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The Fund for Transforming Education in Kentucky (The Fund) inspires and scales innovation and excellence in Kentucky’s public schools, resulting in a better future for all of our children. Here on our blog, we share about our work in a more in depth manner. Blog posts are written by staff members, teachers we work with, board members and others.

The Fund believes in unlocking the unique potential of every student by spreading innovative ideas, shining a spotlight on transforming teacher leadership, and driving sustainable change that will increase academic achievement for all students in Kentucky’s public education system.

Thank you for your consideration and visiting our blog. If you share in our vision of an innovative education culture, we welcome the opportunity to partner with you. Please visit our website at www.thefundky.org for more information.

Barbara Bellissimo

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Common Assignment Study Gears Up for Second Semester

 By:  Renee Boss

We are one semester into our Common Assignment Study, and this means Kentucky and Colorado teachers have implemented one common unit in each of six subject/grade groups, have reflected upon what worked and what didn't, have analyzed student work, and have designed new units of study based on these learnings.   When we last wrote about our work, we were just beginning the implementation of the fall units, and now we are preparing for new units of study that will be taught during the spring semester, and we are also discussing how our work might expand during 2014-2015.

 For the past six months, Kentucky and Colorado teachers have demonstrated dedication, perseverance, and effectiveness.  Teachers regularly devoted Sunday afternoons or weeknights after teaching all day for conference calls, webinars, and Google Hangouts to collaborate on unit revisions and to share ideas about what was working during unit implementation and what wasn't.  Teachers also utilized social media via Twitter, and the CAS online platform to share ideas, communicate, and to encourage one another. You can read more about the fall units the teachers implemented by visiting this link.

Loveland, Colorado
After months of virtual collaboration, the Kentucky and Colorado groups were reunited in Colorado last week when the Colorado Legacy Foundation and the Thompson Public Schools district hosted workshops for us in their beautiful facilities in Loveland, Colorado.  Days full of collaboration and hard work yielded great results.  Check out our workshop hashtag if you want to follow some of the group dynamics and ups and downs of our week on Twitter at #casconvene. You can also read a personal account of the week by visiting here.

A few hints of what's coming this spring...
  • Students in middle school science will design roller coasters.
  • Students in middle school social studies will explore Westward Expansion.
  • Students in high school science will explore human impact on biodiversity.
  • Students in high school English language arts will argue the impact of social media on language.

The above are only hints not complete unit explanations because we want to allow the teachers some time and space for implementation,  but rest assured all units are designed using UbD frameworks and are thoughtful about how to engage students in learning.

While it's too early to communicate any research findings, we can certainly share that an overall impression of the work is that collaboration is tough, but productive struggle makes it worth it when we see improved student work and learning.

Middle School Social Studies teachers from both states

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