I spent the day with representatives from 20 or more county districts. Our goal was to work together on LA curriculum maps to move us into the CCS. I was amazed at the differences in curriculums even within our county. 20 districts, 20 distinct teaching methods. My own district was far ahead of most in technology integration and PBL, but probably not as rigorous in content and reading complexity as we need to be. One thing we were discussing was the common core maps. I was glad that I wasn't the only one concerned with the objectives listed. My understanding was that with the CCS, we were moving towards a more skills based curriculum. The objectives given in the secondary CCS maps were content based and very traditional. Though I would love to be able to purchase our maps and be done with it, I don't know that they are going to be what we need. Back to the drawing board. For the time being, we made spread sheets so that we could see the progression of the standards from year to year. Next, we are going to examine our curriculum to see where we are weak. Finally, we will work to tweak our curriculums to more closely align to the standards. I would welcome any input from other areas. How are you implementing the CCS? Are you completely changing the curriculum, or are you modifying what already exists?
Today was a big day for our district. Our PLT groups met for the first time to plan our implementation of project based learning. I had the pleasure of rotating between groups to help explain the goals and models we will be following. We are, for the time being, taking baby steps in this project. The most successful PBL schools we have seen have time built into their schedule to complete the projects. We are being a bit more cautious until we get a better handle on the idea. For the most part, teachers were really excited about the projects. It is exciting to create projects that are cross-curriculuar, artistic and tactile. Our administration is very supportive and the staff knows that the sky is the limit. I heard plans of an Advertising Art/Spanish/English project. Child-Care is planning on having students implement and assess the use of specific iPad apps in early education, then creating a wiki to share with other educators. Other groups wanted to take some time to absorb the ideas and come back to plan at the next meeting.
Of course, there are the naysayers. Some didn't think we have time to implement them and still get through the curriculum. One didn't think the kids were advanced enough. Still others thought the kids wouldn't be interested in doing the projects (????). A couple just didn't show up.
Overall though, it was a success, and I look forward to seeing the projects my colleagues create.
I had the fortune of spending the last two days with a consulting firm for our school administration. They were hired to come in and teach us how to "succeed" in education. They brought with them, along with many insults, a set of curriculum maps for the common core standards. One thing I noticed about the maps this company put out was that they cut any and all joy out of learning. For the ELA maps, they cut out reading anything longer than a paragraph (a paragraph is all that is needed for comprehension!), discussions were rendered unimportant (despite all of the common core standards related to this concept) and a great emphasis was placed on drilling basic skills. With this company, teachers were the enemy. I believe that their help, in no time, we could go from being a wonderful environment for students AND staff to an antagonistic fractured district. Judging from the morale of the faculty after these two days, I'm not the only one who felt this way.
What I'm wondering is, what is your district doing for the new curriculum maps? The only two sets I have seen are the ones on common core.org, which is content heavy, and the ones from this company, which focus only on skills. Can't there be a happy medium? What is your district doing?
I am new this year to the position of technology integrationist. In fact, the position is new for our district, so I am attempting to find my way. I have found that it is important for me to be seen in the school if I want the teachers to seek me out for in class support. We have been holding technology workshops every week, but attendance is not as high as I would like. Though I hold them four times in a day (all three lunches and after school), I find that the staff prefers me to come to them and give one on one instruction that is tailored to their needs. My question to you is, do you have any tips to help me achieve success in this position? Does anyone have any advice they have gained from experience in this position (or as a teacher with access to tech support)?
Literacy and Technology Specialist, English Teacher, Learner, Integrationist.