As we move toward implementing professional learning communities we must understand it’s a shift in our thinking and the plc process is life-changing. PLCs are not a program, they’re a way of life, a belief system, and what we want to be about.
Math curriculum changes are taking place in K-8 for the 2013-2014 school year and teachers are preparing through workshops and other trainings to be ready. The shift in some of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills from one grade level to another has teachers rethinking content and lesson experiences for the coming year.
When our English I teacher, Karen Yoder, sees the results on the STAAR EOC, her bottom line is checking for student learning and achievement. When you see the plan for the year to achieve those results, it becomes very clear there is no magic curriculum or silver bullet to get those kind of results. Instead, it is a commitment between teacher and students to tackle a very challenging class load that ultimately produces confident writers and critical thinkers. As you will see in the link below, the prep work begins with the teacher. Karen logged somewhere between 55 and 60 hours of professional development last year to ensure that she had run the gamut on resources, tools, and lesson design to prepare her students. Then she works 60 hours per week planning, strategizing, designing curriculum, providing immediate feedback, and grading. The load is rigorous for both she and her students, and they have a relationship of respect and admiration that pushes them to exceed her expectations.
In the information provided in the link she stresses several very important points that hopefully will help teachers across the region to add to their toolboxes. In addition, Karen shares some resources and tips for creating a program that can work for any classroom. It is a job…….it requires lots of preparation to be ready with the challenging curriculum it takes to be successful in the course and on the EOC. She grades stacks of essays in a very narrow window, [multiple times per year], so students see the progress they are making, and she writes with her students. She provides quality writing examples so her students take away the relevance and importance of strong writing, while also realizing that she has already done what she is asking them to do.
Please take a moment to read through the information provided in the link. The link will direct you to my Curriculum & Instruction page, then scroll down below the STARR Test icon and click on Karen Yoder. Best wishes for a great 2013-2014 school year.