Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Lynda Tutorial - Common Core: Exploring K-12 Standards

Screen shot of my Common Core certificate.
 Today, I completed the Lynda Common Core course. For future reference, I figured it would be a good idea to share what I learned from this tutorial.

Common Core

  • Core set of standards created to determine what our students need to be career-ready by grade 12
  • States chose to come together to develop standards, volunteer to adopt Common Core, choose what year they implement them
  • Goal: move toward focused, standardized set of goals
  • Also addresses student performance, how to compete in global economy
  • ELL students not addressed, IEP students not mentioned
  • A spiraled curriculum intended to move with the students, holistic approach to education
  • Teacher encouraged to look at standards from the years prior for the grade they intend to teach 
  • Common Core's PDF and website are very different 
  • Access:
  • The resources you develop can be used by educators throughout the country


  • Domains
    • K-5: content knowledge
    • Middle school and high school: application
  • Cluster: group of standards with similar theme inside of domain
  • Standards not meant to be taught in a single day 
  • Teachers can't just be focused on content, students must be able to work through problems
  • Domains can offer differentiated learning, start by reviewing domain grade level expectations

ELA (English Language Arts) and Literacy

  • Domain-specific hierarchy
  • Domain -> grade level -> standard
  • Find appropriate resources to pair with Common Core
  • The texts you choose matter

Science and Social Studies

  • All students are asked to express themselves in literacy in all subject areas
  • Specific reading standards for science and social studies, but share same writing standards

Teaching and Assessing Common Core Standards

  • Teachers must implement more activities like problem-based learning, question-based inquiry, exploratory learning, discussions
  • Students actively participate in learning
  • Teachers spend less time delivering material, push higher-order thinking
  • A flipped classroom to enrich content: take learning of content and move outside of classroom walls
  • Use performance-based assessments, test what students should be able to do before they leave
  • Try to incorporate available technology into lessons

Monday, January 18, 2016

Expectations for CTELE

Screenshot taken by myself of my ILS results.

Intro RWLD

I completed the Index of Learning Styles (ILS) and the Technical Skills Survey. In regards to the ILS, I am surprised that I seem to be fairly well balanced on the two dimensions of 3 of the 4 scales because usually I'm either on one end or the other. However, on the sensing vs. intuitive scale, I am largely intuitive. Considering my major is English-teaching, this does not surprise me, for I tend to dislike learning facts and memorizing them for an exam.

I read more about intuitive learning strategies on the learning styles and strategies webpage of ILS. Thankfully, most college lecture courses are geared toward intuitive learners, and since I do not have to take any more math or science courses, I should not have too much to worry about. However, if I ever did take another course in which I was expected to memorize facts, I could ask my professor for theories that link to the facts or find these connections myself.

In the Technical Skills Survey, I have found that I have done most of the things on the survey either sometimes or frequently. I have done almost all of those things at least once. However, I have never been inside a virtual world such as Second Life. This is because I do not see a "virtual world" as a "technical skill," but that might just be because I have never tried it before.

Leader in Me

For this week, we also had to read about the "Leader in Me" initiative in schools. This is a whole-school transformation model and process based on Dr. Stephen Covey's book "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People." The 7 habits are:
  • Be proactive
  • Begin with the end in mind
  • Put first things first
  • Think win-win
  • Seek first to understand, then to be understood
  • Synergize
  • Sharpen the saw
The goal of this model is for all students to recognize that they possess skills and qualities to become leaders. According to the Leader in Me website, the model teaches 21st century leadership and life skills to students and generates a culture of empowerment. These are skills that everyone could easily apply to their own life. Personally, I know I need to work on the habit seek first to understand, then to be understood. I often rush to provide my opinion in discussions when I should consider listening to what others have to say first.

My Expectations

As I look at the schedule for this course, I am excited to see what's in store. I hope this course will do exactly what it says in the title, which is to show me as a teacher how I can create a technology-enhanced learning environment in my future English classroom. I am always searching for new ways I can adapt technology to make learning more beneficial for my students.