Who am I?

Sarah Allred is the Instructional Lead Teacher at Braxton Craven School, an all 6th grade middle school. She has 15 years of teaching experience at the middle school level. Her educational background includes a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education earned at the University of NC Greensboro, National Board Certification in Early Adolescent English Language Arts, and a Master of Arts in Education in Instructional Technology earned at East Carolina University. She has taught language arts, social studies, science, and technology. She serves her school in many leadership roles. Her passion is searching for new ways to use technology to improve student learning. Additional roles she fills are mother of two amazing kids, and wife of a police officer. She enjoys reading, gardening, and digital photography.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Overwhelmed by Curriculum Changes?

It is a daunting task to figure out how to completely implement Common Core and North Carolina Essential Standards curriculum all at once. If you are struggling with this, I would suggest by breaking it down and starting small.  Below is how I would approach it.

1- When planning lessons, take the time to write a “full out” lesson plan like you used to have to do in college until you get the hang of the changes.  Make sure to include an EQ or I Can statement for every lesson, and record which new standard(s) it addresses.
2- For math teachers, focus on using the 8 Mathematical Practices. (I would even suggest picking one a week to focus on until you are comfortable with them so you don’t feel so overwhelmed.)
·         Standard 6: Attend to precision

3- For LA teachers, focus on the 3 Literacy Shifts. (I would also suggest picking one a week to focus on until you are comfortable with them so you don’t feel so overwhelmed.)
·         Build knowledge through content-rich nonfiction and informational text.
·         Reading and writing grounded in evidence from the text.
·         Regular practice with complex text and its academic vocabulary.

4- For all teachers, make sure you add literacy elements as often as you can (focusing on the 3 shifts also).

If you can make a dedicated effort to do these things during this school year, I think you will be well on your way in terms of implementing CC/ES.  It will take some time to learn the curriculum standards and the new approach, and that is expected. The only way you can fail would be to keep teaching the way you always have and using the same lessons you did in years before.  I don’t mean that you have to throw everything out and completely start from scratch, but you should be taking some time with your old lessons and materials and adjusting them to meet the new requirements.

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