Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Library of Congress Resources for Common Core

Pretty cool free resource for Common Core State Standards at the Library of Congress Website.  Since research is such a huge component of the common core it just seems right that they would get involved. Plenty of resources for our PARCC ELC members as well as any teacher looking to implement common core in the classroom:

"The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are on many teachers’ minds this school year, and the Library of Congress is ready to help. The Library’s teacher resources are a great fit for teachers trying to meet key CCSS goals, including critical thinking, analyzing informational texts, and working with primary sources. They’re all free, and finding them is as easy as going to www.loc.gov/teachers.
Hundreds of Library of Congress lesson plans, primary source sets, presentations and more—all based on authentic primary sources from the Library’s online collections—are now aligned to the CCSS, to state content standards, and to several national organizations’ standards.
The Library’s updated Search by Standards tool makes it easy to find the resources you need to meet your Common Core or state standards. Select your state, grade level, and subject for a list of Library of Congress teaching materials aligned to those standards. Or, once you’ve found a lesson plan or primary source set that you’d like to use, one click will show you which of your standards that particular item meets"

Friday, October 26, 2012

Celebrating Academic Achievement in Colorado

A great video from our celebration in Colorado in October 2012 - please share - in a world that celebrates athletes, stars and reality ridiculousness it is great to see a celebration of academic achievement in AP.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Common Core = less college remediation

From Andy Smarick - Solving the CCSS ATAMO problem PDQ

"A recent Common Core-sympathetic article carried by the WSJ begins with an anecdote about a too-seldom mentioned potential upside of tougher standards: that fewer parents will need to pay for remedial courses when their kids reach college (“something parents of about a quarter of all New York students entering college now do”)."

Great article! Take a quick read. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Charlotte Danielson on Common Core

I had the pleasure of meeting Charlotte Danielson at an Aspen event on implementing Common Core and I must admit to being blown away by her passion and knowledge. She is diligently working on updating the frameworks for common core and you can see her thoughts in the video below.

Make the link between the learning we want for students to the teaching!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Rigor - it's not just for AP

This was posted on the LTF forums the other day - clearly demonstrates that with rigor and high expectations students will rise to college readiness:

English Teacher Forum
Subject: Using LTF stuff in the English 3 classroom
I just had to brag a minute. So, we are working on rhetorical analysis with our English 3 classes. Not AP, but regular core level kids. I pulled the Ethos, Logos, Pathos lesson for Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” to use in class. We spent three days working on it as a class. Now, we are using the Colin Powell speech (which I pulled from the assesments section from LTF) for them to write their own rhetorical analysis essay. It will be brief, but at least they will have experience. It was hard work each day, but it was so exciting to show them that they are just as smart as the AP kids because they AP kids are doing very similar stuff. Even my lowest class (which is inclusion) did an amazing job.
I ended up using a web cam to video the annotations that we did as well as the class discussion we had that day. For kids that were absent, they were able to go and watch/listen to the video and get caught up. Even now, while writing the essay, there are some kids that are still a little lost. We are encouraging them to go back to the video for review. It has been great. We also scan in our notes for each class, so that students can have clear examples of the expectations that were covered in class.
I am working with the 9th grade team to help alleviate some of the stress of preparing their students for STAAR while still preparing them for AP.  I have pulled many LTF lessons to adapt to their curriculum and needs to show them how these skills prepare all students for STAAR AND AP.

Monday, October 15, 2012

AP Creates College Success

Great study highlighted by Edweek on the relationship between AP and college persistence 

This is why we use AP as our indicator for college readiness for the National Math and Science programs!

High-level mathematics: Students improved their likelihood of staying on track toward a credential in two- and four-year colleges by 10 to 20 percent if they had taken high school math though pre-calculus and calculus. 

Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate courses: Taking an AP/IB course also had a dramatic effect on students’ chance of persisting even when students fail the end-of-course AP test. The more of these courses a student took, the higher their persistence rates were. 

Academic advising: Talking to an academic advisor in college either “sometimes” or “often” significantly improved students’ persistence rates as much as 53 percent. This relationship held true for students in two- and four-year institutions.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Smarter Balance Test Items

Smarter Balance has released sample items and performance tasks for their version of the Common Core assessments: http://www.smarterbalanced.org/sample-items-and-performance-tasks/

"The samples include nearly 50 assessment items and performance tasks, including examples of innovative, technology-enhanced items that take advantage of computer-based administration to assess a deeper understanding of content and skills than would otherwise be possible with traditional item types. In addition, sample performance tasks showcase the extended classroom-based activities students will experience as part of the Smarter Balanced assessment system.

“Performance tasks ask students to research and analyze information, weigh evidence, and solve problems relevant to the real world, allowing students to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in an authentic way,” said Linda Darling-Hammond, professor of education at Stanford University and senior research advisor for Smarter Balanced. “The Smarter Balanced assessment system uses performance tasks to measure skills valued by higher education and the workplace—critical thinking, problem solving, and communication—that are not adequately assessed by most statewide assessments today.”

Pretty cool look at the technology and the depth of questions.  This is a whole new world in assessment  - best interface I have seen in a testing platform! 

When I explain to people why I think that Common Core will succeed it is because of the assessments. No one state will ever have $150 million to create the absolute best state-of-the-art assessments so these will always be far superior in assessment student learning. 


Monday, October 8, 2012

AP Physics and AP US History Changes

College Board has released the new AP Physics and AP U.S. History which "will impact more than 18,000 educators and 500,000 students in more than 12,000 schools worldwide. Teachers will implement the redesigned courses fall 2014, and the redesigned exams will be administered spring 2015."

All a part of the growing trend of going much deeper into a select group of content instead of a mile wide - just like Common Core. 

National Math and Science programs have been fully updated already for the new content in both our Pre-AP teacher training and our AP programs.  

What gets tested is what gets taught and these are dramatic changes in what will be taught. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Common Core Resources!

Please join The Aspen Institute Education & Society Program for a panel discussion
Tuesday October 9, 2012, 9:30 – 11:00 am
Coffee and continental breakfast will be served at 9:00 am; panel will begin promptly at 9:30 am
Common Core State Standards:
What Will It Take for Our Students to Succeed?
An expert panel of policy and education leaders accompanies the release of new resources from the Aspen Institute.
Featured Speakers:
Mark Murphy
Secretary of Education, Delaware
Sonja Brookins-Santelises
Chief Academic Officer, Baltimore City Public Schools
Michael Cohen
President, Achieve
Dwight Davis
Classroom Teacher and Teach Plus Fellow, District of Columbia Public Schools
Moderated by:
Ross Wiener
VP and Executive Director, Education & Society Program, The Aspen Institute
Click here to RSVP
Seating is limited and on a first-come, first-served basis
For more information, call 202-736-5857 or emailkatrin.thomas@aspeninstitute.org.
About This Event
Adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia, the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) represent a challenge to all of us to redefine high-level, thought provoking instruction as the norm for all students, in all schools. Educators and policymakers are focused on supporting district schools and teachers as they work to implement the standards with fidelity, creativity and flexibility. To mark the release of three new CCSS resources, the Aspen Institute Education & Society Program is convening a panel of distinguished leaders of implementation to assess current efforts and outline priorities for the work ahead.
The Aspen Institute is releasing a new primer entitled Implementing the Common Core State Standards: A Primer on Close Reading of Text. Early guidance related to "Close Reading of Text" sparked a controversy among reading experts and created confusion in the field; the Close Reading primer provides straightforward advice to practitioner leaders and policymakers on how to use this strategy to improve student achievement.
Leveraging the value of "common" in the Common Core, the Aspen Institute networked literacy leaders in Baltimore, MD, Charlotte, NC, and Hillsborough, FL to create training materials for teachers; the first two installments focus on developing educators' ability to select appropriately complex text and the use of text-dependent questions. These materials are currently being used to train teachers across these districts and other urban school districts and will be made publicly available on October 9th.
Succeeding with the CCSS demands coordinated action at the policy, system, and school levels. The panel discussion will feature key leaders from across these sectors, including a classroom teacher, who will discuss the latest developments in training teachers and principals, aligning new evaluation systems with CCSS expectations, and developing new instructional and assessment materials. CCSS Discussants will address the following questions:
  • What have we learned from early efforts to implement the CCSS?
  • What strategies need the most focus moving forward?
  • How can policy best support and take stock of efforts in the field?
Coffee and continental breakfast will be served at 9:00 am; the panel will begin promptly at 9:30 am.
RSVP Required
Seating is limited and on a first-come, first-served basis.
For more information, call 202-736-5857, or emailkatrin.thomas@aspeninstitute.org
The Aspen Institute,
One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 700, Washington, DC
Nearest Metro: Red Line to Dupont Circle - North Exit

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Military Family Education

I got to spend a great day - first with the White House office of technology and the First Lady's military families initiative team talking about our program to help students from military families. Here are the facts:

  • 1.2 million students in this country are from military families
  • Students in the National Math and Science program had an overall increase of 69% in ONE YEAR in passing math, science and English AP scores!
Why is this important?

This program went from idea to funding and implementation in 5 months because military generals wanted our Service Members to have one less thing to worry about.  A Staff Sargent in Hawaii was paying to send his son to private school because there were no AP science courses - - taking up more than 1/3 of his salary. 

Marilee Fitzgerald who is the director of the DOD Education Activity was eloquent in her praise of the program and I just captured a few:
  • National Math and Science "supported our 1.2 million students, who constantly move from school to school, with consistent and rigorous curriculum - exactly what they need to succeed"
  • "Our Service Members sacrifice for us every day - we must ensure that they are NOT sacrificing a great education for their children"
  • "The schools outside the base are the prime recruiting ground for the military and must they produce the STEM experts we need for our national security"
She left us with this final quote to bring it all together - "it is not the ordinary, but the extraordinary that makes this country great"

Thank you Marilee - so very true. We need to raise $3M to match the $7M that has been targeted to this program.  Please contact me if you want to help!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

STEM Program Results

I am on today - STEMconnector is running a STEM Results webinar so tune in starting at 1:00 PM - we go on at around 2:30 so tune in.

Here is a little taste about what we do at National Math and Science -

Transform Schools
  • College Readiness through AP/Pre-AP and Common Core programs
    • 462 schools
    • 11,000 teachers
    • Over 2,100,000 students

Transform Teaching
  • Training: grades 3-12
    • 18 states with over 51,000 grade 6-12 teachers in training
  • Recruitment: UTeach program 
    • 34 universities with over 5,000 undergrads in UTeach program

Monday, October 1, 2012

STEM Results

The results from 3 years of National Math and Science program in our 194 schools for students scoring 3 or better on mathematics, science or English.  Amazing results - students win. Blue is our student improvement, grey is the national average.