Teachers across the region have learned to embrace change in their classrooms, most recently with the adoption of the Common Core Learning Standards in both English Language Arts and Mathematics. As we know change is often met with frustration, exasperation and fear. I would be a liar if I said that the teacher in my success story didn’t feel all of those emotions and more.
Bill Connelly (Pioneer Central School District) is a veteran High School Math teacher. Last school year he embraced the challenge of adapting the Common Core Algebra II content. During monthly work sessions, Bill dove deeply into the module lessons to determine what content needed more foundational lessons and which content needed more lessons to solidify the concepts.
Not only did Bill work closely with the content, but he also embraced the use of technology in his classroom. In an effort to support his students in both the foundational concepts and the solidification of content, Bill added a technology piece to his classroom. Bill decided to record his daily lessons and post them to Youtube for students to use as they attempted their homework or if they were absent from class. As you can imagine, this was met with several technological set backs and some missed recordings early on. With perseverance and flexibility Bill eventually created a Youtube channel for his classroom. In addition to the audio recordings, Bill embraced the help of Khan Academy and its abundance of resources. Bill identified gaps in student needs based on formative assessments and assigned practice for them to fill the gaps and/or reinforce concepts.
This year, Bill is continuing to embrace change. He is still incorporating the technology from last year and of course improving its usefulness. In addition, he is dabbling in flipping his classroom and making full video recordings. Bill has continued to search for the best instructional resources to use with his students to tackle the Common Core Algebra 2 standards. As he embraces the changes in his instruction he continues to focus on what is best for students learning and understanding. Thank you Bill for embracing change!
By Karen Insley, CA BOCES Professional Development