Friday, January 4, 2013

Confessions and Common Core

So I'm starting with some confessions about myself. I hope that I'm not the only one out there like this. I'm hoping there are some other teachers who feel the same way I do. First confession is I love to learn. I love to  read books about different topic and learn more about them. I absolutely love reading professional literature. I know, I know I'm a weirdo. I also love to plan and use my assessment data to plan for my students. I don't actually enjoy writing lesson plans but I do enjoy coming up with ideas to do in my class and planning good lessons. But once school starts and life gets crazy, sometimes I don't take the time I should to learn new things and to plan out in depth lessons. But I'm getting back to my roots this new year. My one little word is intention. I really want to work on planning with intention for my students. So to start this plan out, I've been digging a little deeper into the common core. I have been looking at the data I have about my class from our Star testing we just did and from a Discovery Education Assessment (Anyone else use this assessment? I'm not sure how accurate it is.) And I have some distinct groups in my class. I have about 4 students that are reading way above grade level and 2 of those challenge me at every turn to give them more. Then I have about 9 students who are basically on level with where they should be. They are reading fairly fluently. Although 5 of these students are ELL students and have some language barriers still. Then the last 3 are not where they need to be at all. I'm good with my on level group and I'm good with my group that needs a little more help and time. But where I'm challenged is with my kids that are reading above grade level and have no trouble with anything I give them. My plan for after Christmas (which would be starting Jan. 8th) is to push all my students no matter where they are. To make them work harder and to challenge them to do the best they can do. I started thinking about what skills I needed to work on for comprehension according to the common core. I looked at Kindergarten, first and second grade, since I'm in first grade. I wanted to look at where my students should be. Ok confession time again. I feel like this is the first time I've really looked deeply at the common core standards. I've read them and I refer to them when doing my planning. But this was the first time I focused on one particular area in all three grade levels. It was helpful to see what the distinctions between the grade levels. I found a lot of the kindergarten standards have the words with prompting and support. Then these words are taken away in first grade. First grade has a lot to do with identifying different information while second grade is describing and applying. It was also interesting to see the same threads of skills in each grade level but the expectation is raised just a bit each year. I looked at the literature and the non fiction. One of the biggest areas of weakness on my part is looking at the author's argument or points in a piece of non fiction. I haven't even started tackling that skill with my students. I'm not even sure how to tackle that with my students. But now that I know about what I need to, I think I'll be more successful which means my students will be more successful. If you haven't checked out the common core app, you should. I have the tool on my blog. Look to the right and check that out. It has a lot more explanation than I have on my file that I keep in my lesson plan book. I took the 3 grade levels and the different skills and made a document to help me in my planning. I've attached the document and you can get it for free if you are interested. Click Here for the link.
So I took what I learned from this research on the common core and created these sheets. I hope that you can use them. I took the characters and settings standards and made a response sheet for each grade level. I hope that this will help me differentiate with my various levels in my room. Let me know what you think and if this looks like something you could use more of. click here for the link The clipart is from Melonheadz and the font from Hello Literacy. Love both of them.
I am linking up for the first freebie Friday at TBA. Be sure to head over there and check out the other freebies.

Freebie Fridays
One last thing before I let you go from this really long post. I got a lot of sweet responses about the student at my school, Regan, and his family. I was wanting to post this prayer card before but I wasn't sure I was allowed to. But I found out that I could and there are trying to get as many people as they can to like the facebook page. His page is Rootin' for Regan. You can search for it on facebook and ask to be a part of it.
Thanks followers for praying for this student and family. It means so much to me. His family is having such a profound impact on our community and school.
I forgot I do have one more thing to mention. Sunday I'll be participating in facebook blog scavenger hunt. You can win all kinds of cool stuff from other bloggers. Be sure to follow my facebook page to find out more.


  1. Thanks for the freebies and font recommendation. Praying for Regen!
    What i have learned

  2. I love this post! I, too, need to address so many areas in the CORE with my kiddos. TY so much for this freebie..but can I ask how to download? lol..I'm either having blonde brain (which I just got color yesterday,lol) or I'm not seeing it. Thanks!

    1. TY so much for your help! Got 'em and I wanted to add that I have Regen on my list!

  3. I am right there with you on planning!! Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and letting me know about this post! I will defiantly put Regen on my prayer list!! I did make a printable for my OLW - Prayer you can stop back by and pick it up if you'd like it's free!!