We are proud to announce LearnZillion’s 2014 Dream Team

Over 4,000 people applied for the 200 spots available on the 2014 Dream Team, making it harder to get onto the Dream Team than get into any Ivy League school! Selected for their content knowledge, grit and humility, these impressive math and English Language Arts (ELA) teachers represent the best of district, charter and independent schools in 42 states and three countries (U.S., Singapore and Tunisia). Together, the 2014 Dream Team has more than 2,300 years of teaching experience, ranging from two to 42 years in the classroom.

The Dream Team will convene in New Orleans for TeachFest, a unique professional development event from June 4-7, where they will kick-off a rigorous summer-long collaboration to create high-quality formative assessment tools and resources that will support teachers implementing the Common Core across the United States. Following TeachFest, Dream Team members will return to their respective districts and continue to work in facilitated online professional learning communities (PLCs).

As the 77 returning Dream Team members will attest, being on the Dream Team is “the best professional development of my career.” However, being on the Dream Team is about more than world-class PD and creating great content — it’s about being a member of a vibrant and enthusiastic community of educators who are eager to help others and hopeful about the future.

 

2014 Dream Team Members

Dream Team Member State School District / Charter
Heidi King AK Little Rock School District
Victoria Whitfield AL Autauga County School System
Amy Ordonez AZ Kyrene School Distrcit
Ben Metcalf AZ Washington Elementary School District
Cheryl Martin AZ Dysart Unified School District
Deanna Jergenson AZ Deer Valley Unified School District
Jessica Finley AZ Wilson School District No. 7
Jill Patruno AZ Paradise Valley Unified School District #69
Cheryl Shay CA Berryessa Union School District
Debbie Neighbors CA Berryessa Union School District
Debi Bober CA Long Beach Unified School District
Helen A. Papadopoulos CA Walnut Valley Unified School District
Jaime Bonato CA San Juan Unified School District
Kim Bobadilla CA Davis Joint Unified School District
Kristen Miller CA Natomas Unified School District
Laureen-Nadirah Nayo CA Pasadena Unified School District
Lisa Stone CA Santa Clara County Office of Education
Marcello Sgambelluri CA Santa Clara Unified School District
Miriam Hannig CA Union Elementary School District
Nikole Gaines Reina-Guerra CA Davis Joint Unified School District
Rebecca Scarfone CA Temecula Valley Unified School District
Ryan Keeley CA Berkeley Unified School District
George Christopher Moore (Chris) CO Littleton Public Schools
Katherine Christie CO Littleton Public Schools
Kristi Steele CO Littleton Public Schools
Ruth A. Melendez CO Academy District Twenty
Wendy Turner CO Denver Public Schools
Colleen Haberern CT Watertown Public Schools
Jacqueline Kremer CT Ledyard, CT (JWL) & IDCS is its own district
Jameson Parker CT Danbury Public Schools
Lorrie Quirk CT New Haven Public Schools
Rachel Saunders CT Danbury Public Schools
Tiffany Dietelbaum CT Naugatuck Public School District
Tracy Yanouzas CT Monroe Public Schools
Becky Nolin DC E.L. Haynes Public Charter School
Jacqueline Christy DC Washington, DC
John F. Mahoney DC District of Columbia Public Schools
Lauren Jarrell DC District of Columbia Public Schools
Lisa Apple DC E.L. Haynes Public Charter School
Marija Crosson DC District of Columbia Public Schools
Michael Gueltig DC District of Columbia Public Schools
Valerie Krauser DC DC Prep
Caitlin Salmon DE Reach Academy for Girls Charter School
Christina Hanna DE Christina School District
Erica Matlock DE Worcester County Public Schools
Karen Warner DE Cape Henlopen School District
Kate Bowski DE Cape Henlopen School District
Kate Libby DE Woodbridge Elementary School
Margaret Brady DE Red Clay School District
Michelle Morton DE Red Clay Consolidated School District
Shani Benson DE Capital School District
Shannon Lapinsky DE Caesar Rodney School District
Jeremy Thompson FL Sarasota County Public Schools
Olga Westergaard FL Hillsborough County Public Schools
Ahmed Najm GA St. Martin’s Episcopal School
Amy Stanley GA Whitfield County Schools
Brenda Reagan GA Retired
Cathleen A Dees GA Clayton County Public Schools
Christine S Collins GA Edinburg Academy
EJ Sharif GA Richmond County Public Schools
Katherine Learnard GA DeKalb County
Lexie April Mobley GA Fayette County Board of Education Fayetteville, GA
Linda S. Smith GA Atlanta Public Schools
Linda Trawick GA Cobb County School District
Lisa Ashmeade GA Cobb County Schools
Lorenzo Dale Robinson GA Fulton County Schools
Mariaum Brunner GA Lumpkin County Public Schools
Melissa Huneycutt GA Gwinnett County Public Schools
Meredith Fletcher GA Houston County Schools
Michelle Blackwell GA Odyssey
Robin Valentine GA Gwinnett County Public Schools
Heather Dawn Harmon ID SD #271 Coeur d’Alene School District
Stacie Knight ID Meridian Joint School District #2
Alison Childers IL Carmi-White County CUSD 5
Andrew Parece IL Chicago Public Schools
Gabrielle Testerman IL Oak Park River Forest High School District/District 200
Jenni Iwanski IL Saint Charles Community Unit School District 303
Jennifer Rising IL Science & Arts Academy, Des Plains
Jessica Pilgreen IL Wesclin Community Unit District #3
Kathy Ogean IL Oak Lawn Hometown School District 123
Kim Stancl IL Illinois School District U-46
Kyle Harlow IL Herrin Community Unit School District No. 4
Terry Vaughn Jr. IL Germantown Hills School District 69
Bradley Mitchell IN Archdiocese of Indianapolis
Cory Howard IN Maconaquah School Corporation
Kristi Harris IN Wawasee Community Schools
Natalie Hines IN Indianapolis Public Schools
Ronald Shaffer IN Maconaquah School Corporation
Sarah Smith IN Evansville-Vanderburgh School Corporation
Holly Milam-Bush KY Warren County Public Schools
Kelly Boles KY Floyd County Schools
Kimberly Johnson KY Jefferson County Public Schools
Leslie Lloyd KY Bullitt County Public Schools
Katy Patterson LA Orleans Parish School Board
Laci Maniscalco LA Lafayette Parish School System
Stephanie Renoda Gullage LA St. Charles Parish Public Schools
Andrew Vickstrom MA Wachusett Regional School District
Barbara Delaney MA Bellingham Public Schools
Dorrian Galvin MA Oakland Unified School District
Jil Blake MA Hartford
Alison Giska MD Worcester County Public Schools
Analin Adriano MD Mary Mcleod Bethune Day Public Charter School
Ashleigh Swiontek MD National Board Certified//Graduate School
Jennifer Reynolds MD Frederick County Public Schools
Julia Hill MD Worcester County Public Schools
Meghan Hearn MD Howard County Public Schools
Nick Pyzik MD Frederick County Public Schools
Rafael Velez MD District of Columbia Public Schools
Shanna Williams-Carr MD District of Columbia Public Schools
Rebecca Schouvieller ME Falmouth Public Schools
Anita Vecziedins MI Grand Rapids Public Schools
Abby Kahara MN Barnum Publich Schools
Carol DeFreese MO Ft. Zumwalt School District
Carolyn Sue Nixon MO Willard R-II School District
Amanda Gosek NC Johnston County Schools
Amy Barsanti NC Washington County Public Schools
Amy Phillips NC Chatham County Schools
Anna Gustaveson NC Orange County Public Schools
Carol Sholette-Gillespie NC Cumberland County Schools
Dana Marie Stachowiak NC Guilford County Schools
Daylen Moore NC Onslow County Schools
Kimberly Shelor NC New Hanover County School
Michelle Barnhill NC North Carolina Department of Public Instruction
Rachel Sanchez NC Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools
William Jarrett NC Guilford County
Lisa Vojacek ND Grand Forks Public Schools
Shana Lindeman ND Grand Forks Public Schools
Elisabeth Chestnutt NH Amherst School District
Steve Lebel NH Derry Cooperative School District
Tim Putnam NH SAU 41 – Brookline Public Schools
Dianne Leoni NJ Hillsborough Township Public Schools
Elizabeth Stupar NJ Point Pleasant Borough School District
Mary Jane Custy NJ Flemington Raritan Schools
Rebecca Alvarado-Alcantar NM Las Cruces Public Schools
Chris Hayes NV Washoe County School District
Jodi Westmont NV Washoe County School District
Richard Villanueva NV Clark County School District
Alice Lombardo NY Rochester City School District
Caitlyn Calabrese NY New Visions for Public Schools
Daniel Steinberg NY Harlem Link Charter School
Dennis Pawlikowski NY Oswego City School District
Jacqueline Wagner NY District 15
Jeanette Simpson NY Penn Yan Central School
Jesse Goodglass NY Syracuse City School District
Juaneika Agyeman NY Lansingburgh Central School District
Julie Bocciolatt NY LaFargeville Central School
Lauren McIntyre NY Great Neck Public School District
Leslie Hefez NY New York City Public Schools District 15
Luciano D’Orazio NY New York City Department of Education
Mark Anderson NY Bronx District 10
Sarah Merchlewitz NY Manhattan District 3, Childrens First Network 408
Sarah Peterson NY New York City Public Schools
Staci Intriligator NY Various
Tammy Plucknette NY Elba Central School District
Wendy Sachel NY Phoenix Central School District
Samantha Fales OH Nordonia Hills City School District
Sarah Cummings OH Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools
Sierra Cooley OH Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow
Susan Nolan OH Coshocton City Schools
Michelle Collum OK Tulsa Public Schools
Stephanie Eggen OK Oklahoma City Public Schools
Elizabeth Tautalamoto Ellis OR Portland Public School District
Erin Maass OR North Clackamas School District #12
Jaimee Massie OR Eugene District 4J
Lisa Nichols OR Salem Keizer School District
Elizabeth Kim PA School District of Philadelphia
Ellen Hartman PA Commonwealth Connections Academy
Emily Edmonds PA Charter School Network
Leah R Weimerskirch PA New York City Department of Education
Megan Maples PA KIPP: Philadelphia Schools
Michael Cote PA Commonwealth Connections Academy
Rebecca Ritenour PA Uniontown Area
Stephanie Clarke PA Commonwealth Connections Academy
Sue Choi PA Spring-Ford Area School District
Stephen Skaggs RI North Kingstown School Department
Ashley Gombar SC Dorchester District 2
Daniel Stewart Beasley SC York District 3
Elizabeth Beerbower SC Dorchester District 2 Schools
Melissa Huffman SC Orangeburg Consolidated School District 5
Michelle Greene SC Darlington County School District
Kimberly Clark SD Multiple Districts in SD
Terri McComb Singapore Singapore American School
Christina Foran TN Tennessee State Special Schools
Tifin Calcagni Tunisia American Cooperative School of Tunis
Jennifer Yu TX Richardson Independent School District
Leslie Hirsh Ceballos TX Richardson Independent School District
Jennifer Shirts UT Jordan School District
Lauren Burton UT Alpine School District
Melissa Hesterman UT Mountain Heights Academy
Christine Gault VA Prince William County Schools
Jennifer Newman VA Friendship Public Charter Schools
Lindsay M. Stuart VA Alexandria City Public Schools
Sara Elizabeth Equi VA Roanoke City Public Schools
Michael Signal WA Auburn School District #408
Sarah Spring WA Auburn School District
Aaron Beiniek WI Whitnall School District
Dr. Michele Schmidt Moore WV Loudoun County Public Schools
Kayleigh Gillespie WV Putnam County Schools
Stephanie L. Runion WV Harrison County Schools
Virginia Guynn WV Berkeley County Public Schools

Literacy Office Hours with David Liben of Student Achievement Partners pt. 3

Get tips on how to implement Common Core ELA in your classroom.

In this webinar, David Liben of Student Achievement Partners shares his insights about bringing exceptional literacy instruction to k-12 classrooms. David is the Senior ELA/literacy Specialist at Student Achievement Partners, an organization founded by the authors of the Common Core. A principal and teacher with more than 20 years experience in the classroom, David was one of the educators closely involved in the writing of the Common Core Standards, including synthesizing the research behind Appendix A.

Implementing the Common Core: Literacy

This is the third of our series of three literacy office hours (view part 1 and part two).

You won’t want to miss his explanation of the best way to share vocabulary at minute 6:10, how literacy coaches can bridge the gap between explicitly teaching comprehension strategies (inference, visualization), and Common Core’s emphasis on close reading at minute 14:25.

 

Additional Common Core Implementation Resources:

David also shared a plethora of resources that you can access below:

 

Vocabulary

COMING SOON to the Student Achievement Partners site:  The Significance of Vocabulary in the Common Core State Standards, article by David Liben. Includes research findings about vocabulary instruction and practical exercises to help teachers learn to select and teach vocabulary.

Word Nerds: mostly geared towards elementary school but works for middle school. Great book for vocabulary. Describes how to build a culture of loving and using words in your school.

Wordly Wise: Books to support targeted direct vocabulary instruction; has Greek and Latin Roots from the same publisher.

Zaner Bloser’s Word Study Programs: Word study methods to help students understand word structure and learn new vocabulary context.

 

Text dependent questions

Student Achievement Partners: Text-Dependent Question Resources – Collection of tools to help learn to write and use text-dependent questions.  Includes short and long guides and examples.

Student Achievement Partners: Featured Lessons – 20 lessons that focus on text dependent questions to support close reading (mentioned at minute 15:40).

“Scaffolded Reading Instruction of Content Area Texts” by Doug Fisher and Nancy Frey, shows how to create text dependent questions that are aligned to the standards.

 

Text complexity

Student Achievement Partners: Text complexity resources– Collection of tools and guides to help teacher analyze the complexity of texts. Includes both quantitative and qualitative measures.

Student Achievement Partners: free webinar done along with Metametrics on how people can find texts at different levels of text complexity.

 

Curriculum evaluation

Student Achievement Partners: Instructional Materials Evaluation Tool gives a step by step description on how to evaluate materials.

Engage NY is a comprehensive site from NY State with a free Common Core aligned curriculum as well as a variety of tools and resources to help teachers and districts with Common Core. It has lessons, units etc.  In particular their elementary school literacy resources are useful. Also check out EngageNY’s Pre-K Through Second Grade ELA (mentioned at minute 25:15).

 

Parent resources

Greatschools.org terrific resources for parents. Click your grade band here (Elementary School, Middle School, High School) It is a website just for parents.

 

Science and Social Studies

Student Achievement Partners: Science and Technical Subject Lessons + History and Social Studies Lessons (mentioned at minute 12:00).

 

Additional

Structured Journals – Structured journals are a great strategy for helping kids to hold students accountable for learning from their reading. Check out these resources: Essay on use of structured journals by Meredith Liben and Example of a close reading lesson that uses the structured journal technique (mentioned in minute 13:40).

 

Lily Wong-Fillmore’s “Juicy Sentences” approach – Teaching syntax is crucially important, but often ignored.  Lily Wong-Fillmore’s “Juicy Sentences” approach represents one good approach to teaching syntax. Check out this presentation on Fillmore’s approach. Also, here is a blog post by a teacher who succeeded with her (ELL) students by using the approach.

 

Ready for more?

Check out our Writing Office hours with Joey Hawkins of Student Achievement Partners, as well as David’s first two office hours (#1) and (#2).

5 minutes to powerful whole class instruction

Thousands of teachers use LearnZillion every day to help their students learn.  But how do they do it? How can a 5 minute math or ELA video lesson help to drive high quality Common Core instruction? These teachers think of LearnZillion lessons as orange juice concentrate: they’re short but if you add water – in the form of questions, practice problems, and tasks – they expand into an amazing whole lesson.  In other words, these lessons are a perfect starting point for their whole class planning and instruction.

How LearnZillion Works

Each lesson on LearnZillion has been created by a member of our Dream Team directly from the language of the Common Core State Standards. As a result, every lesson is grade-level appropriate, visual, and focused on explaining the concepts at the heart of a standard.  In other words, it’s dense with high-quality, easy-to-understand Common Core content.  It’s also practical – each lesson comes with a set of power point slides that can be downloaded and customized to your particular class.

Learn how to customize downloadable slides

Learn how to customize downloadable slides

 

Turning LearnZillion concentrate into juice

Here are a few tips from our community about how to turn our short videos into powerful whole class instruction:

  1. Add stopping points and questions to the video lesson.  For example, stop at the “Common Misunderstanding” part of the video lessons and ask, “why do you think students make that mistake?”
  2. Use the guided practice and extension activities at the end of many of our slides as a basis for in-class practice.
  3. Personalize and customize LearnZillion’s downloadable slides to create practice worksheets (see 5 ways to leverage LearnZillion’s Downloadable Slides for more ideas)

For more ideas, check out the lesson plans we’ve developed for the essential 3rd-8th grade math standards, or watch this engaging video discussion with Nick Pyzik, an elementary school teacher and math coach at Tuscarora Elementary School in Ballenger Creek, Maryland. Nick gives specific examples about how he uses LearnZillion to streamline his own planning, reflects on student reactions to using LearnZillion lessons in the classroom, and shares how he’s using LearnZillion as a coach.

Ways to use LearnZillion

 

What else can you do with the lessons?

When LearnZillion lessons are the building blocks for whole class instruction, it’s even easier to use them for differentiation, for homework, or for parent engagement. Students will benefit from that direct link to what happened in class, and parents can finally make sense of the standards-driven shifts. Administrators, too, are using LearnZillion Premium as the backbone of a digital Common Core curriculum, and to help drive high-quality professional development.

 

Stay in touch!

We like to help all our users benefit from ideas and discoveries, so thanks in advance for sharing your experiences and advice for using LearnZillion with us!

LearnZillion ELA Webinar Archive

This page is regularly updated with our webinars focused on implementing the Common Core ELA standards — be sure to create a free account on LearnZillion to receive invitations to future events.

 

Thumbnail.OfficeHoursJoeyHawkins.Webinar.2014Writing Office Hours with Joey Hawkins of the Vermont Writing Collaborative

Recorded 03/13/14 8:00pm EST Get tips on instruction and resources from a nationally acclaimed writing educator and expert. (All grades)

 

 

thumbnail.EQuIPRubricIntro.Webinar.2014

An Introduction to the EQuIP Rubric

Recorded 03/13/14 5:00pm EST Learn how to identify high quality materials aligned to the Common Core (All grades)

 

 

thumbnail.ELAEssentials.Webinar.2014 ELA Essentials: Understanding the structure and transitions of the ELA standards

Recorded 3/4/14, 4:30 PM EST focus your lessons and write meaningful teaching objectives aligned to the ELA standards. (All grades)

 

thumbnail.SkipJoanPrincipalAnxiety.Webinar.2014 How Principals Can Relieve Anxiety Around Common Core Implementation

Recorded 3/5/14 3:00pm EST A discussion with Dr. Skip Fennell and Joan Tellish about how principals can help teachers implement the Common Core. (All grades; Administrators)

 

Thumbnail.Streamlineprofessionaldevelopment.Webinar.2014

Save time, reduce stress. Streamline planning and supercharge your professional growth with LearnZillion.

Recorded 2/30/14 3:30pm EST Learn how to integrate LearnZillion into your lesson planning process. (All grades)

 

thumbnail.OfficeHoursDavidLiben.Webinar.2014Literacy Office Hours with David Liben of Student Achievement Partners pt 2.

Recorded 2/26/14 8:00pm EST Get tips and resources from David Liben, a nationally acclaimed ELA/literacy specialist. (All grades)

 

thumbnail.writingaligningsequencingtextdependentq.Webinar.2014Writing, aligning, and sequencing text dependent questions

Recorded 2/19/14 4:00pm EST Learn proven strategies for crafting text-dependent questions. (All grades)

 

 

thumbnail.TextTalk.Webinar.2013Text Talks: A First Step in Planning for Close Reading

Recorded 1/30/14 4:00pm EST Get tips, ideas and an actionable format for launching successful text talks. (All grades)

 

 

Literacy Office Hours wiScreen Shot 2014-03-27 at 1.37.55 PMth David Liben of Student Achievement Partners pt 1.

Recorded 1/8/14 4:00pm EST Get tips and resources from David Liben,a nationally acclaimed ELA/literacy specialist (All grades)

 

 

Ready for more? Click the button below to view our math webinars:

Screen Shot 2014-03-27 at 1.59.54 PM

 

Writing Office Hours with Joey Hawkins of Student Achievement Partners and The Vermont Writing Collaborative

Prepare for the Common Core writing standards. Webinar recorded 3/13/14.

Thousands of K-12 educators are working to implement the Common Core writing standards.

To help, we held a Q&A session with Joey Hawkins, one of the founders of the Vermont Writing Collaborative and co-author of Writing For Understanding: Using Backward Design To Help All Students Write Effectively.

A nationally recognized writing expert with more than 35 years teaching experience, Joey works closely with Student Achievement Partners to develop, curate, and review CCSS resources for teachers. With one foot still firmly in the middle school classroom, and as a founder of VWC, Joey has offered courses and school-based professional development in Writing for Understanding in Vermont and throughout the country. Watch the office hours here:

Joey’s suggested resources

  • In Common – check out the In Common protocols, specifically designed for coaches and literacy leaders to use to work with the student writing samples with teachers. In Common provides a range of examples of Common Core-aligned student work, drawn directly from K-12 classrooms across the country. These student writing samples demonstrate how a student’s writing skills can progress as they gain fluency across the three major types of Common Core writing: argument/opinion writing, informative/explanatory writing, and narrative writing. In Common PD activities are in the third section on this page (“Professional Development for In Common”).
  • Exemplar resources on Edmodo – check out the the Basil Alignment Project group and Anthology Alignment Project group.
  • EngageNY – look at the middle school modules in particular- all free.
  • Vermont Writing Collaborative site: check out the teacher made reading/writing instructional sequences, painted essay materials, study guide for the book – all free.
  • Writing for Understanding: Using Backward Design To Help All Students Write Effectively – Check out the book Joey wrote, along with other writing experts, to give teachers a good overall sense of how to design Common Core writing instruction, at all grade levels.
  • Sample Writing Tasks created by Student Achievement Partners: Check out these scaffolded analytical writing tasks. They provide examples for teaching Common Core writing and are designed for use with example lessons from the Basal Alignment Project (BAP).

Since we ran out of time and were unable to answer all the questions from our audience, Joey kindly agreed to share her thoughts on a few more, below:

Additional Questions

1. What are some of the best professional books to study for writing in the classroom?  Writing for children?

Joey: The book by the Vermont Writing Collaborative, Writing for Understanding: Using Backward Design to Help All Students Write Effectively is the book we wrote to give teachers a good overall sense of how to design Common Core writing instruction, at all grade levels. Another book I think is wonderful is Curriculum As Conversation by Applebee (written for college teachers, but deeply relevant to all teachers in the age of the Common Core)

2. Do you have any resources for helping kids elaborate more in their writing?

Joey: Struggling writers tend to be vague…even though we spend so much time with models, better answer formula, etc. The book above, Writing for Understanding, talks about this. As the question notes, models are very important, and so is cuing like  the “better answer” material. In addition, it’s helpful when teachers spend more time with students on making sure they have depth of understanding of what they’re writing – in our experience, the single biggest impediment to thoughtful, elaborated writing is a superficial understanding of the topic. For many / most kids, they also need built-in time for “oral processing” and even what we might call “oral rehearsal” of their thinking before they write. This really means that every student needs to “speak their ideas” before they write – the more challenging the thinking, the greater the need for this. All of this slows down the instruction time, making it take longer – on the other hand, the writing is much more likely to be strong and thoughtful as a result!

3. We’re making the shift to mini-research investigation and then writing a response and making a connection to the reading passage (story, novel, etc) we are currently reading.  Can you explain more about what “mini-research” should look like?  How often should this occur? 

Joey: Mini-research can look many ways. At the most fundamental level, kids are given a focusing question about a text or texts, and then guided to search for evidence in that text or texts that help develop the answer to the question. This “evidence hunting and gathering” is at the heart of writing about text – it involves re-reading, focused note-taking, careful selection, conversation  – and then ultimately, explaining that evidence. How often?  All the time. A week should not go by where kids aren’t doing this somewhere – not necessarily in every subject, but somewhere!

Joey: Overall, we find it’s most helpful for teachers to think in terms of “what important understanding do I want kids to get from this text? What could it look like in writing?” Then, try it yourself – what did it take YOU to write what you hope kids will write? Plan backward for that – how will I help kids read this text so they understand this? How will I help them gather evidence? How will I make sure they know how to build /structure the writing?

Important tip here: giving kids “choice” about that they write is sometimes a good idea, BUT when teachers and kids are learning how to do all of this super important work, student choice makes the task (for both teacher and kids) much harder, and makes opportunities for real oral processing (see above) almost impossible. Choose a (relatively short) and rich text that matters, and work with the class.

 

Like what you’ve seen? Check out these other useful resources:

An Introduction to the EQuIP Rubric

Learn how to identify high quality materials aligned to the Common Core – Webinar (3/13/14)

Learn more about the EQuIP (Educators Evaluating the Quality of Instructional Product) Rubric for mathematics and ELA/literacy grades k-2 and 3-12, a tool developed by state education leaders with support from Achieve to help teachers and principals identify high-quality materials aligned to the Common Core State Standards.

LearnZillion’s Director of Professional Learning and Community, Posie Wood, interviewed Alissa Peltzman of Achieve about the development of the rubric, how teachers use it to improve their practice and transition to the Common Core and the resources available to help teachers do this.

Download the webinar slides here

Access the full suite of EQuIP resources

Click below to view an EQuIP rubric tutorial:

Using the ELA Rubric          Using the Math Rubric

         Tues 3/18 5:00-5:45pm EST                  Wed 3/18 8:00-8:45pm EST

  Ensure your ELA lessons are CCSS Aligned        Ensure your math Lessons Are CCSS aligned

Crafting effective text-based writing prompts

This webinar is the third a series of three webinars on “Pathways to close readings”. Check out the first and second webinars in this series on “Text Talks” and “Text-dependent questions“.

The Common Core requires that students express their understanding of complex texts through writing. But creating a meaningful and grade-appropriate task that knits together writing and close reading is no small feat.

In this webinar, we reviewed 7 basic steps to help teachers craft thoughtful and worthwhile writing tasks that are both standards-aligned and allow students to deeply explore the text.

Download the webinar slides here

Here’s a sneak peak:

Step 1: Return to your notes about the key takeaways from the text.

Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 9.29.45 AM

_

Step 2: Brainstorm possible products

Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 9.29.57 AM

_

Step 3: Draft your writing task

Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 9.40.56 AM

_

Step 4: Analyze the standards vertically

Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 9.30.31 AM

_

Step 5: Revise your writing task
Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 9.30.40 AM

_

Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 9.31.36 AM

_

Step 6: Write a model student response

Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 9.31.42 AM

_

Step 7: Craft a rubric that informs your reteaching

Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 9.31.59 AM

Continue reading

My First Year Teaching: Discovering the Magic of Watching Great Teachers Work

Boaz Munro, former 3rd grade teacher

Boaz Munro, former 1st grade teacher

My first day teaching on my own came about two weeks into the school year.   I worked at an elementary charter school that devoted the beginning of the year almost entirely to promoting an orderly yet joyful school culture.  My first several days in the classroom, therefore, were spent supporting my more experienced co-teacher as she led activities and games to prepare our kids to be diligent scholars and responsible citizens.

By the end of this initial period, I felt much less nervous than I had on the first day of the year.  I had bonded in small ways with my students, met their parents, and even led some brief activities in front of the class under my co-teacher’s supervision.  I was cautiously confident about being a teacher.

A Confident Start

During those first few weeks, we had assessed each student’s reading level and organized them into leveled guided reading groups named for the planets in the solar system.  I was in charge of Uranus—10 students at a small, crescent-shaped table—until the next assessment six weeks later.  I had planned the next six weeks carefully, organizing my library, downloading resources, and studying research on reading comprehension.

And now the day had come.  I had a hand-drawn visual anchor up on my easel, a fresh container of sharpened pencils, and placed a shiny book in front of each little seat.  I expected the students to file in and sit down respectfully, hands folded, eyes on me.  And that’s exactly what happened.

A Humbling Realization

Just kidding.  That first class quickly fell apart, as would many others.  As anyone who has ever taught knows, and as my colleagues Posie Wood and Alix Guerrier have vividly related in their own stories, the first year of teaching is one of the most humbling experiences a person can have. I spent hours preparing for each day’s class, and was still not moving my students nearly far enough.  My students’ reading levels were not increasing as quickly as those of their schoolmates.

Looking back, it’s easy to see why.  So often, I taught my students skills or standards I had never seen anyone teach before.  All of the lessons I planned started with an “I-do”—a modeling of the skill I was trying to teach—and yet I was not watching enough people model the skills I was trying to learn.

A Hope for Support

The times when I improved the most were the times when I stopped toiling alone for a moment and learned from mentors around me.  Occasionally my coach would cover a class so I could observe my co-teacher explaining a difficult concept, or I would sit with the academic dean and we would plan a lesson together.  Just like my students, I learned best by watching talented people work.  This simple realization improved my teaching significantly.  The well-known “beg, borrow, and steal” mantra described by my colleague Lisa Bernstein in a recent post is apt, but I would add a fourth verb: watch.  Watching great teachers work, by sitting next to them to plan or observing their instruction, was unquestionably the single best thing I did to improve my teaching practice during my time in the classroom.  

But there were obstacles to watching these great teachers as much as I wanted to.  I had my own students to look after, and they had theirs; I could only visit other classrooms occasionally.    

Technology has removed these obstacles.  Watching great teachers work is exactly what LearnZillion enables us to do—every day.  Each LearnZillion video is created by an exceptional teacher from around the country, with support from academic coaches, LearnZillion media experts, and peers. These teachers have watched and worked with the best.   They have struggled with the question how best to teach the same standards millions of teachers are adjusting to, and the results of their work are available for old and new teachers to learn from.

Watching the lessons on LearnZillion is like standing in back of a great teacher’s classroom—you’ll see concepts your kids need to learn a new way.  Most likely, you’ll customize or improve on what you see.  As we grow as teachers, our students benefit.

Screen Shot 2014-03-07 at 4.19.46 PM

ELA Essentials: Understanding the structure and transitions of the ELA standards

Prepare for the Common Core – Webinar recording 3/04/14.

Understanding the structure of the Common Core ELA standards, particularly the connections between standards across grade-levels, is essential to crafting great lessons and implementing close reading.

Join us to explore the Common Core ELA standards and understand how to use this structure to focus your lessons, write meaningful teaching objectives, support your students by differentiating, and set them on track to college and career readiness.

Resources

  • Webinar Slides – use this to hold a discussion with colleagues about how the standards relate to their practice.
  • Common Core Navigator – use this visual guide to get a big picture understanding of the standards in your grade, vertical alignment between standards and the LearnZillion resources associated with each standard.
  • Lesson Set (4th grade) – check out this example of how a teacher has crafted a series of lessons based on targeted, standards-based teaching objectives. Find hundreds of additional lesson sets associated with your grade level through our Common Core Navigator.

Like what you see? Check out these additional resources to help you plan for the ELA Common Core standards:

(Post) 4 Tips for Aligning your ELA Lessons to the Common Core

(Webinar) Three part webinar series on close reading, pt 1: “Text Talks”

Writing, aligning, and sequencing text-dependent questions

This webinar, the second in our “Close Reading” series, models a proven strategy for crafting text-dependent questions and follows up on our earlier “Text Talk” webinar and our 6 step guide to crafting great text-dependent questions. Enjoy!

Download the resources referenced in this webinar here, including:

Like what you see?

Sign Up for the next webinar in our series,

“Crafting effective text-based writing prompts”

on Mar 11th 2014 at 4p ET.