From good to amazing


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One teacher documents her experience with deconstructing the CCSS and improved student learning by using "The Core Deconstructed" process.

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From good to amazing

  1. 1. From  Good  to  Amazing!   A  Teacher’s  Reflec8on  on   The  Core  Deconstructed  
  2. 2. The  Reflec8ve  Prac88oner:   Heather  Simson   Heather Simson is a Middle School English/ Language Arts teacher in the District of Columbia. She has taught 9th grade for five years and at this time is preparing to teach 7th grade ELA/Literacy courses. Heather has served as a lead-teacher and team coach. Her peers admire her as a dedicated professional and a reflective practitioner.   Page  i  
  3. 3. TABLE  OF  CONTENTS   Prologue:  The  Project…………………….….….…3       How  Did  I  Begin?  …………..…….…………..……..5       My  Process  -­‐       Deconstruc8ng  the  Core  …….…………….…....7         What  Did  I  Discover?  ………….…………..…….10     My  Most  Significant  Discovery  ……….……..15     Epilogue:  The  Clarity  ……..……………………...17     Appendix  A  –  My  Student’s      A-er  and  Before  (unedited)  Wri7ng…19  
  4. 4. Part  I   Prologue:  The  Project  
  5. 5. FROM  GOOD  TO  AMAZING   Over  the  past  few  months  I   embraced  the  task  of  reflec8ng  on   the  process  of  breaking  down  a   Common  Core  standard  for  my  9th   grade  Language  and  Composi8on   class.         A_er  reading  Dr.  Brown’s  book,  The   Core  Deconstructed,  I  felt  that  I  had   all  the  tools  I  needed  to  begin!       Page  4  
  6. 6. Part  II   How  Did  I  Begin?  
  7. 7. FROM  GOOD  TO  AMAZING   I  chose  the  Common  Core  standard,  RL  9-­‐10.3  –   Analyze  how  complex  characters  develop  over  the   course  of  a  text,  interact  with  other  characters,   and  advance  the  plot  or  develop  the  theme  –  as  it   reoccurred  in  a  few  units  I  taught.       As  this  was  such  a  “packed”  standard,  breaking  it   down  was  a  bit  challenging  at  first.    However,  I   found  that  crea8ng  my  own  version  of   deconstruc8on  matrix    was  the  easiest  way  for  me   to  visualize  how  this  standard  could  be  broken   down  into  objec8ves  to  use  throughout  my  unit.           Page  6  
  8. 8. Part  III   My  Process  
  9. 9. FROM  GOOD  TO  AMAZING   I  modeled  my  table  a_er  a  few  from  Dr.  Brown’s   book  by  placing  levels  of  knowledge  down  the  side   and  levels  of  learning  across  the  top.         From  there,  I  found  it  very  intui8ve  to  scaffold   objec8ves  that  I  derived  from  the  standard  that   built  upon  each  other  horizontally  across  the   matrix.     Once  this  was  done,  I  took  it  a  step  further  and   numbered  each  box  on  the  matrix  with  the  idea   that  this  would  make  targeted  instruc3on  for   small  groups  easier  to  illustrate  in  my  lesson   plans  (i.e.:  HB  and  ME  work  on  cell#6,  MT  and  MG   work  on  cell#9,  etc.)         This  also  made  it  very  easy  to  track  student   progress  towards  mastery  of  this  standard  over   the  course  of  a  unit.       Page  8  
  10. 10. FROM  GOOD  TO  AMAZING   Addi8onally,  I  used  the  Objec8ve  Builder    and  Dr.   Brown’s  sample  objec8ves  in  her  book  to   categorize  appropriate  thinking  skills  with  Bloom’s   cogni8ve  labels  in  order  to  make  the  process  of   deconstruc8ng  future  standards  quicker.     This  would  make   targeted  instruc8on   for  small  groups   easier  to  illustrate  in   my  lesson  plans.     “Page  9  
  11. 11. Part  IV   What  Did  I  Discover?  
  12. 12. FROM  GOOD  TO  AMAZING   Overall,  I  found  that  this  system  makes  it  easier   for  teachers  to  see  the  big  picture  and   build  towards  the  Prac33oner/Expert  level  over   the  course  of  a  few  lessons  rather  than   overwhelm  students  or  uninten8onally  ins8ll  a   sense  of  defeat  in  them  if  an  objec8ve  were  not   met  in  by  the  end  of  a  class  .       Since  my  deconstruc8on  matrix    is  now  a  so_   copy,  over  8me  I  can  link  websites  with   enrichment  or  re-­‐teaching  exercises,  online   games,  web-­‐based  assessments  or  supplemental   texts  to  each  cell  in  the  matrix.  This  will  enhance   my  ability  to  more  effec8vely  target  instruc8on  in   my  diverse  classes.         The  beauty  of  this  system  is  that  each   teacher  can  tailor  the  results  of  the  process  to   their  own  teaching  style  and  the  needs  of  their   individual  students.     Page  11  
  13. 13. FROM  GOOD  TO  AMAZING   This  visual  unit  plan,  as  I  call  it,  makes  it  easy  to   determine  which  objec8ves  can  be  taught  in  one   class  period  versus  those  that  should  be  ongoing.         This  helped  with  my  weekly  planning,  as  I  was  able   to  create  packets  for  my  students  with  scaffolded   lessons  and  resources  that  clearly  showed   progress  towards  a  final  performance  task.  (In  this   case  it  was  a  cri8cal  analysis  essay.)       Students  were  able  to  see  their  need  to  master   one  objec8ve  before  they  could  master  the  next   objec8ve  (which  all  fell  under  the  umbrella  of  one   CCSS).       Students  were  able  to  see   their  need  to  master  one   objec8ve  before  they   could  master  the  next   objec8ve   Page  12  
  14. 14. FROM  GOOD  TO  AMAZING   For  example,  students  had  to  first  “recognize  themes   that  arise  throughout  a  text,”  then  “organize   rela7onship  between  themes  and  characters,”  before   they  could  “produce  a  thesis  on  the  connec7on  between   themes  and  characters.”           Na8onal  Center  for  Educa8on,  Profile  of  Teachers  in  the  U.S.  2011.   A  novice  teacher  might  not  necessarily  recognize  the   level  to  which  such  a  packed  standard  must  be   broken  down,  but  this  The  Core  Deconstructed     makes  the  process  very  intui8ve.         Page  13  
  15. 15. FROM  GOOD  TO  AMAZING   Addi8onally,  being  able  to  pinpoint  exactly  where   students  are  struggling  in  the  process  of  mastering   a  standard  is  essen8al  not  only  for  a  data-­‐driven   school,  but  also  for  students.       Working  in  collabora8ve  groups  enabled  those   who  mastered  each  step  to  help  those  who  were   s8ll  working  toward  mastery.         It  also  led  to  great  reflec3ve   discussions  in  teacher-­‐ student  conferences,  as  students   were  able  to  see  their  progress  and  reflect  on   exactly  where  they  were  struggling.     Page  14  
  16. 16. Part  V   My  Most  Significant  Discovery  
  17. 17. FROM  GOOD  TO  AMAZING   The  biggest  difference  I  have  seen  in  my   classrooms  is  in  the  area  of  metacogni8ve   knowledge.         Student  wri3ng  as  well  as  reflec3ve  thinking  was   much  more  detailed  and  students  demonstrated   more  investment  in  their  learning,  as  they  were   able  to  track  themselves  and  see  progress  on   very  specific  objec3ves    along  the  way.   (See  Appendix  A).       In  the  past,  I  thought  of  objec8ves  as  more  for  the   teacher  than  for  the  student,  but  this  process  has   made  me  see  the  importance  of  each  student   understanding  each  objec8ve  within  a  unit.    When   students  understood  and  tracked  their  progress   towards  mastering  each  objec3ve,  they  wanted   to  improve!         More  so,  they  were  able  to  see  how  all  of  their   work  from  the  unit  was  connected  and  scaffolded   which  made  lessons  much  more  engaging  as  they   saw  a  purpose  to  each  day.   Page  16  
  18. 18. Part  VI   Epilogue:  The  Clarity  
  19. 19. FROM  GOOD  TO  AMAZING   The  clarity  I  received  from  breaking   down  this  single  standard  enabled   me  to  see  the  scope  of  my  unit  and   begged  the  ques8on,  “What  if  I   were  to  break  down  each  standard   of  this  unit,  not  just  one?”         Over  the  summer,  my  plan  is  to   create  a  deconstruc8on  matrix    that   encompasses  all  standards  for  a   unit  and  pull  scaffolded  objec8ves     to  teach  throughout  my  unit.   Page  18  
  20. 20. FROM  GOOD  TO  AMAZING   Appendix  A:  My  Student’s  A?er  and  Before  (unedited)  WriCng   In  Student  A’s  essay  AFTER  going  through  The  Core  Deconstructed    process,  she  discussed   the  theme  of  different  rela8onships  in  life  that  significantly  impacted  an  individual’s  des8ny.     Here  she  discussed  an  individual’s  rela8onship  with  the  government  and  wrote:       “The government has control over individuals, but it’s not strong enough to determine your destiny. Many people think that the government controls them but in reality, they make their own decisions without them realizing. For example, in The House of the Spirits, Pedro Tercero always made his own decision by choosing his way instead of the governments’. In page 154 it says, “And so it was the one day Esteban Treuba, who was resting on the terrace after lunch, heard the boy singing about a bunch of hens who had organized to defeat the fox.” This story, the fox and the hens, represent those people who decided to make their own decisions and go against the government, these people don’t depend on the government at all and it doesn’t influence their decisions or destiny.” ! Student  A’s  example  illustrated  a  clear  understanding  of  CCS:  RL  9-­‐10.3  -­‐  Analyze  how   complex  characters  develop  over  the  course  of  a  text,  interact  with  other  characters,  and   advance  the  plot  or  develop  the  theme.           Compara8vely,  the  same  student’s  essay  BEFORE  I  used  The  Core  Deconstructed  process,   showed  less  clear  thinking  and  explana8on:   “The Islamic Revolution affected Marjane as a female in Iran. In the book Persepolis on page 3 panel 4 it shows Marjane at a young age where she was forced to wear a veil. It affected her as a girl because the veil had to be worn by women all ages, whether they wanted or not. Marjane was forced to wear something she did not want to wear at a young age.” ! In  this  example,  there  was  no  explana8on  as  to  how  the  example  illustrated  the  theme  or   how  characters  interacted  with  each  other  to  develop  the  theme.   Page  19  
  21. 21. It’s  Your  Turn!   Start  deconstruc8ng  with…     The  Core  Deconstructed:  How  to  Deconstruct  the  Common  Core  State  Standards  So  You  Can   Teach  Series     for     ELA/Literacy  for  Elementary  Prac7ce  Journal     ELA/Literacy  for  Middle  and  High  School  Prac7ce  Journal     “My  goal  is  to  see  1,000,000  empowered  educators  who  know  the  standards   in8mately,  collabora8ng  across  the  country  to  yield  the  true  success  for   students  we  all  know  is  possible  by  2015.  This  goal  can  only  be  accomplished   with  you.”  ~Sheron  M.  Brown     Spread  the  word!   Share  “From  Good  to  Amazing”  with  your  colleagues  now.