July 25, 2013

Educator Effectiveness Academy

I've been a busy bee (and I am exhausted!)! My principal asked me to participate in Educator Effectiveness Academy this week, along with other teachers from the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Typically, I try to keep my summers free to spend with my (quickly growing and always hilarious) kiddos, but there is so much to learn about Common Core that I just couldn't say no. I am the ELA (English Language Arts) representative from my school, and my brain is spinning with all of the ideas and changes that I will be responsible for communicating to my colleagues. Yikes! I have learned a lot, though, and I already have some ideas about how I'd like to implement some of what I've learned in my classroom.

Over the past two days, I've had the chance to explore some amazing websites and resources. I thought I'd share some with you, and hopefully, they will be of some use to you.

1. If you're in the beginning stages of implementing Common Core and you feel like you need some general information, check out www.achievethecore.org. It's a really valuable tool, and it has great, FREE resources.

2. I might be late to the game (as usual!), but I just discovered www.teachingchannel.org for the first time this week. If you're a visual learner like me, you like to see teaching strategies in action, rather than just read about them. This site has some amazing videos of teachers effectively implementing Common Core. This video, in particular, caught my attention. The fifth grade teacher in this video is carefully planned and intentional in everything that she does. I want to be her!

3. We've been talking a lot about "close reading." I had not had a lot of experience with close reading until this week, but after what I have learned about it, I am so excited to use it with my firsties, especially with read alouds. If you want to see close reading in action, check out this video!

4. Writing, writing, writing. Siiiiiigh. Last year, I really struggled with how best to integrate Common Core into my writing lessons, especially since we use the 6+1 Writing Traits curriculum in our county. But after seeing the new Common Core writing rubric for grades 3-5 that has been developed, I realized that it won't be as difficult as I thought to integrate the two. In fact, I already have some ideas for developing a rubric to use with my little guys.

Change is hard. It's really hard. But this Common Core train is bearing down on almost all of us across the country, so rather than get hit by it, we may as well hop on board!

I'm off to my last day of training! Looking forward to enjoying steamed crabs with my folks and my fam tomorrow...great way to end the week!


  1. You just gave me hives. Thanks Shafer!

    1. HAHAHA! Don't worry...it will all be fine, my friend.