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The last four months have not only recharged, but significantly reshaped this teacher’s view of lesson planning.  How?  Happenstance and collegial banter about a desire to write books and share literacy strategies with the teaching community plopped her right into the arms of Core 4 All and one of the coolest e-booksfor teachers on the market today.

This teacher’s awesome plan

Analyzing and using the SACI template has shown me how to rethink my lesson planning, on both the unit level and the day-to-day level.  A rebuilt unit plan was my goal for the start of “The Next 100 Days”.  Yes, I did know the text title upfront that my students were going to read.  Yes, the SACI model recommends that teachers first choose and complete a “T-chart Analysis” of the Common Core Standards to be taught, secondly design assessments and finally, choose appropriate reading materials.  However, because my students had already purchased their text last summer and it is part of the required course curriculum, I did design this unit knowing the text to be read.

The big change 

I put the novel aside while analyzing the skills my students should master this unit.  I forgot the novel while designing my assessments.  So now my lessons are built on a firm foundation of skills as delineated by the Common Core State Standards.  My lessons are no longer simply a variety of engaging activities to take us through a novel, but are lessons specifically tied to skills my students have been told to master in order to successfully complete the final assessment.

Step One 

The goal for my classes this year is success with the Common Core’s Reading Standards for Literature – grade 10 – #10 (CCSS 38).  “read and comprehend literature…at the high-end of the grades 9-10 complexity band independently and proficiently.”  In order to accomplish this I know we must read and read and read some more.  Therefore the skills students need to acquire must arise from their experiences with the written story – both fictional and nonfictional.

Step Two

I completed the SACI Design Template in order to better understand how to achieve increased skill growth in areas with which my students struggle greatly – understanding how a writer finds and puts ideas to paper, locating evidence in a text in order to draw conclusions, and drawing inferences in order to understand messages below the surface.  The SACI Design Template shows specifics on the three Common Core Standards selected for this unit of learning.

The Core 4 All SACI Unit Design Template provides teachers with a systematic approach to creating great units of study, focusing on the Common Core State Standards.  In fact, this template can be used with any skills-based standards (College Readiness, ISTE, ACTFL).

Bottom Line

This particular English teacher took it upon herself to make a change in how she teaches.  This change is happening right now. She did not wait until the beginning of the next school year.  She did not wait until all of her daily lesson plans and activities for the unit were neatly copied and packaged in the Xerox box. She did not wait for a national policy to be implemented. This teacher had the courage to realize that her current system of teaching/learning could be improved.  Even though she is a veteran teacher who has loads of experience working with all students, from learning disabled to gifted, she continues to improve her craft as an educator, preparing her students for their post-secondary experiences.

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