NGSS: Built for Equity and Diversity?

I'm getting agitated. My school district is two years into our NGSS Transition Plan (2013-2017), which I helped to develop.  I've been satisfied that I've led teachers and leaders in learning about the major NGSS Innovations, and I've written a number of blog posts about this work: Three-dimensional learning and assessment: Science & Engineering Practices (SEP), Crosscutting Concepts (CCC), and Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCI). Engineering: Solving human problems with the … [Read more...]

How to Find and Use Pop Culture Texts to Increase Colleague Collaboration and Student Engagement

Imagine, if you will, that each of your students receives the gift of a blank white wall.  A wall displayed somewhere prominently in your community.  A wall that is theirs to decorate, as long as it is uniquely them.  What will they create?  This image is one that I keep in the back of my mind when consuming the world around me and planning student learning.  I keep it there to remind myself that I want students to be in control of their world, not to be a passive receptacle consuming the … [Read more...]

A Teacher’s Confession: “I’m Not a Planner”

It’s time I come clean. I like to consider myself a leader in my field. Someone who strives to practice what she preaches. My usual sermon is one of effective teaching strategies. One with a student-centered focus and with consistent and intentional implementation of best practice. Always. So here it is: I've never been a good planner. Until now that is. At CORElaborate, our goal is to provide our audience with Common Core State Standard (CCSS) related tools and instructional … [Read more...]

Why Teachers Should Crash Advertising Conferences

Kristin Leong taking up space in front of motivational signage at the 3% Minicon.Last week I drove from Seattle to Portland for the 3% Minicon to rally with advertising creatives for activism and inspiration. I was a lone Humanities teacher in a sea of stylish, innovative women looking to join the rapidly growing and increasingly influential network that conference founder Kat Gordon began galvanizing three short but prolific years ago. Since the debut of The 3% Conference in 2012, … [Read more...]

NGSS For All Teachers

Okay, so first I am going to admit to double dipping on my homework.  I am writing this post because I am participating in an online book study through my district on NGSS FOR ALL STUDENTS, edited by Okhee Lee, Emily Miller,  and Rita Januszyk.   With my new role being a mentor teacher to all secondary teachers regardless of their discipline I saw this one come up and thought I better take advantage incase I have some science teachers in my ranks.  I actually don't have any this year and until I … [Read more...]

Two Questions Every Teacher should Answer about the CCSS

By Tom White Earlier this month Slate magazine ran a mini-series about the Common Core. They asked four teachers and then four more teachers two basic questions about the new standards: What has been the biggest change to your work as a result of the Common Core?   What’s the single biggest public or political misconception about the Common Core?   First of all, let me just how much I love these questions. The first gets to the art of teaching and the impact these … [Read more...]

Research is Living in the CCSS

Education is always changing. Ask any teacher. I’ve heard it again and again from my colleagues - “Every time I figure something out, it changes!” This kind of frustration refers to curriculum, policy, standards, and best practices. While it can be overwhelming, there’s also a huge sense of security in constant change for teachers. I”ve also heard this again and again - “We’ll give it a try and tweak things to make it work.” The fact that things change is stressful and empowering at the same … [Read more...]

Helping Families with Common Core Math

Full disclosure: I like the Mathematics Common Core State Standards. I also like the curriculum my school chose that aligns to the standards and uses multiple strategies to teach each math skill. As a teacher, I had my doubts at first. I myself didn’t understand some of the strategies and I had to work through them with my colleagues so I was prepared to teach them. But, once I learned these new strategies I realized how much sense they made. And, as I taught my students new math skills they … [Read more...]

How to Mold a Growth Environment

Paul Tough has reshaped how I manage my classroom. In his book How Children Succeed, Tough argues that character skills - grit, integrity, collaboration - can be taught, regardless of a kids’ background, and will have a profound impact how successful a child is as an adult. As he puts it, “character strengths that matter so much to young people’s success are not innate…They are rooted in brain chemistry, and they are molded, in measurable and predictable ways, by the environment in which … [Read more...]

Learn. Grow. Inspire.

As I’m writing this blog post, I feel uninspired. It’s not the beginning of the school year any more. At my school, we’re in week 3. The new clothes are worn, the expectations taught, the copy room already a cluttered mess. I’m neck deep in assessments, co-workers are feeling the strain of a new curriculum, and stress builds with a new (to some) evaluation system. Don’t get me wrong. This is not depths-of-despair-mid-March. The theme at our building this year is Inspiration. As your year … [Read more...]