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Finding the core in planning

I was lucky today – I got to do some of my favorite thinking with a colleague. C- and I met to work on refining a unit. We started by quickly ticking the AERO the standards, identifying the benchmarks, and then describing the final assessment. To wrap up this stage, we popped back up to the beginning to make sure both aligned. At first glance, this probably isn’t very compelling work, and most might even suggest there is a tedium to it, but I love the grace of alignment. I love that there is deep integrity between what we say kids should know and be able to do, and what C- was going to hold them accountable to in the final assessment – and in her instruction.

… and this is where it gets good. As I prompted C- to talk through instruction, to name the sequence, to consider the resources, there were many ¬†thoughtful pauses. We wrestled with a lot of ideas, trying to stay on the simple side of things, until this short unit unveiled 5 core learning goals anchored in rigorous content. Two of these five goals specifically referenced character – perseverance and respect. As easily as it was to consider formative assessment for science content, we were able to name routines of reflection and collaborative critique that would enable students to identify their progress.

Sometimes it feels as though it is easy to fall back on the conversation that asks us to identify strategies for effectively using Rubicon or to defend the importance of teaching 21st century skills. This planning reminded me of something deeper – As my friend (and former teaching colleague used to say) we are “raising humans.”

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