Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Binder That's Saving my Life

With Common Core taking over American education, almost every teacher I know is up in arms.  The old guard is half freaking out because of the differences it will cause in the way they teach, and half apathetic because they don't necessary believe it will last very long -- NCLB, after all, was deemed awful in less than 10 years.

Anyway, I belong to the new guard and am completely focused on making sure my curriculum and activities are completely aligned and that my students will be able to complete those skills outlined in the standards.  Luckily for me, my school district employs an Instructional Coach... and SHE IS AMAZING.  She loves organization just as much as I do and created binders like this for each English Teacher for each core course (English I, English II, English III).

Here is the cover... pretty, pretty

She made tabs for everything we need for complete Common Core organization.  School calendar, Quarter Outlook, Quarter Breakdowns of Standards and Texts, as well as tabs for aligned assessments.

This is what the "Quarter Outlook" looks like.  We teach based on a particular theme each quarter, so it gives space for the theme and then the titles we will be teaching based on those themes.  I put the number of weeks that text should take... just to make sure my pacing doesn't get too off.

The next thing she had us do was break down the CCSS into the 4 quarters.  We didn't assign them anywhere beyond just which quarter we will hit them.  Breaking the standards into smaller chunks has been a lifesaver so far in planning for alignment.

Finally, we divided the standards into each unit for the quarters.  This fancy little graphic organizer helps us divide up the Concepts (the fun ELA stuff we all get excited about), Skills (how the students will show those concepts -- AKA verbs), and the Blooms level of each.  Breaking these down helped me to understand the standards better AND make sure there is a range of Bloom's levels in each unit.

Sorry for the sideways picture... I'm not as computer literate as I pretend to be.

Here are some "detail" pictures of those organizers...

Finally, the last couple tabs.  All the assessments I design that are aligned correctly will go here.  This will aid in backwards planning, since the end goal will already be designed and easily accessible.  Plus, it's just best practice.

This whole idea is pretty easily adaptable... and like I said... it's saving my life and my sanity.


  1. Replies
    1. I don't have an electronic copy :( But I'm sure you could figure out how to make your own form. Here are links for the "inspiration" and the CCSS, which has been translated into "I can" statements... much more people friendly.

      Rigorous Curriculum Design Presentation:

      CCSS 9-10 "I Can" Statements:

      CCSS 11-12 "I Can" Statements: