Carrie Hunt, Jenn Culver, Rebecca Burnett, Tonya Hatch, Brian Rockett and Lindsey Rigdon are my colleagues and teammates. Lisa Essman is not pictured as she somehow escaped my viewfinder. While we once thought of ourselves as the English Department, we seem to have morphed in to the ELA PLC (English Language Arts Professional Learning Community). (Contributed)
Carrie Hunt, Jenn Culver, Rebecca Burnett, Tonya Hatch, Brian Rockett and Lindsey Rigdon are my colleagues and teammates. Lisa Essman is not pictured as she somehow escaped my viewfinder. While we once thought of ourselves as the English Department, we seem to have morphed in to the ELA PLC (English Language Arts Professional Learning Community). (Contributed)

Archived Story

Summer sounds like alphabet soup

Published 9:52am Friday, June 28, 2013

By CONNIE NOLEN / Community Columnist

This week I have been engaging in some PD with my PLC where we have been exploring DOK. Soon, I’ll be off to UA for more PD to prep for AP. My summer soup is alphabet soup.

After all of these years of teaching, why can’t I just put my feet up in the summer—content with the notion that I am ahead of the game? Shouldn’t new teachers be seeking PD (professional development) with their PLCs (Professional Learning Communities) while I rest secure in my DOK (Depth of Knowledge)? Perhaps, in a perfect world, this would be the scenario; however, my imperfections reveal with great regularity how much more I have to learn.

“Are you still at PHS?” former students ask when they see me out and about during the summer.

“Yes, I’m still there,” I say, noticing the stunned looks on their faces. “I never graduate. I always need to master a few more skills.”

This week, PHS teachers Rebecca Burnett and Anna Laura Dyer are sharing what they learned in Quality Core training during the school year with many more teachers at our summer sessions. While Common Core Curriculum is the phrase that the press most often uses, the End-of-Course tests that the state of Alabama is implementing in high school courses are created by ACT, so they are geared toward the Quality Core.

We’ve spent three days implementing strategies for getting students moving in the direction of Quality Core. We’ve played four corners and made arguments to draw our classmates to our corners. We’ve used timers to complete our admit slips. We’ve engaged in collaboration and Turn, Pair, Share, where I’ve enjoyed the intelligence and humor of my colleagues.

We’ve also estimated Depth of Knowledge. In some areas, my Depth of Knowledge is a shallow pool as I work on helping students to write first drafts that zing. I believe that writing is a process, so focusing on writing first drafts that score well on AP tests is a challenge. Being a rookie is invigorating. I am ready for all things new.

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