Wednesday, February 25, 2015

AHA Moments - PLC Work

Throughout this year, I have had the opportunity to work with all of our K-12 art, music, and pe educators to unwrap, discuss, and understand all of our new national standards.  For art and music the New National Core Arts Standards and for PE the New National SHAPE Standards.  These discussions have been very rich and very student driven.  What skills do we want our students to remember or be able to do from our classes 30 years from now?  How will we know what they know?  How will we react when our students don't respond?  What is it we expect them to learn?  How will we respond when they already know it?  These are only a few of the questions that have surfaced in our time together.

While our focus has aligned with our curriculum adoption rotation, our educators have been working through this process using Understanding by Design by Wiggins and McTighe.  This is a departure from the process that many of us have used in the past.  Through this process our educators have had many AHA moments that have defined their practice along the way.

It has been an amazing transformation listening to the discussions as our educators unwrapped the new standards.  What does this mean for kids?  What does this mean for teaching?  What resources might we need?  What does this look like?  Wow, the rigor is high!   

While we experienced moments that were intense and sometimes challenged our thoughts, there were many more AHA moments.  As our educators began writing in most cases or editing curriculum maps and inserting our new standards a new level of comprehension was apparent.  A new understanding of the meaning "common - across the district", a new understanding of "core skills" led to many aha moments.

The next big step in our journey of aha moments will be our continued discussions revolving around assessment.   Do we have rubrics built to provide the best data?  Are our assessments aligned with the skills that we are teaching and feel are core to the education of our kids?  Are we providing meaningful feedback?  What should we be assessing?  How do we write those assessments to gather information?  Is the data we are getting back reliable and valid?  How are we using the data?  Is the data driving teaching practice and guiding students to higher rigor and achievement? 

Our teams have worked hard to get to this point this year - I am honored and proud to have been a part of many of the AHA moments in this curriculum process.  


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