THE 21st CENTURY CLASSROOM / COMMON CORE: BLOG POST #1
The 21st century classroom can be really confusing as there is a lot going on. This year alone my 120 sophomore students received chrome books as well as begun the transition from regular teaching to more writing in the common core classroom. In addition to all of that we as teachers are receiving all sorts of new things we are expected to do on a weekly basis. All in all it can be a bit overwhelming. Here is what I did to really manage all the new things I had to do and take care of teaching 3 separate sections and 6 classes a day.
1. Pick and choose your battles: I began the common core switchover one class at a time making adjustments as I went along to make sure I was getting better at it. Specifically I used the Stanford Education Website to implement more primary source documents into my classroom. I believe this went really well as long as I did not do too many of these at one time. They take time for the students and having a good discussion afterward is really the key to these lessons going well.
2. Get Rid of Things and Lessons That Don’t Work: With the new test coming this year and beyond, it is not necessarily about knowing all the content anymore, but knowing how to read the content and being able to write about what you know. I have taken out the chapters in the book that do not work for me anymore as I am not willing to drag the students through stuff that is critical to what I am doing. I am focusing on the big picture now and teaching the kids how to read primary sources, how to write effectively and how to be disciplined by coming to school and doing their work everyday. 3. Dig into the DBQ’s and enjoy them: I am lucky enough to work with a master English teacher named Mr. Archer for 7 years in a team teaching situation. From that experience I have learned more about writing than I would have taking a college course. He taught me about paragraphs and structure and about comparing and contrasting things in my classroom. I typically do 4-5 DBQ’s in a year and am more focused on the process than the final product. I have spent a good amount of time DBQ Bundle
So take a deep breathe and relax. You are but one person and can only do so much. Make the small changes necessary for the year and do not stress about the 5 years it will take to get where you want to be. I guess we never really get there as teaching is all about making adjustments and doing things better.