Letter From RCSD Deputy Superintendent Of Teaching And Learning Debunking Myth That Lesson Plans Are Pre-scripted by The State

On Friday, October 7th, 2013 Beverly Burrell-Moore, RCSD Deputy Superintendent of Teaching and Learning sent the following email to all principals and teachers in the district. This letter debunks the common misconception that lessons plans are pre “scripted” by the state for teachers. She points out that part of the “art of teaching” calls for using the Common Core Curriculum as a guide that is to be differentiated when necessary and that lesson plans are not to be given verbatim.

To:      School Principals and Teachers

From:  Beverly Burrell-Moore, Deputy Superintendent of Teaching and Learning

Date:   October 7, 2013

Re:      Common Core Curriculum as outlined by NYS

Last summer, the RCSD adopted the Common Core Curriculum as outlined by NYS.  In doing so, we decided to purchase many of the recommended books, math manipulatives, SMART Boards and other resources for every classroom to ensure instruction is accessible. With the support of IM&T, eLearning now contains all RCSD-adopted Common Core Curriculum to support student acquisition of the Common Core State Standards. We invested in the implementation to ensure instructional consistency and rigor throughout the District so that our students will be College and Career Ready.

One of the misconceptions across the District is in regards to “scripted” lessons within the units and modules.  The units and modules should be used as the main teacher manual for implementing the Common Core Curriculum as adopted by the District.  Teachers are not asked to deliver lessons verbatim (teacher/student dialogue given in the lessons do not have to be followed as is). The dialogues given (SCRIPTS) are there for guidance to ensure student understanding of intended outcomes or learning targets. These SCRIPTS are designed to be used as teacher prompts to ensure that key aspects of the lesson (questions, concepts, etc.) are addressed.  The art of teaching involves Instructors expanding on the given lessons based on the needs of the students and differentiating by “Tiering the Tasks.” This means that the main activities in the lessons should be taught, but teachers should consider differentiating the content or process where necessary.

Examples:

CONTENT– While all students need to engage in and be taught the Common Core Curriculum as identified in the daily lessons, teachers may add supplemental materials and/or texts that build on the main instructional outcomes, but are at a student’s independent level through small group instruction, homework, etc. In addition, teachers may add in extra questions, skills, and strategies for instructional purposes as dictated by their students’ needs.

PROCESS– The lessons provide activities in which to deliver the content in a manner that will allow students to successfully persevere with grade level content and become independent learners. Teachers may differentiate the activities to account for real life application and to maximize student engagement (examples: jigsaw, carousel, gallery walks, cooperative learning groups, multi-media approaches, etc.).

Professional Development workshops regarding implementation of the Common Core Curriculum are currently available on AVATAR (and more will be posted soon). These workshops will focus on how the Common Core Curriculum aligns to the Common Core

State Standards and NYS Assessments, how to plan and prepare for the daily lessons, how to differentiate content and processes, and interactive demonstration lessons to ensure understanding of curriculum expectations.

Moving forward, we recognize the complexities and challenges we are facing as we use data to measure student growth and achievement in the RCSD. All stakeholders need to share in and commit to preparing our students to be College and Career Ready as defined by the Common Core State Standards.

Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”

Henry Ford

Thank you.

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