Saturday, January 4, 2014

It's 11:17 am and I'm Still Not Dressed

Call it sleeping in's last hoorah, call it sheer laziness.  Whatever you make of it, my husband and I just spent a glorious morning playing with the kids and the dog doing what Saturdays are made of.  We watched a movie, tried our hand at some yo-yo tricks that Mason tried desperately to teach us (fail.), and played "babysitter" to an American Girl doll---oh wait--her name is Harper.  I am not allowed to merely call her an American Girl doll.  We ate fresh cinnamon rolls, drank tea and orange juice, and reveled in the ability to just "be".  It is what I know.  It is what I love.  It's what I'm used to.

What I'm used to.  There's a thought.  While there's nothing wrong with doing what comes naturally or easy for you, there is trouble with this in the education world.  Take a snapshot of a kid from the 1950's.  Then take one from the 90's, and then today.  The same??  Not even close.  And it doesn't take decades to see transformation.  Kids, especially today, are changing at an alarming rate.  This is a link to a blog post that really captures just how hard we are going to have to work to prepare our kids for jobs that don't even exist-and a projected 65%-85% of our kids' future jobs fall into this category.  To do that, we have to be willing to try new approaches to snagging our students' attention. My favorite quote in this regard is by John Dewey (see right).

Content creation and sharing with a global audience are key to building learners who can approach their futures with success.  As teachers, this means building lessons that are not just drill-and-kill repetition (Although, as in the case with math facts, there is a time and place for that in school!).  We need to try new things and plan authentic lessons that meet the Iowa Core (or Common Core). There's a great FREE site for lesson planning that will really help you make this leap to planning better lessons.  Not only that, but you can create templates easily for repeat parts of your class period (bell-ringers, exit tickets, etc...)  One of my favorite parts is that the developers are just incredibly helpful.  That doesn't always happen.  So, when I have a question or a suggestion, and they listen, I'm a happy integrationist!

CommonCurriculum is the tool to which I refer.  Try it out in the new year.  Challenge yourself to do this to not only better yourself as an educator, but to most importantly better the content for your students.  You have the ability to align to your state's standards within each lesson and you'll be left with an amazing database of "proof" of the standards you've taught (a requirement of more and more districts anymore).  Sign up is free and simple to do.  You can create as many classes as you need as well as watch a number of tutorials within the "Suggestions" section at the right.


You also have the ability to work with collaborators on your lessons.  So, say you work with your grade level team to plan lessons together, you could all work together.  We need to work smarter, not harder!  Below is a snapshot of what a page of my sample class looks  like as I look at January. Each date is ready to be developed with the template I have created. My lesson 1 sample includes standards I would be meeting.

Go explore.  There is so much more there than I can explain in one blog post.  It's the weekend--perhaps you have a little more time than you might otherwise.  Let me know what you think in the comments section below. (By the way, I do not get any royalties from CommonCurriculum--I just like it!)  Several of the teachers in my district have now begun to use it, and the comments I get are excellent!

And as for me and my Saturday, I even tried something new.  Remember those dog treats I referenced yesterday?  I went out of my comfort zone and whipped up a new canine delicacy with my littlest two.  

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Dog Treats
Howard approved and begged for more!

2 comments:

  1. I too love Common Curriculum! It has made my life easier. I like that I can chose the standards that go with the lessons I am teaching. I have even found that you can have more than one list of standard available. I have had a few questions while I was using Common Curriculum and they have been excellent at being prompt and helpful! I recommend it to all educators!

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