachers.  The Pathways book in fact claims that the standards presented in the Common Core were only authored by 2 people.  However, the units addressed in Common Core Curriculum Maps, were developed with the help of teachers.  So, 2 people have determined what most of our country will be teaching.  These 2 people, David Coleman and Sue Pimentel authored the Common Core, yet they are unnamed in the documents that presented the Common Core to the public.

2.  Only 15% of our students will be ready for the testing required when using the Common Core.  What do we do with the other 85% who aren't ready?

3.  Non-fiction is not only a tool for the facts--it is not to be used as a 'stop and go' method.  This makes fluency and comprehension of the text take longer.  The reliance on non-fiction to create an awareness of the world around us will result in school systems needing to re-budget their resources in order to stock reading rooms with high interest materials.

4. Students and teachers should work together to create individual goals for the student.  Then, teachers MUST protect the time given in the classroom so that these goals are met.  If the time is not protected, it will result in frustration for both.

5.  Students need to TALK, TALK, TALK!!!  The more they talk about topics using higher order thinking in the range of the NEW updated Blooms Taxonomy levels (Analyzing, Evaluating, and Creating), the better results we will get.

6.  Teach language skills WITHIN other subjects.  No grammar blocks.   <I feel some of you already quaking in your boots!>  Writing workshops are a must!

7.  Use the same performance task as a pretest AND post test.

There are a lot more  things I could share from the book, but we all would be here late into the night!  So, I will stop here!

Stay tuned for a freebie!!!  I wasn't able to get it ready because we have been testing this week.


Monday, April 23, 2012

Common Core Curriculum Map Project

I found a website that was pretty interesting when searching for more Common Core information.  The website explained a lot about the Common Core Curriculum Maps that everyone is turning to in order to 'stay true' to the expectations of the standards.

For $20, any teacher can sign up on this website in order to receive updates about the Common Core.  You also get lessons, lesson information,and access to digital resources that are suggested in units.

I can tell you...they are getting my $20.  I need all of the help I need!!!  Plus, by joining, I can put in my 2 cents worth in regard to the unfolding of the units.  That to me is GOLD.  I will at least feel like I have a stake in the curriculum and my teaching if I do this.  Go to the website and take a look through it.

And look at this......this is stated on the website:

"What is the relationship between Common Core and the Common Core State Standards (CCSS)?

Despite the coincidence of name, Common Core and the Common Core State Standards are not affiliated. Common Core was established in 2007, prior to the start of the Common Core State Standards Initiative, which was led by the National Governors Association and the Council for Chief State School Officers."


"What are the benefits of joining the Curriculum Mapping Project?
Members are able to access the Maps, and:
• Rate and comment on each of the seventy-six units
• Rate and comment on thousands of suggested works, activities, and resources
• Purchase print copies of the Maps at a 30% discount
• Purchase our “suggested works” at a discount
• Submit lesson plans for possible posting on the Maps website
• Receive a “first alert” for news related to the Maps
• Get preferred pricing on Maps services and tools that are under development"

All I can say right now is......WOW.  Talk about overwhelming.  Oh well....there is always tomorrow and the next day.  We have to learn to take small bites and chew quickly!


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Second Grade Common Core Suggested Literature Unit 1: Seasons (Non-fiction)

Before my state testing starts tomorrow, I wanted to be sure to get the non-fiction titles for Unit 1 to you.  If you decide to start purchasing these books, they are all linked to Amazon.  It is my believe (and I may be wrong) that once August hits, these books are going to be in HIGH demand and they may be hard to get.  I can see a lot of these books going on back-order or back to publishers to be reprinted.  So....just like at early!  I've already started stocking up on mine and I am praying that I don't change grade levels because that is going to be really frustrating!!!  

So, pin away my friends, or you can just follow my board about this literature!

Cynthia Rylant:  A Writer's Story

Informational Books (Read Aloud)

Hope this helps!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Common Core Texts for 2nd Grade: Unit 1--The Seasons (Fiction)

If you have looked at the curriculum map in the book Common Core Curriculum Maps you may be surprised by some of the titles you see.  The titles that are recommended for second grade teachers to use during the first unit (Seasons) is an interesting mix of fiction, poetry, and non-fiction.  In all, if you take a look at the book, you will see a return to the use of 'old stand-bys' of yesteryear as the suggested literature for units shows a return to the oldies-but-goodies such as Alice in Wonderland, Charlotte's Web, Little Women, etc.

There are so many books suggested that I decided that I would break the books for the first unit down to a fiction post and a non-fiction post.  I hope that you find this list and the links to helpful.  At the end you will find my url for my newest board on Pinterest which will house the titles needed for second grade.

Suggested Works to have on hand in 2nd grade:

Henry and Mudge and the Snowman Plan by Cynthia Rylant and Sucie Stevenson

Snowballs by Lois Ehlert

Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert

The Days of Summer (Eve Buntin and William Low)

Snow (Uri Shulevitz)

Peepers  (Eve Buntin and James Ransome)

The Little Yellow Leaf (Carin Berger)

Read Aloud

The Mitten by Jan Brett

Here is the url for my board:

Hope this is helpful.  As always, enjoy!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

A Full Day and Freebie!

Today was a full day.  Yard work in the wonderful sun.  Kids riding bicycles and scooters.  An early Easter get together with family.  A birthday celebration for my godson.  Decorating Easter eggs with NEON food-coloring. It was an enjoyable day.

NEON food-coloring, we found, ROCKS!!  We got beautiful colors like royal blue, coral,  and teal......just looking at them made us smile.  It was a nerve-racking time at some points as the kids would slosh the dye around and drop their eggs into it <KERSPLASH all over the table>, but to hear the ooohhhs and ahhhhs when the eggs came out was wonderful. I am not so sure about the waxy crayon the kids HAD to use on every egg just because they thought 'being invisible' was cool, but we dyed all 48 eggs with only one problem!

One turned out to be an alien egg!  We saved it for Grammy, who had come to help with the festivities.  Grammy, my mother-in-law, is the kind of woman that will scream at anything she finds abnormal. Mouse?  She screams!  Honor Roll by the grandkids?  She screams!  Spill water?  She screams! At sale at Walgreens?  She screams!  

So, my sister-in-law (the holiday art director) and I stacked the deck a little  When we found that poor little alien egg, we sat it aside so that we could slip it in with the other eggs and could make sure she was the one that picked it up.  Our strategy worked.  She picked up the alien egg and sure enough, she screamed!  Of course that sent my sister-in-law and me into a fit of giggles, so it was all downhill from there!  The alien egg was dubbed as 'the alien baby that didn't hatch all the way'.  Alien's have to be green, so we dunked into the green dye for just a second.  

I am still laughing as I finish this story.  The poor alien baby got put on the table.  Whenever I could I slipped it over close to my mother-in-law with the alien side pointed towards the table.  She must have picked it up and screamed at least 10 times.  Hilarious!  Maybe you had to be there for it to be funny....but if you can just imagine the screamer in your family almost having a heart attack every time something unnerves them, then you will understand a little of what I am writing about.

Anyhoo...this past week <Spring Break for me> was full of errands, kids, shopping, appointments, and lunch out in a restaurant everyday this week cashing in all of the Internet coupons I am sent or mail-outs <the goal was no cooking!> and just enjoying each other.

By Wednesday, I could finally settle down to write and create some curriculum.  I had a blast creating curriculum with my friend Leanne over at Teacher Tales, Brian over at Hoppin Hopkins' Blog (don't go over there though because I am trying to get more page visits than him and that might never happen, Michelle over at Teach-123, Arlene at LMN Tree, Heather over at HoJo's, Yvonne at Mindbender, and probably another 20 or so blogger friends.  One would think that we would all be competitive and not share our 'secrets', but the blogging world isn't like that.  We advise each other on graphics, text, pictures, ideas, and Common Core edu-babble.  Where else can a teacher work with a teacher in Maryland, South Dakota, Florida, and FRANCE all within one hour!!!  I really believe that is why the blogging world is so successful in education.  We really have to have each other to thrive and be successful.  We cheer when a dear friend is successful, even if we aren't, because we are all in this together for one reason---making education better while having a little bit of fun!  I couldn't do it without my 100 or so blogger friends.  We each complete a different part of the education puzzle.  I honestly believe that we are helping to direct the path that education is taking.

As the week went on, I was able to get more and more finished.  I finished 3 new activities on  I have to say that I am sort of proud of myself.  Before starting to share the activities I created, I was VERY anti-graphics.  After all, graphics took up SPACE and USED UP MY INK, so I didn't bother with them.  So, anything to do with graphics is new to me.  And, I am learning to REALLY like them.  In face, in the last month, I have spent about $35 on graphics for my activities  (PULEEEZE do not tell my husband!) to make them more appealing.  I call it 'adding eye candy'!!!  So, without further ado, here are my new activities.  In no particular order:

Camp Sort-A-Vowel--kids can be 'transported' to Camp Sort-A-Vowel where they have to get the correct card to the correct campsite.  There are 10 different vowel mats and about 60 word cards.  I put all of the graphics (from Digi Web and Scrappin Doodles) together with the help of my 7 year old, so I know these will catch the eyes of my 2nd graders.  So, below are some pictures of the 'camp sites' that my little guy and I put together!  This activity is aligned with a Common Core standard which focuses on distinguishing short vowels from long vowels which is still a big issue with my second graders.

Camping Capitalization--The picture below is the cover to another one of the activities that I will unveil this coming week.  I am excited about it because I can use them as task cards in a center for the week and then on Friday, I will take them out of the center and play Scoot with them.  If you haven't ever played scoot, you need to get into the loop!  My students love it!  BEWARE!  The game is infectious and has been passed on to almost all of the classrooms in my building.  This coming week and the week after are tedious review weeks before our state testing.  I know that at least 10 teachers in my building plan to play scoot as part of their test review.

Below is a picture of some of the cards that are used...this particular set is aligned with an editing standard from the Common Core which focuses on proper nouns.
Spring-Themed Singular-Plural Scoot--Below is an activity which focuses simply on identifying singular or plural nouns <also aligned with Common Core>.  I plan to use this as a down and dirty assessment to review and assess my students.  I haven't quite decided how I will use can be used as task cards, as a Scoot game, and it can also be put up on a white board and used as a quiz.  I figure I'll decide as the week goes on how to present it.  

Here is one of the 'get down and dirty' cards for the spring activity.  No froo froo stuff....just simply pick A or B.  They either no it, or they don't and I'll be able to tell who has been faking it pretty easily.

Now, the good part.....all of the sets I told you about all have number cards which allow you to mix and match the order of questions so that the answers can't be memorized if I use them as both a set of task cards and a quiz on the white board or as Scoot.  So, every time I use them in my classroom they become  a little different.  I figured out this week how to make my own borders <I know, I know, my fellow blogging friends--most of you learned this a long time ago.  Just remember I am in the remedial graphics class!!!>  Anyway, because I was so pleased with myself for learning how to do this, I decided to make these a freebie.  I think the butterfly set is the most beautiful.  The butterfly used in the border is different than the one on the cover.  Don't forget to download your freebie!!

As I prepare to go back to school on Monday, two things will be weighing heavily on my mind:  Our state test is only 2 weeks away and I need to figure out the Common Core pretty quickly because I only have from April to July to really get my mind and my activities ready.  For any of you that know me, you know that I am an avid reader of professional books and I have my picks.  But, I have to tell you, when it comes to Common Core, I am really perplexed.  The teachers at my school were introduce to a Common Core book with a curriculum map that we were all set on using and were told that 'everybody' would be using it.  Then, this past week I found out that there is a new book with a DIFFERENT curriculum map from another company that has been published that promises to explain how the standard were developed, what we are supposed to infer as teachers, and what we should use to carry them out.  To me, this book sounds REALLY good.  So, as a teacher, I am just not sure what to do.  If any of you are familiar with both books, please let me know what you think!!!  I want to do the best job possible for my kids at school!

Here is the recommended book that I already have.

Here is the new book that is sounding REALLY good to me!

I pray blessings upon you and yours and appreciate you reading this blog post.  Remember, Jesus IS the reason for this season.  It isn't all about bunnies, chicks, and eggs.  Praise God!

Remember....please follow my blog while you are here!


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