Achievement Level Descriptors

I recently had the chance to meet with teachers, administrators, parents and community members from all over the United States to set cut scores for Smarter Balanced (SBAC’s) ELA and Mathematics assessments. I was assigned to work on the 3rd grade math assessment’s cut scores, but the same process was happening for every grade level in both content areas at the same time. The process included looking at the standards, field test results, and description of achievement levels to recommend minimum … [Read more...]

Reading Standard Literature Two: Shifts in K-12 Grades

As I annotated reading standard two, I noticed that it wasn’t going to be as easy to fill in a ladder. While I  created a ladder for comparison to my post on Standard One, it appeared that a better way to describe the skill progression is a system of cycles. The initial grade level in a cycle seems to introduce a concept or vocabulary word. The next grade level appears to ask “how” a concept is created, usually giving specific details to pay attention to in a text. Then the final grade level … [Read more...]

TPEP: I Am Setting Gaudy Goals!

I first heard the term "gaudy goal" at a summer conference last July.When I heard the name, it struck me as funny, but I didn’t give much thought to it, until recently. I have been helping to support and train teachers in our district through the TPEP process, and therefore I have been thinking a lot about goals again. The Webster definition of gaudy is "extravagantly bright or showy, typically so as to be tasteless". I like it! Especially the tasteless part, I could have used this to describe … [Read more...]

Show What You Know With An Infographic

You know what the Common Core State Standards ask  your students to do.  They need to cite textual evidence to analyze a text.  Or determine a theme and analyze it's development.  Or determine the central idea of a text.  You have taught lesson after lesson on these skills. Your students have written essay after essay to show you what they know.  Some are getting better at essay writing.  Others have taken to muttering rebelliously and are never able to locate a writing tool or a piece of … [Read more...]

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...]