Bullis Charter School has a new tool in its arsenal this year as it tackles the implementation of Common Core curriculum standards.
Seventh-grade teacher Lisa Stone was one of 200 chosen from among 4,000 applicants for the “Dream Team” assembled by the educational startup LearnZillion. Stone and the other members of the Dream Team worked to create online lesson plans for teachers that are Common Core-aligned.
LearnZillion, an online resource for teachers, offers a growing set of math and English resources for grades 2-12, developed by experienced teachers and connected directly with Common Core State Standards.
Stone spent the summer collaborating with four other teachers and a coach to dissect a Close Reading lesson for seventh-graders.
Her team was given a text selection and tasked with creating a five-day lesson plan around the text that would meet Common Core standards.
“Common Core now says that you need to put text in front of students that is really too hard for them to understand,” she said.
The final product instructs teachers on how to examine a piece of literature, identify what is complex about it and explain what to focus on with the students – step-by-step and at a determined pace.
The resource is valuable for teachers because it not only provides them with the lesson, but also offers real-time professional development, Stone said.
“It really teaches how to engage in metacognition,” she said. “It models for teachers how to teach these types of habits of mind.”
The lesson plans include instructional videos that teachers can use in the classroom or as part of their lesson preparation. The videos for each lesson are free and available to teachers, students and parents.
LearnZillion’s premium service provides details on how to build a unit around the Common Core concept. The end product of The Dream Team’s work is a textbooklike resource for schools and their districts that addresses the requirements of Common Core.
Common Core spells out the benchmarks and concepts that students need to learn, but leaves how to get there up to teachers. That’s where LearnZillion steps in.
“The focus of LearnZillion is on the metacognition – what are the building blocks you need to build up to the requirements of Common Core,” Stone said.
Because Stone served on LearnZillion’s Dream Team of teachers over the summer, Bullis Charter School benefits from the website’s premium service – equipping teachers with many different Common Core lessons to select and implement this school year.
“I think it is part of my job to help teachers become the best they can be,” she said. “Part of the reason why I chose to do this was because I need to go outside of my school and scale my impact.”
For more information, visit LearnZillion.com.