Sunday, August 31, 2014

Education is not filling a pail but the lighting of a fire. ~William Butler Yeats

Welcome, families, to the 2014-2015 school year! I'm so happy to be back with you, and I'm thrilled to have the privilege of teaching all subjects to this year's 6th grade class. It promises to be a year filled with amazing things to learn and do.  

We're settling in effortlessly, and the room is already beginning to "feel" like ours again. Posters fill every available wall space and bulletin boards are looking good.  You can expect them to be filled with student work throughout the year, which I encourage you to check out from time to time. Praise fuels the fire.



You will notice many changes as the year progresses.  We are "going Google" and creating a classroom that utilizes Google Docs, Drive, and Gmail.  Students will be able to organize, complete, turn in their work, and communicate with me paperlessly. Because writing will be [automatically] saved on Google Docs, it will be accessible to them wherever they have internet access. I will be able to quickly see who has or hasn't completed assignments and will be able to provide support/feedback more efficiently. 


Today's students are preparing to enter a world more literate and demanding than ever before; we must ensure that they develop the knowledge, skills, and disposition necessary to succeed.  The Common Core provides students, teachers, and parents with a set of clear, consistent guidelines for what students should know and be able to do at every grade level.  The goal is for them to become self-directed learners, perceptive thinkers, effective communicators, collaborative team players, quality producers, and contributing citizens. (From Common Core GPS)

It's important to note that the Common Core is not an academic curriculum. What it does is set common standards for all students regardless of zip code, and it provides a common definition of what college and career ready education looks like.
  • It provides articulated, ubiquitous, and highly ambitious goals and objectives for all students.
  • It has rigorous curricula and methods for measuring and assessing growth.
  • It has developed the technological infrastructure to deliver the assessments (Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium A.K.A. "Smarter Balanced") aimed at providing meaningful feedback to ensure students are progressing toward attaining the skills needed to succeed in college, career, and life.
Just as teachers work to align instructional materials and curricula with the Standards, students, too, must adjust--not only to increased expectations, but also to the new technology-based Standards-aligned assessments.  It is a time of seismic adjustment, and they may well appear weaker than on previous assessments.  Fear not; this will be temporary.




Each child's success depends in large part on parents' understanding and support of the tenets of CCSS: 
* Focus on increased text complexity of Informational/Technical texts.
* Increased rigor and relevance
* Problem-based learning
* College/career readiness (from Common Core GPS)

Anyway. . .
(Look here for assignments and other interesting stuff!)



Image from:
Google information from:
CCSS information from:
Common Core GPS from:"Start Here"from:
Parent Roadmaps from:
Parent's Guide from: