Results
Making Standards Work for You

Like anything adopted wholesale in education, I approach the Common Core State Standards with trepidation. Yes, the expectations for what is to be learned at the end of each grade...

Defining Standards Before a Demonstration Lesson

In this video from a third-grade lesson study, Jason DiCarlo works with teachers and specialists to define standards before a demonstration lesson.  

Teaching Students at Their Own Level

My husband and I both play tennis. He is better than I am. In fact, the first time we ever played, we played a set, and I did not win...

Meeting Snapshot: Selecting a Standard for Lesson Study

Jason DiCarlo works with a first-grade team to select a standard before designing a lesson. The group explores connections between reading and writing, and has an honest discussion of where...

Meeting Snapshot: Examining Standards for Vertical Alignment

In this excerpt from a first-grade lesson study, Principal Jason DiCarlo and the team look at the standard they are tackling compared with what is expected in kindergarten and second...

A Complicated Relationship with Standards

I have a complicated relationship with the Common Core State Standards. As our district’s writing specialist, I have come to terms with them for the most part, and I think...

The Common Core and Parents: Building Bridges, Not Walls

One of our challenges at our school is parent involvement. We are paying particular attention to the feel and tone of our parent conferences. Holding up the mirror is not...

Meeting Snapshot: Exploring Terms in Standards

Jason DiCarlo pauses for a minute with a team of first-grade teachers to examine a standard together, projected with an LCD to ensure everyone has the same understanding of terms...

Creating Flash Continuums

It is part of my work to guide teams of teachers to create standards-based learning continuums. A continuum is a way to generate a common understanding of a selected standard...

Hosting a Family Writing Night

Our district holds a Literacy Night each school year. In the past, we have hosted family read-ins, author visits, and make-and-take nights. However, with the implementation of the Common Core...

Is the Pain Worth the Gain?

As any teacher knows, the way to internalize standards is to use them in the classroom. We can read, unpack, dig into, compare, and “essentialize” the new Common Core standards...

Texts to Teachers

As we deepen our understanding of the Common Core, we are realizing more than ever that the texts we use matter. Finding just the right text or set of texts...

Small-Group Demonstration Lesson: Writing Details in Kindergarten

In this demonstration small group with kindergartners, Tammy Mulligan uses student texts to show children the value of adding details to their pictures and texts in writing workshop.    ...

Cultivating Teacher Leadership

The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership.                                                                   Harvey S. Firestone For the past year I have been entrenched in curriculum development with grade-level teams...

Demonstration Lesson: Deeper Reading with Advanced Third Graders

Clare Landrigan works with a third-grade teacher and two of her students to help two advanced students read deeply and look for evidence in texts in this demonstration lesson. The...

Helping Teachers Learn to Love the Common Core Standards

Loving something or someone involves knowing that thing or person very well . . .                 Chris Lehman and Kate Roberts (Falling in Love with Close Reading) I have been...

Building Foundations

“Hurry up! Faster! You’re almost out of time!” These are the words heard in a recent professional development with K-8 teachers from across my school district. Teachers are building with...

Picture It: Just in Time Writing Resources

An Outlook appointment pops up to remind Heather Sisson that the spring writing assessment is approaching in three weeks for her K-6 colleagues. She uses clear plastic tubs to display...

The Power of the Spoken Word

I am exploring the new Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts (ELA). I flip to a new section and read Speaking and Listening, Comprehension and Collaboration. My eyes...

Exploring Themes in the Intermediate Grades

  At a recent third-grade team meeting we unpacked Common Core Standard #2.  We looked at the standard, asking ourselves what it means and how might we teach it: R.L....

Picture It: Objectives and the Coach

Setting and communicating clear objectives to students is essential. In his article “Objectives That Students Understand,” Robert J. Marzano points out that an ineffective use of objectives is “writing the...