My work with my Kenan Fellowship started a collaborative chapter this past week. The four other ELA DPI Kenan Fellows and I came together to the NC Department of Instruction for the first time. We’d been using the NC DPI Self-Study Binders to delve into the common core independently, and had a very intensive nine-hour study of the common core Monday to kick-start our journey together.
I realize now there is so much in the Common Core that will have me fundamentally looking at my own instruction, and major instructional shifts will happen for all educators of literacy and English Language Arts:
- Building knowledge through content-rich nonfiction and informational texts
- Reading and writing grounded in evidence from text
- Regular practice with complex text and its academic vocabulary
Essentially, our group is charged with creating a vast library of professional development materials to help teachers understand and align their lessons to the Grades 6-12 ELA Common Core Standards. Knowing how I’m going to create these tools is difficult when I am also trying to wrap my head around the same for my own classroom. In addition, I was really struggling with what the pragmatic details of what this project would look like. I have a hard time letting pieces unfold as they go, and need to have an understanding of the “top down” organization before I move forward. This is true for my Kenan Project, shifting my teaching practices to align with the common core, or any large undertaking. When I try to move forward without this overview and understanding, I get stuck. It causes “paralysis by analysis”.
However, an “A-Ha” moment came for me when I read Lyn Cannaday’s “Transitioning To The Common Core”. She helped me visualize the coming classroom changes from an educator’s perspective; one who’s “been there”. Moreover, her essay helped me see the value in the struggle.
“These moments of apprehension can be a catalyst for awakening the educator within. Transitioning to the Common Core represents an opportunity for teachers to encounter anew the art of teaching.”
~Lyn Cannaday [my emphasis]
I saw that it didn’t have to all make perfect sense yet; that in fact, my own metacognition as I worked with the common core would be helpful to other educators.
Throughout the week, my four fellow Fellows and I refined our understanding of Common Core and processed the multitude of tasks ahead of us this year, both as a group and independently. I am so excited to work with these four other amazing ELA educators! After this week, it’s clear we are going to have a wonderful synergy and great fun!
Analysis is a strong-suit, fun for me, and crucial in every part of this endeavor. As for paralysis, well…I can’t call it ‘paralysis’ if I’m taking one step forward at a time.