It's been amazing to deepen my professional learning around the Next Generation Science Standards. There are so many amazing resources out there! Below is a Padlet of NGSS Resources I started a few months ago and definitely want to share it here for others to use and also add to the collection of resources.
The result of this year's presidential election has definitely affected everyone on both sides of the aisle. I do not want to go on any political rant of my experience as I've set the purpose of this blog to share my journey of a Math & STEAM Coach / TOSA. The thing that's still weighing on me is the effects of the election and days leading up to the election. The presidential election process, particularly the debates, have reached a level that I never imagined. Steve Kerr's words during the Warriors' pregame press conference on Wednesday, November 8th perfectly articulated this feeling.
I am indeed saddened by the nature of this year's presidential campaign and election. I am concerned about the prospects of the new administration's effects on education.
My email inbox has been filling up with messages about the election results. One that stood out to me is a message from Hadi Partovi of Code.org.
After a divisive and draining election, I want to write a heartfelt note to you, the 400,000 educators whose dedication and support has made our work at Code.org possible.
The United States is increasingly divided. Whether you’re celebrating victory or despairing in defeat, it has been exhausting. Amidst the escalating rhetoric, I’ve looked for areas of shared hope.
Americans all want equality of opportunity. It unites us, even when we don’t agree about how to get there. And if there’s one group that’s dedicated to equality of opportunity, it’s educators.
I want to thank you for the work you do every day. No matter who you voted for, your students are our future. Whether you teach your students to add and subtract, to read, or to code, yours is the most important job in the world.
As I wrote in my previous post about the words of Joe Marquez, education is our most powerful tool.
No matter what happens, the following remains clear to me.
We are in the business of hope.
Next steps. Looking ahead. Lessons learned.
The words in the above image appeared in my Twitter Home feed and it really spoke to me and motivated me to create the image. Thank youJoe Marquez for your words.
"Curriculums come and go. Standards are here to stay."
This was the phrase that prompted my work with grade level teams on examining the CCSS-Math standards. Elementary school teachers in the Palo Alto Unified School District are in the middle of a pilot year to select new math curriculum that scheduled to be implemented during the 2017-2018 school year. PAUSD has been using Everyday Math for eight years with a lot of conflicting opinions of the curriculum between the staff and parents. There are many schools that have used it with fidelity while some schools have moved onto using other math curricula to meet the needs of their students and align with the Common Core State Standards, including EngageNY. No matter what curriculum teachers use, quality pedagogy that focuses on the success of all students, aligned to the Common Core State Standards and the 8 Mathematical Practices is the key.
I share the belief (and fact) of many that there is no perfect curriculum. My view is that any curriculum acts more like a GPS navigator. Throughout the school year, teachers make professional and purposeful decisions to use supplemental materials to meet the needs of their students. As a result, the progression of lessons in any curriculum is paused or altered. These professional and purposeful decisions is the science of teaching and no curriculum can replace the science of teaching. Instead, the curriculum as a GPS navigator to guide the teacher back on a predetermined path when necessary decisions to change the path are made. Like any road trip, the driver (the teacher) can make purposeful decisions to alter the suggested path (of the curriculum guide).
The biggest part of this analogy is the focus on the destination - meeting the grade level standards. An effective curriculum is designed to bring all students to meet CCSS at the end of the school year. Focusing on the destination of CCSS is the key aspect of the standards mapping activity.
Working with grade level teams, I've lead teachers to read and better understand the CCSS Math standards for their grade levels. It's been a powerful exercise, evidenced by teachers commenting that they "didn't know that was the actual language in the standards," that they didn't have to "teach concepts they've taught before" which saves them time to focus more on the concepts that have been problematic for their students, and that they see how to address "standards at each trimester of the school year." The exercise provided teachers the chance to identify which concepts/standards was important to address at each trimester in order to build understanding that leads to practice and mastery by the end of the school year. Of course, each of the above standards cards is meant to be mastered by the end of the school year, AND having an understanding of the progression of concepts throughout the school year helps gain a bigger picture of the professional and purposeful instructional decisions.
Having a deeper understanding of the Common Core State Standards is definitely an important piece of instruction.
- to know the destination of the school year,
- to know what's important to address at each point of the year and how concepts build,
- to be able to teach to those standards no matter which math curriculum is used (or selected in PAUSD),
- to see curriculum maps as guides to meeting CCSS and professional instructional decisions are far more important,
- to be able to see how "concepts build from grade to grade."
It's definitely important to remember that We don't teach curriculum; we teach students. Be mindful of the standards - the end destination, however, remember we teach students.
Math & STEAM Coach / TOSA in Palo Alto Unified School District.