Saturday, August 17, 2013

Common Core Curriculum and Teacher Evaluation Support System!

A Tidal Wave! Common Core curriculum, college bound and career ready, student assessments, teacher evaluations, close reading, critical thinking, new Science Standards, informational text, rich opportunities for writing, always new rules, and the list goes on. The 2013-14 new school year has officially begun. How quickly school has rolled back in, like an ocean swell, sucking us back into the teacher world…our other life. Our bipolar life!

This past week, I have already received emails, phone calls, each laden with shades of stress and minor disappointments. “I didn’t get done what I planned,” is the teachers’ end-of-summer mantra. Amidst this weighted undertow of panic, stress, and minor disappointments there is a bright light. It is indeed what keeps us coming back. Thoughts of new faces, new promises, new challenges, and of course a new beginning shines both over us and through us. Each school year gifts teachers with the ultimate in New Year’s celebrations. Better than champagne, confetti, and noise makers there is a pristine, perfectly pure fresh start…the chance to finally be the teacher to whom you aspire. There is nothing better than the first day of each school year because every moment is punctuated with promise. The challenge is to maintain this promise each and every day of the school year.

Meanwhile the floors shiny (and never again this clean), still smelling of wax, let us all take one very deep breath, sigh a relief for a moment or two knowing that we are as ready as we are ever going to be, and indulge ourselves in a Debbie Miller moment. (Sit back and revel—because you deserve it.) Pencils are sharpened, book baskets thoughtfully filled, the world’s cutest writing journals await eager and hungry minds, and our lesson plan is completed, proudly sitting next to the carefully selected books for Monday morning.

As for me, I am newly retired. This is my first blog ever. I really mean EVER. I won’t apologize for what I have or have not included today. I will publicly say, my first formal FYI, perhaps starting a TPT store and blog simultaneously was not the most strategic decision. Oh well. My plan to scour every Common Core website and offer you the most important, hot off the press news for K-12 will have to wait. Next time!

Today my offerings to you are some very simple but powerful words of wisdom on writing. Have the students do more writing this year. Although, the hefty burden of grading writing assignments weigh us down, our students often are not receiving timely feedback. Think shorter and more concise assignments. Have students practice only one skill or trait at a time. Regularly and often, have students write mini-shorts where they can explain just one point or argument in two tightly written paragraphs. Happy New Year. I am hoping it is your best year ever.


  1. Great first post, Cathe. I can tell you are passionate about teaching.

  2. I was actually thinking of Debbie Miller last weekend while doing "one more thing" before school starts. Here I am now, with the first week done, and feeling so tired! Growth plans are written, assessments are analyzed- almost, all my once sharpened pencils are now waiting to be resharpened, the floor has leftover paper scraps waiting to be removed, and name tags are already peeling up. But I am so happy! And so exhausted!
    Im looking forward to all of your posts!! I know you'll meet us in the midst of our mission field!

    1. Ashton, I am sure you had a wonderful first week. Here it is Friday, 6:15, and of course you would almost have your assessments analyzed. You are amazing. I can't wait to hear about your new school year, and I am really hoping you will agree to a guest post or two. I think I have seen velcroed nametags on Pinterest (classroom mgmt board??) Thanks for being in the audience and thanks for commenting.