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Common Core

Many teachers and school leaders have a sense of urgency in understanding and implementing the Common Core. Our features focus on the authentic experiences of teachers as they wrestle with new definitions of writing text types and text complexity in the Common Core, work with evidence and build their informational libraries. We include many resources from literacy coaches and school leaders as they bring together teachers to discuss and experiment with new standards in their classrooms.  Whether it's one teacher working with a few students, or a district looking to coordinate resources across hundreds of classrooms, we've got the materials you need to learn more about how the Common Core is being tested and tried throughout the country.

Teaching Students at Their Own Level

Melanie Meehan explains why perfectly designed lessons aligned with standards are useless if they aren't at the level of the students in front of you.

Defining Standards Before a Demonstration Lesson (VIDEO)

In this video from a third-grade lesson study, Jason DiCarlo works with teachers and specialists to define standards before a demonstration lesson.

Making Standards Work for You

Matt Renwick shares a template he uses with teachers to help standards inform their work.

The Common Core and Parents: Building Bridges, Not Walls

Melanie Quinn works with teachers to make language less standards-based and more invitational in conferences with parents.

A Complicated Relationship with Standards

Melanie Meehan looks at how expectations for curriculum and professional development have changed with the Common Core, and not always for the better.

Meeting Snapshot: Selecting a Standard for Lesson Study (VIDEO)

In this short video excerpt, Jason DiCarlo works with a first-grade team to select a standard before designing a demonstration lesson. The group explores connections between reading and writing, and has an honest discussion of where children are in terms of understanding differences in fiction and nonfiction.

Meeting Snapshot: Examining Standards for Vertical Alignment (VIDEO)

In this excerpt from a first-grade lesson study, Principal Jason DiCarlo and the team look at the standard they are tackling compared with what is expected in kindergarten and second grade.

Meeting Snapshot: Exploring Terms in Standards (VIDEO)

Jason DiCarlo pauses for a minute with a team of first-grade teachers to examine a standard together, projected with an LCD to ensure everyone has the same understanding of terms and definitions in the standard.

Hosting a Family Writing Night

Dana Murphy finds that notebooks are the perfect catalysts for good writing and conversation at a family literacy event.

Creating Flash Continuums

Jason DiCarlo explains how to help teachers build flash continuums together. This activity is a quick routine used often to ensure teachers understand the Common Core standards and how to implement them at each grade level.

Texts to Teachers

Jason DiCarlo has five easy strategies for matching teachers with books for instruction.

Helping Teachers Learn to Love the Common Core Standards

Principal Jason DiCarlo realizes you can't love anything you don't know well, so he designs a professional development session to help teachers take a closer look at the Common Core.

Is the Pain Worth the Gain?

Suki Mozenter works with three fifth-grade teachers to design a unit based on Common Core standards that emphasize integrated learning and non-narrative texts.
 

Small-Group Demonstration Lesson: Writing Details in Kindergarten (VIDEO)

In this demonstration small group with kindergartners, Tammy Mulligan uses student texts to show children the value of adding details to their pictures and texts in writing workshop.

Demonstration Lesson: Deeper Reading with Advanced Third Graders (VIDEO)

Clare Landrigan works with a third-grade teacher to help two advanced students read deeply and look for evidence in texts in this demonstration lesson. The video includes a discussion before and after the small group with the teacher.

Building Foundations

Ruth Ayres shares a professional development activity which helps teachers think deeply about their beliefs and how they are expressed in practice.

Cultivating Teacher Leadership

Jennifer Allen explains why it is essential for literacy coaches to expand their work to include mentoring teachers into leadership roles, especially involving curriculum work.

Picture It: Just in Time Writing Resources

Heather Sisson mixes high-tech computer alerts with low-tech book baskets to help teachers gather the mentor texts they need to prepare for assessments in this "Picture It" feature.

Exploring Themes in the Intermediate Grades

Jennifer Allen describes a simple highlighting strategy adopted by grades 3-5 teachers to help students explore themes in literature and meet standards from the Common Core.

Picture It: Objectives and the Coach

Posting objectives is the norm in many classrooms. Heather Rader has a suggestion for making the practice more reflective for teachers and coaches.

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