Last week, I was privileged to be apart of a training to become a PLC (Professional Learning Community) leader. It was two fold – planning our professional groups at our schools and learning how the unpacking the Common Core standards is a vital part of our PLC groups.
First, PLC groups are normally grouped by content – math, science, social studies, etc. They are groups that we have worked within before. The focus of our PLC groups is going to be leaning more towards their true intended purpose – Professional Learning. Teachers talking to other teachers… sharing ideas… sharing and discussing data… creating lessons… working collaboratively. I have had the privilege of working within pockets of collaborative work, but it could be said that some teachers prefer to work as ‘silos’ (or by themselves, not letting anything in or out!). With the increased level of accountability that is here and that is yet to come, teachers have to collaborate together for the good of all students.
Now to the Common Core piece. Because the standards are new version of the items that we must teacher to our students, we as teachers need to become familiar with them. In addition, we need to compare them with the old version (for me that would be the NGSSS – Next Generation Sunshine State Standards) to see how my teaching needs to change.
One of the key elements that getting familiar with the new standards is called ‘unpacking’. Here is how they showed us as one effective method to ‘unpacking’ each standard or standard cluster:
1. Create a K-U-D Chart – based on the standard, what do we expect our students to be able to know, understand and do for the standard.
2. Answer the question: What do my students need to be able to do before I can expect them to attempt this standard?
3. Create a scale for determining if students have achieved the goal.
I will be doing some of this unpacking this summer on my Algebra 1 and Geometry standards. As of right now, I am slated to teacher Algebra 1 and Geometry Honors next year.
How is your district or school moving towards common core? What strategies would be most beneficial for a PLC to use when unpacking the standards?