The Yoda Model – How to Invigorate Students Through Rigor

One of my favorite teachable moments is a scene in The Empire Strikes Back. Jedi Master Yoda orders his young student Luke Skywalker to “use the force” to lift his X-wing fighter out of the swamps of Dagobah. After unsuccessfully freeing his spaceship, Luke says in exasperation “you want the impossible.” Then, the pint-sized Yoda does what Luke believes is unachievable – he lifts the X-wing out of the water. “I don’t believe it!” Luke says in shock. Yoda sternly replies, “That, is why you … [Read more...]

Postcard from a 1st time TPEP-er

This week on my TPEP journey, I engaged in the goal writing process. I’m not new to goals. As a Special Education major, I was well trained in writing SMART goals. In my general education program, at a time of increasing accountability, I could write lesson goals in my sleep. I felt confident when starting the TPEP goal writing process. I was mistaken. Here are a few of my struggles: While writing a goal in isolation is easy; writing with a team is much trickier. Everyone on the team … [Read more...]

Better Know a Standard: RL4.10

By Tom White Today I’m wrapping up my tour through the fourth grade literacy standards with standard 10: By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poetry, in the grades 4-5 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range. So basically, this standard is about students reading and comprehending grade-level literature. It seems fairly simple, since most teachers have their students reading every day, … [Read more...]

2 Ways to Own Your Professional Learning

This past week I had one of those amazing outlook-changing experiences. I spent the day with some influential people in education, along with other professionals in the fields of marketing and public relations, to discuss teacher narratives; stories and experiences being discussed by teachers about their day-to-day lives as educators. From an immense amount of research and data, ten common narratives surfaced. I empathized with all, but truly connected with a few; one being the inspiration for … [Read more...]

Write Less … More!

Maybe you’re thinking, “What does she mean? That’s just bad grammar.” Or maybe you’re thinking, “Write less … more ? How is that even possible?” I had to read it several times to myself before I realized that is the perfect way to describe writing in the primary grades for CCSS. CCSS is being assessed with the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) in Washington. The ELA standards are broken into four claims – reading, writing, listening & speaking, and research. Because ELA is … [Read more...]

Reading Standard One: Grade K-12 Shifts

  Recently, Tom blogged about Reading Standard 4.7, which got me thinking about how his emphasis and reading of the 4th grade standard compared to my understanding of the same standard at 9/10 and 11/12 grade levels. So, I searched for a document that would show me each standard across all grade levels.  But, alas, I was left staring at my computer screen saying “my kingdom for a Standards by Grade level ladder.” Perhaps such a document exists, but as I could not find it, I will … [Read more...]

CCSS: Why The Classroom Should Look More Like Immersion Theater

The idea for this post came to me from a source that seems pretty far away from my teacher world but it is due to recent events, present in my home life.   My husband has many creative friends from his youth spread out across the country, mainly in New York and LA.  We have two friends who are Broadway actors, and these are really close friends, so theater and artists are a part of our everyday social lives.  I have always thought their jobs were so different from mine.  They certainly keep … [Read more...]

Advisory Period and the CCSS

Last year our seventh grade teachers piloted an advisory period curriculum. Three times a week they carved time out of their core classes for advisory.  Students greeted each other.  There was a time of structured sharing for the purpose of getting to know one another better and to discover common interests.  And they played a game.  Also incorporated were elements of William Glasser's class meetings;  students made plans and solved problems democratically. In the spring of every year, our … [Read more...]

End the Acronym Madness!

Are you starting RTI at your building and not sure where to start? Are you trying to address all the needs of your students, but not sure what they need? Is your TPEP evaluation coming up and you need to address all the subgroups in your room? Are you sick of the alphabet soup of acronyms in education? I have a new idea for you that does NOT have an acronym. I offer you the pile protocol Pile protocol is called such because in the olden days (before the wonders of electronic reports), you … [Read more...]

A Common Core Metaphor

By Tom White I live near a five corner intersection, and for as long as I can remember, it’s been equipped with five stop signs. I wouldn’t call it dangerous, but it’s never been very efficient, mostly because of the ambiguity. Turn signals are well-suited for four-way stops; you turn them on when you want to turn and you leave them off when you don’t. Everyone usually knows where everyone else is going.  Turn signals are far less effective at a five-way intersection; you’re never really … [Read more...]