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 19, 2012

Visions of Common Core and Essential Standards

Now that we are really getting into the meat of the school year, I have been encouraging teachers to reflect on how they are implementing Common Core and Essential Standards in their classroom.  It appears that this has our faculty feeling overwhelmed and insecure, and understandably so.  Those feelings are a good sign that we are attempting to embrace the changes even though it is uncomfortable.

I don't want our faculty to feel disheartened and give up from being so overwhelmed. I absolutely believe we are on the right track, and have begun taking the small steps that will eventually get us where we need and want to be.  This morning I spent some time visiting classrooms looking for evidence of these small steps with CCES to prove that we are doing it, and I want to share some of what I saw.

  • One class had created character portraits for a book they read, and had to include on the portrait a quote from the text with the page number cited which gives evidence for the characteristics they included in their drawing. (adding depth and text based answers)
  • In two classrooms, students were working on a tic-tac-toe choice board to research information about Ancient Egypt. (differentiation and writing from sources)
  • In another class, students were designing human eyes based on radial design, warm and cool color schemes, and accurate eye structure. (working from sources and integrating science)
  • In another class, students were doing research on a particular animal and creating a brochure product using Microsoft Office. (writing from sources and integrating science)
  • Another class was practicing math skills with the activities differentiated to meet the level each individual student is working at. (differentiation and taking ownership of learning)
  • A final class I visited was discussing how to read word problems and translate them into numerical expressions. Students were going to discuss this in collaborative groups. (21st Century Skills and Mathematical Practices 1 & 3) 
These are some great example of how we are rising to meet the expectations of Common Core and Essential Standards!  We can do it; in fact we are doing it!  Remember CCES is not about a one size fits all program or doing a song and dance.  It is about facilitating learning for students and pushing them to greater depths of understanding. 

So,  as a great book which I read often says: "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." Gal 6:9 NIV

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