On Monday, August 18, 2014, I began my seventh school year as an elementary school teacher (eleventh year in education). It is amazing how quickly the years add up and now how they start meshing together in my memory. I still have a way to remember what grade a former student should be in for the new academic year and how their smiles change with new or lost teeth. While I have been preparing my classroom for a new bunch of buckaroos, I have been responsible for three training sessions this week. I will highlight the first training today.
I was responsible on Monday for delivering a staff development workshop for the Division of Academic's Math Department for my district. I was so fortunate to work alongside about 24 of the brightest kindergarten teachers in the district's family. My mission for the day with my peers was to walk them through the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills standards (TEKS) that were revised in 2012 and will be implemented this year. As we looked at the TEKS, we perused the new textbook adoption, Pearson enVision MATH 2.0. This will be our first year using this resource. We also looked how we meet the TEKS using the Pearson text according to our district's curriculum documents. WOW! After typing all of that, I realize how much that is!
The day flew by! There was time to look through the TEKS and textbook and even begin planning our first week in kindergarten teaching real-object graphs (K.8BC). I shared with the teachers how to incorporate a graph per week in their classes. I shared with them how five minutes a day can help students delve into data analysis. We also talked about backwards design and how it can be used in a graphing unit. I will share more on this next week!
As we studied the various resources, we built a bar graph together. Each group talked to their team about the more useful district curriculum document for planning. Below, you will see a graphic organizer for a math subunit. This document allows teachers to see what the focus and supporting standards are for our subunit while integrating the English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS--strategies we use to assist all students, especially our English Language Learners).
|Graphic Organizer- District Curriculum Document|
Below, you will see the Clarifying Document. This document allows teachers to plan the subunit using big ideas, essential questions, and academic vocabulary. It address the content knowledge teachers need to have to understand the concept and possible misconceptions students may have so they can be address in the context of the subunit.
|Clarifying Document- District Curriculum Document (They usually come without the creases!)|
After the table team discussed the documents and their purposes in lesson planning, each person was asked to vote on their favorite document. I handed out one Post-It note per teacher. Each group came up to the graph with their notes. One by one, each teacher used a sentence stem to make their selection. I modeled how this would look and sound like in my kindergarten classroom.
|Teachers chose their favorite curriculum document.|
I said, "Alight, everyone listen as Sarah tells us what her favorite document is." Sarah tells the group. If she uses a complete sentence, I leave her alone and thank her. If she just says the word, I tell her: "Sarah, will you please use a complete sentence to answer the question? My favorite document is...?" Then, Sarah continues. If she does this correctly, I give her specific praise: "Sarah, you did an excellent job telling us your choice using a complete sentence."
As the table groups come up to the graph, I think aloud as a mathematician. I say, "Oh, I notice that there are a lot of teachers selecting the category of..."
We finished this graphing model and I was able to see that the clarifying document is the most useful tool for the 24 kindergarten teachers at the training. On Thursday, I will be doing a similar training for a group of fourth grade teachers. I look forward to reporting the results and seeing if this trend continues or if it differs in other grade levels.