Institute 10: The Common Core Literacy Block: What Will It Look Like in My Classroom? (The ABCs of Teaching & Learning in the Common Core Era)
Reading Today Online asked all of the Institute Chairpersons for IRA San Antonio to respond to three questions designed to give our readers and all of the prospective attendees a better understanding of the insights and benefits they will gain from attending these day-long programs. Below are responses from Institute 10 Chairs Jan Miller Burkins and Kim Yaris, whose blog has about 1,000 readers daily.
What is the professional urgency that this institute is designed to address?
For the last year, we have blogged six days a week about the Common Core State Standards and teaching in the Common Core era on burkinsandyaris.com. Educators who read our writing and who work in the schools where we consult indicate three pressing needs, and these are confirmed by our co-facilitators, who have extensive experience working with students and teachers. We entitled these three urgent needs The ABCs of Teaching & Learning in the Common Core Era:
A = Alignment
The mood in schools is sober, and teachers are fatigued. We attribute much of this to the anxiety teachers are experiencing as they work to reconcile the standards they must teach and their urge to teach from their hearts. While aligning instruction to the Common Core State Standards is on every teacher’s mind, we consider alignment with their core beliefs about teaching to be even more important.
B = Balance
Educators continually grapple with how to distribute their time and energy. Much of our work, and the work of our co-facilitators, is about finding the balance between competing needs. The “work” of balance is not a matter of shifting back and forth, but a matter of managing tension. Here are a few of the teacher tensions and student tensions educators are wrestling with daily as they dig into the Common Core:
- Reading to understand ourselves vs. reading to understand information
- Reading because we like it vs. reading because we are required to
- Engaging students in texts vs. exposing students to challenging texts
- Meeting individual student needs vs. giving every student the same opportunities
- Scaffolding students vs. letting the text support them
- Setting students up for success vs. doing the work for students
- Reading texts closely vs. loving a text to death
- Teaching towards learning vs. teaching towards assessment
C = Connectedness
This institute is filled with connections between content, presenters, lessons, and instructional strategies. Some connections the facilitators will share and others participants will discover for themselves as we facilitate work through open-ended protocols. As facilitators, we will connect with you, help you connect with your colleagues, and engage you in connecting your own deep thinking to the practicalities of implementation.
In conclusion, the most pressing urgency we see in education is that of rediscovering joy in the classroom. Through supporting participants in aligning to their truest purposes for teaching, finding balance, and connecting with others, we plan to give participants a taste of joy. From guidance on teaching with rigor, not rigor-mortis, to singing songs with Barry Lane. This institute will be wholly practical, but also damn fun!
What types of literacy professionals is the institute designed for?
This institute is designed for classroom teachers and all those who support them, including literacy coaches, administrators, and consultants.
How will attendance at this institute help those literacy professionals “make a difference” in their work?
This institute will give participants practical strategies and language for reconnecting with their core beliefs as a vehicle, rather than as a barrier, to teaching students to be independent and proficient readers. Participants will leave with a sense of the ways the Common Core can support their largest ideals for students, as each facilitator in this institute will offer practical strategies and lessons for teaching from the heart while integrating the Common Core into instruction.
All of the facilitators on this panel will help educators think about both sides of each source of tension, working to arrive at a relatively balanced perspective. Through conversations, lessons, and practical strategies, all of the facilitators in this session will work to help participants find their own balance within the Common Core.
Registration Information: This preconference institute will be held at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Friday, April 19 before the 58th International Reading Association Annual Convention begins on Saturday, April 20. Register online for this or another institute and/or to register for the annual convention. Call 888-294-9167 or 415-979-2278 to find out how to register by phone, fax, or mail. To learn more about convention events in San Antonio, visit the annual convention website and the online itinerary planner (iPlanner), or read more Reading Today annual convention articles.