Tuesday, July 31, 2012

PARCC Education Leader Cadre -Chicago - Part 3

I am home from Chicago and have had a chance to reflect on all of the information that was shared at the PARCC ELC Chicago Conference - At the end of the conference, we were asked to think of three take-aways.  As I prepare for the 2012-2013 school year, I will spend more time thinking about not just changes in the standards but how to best work with my colleagues to shift the way we think about teaching students.

Take-away 1
The goal of making the next generations of assessments computer based is to get more instructional technology into classrooms- not just to be used for assessment, but to enrich the learning experience of all students.
What we can do now to maximize the technology we have in our districts?
  • Expose students to simulations, interactive tools and manipulatives. Take advantage of the many free resources that are available on the internet. You can use these as whole class lessons, center activities, computer lab lessons or homework activities.
  • Provide ongoing professional development and support for your teachers and students so they are comfortable and confident using the technology that is available to them.  Have discussions with district teams based on the CCSS. Identify WHAT students are going to be expected to do as they work toward College and Career Readiness.  Then do an assessment of your existing technology.  What do you currently have that will help the students to do research, collaborate, communicate, build knowledge, access complex reading materials, and build vocabulary and math fluency? How can you maximize the use of this technology?  

Take-away 2
Understanding by Design is being used to build the assessments and can be used by classroom teachers to design their own lessons and assessments to support the CCSS.

Guiding Questions for Developing Assessments and Lessons

  • What claims will we use to begin to build our assessments?
  • What student products will allow teachers to say with assurance that the student has mastered the content standard? What do the products look like? What samples of student work can be used to come to a common understanding of what mastery, developing and beginning work looks like?
  • What are the classroom activities necessary to get to this assessment?
  • What evidence can we point to,highlight or underline in a student response that will show that the student has mastered the standard?
  • How can we design tasks that are designed to elicit specific evidence from students to support claims

Take-away 3
Build a culture of literacy. All teachers need to be teachers of language.

We are not all teachers of reading. We need to all be teachers of the language of our content areas. The sooner teachers can acknowledge that they need to give students the language tools they need to access content in math, science, history, art, music, physical education, technology and business, the sooner we can start to build a culture of literacy in our communities. Think about helping your students to build a tool box that they can use to master your content area.
Things to include in the student literacy toolbox
  • Specific vocabulary for your content area (Tier 3 vocabulary) Words should be taught in context rather than as a list to be memorized. ( Tips for Teaching Vocabulary)
  • Specific writing conventions to communicate ideas in your content area ( how to write a hypothesis, a proof, a research question)
  • Lots of challenging reading materials related to your content area- this builds content vocabulary. Ask them questions that require them to go back into the reading to support their answers. (Finding A Balance Between Fiction and Non-Fiction) (Text Complexity)(Text Based Questions)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

PARCC Education Leader Cadre-CHICAGO PART 2

This morning....freezing in the hotel ballroom. We started off the day with a whole group meeting. Ten states are represented- Ohio ,Oklahoma ,New Jersey ,Rhode Island ,New York, Mass., Arizona, Maryland, New Mexico Ohio's model curriculum is being used as an example by some of the other states...yay OHIO! We had the opportunity to hear more about how the new assessments are being built...using a process very similar to Understanding by Design. The writers are beginning with the Language of Claim....evidence centered design in the classroom. Then identifying what student products will allow teachers to say with assurance that the student has mastered the content standard. The next step is figuring out what do the products look like and then finally deciding what are the classroom activities necessary to get to this product. The assessment items can then be developed using these claims by identifying what evidence can teachers point to,highlight or underline in a student response that they will be looking for. The tasks or items are designed to elicit specific evidence from students to support the claims. Finally, writers can build task models that can be used to develop lots of items. More specifics on this to follow when I get back from the conference. Today was really about big picture. I had the opportunity to go to the 96 floor of the Hancock Building tonight and look out across the city of Chicago. Road plans, city design and building detail were immediately visible. Sometimes it is difficult for classroom teachers to get this same big picture view of curriculum. I think that by first focusing on big ideas...like College and Career Readiness, Building A Culture of Literacy, Embedding Research Skills Across the Curriculum, Building Math Fluency...then focusing on what it is we want the students to be able to ultimately do or produce at each grade level, teachers will be better able to see how individual units and lessons will fit into the scheme of the Common Core Curriculum. It is part of the job of the ELC members to help communicate these big ideas.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

PARCC Education Leader Cadre-Chicago Part 1

Ok...still hot, but at least I am now in Chicago. Spent a wonderful afternoon and evening exploring Chicago with some of the other Ohio ELCs...what a great way to get to know each other better. Some things I learned today: How to use technology to work collaboratively and accomplish a performance task: The task- get a group of 7 people, who have never met each other face to face, to downtown Chicago. See something interesting and have a meal. How we accomplished this using technology: Text messaged everyone to meet in the hotel lobby. Text messaged a bread crumb trail of directions to two people who did not meet us in the lobby so they could find us as we traveled by L into Chicago. Took pictures of our location to send to one person who still couldn't find us while at Navy Pier. Used Google Maps app walking directions to get all 7 of us from Navy Pier to the restaurant for dinner. Did a search for the address of the cupcake place on one smartphone while another member found the walking directions. We found yummy cupcakes...and the Hershey store too. The importance of clear, fixed, targets We rode the L from the airport into Chicago. To get to Navy Pier, we had to transfer from the Blue line to the Red line. The large, colorful maps that were displayed everywhere made it very easy to see our final destination and what stops would be made along the way. We were able to get to our destination without constantly asking someone for directions or if we were on the right track. Tomorrow the conference begins with a whole group intro meeting. I know Mass. Teachers are here...curious to see what other states are represented.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

PARCC Education Leader Cadre Meets in Chicago

What a HOT evening!  I am glad that there is air conditioning in my bedroom as I pack for my trip to Chicago and the PARCC Education Leader Cadre meeting.  I am really looking forward to meeting the other members of the Leader Cadre from Ohio - we have only spoken briefly by phone.  I am especially eager to meet educators from other PARCC states.  This is such a good opportunity to share ideas, learn more about the Common Core and focus on the shifts that need to occur in education across our state.  I will be posting regular updates over the next three days.  A good starting point for all of you who are following along on this PARCC journey with me would be to go over the PARCC frameworks for Math and ELA and  Appendix A of the ELA Common Core.  During our sessions this week - we will be spending time focusing on these documents.

Here are the links for you:

Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Walk In the PARCC Ohio Style

This past Friday I left the beach for a few hours to participate in my first Ohio PARCC Education Leader Cadre (ELC) meeting - via conference call.  Over the next 3 years, I will be working with a select group of educators from Ohio, and the other PARCC states to help make the transition to the Next Generation Assessments, the Common Core Curriculum and the New Ohio Enhanced Academic Standards a smooth one.

What is PARCC - Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers - 24 states
Focus is on ensuring that students who graduate from HS: 

  • Have deep content knowledge
  • Have well developed critical thinking, problem solving and analytical thinking skills
  • Have developed the ability to persevere when working on a task, demonstrate resourcefulness,  understand the need for committing to a task and can set short and long term goals 
  • Have the social and academic skills necessary to navigate through the work world or the world of higher education.

The role of the  ELCs includes:

  • Communicating information to parents, community members, teachers and administrators
  • Providing professional development and training locally and statewide
  • Reviewing and providing feedback on the preK-12 and Higher Education alignment of content and college/career readiness standards along with assessments
  • Providing feedback and suggestions for resources and technology integration 

The ELC is made up of  24 people

  • Teachers
  • Administrators
  • Curriculum Directors
  • Gifted and Talented specialists
  • ELL instructors
  • Special Educators
  • Higher Ed staff
  • Representatives from professional organizations like SECO, OCTM, OEA, OFT, OASSA,OCTELA, ORC
  • ESC staff
  • Parents - to be added
  • Community Members - to be added

Key Information From My First Meeting:

  • ODE has a P-16 Continuum - to make sure that Ohio's children start ready for k-12 education and end ready for a college or career path.  The focus beyond academic content is on developing social and cognitive skills to help students be successful.
  • The national Common Core Standards in ELA and Math have been adopted in Ohio
  • The ODE developed Enhanced Academic Content Standards (OEACS) in Science, Social Studies, Fine Arts, World Language, Financial Literacy, Entrepreneurship, Business Education.
  • The goal of the OEACS is to provide guidance to educators for identifying points of access to the curriculum for all students in Ohio.
  • Next Generation Assessments are being designed to give students multiple ways to show what they know
  • PARCC is developing assessments for gr 3-8 and HS in ELA and Math for 2014-2015
  • ODE is developing assessments for Science - one for elementary, one for MS and end of course exams in Biology and Physical Science for 2014-2015
  • ODE is developing assessments for Social Studies - one for elementary, one for MS and end of course exams for American History and Govt. for 2014-2015
  • ODE has developed Alternative Assessments for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities beginning in 2013.  Designed to be adaptive, on demand and performance based, student RESULTS will be submitted on line.  Training will be provided beginning this fall using online modules.
  • ODE is working on making sure that by 2014-2015 the assessment items will be aligned to both the current and the new standards.
  • There will be a transition plan in place to help students who are going to be "in the middle" of the current OAA and OGT assessment plan and the new Next Generation Assessments.
  • New standards for ELP/ELL instruction are being developed.
  • Early Learning Support and assessment updates, including KRAL are currently being done for birth to age 3.
  • ODE is adding Differentiated Instruction Staff

PARCC Assessment Design Map
Things to note :

  • The OGT is being replaced by  End of Year Exams in ELA grades 9, 10 and 11 AND 3 End of Course Exams (for traditional or integrated math models) AND End of Course Exams in Biology, Physical Science, American History and Govt.
  • The Diagonistic and Mid Year Assessment are optional - and formative
  • The Performance Based Assessment and End of Year Assessments are REQUIRED - and summative

Follow my blog for ongoing updates, keep track of the Common Core in Ohio by looking at the info under my "Common Core Tab" at the top of this blog or follow me on TWITTER - edtechgirl - look for the hashtag #OHPARCC