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

STATE NAMES 97 TALENTED TEACHERS TO ‘CONNECTICUT DREAM TEAM’

We’re delighted to share that the Connecticut State Department of Education (SDE) has announced that 97 teachers from 86 schools across Connecticut will take part in TeachFest Connecticut, an intensive professional learning session on the Common Core State Standards, where they will develop high-quality resources to be shared with fellow teachers. The ‘Connecticut Dream Team’ will continue working with their peers in the weeks following TeachFest and later serve as teacher leaders at a larger event for Connecticut educators this summer. Participants teach a wide spectrum of different grade levels, with 60 specializing in English language arts and 37 in mathematics.

State names 97 teachers to the CT Dream Team

Commissioner Stefan Pryor announces members of the 2014 Connecticut Dream Team

“TeachFest will provide teachers with the opportunity to collaborate and innovate as they develop high-quality Common Core resources to be shared with their colleagues. Participants will also serve as teacher leaders in future Common Core-related events and activities. We thank and congratulate the teachers who have volunteered and been selected for the Connecticut Dream Team,” State Department of Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor said. “This is a new and exciting element of our growing array of Common Core supports for teachers and school leaders. We are grateful to Governor Malloy and the General Assembly for providing the resources that enable us to provide these critical supports for educators.”  

TeachFest Connecticut represents one of the professional development opportunities supported by the State Department of Education regarding the implementation of the Common Core State Standards.The Connecticut Dream Team will first convene in Hartford from April 25-27 for TeachFest Connecticut, a celebration of teaching and an intensive, structured working session facilitated by LearnZillion. A provider of digital curriculum and professional development for the Common Core, LearnZillion developed this innovative model for their national Dream Team.

“Connecticut teachers’ response to this opportunity has been wonderful,” said Eric Westendorf, CEO of LearnZillion. “We’re excited to support the SDE’s commitment to teachers by sharing our high-energy, rigorous and practical approach to developing exceptional instructional practice with the Connecticut Dream Team.”

Following TeachFest, the Connecticut Dream Team members will return to their 86 elementary, middle and high schools to continue working with peers and content coaches in facilitated online professional learning communities (PLCs). During this process, the Dream Team members will translate their proven teaching methods and classroom expertise into high-quality Common Core resources for use by teachers in Connecticut and will be available on CTCoreStandards.org. These resources will also be made available to teachers across the country, through a free Common Core resource library.

“We applaud all of the teachers who stepped up and volunteered to serve in this important role. Their firsthand classroom experience will be invaluable in helping their colleagues effectively implement Common Core — an effort that has been a significant challenge for so many of our state’s schools,” AFT Connecticut President Melodie Peters said. “Classroom educators were among the first to speak out and urge that their voices be heard in making new teaching standards work when they were adopted four years ago. This effort reflects a major step forward for implementing the core set of standards because it empowers teachers to train teachers.”

The Connecticut Dream Team will later serve as teacher leaders for a “Common Core Fest” to be held for hundreds of teachers across the state on July 29, 2014.   In addition to the LearnZillion experience, the State Department of Education is already sponsoring a series of professional development opportunities for educators across Connecticut. Since the beginning of the school year, school and district leaders have taken part in “communities of practice”— gatherings which focus on implementing the new standards and sharing best practices already in place.

Also, the SDE has convened over 1,500 teachers from 163 districts as Common Core Coaches to develop expertise in the new standards through a series of trainings and webinars. Common Core training opportunities are also being designed for 600 new teachers, student teachers and their mentors, as well as the faculty of teacher-preparation programs.   The K-12 educators selected for the Connecticut Dream Team were chosen through a competitive statewide application on the basis of their content knowledge, grit, and understanding of the Common Core State Standards. Each educator demonstrated the commitment and ability to “scale their impact” beyond their classroom.

 Teachers named to the 2014 Connecticut Dream Team

 Name School District
Aaron Ribchinsky Mary Morrison Elementary and Catherine Kolnaski Magnet School Groton Public Schools
Alicia Loesche East Haven High School East Haven School District
Alicia Wetherbee Edna C. Stevens Elementary School Cromwell School District
Amanda Ashley Peterson Danbury High School Danbury School District
Amanda Johnson Danbury High School Danbury School District
Amy DiNoia Chippens Hill Middle School Bristol School District
Amy Inzero Elizabeth Green Newington School District
Andrew D. Deacon Colebrook Consolidated School Colebrook School District
Andrew Hill Brookfield High School Brookfield School District
Andrew Hutchinson Meriden Elementary Schools Meriden School District
Anna Capobianco Hall High School West Hartford School District
Barbara McLean Hubbell Elementary School Bristol School District
Barbette Warren CREC Public Safety Academy Enfield School District
Briana Visone Bloomfield High School Bloomfield School District
Catherine Freeman Sage Park Middle School Windsor School District
Cheryl R. Kerison Betsy Ross Arts Magnet School New Haven School District
Christine Turcotte-White Henry Barnard Elementary School Enfield School District
Christopher Affie Ansonia High School Ansonia School District
Clinton McLeod Anna H. Rockwell School Bethel School District
Colm Duffin New Britain High School New Britain School District
Corey Nagle Chippens Hill Middle School Bristol School District
Courtney Warner Cook Hill Elementary School Wallingford School District
Craig Wisniewski Martin Kellogg Middle School Newington School District
Danielle Durso Crosby High School Waterbury School District
David P Daigneault Robert E Fitch High School Groton Public Schools
Debra Parker New Fairfield Middle School New Fairfield School District
Diana Kloskowski Slade Middle School New Britain School District
Dr. Brian Moore Bullard Havens Technical High School Connecticut Technical High School System
Elizabeth Porter Chippens Hill Middle School Bristol School District
Ellen Meyer Broadview Middle School Danbury School District
Erin Birden Washington Primary School Regional School District 12
Eugenie George Achievement First Bridgeport Elementary Achievement First Bridgeport
Fallon Wagner Meriden Elementary Schools Meriden School District
Heather DeLaurentis Polson Middle School Madison School District
Hillary Singer Roger’s Park Middle School Danbury School District
Jacqueline Kremer Integrated Day Charter School, Norwich; Juliet W. Long, Ledyard Integrated Day Charter School
Jane Giresi Miller-Driscoll School Wilton School District
Jane Martellino Warren School, James Morris School, and Goshen Center School Regional School District 06
Jane S Potts Mary Morrisson Elementary Groton Public Schools
Jennifer DeRagon Coventry High School Coventry Public School District
Jennifer Lizee-Hammer Pleasant Valley South Windsor School District
Jennifer McDougall Captain Nathan Hale Middle School Coventry Public School District
Jennifer Murrihy Frank T. Wheeler Elementary Plainville School District
Jessica Szafran A Ward Spaulding Elementary School Suffield School District
Josh Egan Washington Middle School Meriden School District
Kara levenduski Robert J. O’Brien STEM Elementary School East Hartford School District
Karen Ciarleglio Montowese Elementary North Haven School District
Kari Baransky Roger Sherman Elementary Meriden School District
Katherine Brodaski New London High School New London Public Schools
Katherine Jesmonth William J. Johnston Middle School Colchester Public Schools
Kelly Bouchard Ellen P. Hubbell School Bristol School District
Kelly Palaia International Magnet School for Global Citizenship Capital Region Education Council
Kevin Stevenson The Friendship School Waterford Public Schools
Kristen Grabowski Tolland Intermediate School Tolland School District
Kristin LaLima Griswold Middle School Griswold Public Schools
Laurie LaBossiere Griswold Middle School Griswold Public Schools
Laury LaMarche C.B. Jennings New London Public Schools
Lisa Handfield Andover Elementary School Andover School District
Marika Heughins Pawcatuck Middle School Stonington Public Schools
Mariliz Fitzpatrick Chippens Hill Middle School Bristol School District
Mary Kay Rendock Carmen Arace Intermediate School Bloomfield School District
Mary Lou Woods Meriden Elementary Schools Meriden School District
Mary Strout Griswold Elementary School Griswold Public Schools
MaryJean Giannetti Meriden Elementary Schools Meriden School District
Matthew Taber Coginchaug Regional HS Regional School District 13
Melissa Potamianos Orchard Hill South Windsor School District
Michelle Bartlett Sunnyside School Shelton School District
Michelle Combs Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School New London Public Schools
Monica Lloyd Toquam Magnet Elementary School Stamford School District
Nadine Keane Griswold High School Griswold Public Schools
Natasha Domina North Haven Middle School North Haven School District
Paul Jeffrey Laedke New Fairfield Middle School New Fairfield School District
Randy Ewart Windsor High School Windsor School District
Rita Gregory Booth Free School Regional School District 12
Robin Greenwald Leonard J. Tyl Middle School Montville Public Schools
Robin Moore James Morris School Regional School District 06
Rosanne Field Batcheller Early Learning Center Winchester School District
Ryan Howard Classical Studies Academy Bridgeport School District
Sarah Forler Hartland School Hartland School District
Sarah Worley Discovery Academy Capital Region Education Council
Shannon VanderMale Essex Elementary School Essex School District
Sharon Campolo Greene-Hills School Bristol School District
Sherri Hall Sarah J. Rawson Hartford School District
Stacey Albertson Dunbar Hill Elementary School Hamden School District
Stephanie McKenna Wethersfield High School Wethersfield School District
Steven Gionfriddo John C. Mead School Ansonia School District
Steven St. Onge Cromwell Middle School Cromwell School District
Susan Coyle Bullard Havens Technical High School Connecticut Technical High School System
Tawana Graham-Douglas Plainville Elementary Schools Plainville School District
Tiffany Deitelbaum City Hill Middle School Naugatuck School District
Tim Shortt Worthington Hooker School New Haven School District
Tina Eisenbeis Pawcatuck Middle School Stonington Public Schools
Tina Manus Platt Tech High School & Bridgeport Adult Education Connecticut Technical High School System
Tomasa Raver Center School Ellington School District
Vannessa Jane Riggio Chester Elementary School Regional School District 04
Victoria Fox Captain Nathan Hale Middle School Coventry Public School District
William McKinney Wilbur Cross High School New Haven School District

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

 

Using the EQuIP Rubric: Math

Ensure your math resources are Common Core aligned.

The EQuIP Rubric  (Educators Evaluating the Quality of Instructional Product) for mathematics (download here) is 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.

In this webinar, we sat down with Mimi Alkire, a mathematics consultant and collaborator with Achieve, to explore in-depth the components of the EQuIP rubric for Mathematics and how to use the rubric to guide lesson and unit planning.

Download the webinar slides here

Access the full suite of EQuIP resources

 

Want more context? Be sure to check out our Introduction to the EQuIP rubric webinar to get background context on why and how the rubric was developed.

 

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:

How Principals Can Relieve Anxiety Around Common Core Implementation

We hear a lot about the anxiety caused by the Common Core, much of it focused on how to support teachers in implementing the new standards.

This issue is particularly salient for principals, as they are the ones responsible for observing classrooms and debriefing lessons with teachers. The reality, though, is that it’s nearly impossible for principals to have expertise in all the standards.

On March 5th, we hosted a conversation with Skip Fennell, a past president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and Joan Tellish, Mathematics Support Teacher with the Howard County Public School System and adjunct professor at Towson University, to discuss the challenges principals face when it comes to teacher observation and the Common Core, the pros and cons of various strategies they currently employ, and ideas for what can be possible in the years ahead.

Watch the conversation here:

Here are some highlights

(3:07) Why it is challenging for principals to do observation and feedback in the age of the Common Core.

(10:30) What principals can do to effectively address this challenge.

Skip starts by sharing the Look For tools that outlines what principals should be looking for while on classroom walk throughs. Skip and Joan explain how “The Standards of Mathematical Practice are written almost as observable behaviors”; this tool helps principals make sense of observed student disposition, teacher actions promoting these dispositions and more.

Click this image to download the Look For slides

Download the Look For slides by clicking above image

(19:45) How to adjust the dynamic from principals being perceived as the “expert” to principals and teachers having a conversation about the content and how to make it accessible to students.

Since we ran out of time to answer all the questions from our audience, Skip and Joan kindly agreed to share their thoughts on a few more, below:

1. What is the best plan for addressing parental anxiety around the CCSS?  How can we help them understand without being fearful or becoming negative about the shift to CCSS?

Joan: Host a CCSS Parent Night. Do an overall intro and then break into grade level teams and have the teachers address strategies and content. Give them resources such as LearnZillion and other websites.

Skip: I think schools and school districts must have sessions for parents.  This, to me, should be more than the sort “fun math night” where people play games, etc.  Those are nice, but it’s time for serious business here. I would see (and have seen) teachers presenting lesson snapshots of the critical topics (using the critical areas at each grade level) that children would encounter per grade level – particularly showing how representations are used to help develop and deepen understanding.  I am also seeing math leaders use Pencasts and LearnZillion activities as sort of a ‘flipped classroom’ opportunity for parents, followed up by at-the-school Q and A.  Hope this, as a start, helps.  NOTING that such opportunities (thos above) are not one and done!

2. What advice can you give to principals who do not have content specialists in their buildings or even in their districts?

Joan: Reach out to “leaders” in their building. Have them do a book study or lesson studies.

Skip: Well, certainly online visits to LearnZillion, the Progressions (this site for serious PD opportunities for teachers) and Illustrative Math sites (this site for classroom tasks and so much more) are a start in terms of having principals connect to the important mathematics within the CCSS (as well as the Practices).

Editor’s note: Skip wrote a book with Tim Kanold, Diane Briars that may be of interest entitled: What Principals Need to Know About Teaching and Learning Mathematics (2011).

3. What is the difference between a Common Core Classroom and the classroom that we are moving away from?

Joan: My answer is that it is all about good teaching practices. The content is different and students have more time to engage in rich tasks to develop the understanding. Taking the time to have deep discussions and students working in groups. What I do not like to see are worksheets and students who are not engaged!

Skip: Easy! This is about fewer standards done deeply and well, with a genuine push for understanding important mathematical concepts and developing proficiency in such ideas and related skills. Understanding is not an option, it’s an expectation AND it’s about time! (I am now into full rant form…)

4. What strategies do you believe will best support content development, especially for elementary teachers, who may not understand the content well enough to move into a more conceptual model?

Skip: Teachers MUST understand the mathematics they are responsible for teaching AND more.  Professional development needs to be content-focused leading to pedagogy with the Practices serving as that pedagogical window.  I don’t think there are specific strategies here other than exposing teachers to the developmental trajectories, which help guide both teaching and learning of critical mathematics topics.

5. How do I get my teachers to trust the student led instruction to ensure mastery of content?

Skip: I don’t think it’s student led instruction!  Teacher are in charge, they plan and present AND engage students in DOING the math (which is probably what is meant by the ‘student led’ phrase above). As students are involved they will experience EVERYDAY in EVERY lesson the ‘habits of mind’ that are the Practices.  They will solve problems, they will discuss solutions, they will use tools, etc.  But wait – this implies teachers know the content and content expectations, it implies they “get” the interface between content standards which may drive a lesson and the Practices evident within a lesson, etc.  That’s what must happen – some states, districts have been doing this now for 3 years others are just beginning.  For some, teaching “this way” has been what they have done FOREVER.  For others, new stuff, more demanding, etc.  OUR collective challenge is knowing such needs and addressing them.

6. Joan mentioned the practices book. What is it?

Joan: Putting the Practices Into Action. Implementing the Common Core Standards for Mathematical Practice, K-8. by O’Connell and SanGiovanni (2013)  (Heinemann)

Skip: This book explains each Practice and gives examples

7. Also, would love to know what Joan’s talking tools mean… that looks great!

Joan: This year my school is focusing on “Rich Discussions” – Last year, I facilitated a Book Study for some teachers using Classroom Discussions – Math Solutions – last year. This year we integrated it throughout the entire school and I led 5 Staff Meetings on the “Talk Tools” – It is all based on Academically Productive Talk – but being intentional. The Talk Moves are Turn and Talk, Restate, Revoice, Agree/Disagree, Say More, and Explain. We put each “move” on a cut out of a tool and every classroom has a set. The ‘tools” are wonderful to incorporate the “Practices” such as Reasoning Abstractly and Quantitatively, Construct viable arguments…, Attend to precision. They really encourage the WHY and HOW and allow students to explain their thinking. We expect to see this is all classes including Related Arts. Our belief is that is you “Talk It, you remember it!” It is all about student engagement!

8. Skip – How frequently do you feel a math coach should try and meet with administration to talk about progress in the building?

Joan: My administrators and the Reading Support Teacher and I meet once a week for 1 – 2 hours. I feel fortunate that my administration is very supportive and the door is always open.

Skip: This is important to me!  When specialists are most effective it’s because there is ongoing communication and collaboration with other building leaders –  Principal/Assistant Principal, etc.  So, I would urge weekly meetings.  I would also urge the kind of collaborative work around teacher walk-throughs and observations that Joan suggested.  AND, I would suggest a daily check in – maybe it’s coffee time, maybe it’s just a couple of minutes…REALLY important.  I have horror stories going the ‘other direction’ which has fostered my passion for this important mathematics link.  Joan and her work with her Principal is a great example!

9. More on Look Fors

Skip: As noted on the webinar these tools came about because of a simple principal request and has sort of blow up (partly linked, though unintentionally) because of the teacher evaluation issue being discussed by seemingly everyone. The sources presented during the webinar should help those interested get started in the use of the Look For’s.  Happy to address more specifics on this at another time.

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