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Choice Literacy: Coaching the Common Core {Part 2 of 3}

The second portion of the Choice Literacy workshop, Coaching the Common Core was led by Heather Rader. Heather is the author of Side By Side: Short Takes on Best Practice for Teachers and Literacy Leaders. She is the senior editor for Choice Literacy and an instructional coach  I hope you know Heather’s work. She is remarkable in all areas of life.

She anchored her session of the workshop around argumentative writing. What I learned from Heather is the importance of sharing with teachers the anatomy of an argument. Heather reminded us that the common core is brand new — there are no experts in the common core. We are all on the learning curve together. Therefore, it is important to learn together about what the common core is asking of our students. This will take time as we dig into common core, as well as the text types and expectations for 21st century learners.

She also discussed the importance of looking at student work together. It takes time to build trust among teams of teachers so they are willing to bring student work. Heather suggests collecting samples and having them available in case teachers don’t want to bring their own samples. Student work is one of the best ways to grow in our practice. I’m constantly working toward a goal of being more intentional about collecting student work. Heather may have just given me the nudge I need to move from thinking about it to actually doing it.

To read about the first portion of the Choice Literacy workshop with Jennifer Allen, please click here.

5 thoughts on “Choice Literacy: Coaching the Common Core {Part 2 of 3}

  1. In my own work with teachers this year, we’ve begun examining student work. How rewarding this is! I’m noticing that the way we talk about the work is starting to shift as we gain more experience with this too. Rather than focusing on “strengths vs. weaknesses/needs” we’re framing things in terms of “what is present in student work and what students seem ready to learn or do next.” As our perceptions about assessment vs. evaluation shift, so does language, and as language shifts, so does our ability to see things we may not have before. This has been so rewarding…..


  2. We are learning together in regards to the common core. I hadn’t really thought about there not being any experts on the topics. Makes sense why we need to be looking at student work together in order to grow.


  3. We’ve tried to get into the habit of looking at student work in my district. We’re on our 2nd year now, and it’s becoming almost commonplace. At almost every meeting and PD session, we usually end up referring to student work – and it’s raised the level of our discussions by ten-folds!


  4. As I read this post I thought what a great idea to bring examples to share. Then my mind jumped and I thought why not ask each team member to bring 3 samples – one that was struggling, one that got it, and one that nailed it?

    Trust is such a pivotal issue and it makes such a difference. Thank you for your insight.


  5. The idea of bringing student samples for teachers to discuss to remove the stress over ownership of student successes and failures is thought-provoking. Hmm. Then the point would really be analyzing the student work and getting at what the standard for such work really should be. I am thinking about how I can apply this within my own professional team. Hmmm.


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