Common CoreWhat has been the most valuable activity/professional development you have participated in to implement the common core into your classroom? My high school piloted the My high school piloted the ELA standards this last school year, and I had several professional days over the course of the year to work with other teachers at my grade level in my district. Developing standards-based units in collaboration with other teachers was without doubt the most valuable activity for me; I now have concrete plans for implmenting the standards in the classroom. The district that I work for The district that I work for end of quarter exams. This past year, we have been working to align these exams with not only the new standards, but also the Smarter Balance style of test. Thus, we not only use multiple choice questions, we also have at least two constructed response questions and one extended response question for each subject. As a district we also created a rubric for the constructed and extended responses. As a teacher, this has helped me to make sure my own instruction is aligned with the new standards, especially in the way that I am teaching and assessing writing. I teach English, so obviously my students provide a lot of written responses. We review the constructed response and extended response rubric at the start of the year, and it is expected that every time they respond to a question they are meeting the standards addressed on this rubric. As they say, perfect practice makes perfect. My district has adopted a My district has adopted a program called The DBQ Project, which is specifically designed for social studies. The DBQ Project is a series of document based questions that the students answer, using historical documents to support their claim. These questions can also be argued either way, depending on the evidence the students use to support their claim. In addition, the district provided a one day workshop to introduce this program and its implimentation. I came back from the workshop fired up, and eager to incorporate this into my lessons. The workshop was in February, and I was able to incorporate one of the lessons this past year. The best part about this program is that it is very easy to adapt to students' levels. For example, when I introduced the DBQ lessons I used in March, we wrote an opening paragraph together as a class, then each student had to write a body paragraph, using their document packet for citations and evidence. I am planning on using on of the DBQs each quarter, and scaffolding the writing the students will be required to do, with the final quarter's assignment being a full five paragraph essay with supporting evidence. This was one of the most valuable trainings I have ever attended - not only does it incorporate the common core, but it is designed to get kids to think about the "what ifs" and "whys" that pertain to history. My school district taught the My school district taught the ELA common core this last school year. The summer prior, I met with my grade level team and we "unpacked" the standards, looking at what was new and not covered by the units/lessons we had been using. We then developed literature units to meet those standards. This was the most valuable thing I have done. Even though it was done on our own time it made the school year run smoothly. We could then focus our collaboration during the year on smaller units and/or student progress. I recognize that this is not how all teams function, but if your team is willing and your principal is supportive it truly was the best thing!