Tuesday, January 14, 2014
This past summer I was selected to be part of the National Education Association Master Teacher Project and have been working diligently on the project since last August. Now, I'm announcing the initial launch of the project at cc.betterlesson.com.
Better Lesson has created a fabulous animation above to introduce visitors to the site and to the MTP.
When you log in to Better Lesson, you'll find lesson plans covering k-12 math and k-12 ELA. I'm on the ELA 12th grade team, along with four other teachers: Elizabeth Watts, Elizabeth (Leila) Chawkat, Richard Jones, and Caitlin Chiller. After registering for Better Lesson, go here to see our profile pics and the other ELA teachers. My ELA 12 colleagues and I are coached (mentored, the word I prefer) by Debra Block, PhD. If you attended NCTE 2013, you might have seen Debra's presentation on historical maps.
When I applied for the MTP, I knew I'd be expected to write lessons aligned to the CCSS. I had mixed feelings about this because so much about the CCSS is being driven by high stakes testing via the Smarter Balance Consortium and PAARC. As one in opposition to high stakes tests (I wrote my first anti-standardized tests speech in 10th grade, 1975). I have not changed my position since.
That said, under Debra's tutelage, I have remained true to my teaching roots, so you'll see no test-prep resources in my lessons. You will see my commitment to performance pedagogy, as well as my commitment to the ideals inherent in the NBPTS philosophy.
In fact, during my interview and early training with BL, I repeatedly heard two words that resonate with my teaching philosophy: art and narrative. On numerous occasions, I and the other MTs were instructed to focus on the story of our teaching and to create lessons comprised of artifacts. I own the book Both Art and Craft: Teaching Ideas That Spark Learning, an NCTE publication, so from the onset, BL spoke my language.
Teachers who visit cc.betterlesson.com will discover a paradigm focused on putting our colleagues from around the country and beyond in our classrooms, so as the video says, you'll hear us talk about our missteps as well as our successes.
Whether you have joined the movement to support CCSS implementation, are entrenched in the push to repeal the CCSS, or are still finding your way, I extend a personal invitation to check out the lessons I share, many of which are inspired by English teacher rock stars among us.
Share what works in the comments and share ways I need to grow and improve. I have many more lessons to write before my 13 month journey in the MTP reaches its destination.