Sunday, December 8, 2013

Why HELLO Common Core MAP!

I displayed this beauty on my tips this week...
I'm totally digging the darks. What else is new? This deep just screams balsam to me. Doesn't smell like  Christmas, but that is what scented pinecones from Jewel and candles are for right?

As the snow falls outside visions of sugar plums are definitely not dancing in my head.  Frango mints might be though, I think I stress ate my weight in Frango mints this week actually (thank you Macys  Marshall Fields)! You know when you have those weeks that are just plain old rough? Where as hard as you try not to cry it just all lets loose... especially when your mom calls to ask how your day is going while your kids are in music class? CUE THE WATER WORKS! 

We took our winter MAP tests for reading this week. I consistently set the bar high, not only for my students, but for myself. This test was a rude awakening to say the least. I went in with the same expectations as I have had previously, but this MAP is Common Core, and as we all know - a different animal. This animal lives in the deep undiscovered depths of the ocean which educators humans have not yet explored, and after this week I'm wishing it would stay there.

So I did what any early career - bogged down - teacher would do when they are scared they are sinking more than swimming. I thought about my kids. What could I give them TODAY to truly be more college and career ready. I paused everything else and concentrated on self assessment. You can't learn unless you can actually monitor your learning.

Enter: Metacognition. 
We broke it down. Talked about why in the world a 6th grader would care about the words metacognition and self assessment. After relating the "meta - above and beyond" to Buzz Lightyear, and "cognition - thinking and comprehension" to Mr. Psychologist... we annotated. Still going heavy on the annotations, but in time they will dwindle so I'm not complaining. Their homework was to go home and achieve the highest level on their self assessment scale, teach their parents about metacognition. The fact that they could give their parents homework was just way too exciting for them. My students explained metacognition to their parents  *along with how it relates to them and the process of their learning* Then (insert adult figure at home) had to summarize what their 6th grader taught them. We ALL got a lot out of this lesson and it made this wounded teacher smile a little brighter. 


Each student not only has a "Self Assessment" tag on their desk to consistently rate their learning, they each now sport a "Metacognition Tent." These consist of a green (4-5) yellow (2-3) and pink (1) notecard stack, which they change while I am teaching depending on their understanding of the topic. I love these because the students are consistently thinking about their thinking! They are taking their learning into their own hands. Students who are not always comfortable raising their hand have their own power for self assessment. 

Oh, and say "Hi," to our new friend Ollie. He is our new class pet - Ollie goes hand in hand with our class read aloud. All I am going to say is if you have not read Out of My Mind, just do it. 

Stay chip free and standards based!

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