Sunday, February 12, 2012

Math and CCSS
A little over a week ago, I met with a group of teachers to continue working on developing our district's new math curriculum that aligns to the national Common Core State Standards (CCSS).  It has been a great learning process and the team has a strong understanding of the new standards, including increased rigor, utilizing mathematical practices, and thinking about how we are going to teach math both differently and more effectively.  It has been great seeing how the conversations and work has evolved.  It was reassuring that PARCC's recently released Model Content Frameworks outlined the Content Emphases by Cluster, which aligned closely to our group's focus on outlining the Essential Knowledge for each grade level.  Basically these two phrases stand for the foundational knowledge that teachers should go into great depth with and spend time on because of the importance that these standards have on future mathematics, along with college and career readiness in the higher grade levels.  

A couple days after this meeting, I read a blog entry on NASSP about the challenges that lie ahead in implementing this new curriculum (NASSP PRINCIPAL DIFFERENCE).  It began with a quote from Tim Sass, "You have to know math in order to teach math.", which essentially sums up the gist of the blog entry.

It is critical that districts and colleges spend time and resources on training our teachers and future educators in mathematics.  It is time to balance the literacy and mathematics equation.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Technology and Education: Part 1 
Over the past couple of days, I have had or been a part of conversations about the role of technology in education with our department chair team, our district's Common Core State Standards math team, and with individual colleagues.  It really has been a great dialogue. 

Rewind to December 8, I attended 21st Century Skills Ohio – Summit 2.5,  Karl Fish, Daniel Pink, Sarah Elizabeth Ippel, Ewan McIntosh, and Christian Long provided some moving conversations about the future of education and what our schools should embody.  Karl Fisch and other speakers discussed the importance of students being global citizens who can produce, consume, and be literate in multiple mediums.  Further, Mr. Fisch stated that social media should be seamlessly intertwined into student learning.  One could have easily walked away from this conference assuming it was all about integrating technology into the curriculum.  On the contrary, it was about how do we, as educators, design and facilitate learning that prepares students to be college and career ready, technology is just a piece of the puzzle. 

Returning to the great dialogue, it's exciting to see colleagues taking or preparing to take some creative, yet calculated risks to engage students with technology in new ways.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The explanation . . .

Education is a craft.  It is finding the right mixture of rigor, humor, discussion, lecture, technology, collaborative work, etc to truly engage students and allow them to learn.  The education field at times easily becomes enamored with a trend, but it shouldn't.  Our greatest teachers and educators that have come before us, that are with us now, and in the future find this perfect balancing point. Thus, the apt named title of my blog, COOKbook.  Teaching is a lot like being a great cook: there are recipes and templates out there, but the great cooks infuse their own mixture of creativity, ingredients, and presentation.  It is my hope that this blog provides some insight into the changing culture of education and brings a balanced perspective to the table. 

Cheers to all the educators out there,

Aaron Cook