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

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

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.

Like what you’ve seen, check out these other useful resources:

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”

Practical tips for using LearnZillion Lesson Plans in the classroom

Learn how to use LearnZillion Lesson Plans in your classroom.

Teachers across the country are using our lesson plans to streamline their planning process.

In this recording Shana Lindeman, a 7th grade math teacher and 2013 Dream Teamer from North Dakota, shares how she uses LearnZillion Lesson plans for anchoring/structuring whole class instruction, providing students with opportunities for practice, and supporting differentiation for students who struggle with lesson content.

Give our lesson plans a try, and realize the benefits that one administrator articulated so beautifully,

Screen Shot 2014-02-28 at 5.03.31 PM

Continue reading

The secret to amazing Professional Development: The 3 P’s

When people ask me for the secret to great professional development, I share our 3 Ps.

Funnily enough, we discovered these 3 P’s by accident. In the summer of 2011, thanks to a Next Generation Learning Challenge Grant, we brought 20 teachers from around the country together to work on the first batch of LearnZillion lessons.  For two days we sat in a cramped room with math books, computers, and treats, working on lessons. At the end of the two days, several of the teachers said that it had been “the best professional development” of their career.

A year later it happened again.  This time we brought 123 teachers to Atlanta and called the event TeachFest.  On the second night, after a full day of working on lessons, we gave everyone an option.  They could go out on the town, watch Ferris Bueller’s Day Off on a large screen, or continue working on lessons in the basement.  At 11pm, half the teachers were still working in the basement.  Again, the feedback at the end of the event was, “this was the best professional development.”

It was a revelation that our content creation process was, in fact, the key to incredible professional growth, satisfaction and impact.  And when we analyzed why that was, it boiled down to 3 Ps: product, process, and people.

1. Product

DT quote 3 v2

The experience is focused on developing a final producta lesson.  The product is practical, meaningful, and challenging to create.  The teachers know they are going to use the lessons, and that other teachers and students are going to use them too.

Lesson on a computer

Most professional development focuses on professional development.  We have come to believe that professional development is most powerful when focused on creating something useful; professional development is the by-product of creating a product.

2.  Process

Focusing on a final product isn’t enough.  Teachers have to be set up for success.  There needs to be a roadmap that provides them with the guidance and resources they need to accomplish the goal – from initial research, to outlines, to drafting.  At TeachFest, we didn’t say, here’s a block of time to plan, go for it.  We thought through every step of the process and asked ourselves, “what does the teacher need to be successful now.  What about now?  What about now?”  And then we equipped them with those things.

Screen Shot 2014-02-28 at 4.22.32 PM

Here, for example, is an overview of our TeachFest roadmap:

LearnZillion Process

LearnZillion lesson creation process

3.  People

The final P stands for people.  The 20 teachers at that initial convening helped each other out.  

DT quote 1

When one of them had a question about their lesson, they would talk it through with a colleague or a coach.  They had opportunities to get feedback and then make revisions to their work based on that feedback.  This happened in person and then continued on-line over the summer as teachers worked on their lessons.  As a result, most of the experience looked like this…

Teacher Collaboration

Dream Team teachers collaborating at TeachFest

…as opposed to looking like an expert standing in front of a large group of people.

Put them together and what have you got…

McDonald’s talks about its “secret sauce.”  When it comes to professional development we believe the sauce shouldn’t be secret.  Just remember the 3 Ps.  Put them together and you create amazing lessons, build the capacity of teachers, and have a lot of fun.

DT quote 4

Dream Team 2013 group shot

National LearnZillion 2013 Dream Team

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.

Save time and streamline your planning with LearnZillion Lesson Plans

Hear from LearnZillion’s own Eric Westendorf (CEO) and Boaz Munro (Content Lead) about how the site’s newest feature can help math teachers ensure their students master the essential standards across grades 3-8.

Literacy Office Hours with David Liben pt. 2

This is the second of three office hours hosted by David. View the first office hours here.

David Liben, of Student Achievement Partners, shares a wealth of tips and resources to help prepare your students for the Common Core ELA standards.

RESOURCES

Reading Strategies and Close Reading

  • “Rethinking Reading Comprehension Instruction,”  by McKeown, Beck, and Blake, is a study that compared the effects of content instruction (using text-dependent questions) to the effects of strategies instruction, and found that content focused instruction had greater benefits.
  • Cognitive Scientist Daniel Willingham’s Blog,  presents research and describes the danger of excessive focus on comprehension strategies.

Examples of Rich Complex Text

Examples of good questioning technique:

Using Basal Readers

  • This lesson bank offers Common Core-aligned replacement lessons for basals published before the Common Core (pre-2010).
  • To learn more about or join the group that created these lessons, the Basal Alignment Project (BAP), click here.
  • There are lots of new resources that say they’re Common Core-aligned.  Use the Publisher’s Criteria to evaluate whether they are really aligned to the Standards.   If IMET is on atc we could use that as well.

Read Alouds

  • Model Read Aloud lesson for K-2 classrooms, based on the poem, The Wind, available here.
  • K-2, teachers all over the country are also working to create Common Core-aligned Read Aloud lessons, through the Read Aloud Project.  Access the resources they create or join the group through Edmodo, using the group access code: pkx52i

Volume of Reading and Vocabulary

  • Long-term reading success depends on not just close reading, but also on volume of reading.
  • This article by Marilyn Jager Adams in American Educator explains how a series of texts on related topics is the fastest way to grow the vocabulary needed to access complex text.  She also cites research by Thomas Landauer showing the powerful relationship between volume of reading and vocabulary growth.

Guided Reading

Like what you’ve seen? Sign up here for our next Literacy Office Hours on April 9th, 2014.

Also, check out our post on 4 tips for aligning your ELA lessons to the Common Core and 3 tips for approaching close reading.

Turbocharge whole group instruction with Lesson Plans

We’re proud to introduce an exciting addition to LearnZillion.com: Lesson Plans for essential math standards in 3rd-8th grade.

 

What Are Lesson Plans?

A lesson plan is a new resource that enhances whole-class instruction.  For each section of the lesson, lesson plans provide challenging questions that increase student engagement and build conceptual understanding.  They are aligned to a LearnZillion lesson video and include printable practice problems and next steps for students who struggle with specific concepts.

The structure of the lesson plans reflects our belief that students do best when given challenging questions and frequent practice, and when teachers personalize learning based on individual needs.

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An example of simple, straightforward options for students who struggle with standard 4.NF.3d

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An example of questions for testing student misunderstanding at each stage of the lesson, with notes for teachers on the right.

 

Why Lesson Plans?

Our Dream Team has created thousands of conceptual, grade-level video lessons, and we’re keen to make those videos even easier to use.  Many teachers have told us their favorite way to use LearnZillion is to weave them into their whole group instruction: pause them frequently to ask questions, give students an opportunity to check their understanding, provide practice problems aligned to the lesson, and assign more videos to students who need extra support.

The new Lesson Plan feature provide a guide every teacher can use to transform each of our short video lessons into a classroom period characterized by powerful whole group interactivity, actionable formative assessments, and targeted differentiation support.

What Should I Do?

We’re excited for teachers to download and use any of these essential lesson plans! Find a standard or topic you’re teaching soon.  Assign practice problems to your students.  Use the differentiation links when misunderstandings arise.

Start Using Lesson Plans

Thanks for sharing this news and, as always, please let us know what works and what else you’d like to see!