What to teach when they have “visions of sugar plums” in their heads?


Yesterday afternoon I attended a high school department chair meeting. As we were discussing various items on the agenda, I started thinking about how kids behave in class that last day of school before the holidays (the principal was going over the building schedule for those last few days of school before break).

If you are looking for something creative, interesting and festive try this (and hit a few PA CEW academic standards at the same time):

1. Ask the kids to recite the twelve days of Christmas and then show them what the experts predict the “twelve days shopping list” would cost.
2. Begin a discussion as to why these things cost so much. Student thinking will prove interesting. Turn the topic to who could have been involved in producing these “gifts.” Why do we always discuss the cost of this list and not who has trained and earns a living providing these items and services?
3. Ask students to work together to brainstorm as many professions as they can that are involved making the 12 gifts.
4. If you have a Pathways or Career Clusters model in your school you might ask your students to put the identified professions into the proper paths. Bring technology into the picture with spreadsheets, presentations, etc.
5. Have your students share their thinking and presentations. Wish them a happy and restful break and enjoy!

PDE CEW Standard: 13.1 Career Awareness A-H

PA Standards Aligned System, Common Core Curriculum and Keystone Exams

I have just returned from a grueling 3.5 day inservice developed and delivered by PDE. The purpose was to teach/orient teachers, curriculum people, administrators and post-secondary institutions about/to “SAS” (Standards Aligned System).

What is the PA Standards Aligned System? It is “a comprehensive approach to support student achievement across the Commonwealth.” This will be a great resource for educators. Early focus for better instruction and learning: writing routinely, text complexity and discussion. If you haven’t looked this over yet, now is the time.

According to PDE, this is the official Common Core website–do not be confused by others! We (Pennsylvania educators) will have a three year transition to the common core. Our first focus will be on English and math.

We will concentrate on learning trajectories, rigor (Web’s DOK) and college and career readiness. (Note: In the 21st Century college and career readiness refer to the same knowledge and skill set-for more on this topic read Ken Gray’s Getting Real: Helping Teenagers Find Their Future) Rigor in English and math will also be followed and measured through literacy, science and social studies. PA students will be “doing, not just studying.”

You will be interested to know that Common Core standards do not have anchors. The result will be more standards than current PA core standards. PDE will be developing crosswalks from our traditional PA core standards to the new common core (AKA “CC”).


For a deeper look at CC

College & Career Readiness (CC)

Keystone Exams Overview