More PD

As it turns out, in addition to the three days I’ll spend at TeachFest in New Orleans this June, I’m also going to a one day conference in Washington, DC toward the end of May.  This whole LearnZillion Dream Team thing has some perks.

Achieve2010LOGOThis training is being hosted by Achieve, Inc. and will focus on their EQuIP Rubrics and Student Protocols.  I don’t know much about the latter, but the rubric is a great tool to evaluate current offerings in textbooks and lessons to see if they are really “common core aligned.”  It can also be used to supplement/aid your own original curriculum and lessons to make sure you’ve covered everything in the right amount and way.

I’m Going To TeachFest!

An email I’d been anxiously hoping for arrived in my inbox on Friday night.

learnzillion_800_by_160Dear Kyle,


We are delighted to inform you that you have been selected to join LearnZillion’s 2014 Dream Team!

It was longer than that, of course, but all I really needed to read was the first line.  I’m one of 200 teachers selected from over 4000 applications to this year’s LearnZillion Dream Team, which means I’m headed to TeachFest, in New Orleans, LA!

So I know most of you are probably wondering what this means.  I’m going to let the official TeachFest website do the explaining for me.

teachfest_800_by_200What is TeachFest?

TeachFest is an event that celebrates great teaching and kicks off a powerful collaborative learning experience for teachers. TeachFest brings together amazing teachers, coaches, and school leaders, and provides the time, resources, and community necessary to collaborate, learn, and create.

What is the Dream Team?

The Dream Team is a group of talented teachers from around the country who are selected to participate in TeachFest. They represent district, charter, and private schools, and offer a wealth of experiences and backgrounds. This group is united in their goal to develop themselves and each other, through a collaborative process of creating, curating, and sharing high-quality resources.

Needless to say, I’m pretty amped up about it.  I don’t have many details other than that.  I know the dates, I know the city.  Webinar next week to become more informed.  It gives me an excuse to buy a new computer, because that’s a mandatory thing to bring.

You know what I’m most excited about?  The tagline of TeachFest is Scale Your Impact.  That’s been my issue this year.  I’ve really been feeling like it’s time for my voice to get louder, but I just didn’t know how.  This could be it.

Aligning the CCSSM Geometry Standards to Units

This post *could* be lengthy, but I’ll try to be brief, because it’s 12:15 in the morning who knows if what I’m saying right now makes sense.

I’m teaching Geometry next Fall for the the first time ever, and there are numerous blog posts that I could make to describe the events that brought that about, but I’ll leave those for another day (or not).  To make a long story short, my school has offered a normal track Geometry class in the past, but it wasn’t actually in any course sequence, hardly any students opted to take it, and it most definitely wasn’t CCSS aligned.  Well Geometry is my baby now, and it IS a required class in our school’s math sequence, and as of tonight, it is aligned to the Common Core State Standards.

I have unit titles and everything!

I leaned heavily on the Scope and Sequence Draft by Patrick Callahan and Brad Findell.  I think they had some excellent ideas in the arrangement of the standards, and in most cases I kept their work in tact.  The only major change I made was moving the the Trigonometry unit earlier in the year, as the students will need exposure to those standards well before the PARCC PBA and EOY exams.  A minor change I made was to combine the the Geometric Measurement and Dimension unit with the Modeling unit.  I think the standards read very closely together, they are very “calculus-y” and being a Calculus teacher, I think I can take the opportunity to point the students toward the direction that the math will be going when they leave my class and move onto Pre-Calculus and Calculus.

One more thing I should mention.  My Geometry class will be a third year course for HS students.  Our traditional sequence is really not so traditional in that students take Algebra 1, Algebra 2 and then Geometry.  I think it’s going to work out great for me, in that, my students should be well-versed in Trigonometry, will have dabbled in some of the conics, and should have a great handle on coordinate systems by the time they reach my class.  Because of this, I’ve included the (+) standards in the arrangement, even though those are not tested by PARCC and are usually left for a fourth HS course.  I’m going to give them a shot.

Anyway, here’s how I have the units arranged.  Critique.

Geometry Unit and Standard Arrangement DRAFT

Edit: The coloring of the standards is from the PARCC Blueprints.  Green is major content, Blue is supporting content, and Yellow is additional content.

Irons in the Fire: Update

Looks like I’ll be starting the process of National Board Certification next year.  Illinois offers a limited amounted of fee waivers with priority going to teachers from districts on the academic watch list (which mine is), and I got news on Monday that I made the list.  The whole process of certification is changing next year, if you haven’t heard, so I intend blog the entire process.  Should be fun.

It also appears as though I might be training with “experts” in the Illinois State Learning Standards (a.k.a. The CCSS).  Through some federal grant money, the state is training a number of teachers to go to back to their own districts and share expert knowledge and practice in the standards.  I don’t really know much about it the process, honestly.  It was just an opportunity I ran into through the many, many daily/weekly digest emails to which I subscribe.  More details later.

Finally, I haven’t heard anything about the LearnZillion Dream Team/Teach Fest just yet.  In the last email communication, the phrase “Mid-April” was used as a date in which they were planning to notify applicants.  That’s the big one to me really.  Damn, I hope that happens.

NCAA Tournament Round 1 One-Sheet

Every year I make this one page document with all the important television watching information for the first round of the men’s NCAA basketball tournament.  I don’t think I’ve ever posted it on the blog, though.  So here, for your downloading pleasure…



Times are in Central Standard, by the way.