Combining the old with the new

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At the beginning of this year I pretty much lost it in our meeting with our assistant Principal. She came in the room with all this common core stuff and I told her,”I don’t know what I am supposed to do. I don’t know what you want me to teach and how to teach. I am not sure what my job is anymore.” She tried to move on with her agenda but I kept raising my hand and persisting that I need some help and direction to do the job I had done for the past 19 years of my life. After all the dust had settled I relied on an old friend for some words of wisdom.
He assured me that I will be doing a good job regardless of the common core or whatever else comes down the pipeline and that I will not be messing up my students as I attempted to incorporate the common core into my classroom. The result of an hour plus conversation was that good teaching is good teaching. My heart has directed me thus far and I feel I have done a great job working hard to develop lessons that challenge the students and allow them to form a good historical foundation from which to draw from. A lot of the things I am already doing are good for kids and do not need to be changed as I have been giving them skills for a long time and will continue to do that as long as I am teaching.

After much thought I decided to do a couple things to help me adjust to the new test and in making changes to my 3 different levels. (World History, US History, and Economics)

#1: Incorporate writing ever week. I wanted my sophomores and juniors to begin

#2: Continue to use direct teaching: I feel that this is so important to keep for the students sake and their future bosses. They will be listening to future spouses, bosses, and pastors of their churches. Why should we give up the way we have explained information for years and years. I have shortened some of my PPT presentations so they are not as long as they once were focusing more on gaining a general understanding of the information.

#3: Incorporate DBQ’s: I use 2-3 DBQ’s per semester as I have a DBQ bundle that really helps me teach this in my classroom.  DBQ’s can be abused and most of the new things that are common core require more effort on the students part as well as the teacher. I have a teacher friend that dove into common core and it buried her with grading. Go slow as if hiking or walking through a new place you have never been before. 

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