APRIL 26, 2012 - Teachers' Biweekly Messages
Communication is important, and a big step in communicating about your work is to take time to complete the Teacher Working Conditions Survey. The survey, which is given every other year to all public school teachers, is an opportunity for you to describe your working conditions in a way that can be quantified so that local and state policymakers can address issues that you identify as problems. Your responses are confidential and provide an important window into public schools. Tomorrow (until midnight) is the final day to take the online survey. If you aren't sure where your access code is or if you need assistance to access and complete the survey, please call or email the Help Desk at 1.888.601.5826 Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org anytime.
The State Board of Education will hold its May meeting next week, May 2-3, in the Education Building, Raleigh. Action items include the State Literacy Plan and the RttT Teacher Preparation Report Card (Institutes of Higher Education/ABC Report Card). Discussion items include an update on North Carolina's new Accountability Model and revisions to the Benefits and Employee Policy Manual 2011-12 for public school employees. The complete agenda and supporting executive summaries are available online at www.ncpublicschools.org/stateboard/meetings .
It's not too late to register for the second NC FALCON webinar in the Department's formative assessment series, "Collecting Evidence of Student Learning," at https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/489951120 . The webinar will be held tomorrow, April 27, from 3:30-4:30 p.m. Amanda Horne, a teacher from Cumberland County, will share successful strategies to collect evidence of student learning. She also will detail how to plan for adjusting instruction based on the evidence. If you have questions about the webinar, contact Shanon Daniels at Shanon.Daniels@dpi.nc.gov or 919.807.3285.
Unpacking Standards for Social Studies Electives have been added to the Essential Standards Support Tools page at www.ncpublicschools.org/acre/standards/support-tools/#unsocial . The new material includes eight documents that begin with 20th Century Civil Liberties Civil Rights and finish with World Humanities. Unpacking standards are documents for educators that define the skills students must master to accomplish specific goals. The documents list the essential standards for each grade level and subject, and provide detailed examples on how to teach a standard. Social studies teachers will want to be aware of this valuable resource. Unpacking standards for other subjects also are available at this location.
During the 2012-13 school year, new standards will be taught in all content areas across North Carolina. The assessments for 2012-13 will be aligned to the new standards (Common Core State Standards and NC Essential Standards) so that the same set of curriculum standards are both taught and assessed in the classroom. You can reference the timeline for standards and assessments online at www.ncpublicschools.org/docs/acre/timeline/timeline.pdf . If you have questions regarding the new standards, please contact Tracey Greggs at Tracey.Greggs@dpi.nc.gov. If you have questions regarding the new assessments, please contact Kayla Siler at Kayla.Siler@dpi.nc.gov.
Following are some classroom tips to help teachers prepare for online assessments:
- Allow all students to complete the online test simulation (complete this yourself as well so that you are familiar with what the students are viewing and know what type of items will be presented to students).
- Simulation can be found at http://go.ncsu.edu/nctdemo .
- Be aware of individual student accommodation needs and use the test simulation to help determine appropriate font size, background colors, etc.
- Use technology and tools available for your classroom instruction and assessments so that students are familiar with using technology (for formative and benchmarks assessments and other classroom activities).
- Work with your school testing and technology staff to schedule and plan for administering your assessments online.
Preparing for online assessments and using technology in the classroom directly relates to Standard IV: Teachers Facilitate Learning for their Students in the teacher evaluation process. Additional tips and resources can be found in the Online Assessment Best Practices Guide at www.ncpublicschools.org/acre/assessment/guide .
The Turn-On Common Core Math website (www.turnonccmath.com) provides professional educators a visual map of the K-8 Common Core State Standards-Math (CCSS–M) articulated into 18 learning trajectories. The site was designed to respond to educator requests for help interpreting the standards in light of what is known about student learning. By clicking on a learning trajectory, users are provided an unpacking of the scientific basis of the learning trajectory connected to specific standards. Bridging standards are added when needed. Written by a team led by a member of the CCSS-M National Validation Committee, turnonccmath.com "unpacks" the standards to descriptors that illustrate the underlying cognitive principles, models, related representations, and contexts and identifies student misconceptions, strategies, and inscriptions. The site also includes some commentaries on the standards. Questions regarding the Turn-On Common Core website may be directed to Jere Confrey, The Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, at email@example.com.
Beginning in early to mid-May, middle and high school principals will begin receiving copies of a DVD entitled, "Birth of a Colony: North Carolina." This documentary, which covers the state's history over a period from 1524-1713, examines the arrival of European explorers and settlers and the eventual clash of cultures with the Native Americans. The documentary was produced through a partnership between UNC-TV, the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources and Horizon Productions. Social studies and history teachers will want to check with your principal to see how you can access this rich instructional resource.