Thursday, August 1, 2013

Common Core

Can I have a moment here for a second?


It has been an overwhelming day today to say the least. To say I am overwhelmed is an understatement. Today we met as a Language Arts department to begin our back-to-school work. We spent the first half of the morning just looking at the standards and focusing on what we felt like the kids were having a difficult time grasping, what they felt like they had mastered, and what we felt like they completely flopped on.

It was interesting to see that across the grade levels we had some of the same thoughts on some of the standards.

First off, I really love the Common Core. I think it is fantastic that almost all of the states are now using the same standards to help prepare our kids for college. I guess my only complaint in my opinion is that sometimes you look at the standard and have to ask yourself exactly what do they mean by that?

What do they mean by credible AND accurate sources? When they say I'm supposed to teach prefixes, suffixes, etc. exactly what should I be teaching and where does the next grade level pick up?

It is still a little overwhelming to me. This is my third year teaching the new Common Core standards and I feel that I have a better grasp on them than ever before, however I am switching grade levels and that can be a different challenge.

Let me give you a bit of background information:

My first year teaching, I taught 6th grade at a Title 1 school where I had students for 50 minute classes.

My second year teaching, I taught 6th grade at the same title one school but shared the same set of 150 kids with another Language Arts teacher (so the kids got like 1 1/2 hours of Language Arts).

My third year teaching, I moved up to 7th grade and had about 110 of the 150 kids for a second time. I also taught the new Common Core standards for the first time. My colleague was a brand new teacher who had never taught before and I was considered the expert! Gah!

Last year, my fourth year teaching, I switched schools and taught 6th grade Common Core. I had 115 students but worked with two other Language Arts teachers and a fabulous special ed. collaborative teacher.

This year, my fifth year teaching, I am moving up to 7th grade with my kids. I will had 115 students about 1/3 of them I will have again. I have two new Language Arts teachers to work with and a new special ed. collaborative teacher.

So this is where I am currently at. I am looking forward to having my kids again and I really like my colleagues. However, I do feel overwhelmed.

It is really difficult moving up with kids when you might have them again. I feel like after five years of teaching I have slowly mastered some really fantastic lesson plans--some of which I used last year. It's not that I feel that I can't use them again but sometimes I feel like I have to reinvent the wheel again to present the material in a different way to still keep them interested. Does that make sense?

I am really thankful that my 7th grade colleagues have had 3 years to get a good handle on the new Common Core standards too! The first time I did this was the first year they were rolled out and since I was the "veteran" teacher I struggled a little bit. I had a great support system at school, reading coach, instructional coach, etc. that helped develop some great lessons too. I am hoping to use some of these same resources again.

Sorry for the bummer post--I think I felt a little overwhelmed after our meeting today. We meet again tomorrow and on Monday so hopefully I will buckle down, take a breather, and get it together. I am a little too OCD sometimes. :)

In other news, I bought a staple gun! 

Boom! I feel like a true crafty girl, or at least I think I am...HAHA I am trying to make a second bulletin board for in my room and had to get one to get the fabric to go through the insulation board. I didn't realize until this morning that the staples I bought for my staple gun weren't long enough! *gasp* I just got back from the store where I bought some super long ones. Keep your fingers crossed as I give this another whirl tomorrow.

I also have a new can of spray paint. I think I personally keep Krylon in business. ;)

13 days until the first day with students!!!!!!

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  1. Girl, I absolutely love your videos! Wherever do you find them? Each of those shots could be me.....I am so nervous about Common Core! I finally feel like I have a grip on SC standards after three years teaching here and now we're switching!

    Hope I get to your level of calm soon!

    Surviving Sixth Grade

  2. LOL Thank you Mrs. J! Honestly, I just find them on google. I just search for gifs and then have started saving them as a picture. If you can think of a specific movie you can also search for that and add gif on the end. :) I'm new to them and there are probably a ton somewhere on a database but I couldn't find them.

    I really do like the Common Core but my first year teaching them (3 years ago) I lacked a lot of the resources needed to teach the standards. I think that as more states are now implementing them we will be able to find more resources readily available. :)



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