Ohio Appalachian Collaborative Blog

It takes teamwork to make the dream work

Staying Ahead of the Curve with New Teacher Planning Tools

by | May 27, 2014
By Dr. Judy VanVoorhis, Senior Director, Battelle for Kids

Let’s face it—there’s a lot happening in education. Changes are a reality, and it can be challenging for classroom teachers to keep up. That’s where the power of collaboration comes in. One of the Ohio Appalachian Collaborative’s key values is staying ahead of the curve. Working as a collaborative, OAC districts know what’s coming and how to prepare for it, and implementing the Ohio New Learning Standards and assessments is just another great example.

More than forty OAC and SOAR districts participated in a pilot to field test Battelle for Kids’ Common Core Teacher Planning Tools. These tools guide teachers through a process of using bundled standards, identifying key academic content vocabulary, identifying texts, and developing tasks for K-11 English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics.

As part of the pilot, participating districts selected a grade-level team that received the bundled standards cards for their grade-level standards, as well as unit organizers for K-11 ELA and mathematics. During planning sessions, the teams developed units using the tools provided to them. Some districts volunteered to video their planning sessions to share their experiences with others. Watch OAC districts here. You can also download sample units from the OAC Collaboration Space here.

Along the way, districts provided feedback to Battelle for Kids, which was incorporated into the final tools that are now available on the BFK Store. Here’s what some of your peers had to say about their experience in the pilot project:

“We are using unit organizers to make sure our focus supports the amount of instruction. The unit organizer process helps our middle school team discuss and determine the complexity needed, identify vocabulary, and create tasks to use formatively and summatively.” —Teacher at Crooksville Exempted Village Schools

“I felt like the unit organizers have been a good use of our PD time. It has helped me organize the curriculum.” —High school math teacher at Coshocton City Schools

Thank you to all the participating OAC/TIF districts, including Belpre, Bloom Vernon, Circleville, Coshocton, Crooksville, East Muskingum, Franklin Local, Georgetown, Maysville, New Boston, Northern Local, River View, Rolling Hills, Southern Local, Valley Local, Warren Local, and West Muskingum. Your hard work is inspiring. Your feedback is valued. Your contributions are immeasurable.

For more information about Battelle for Kids’ Common Core Teacher Planning Tools, please visit the BFK Store or contact Judy VanVoorhis.