Our school district started the 2013 school year with a day long training in our subject areas on the Common Core standards. We met with teachers from Lincoln Middle School, John Adams Middle School, Malibu High School, and Santa Monica High School. Several teachers had worked over the summer to prepare curriculum maps to guide our transition into the new standards.
We have some fabulous math teachers in our district – who also happen to be slight perfectionists (as an understatement). As such, there was some high anxiety in the room. We worried about having enough resources with our current text books. We mulled over how and where we could find more resources. We deliberated about how we would effectively teach critical thinking, collaboration and communication skills. We considered the teaching of reading and writing in Mathematics. We contemplated the logistics of Smarter Balance testing.
When we had so many questions and concerns, we wondered how we could use our best practices to be the brilliant educators we expect to be. And then I recalled a lesson link/lesson study I had been a part of a few years before. It was in my role as an English Language Arts teacher. But it was an extremely effective way to collaborate with my colleagues, and improve my practices in teaching. By studying the lesson and student work, we ended up with some strong lessons that were effective and engaging that we could use year after year. It was a powerful form of professional development. Would this be a possibility across our schools to help us transition into the Common Core?
I was fortunate some of my colleagues were game to try it!
So we are now at the beginning of forming our team, organizing our time, and focusing on a standard we all agree needs more attention and development. We have three teachers on board, and possibly two or three more. We have our Principals’ support as well as our Secondary Math Coordinator’s assistance and guidance. Our next steps will be choosing the focus of our lesson and planning time for all of us to meet! Let the games begin!