Archive for the ‘PARCC’ Category

Major Work of the Grade and Vertical Alignment

March 17, 2014 5 comments

I recently stumbled across a great website that offers a wealth of professional development on PARCC and the CCSS, both in ELA and Math.  The site is powered by the National Math and Science Initiative.  Teachers and administrators will need to create a free login to access the site.  The site gives the following information as to why it was created:

“The PARCC Educator Leader Cadres (ELCs) will help each state build and expand the number of educators who understand, support and feel ownership of the successful implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and PARCC assessments.”

I found an activity on the site focusing on the Critical Areas in Mathematics.  I printed out the cards on colored paper and asked the Instructional Coaches to place each critical area into the correct grade level.  The cards are below:

Critical areas game K-5 A blue cards

Critical areas game 6-8 A and B green cards

Critical areas integrated A 9-11 pink cards

Critical areas traditional 9-11 A yellow cards

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After teachers worked together, I gave them this page (2.2 Critical Area Activity Sheet ) and asked them to check their answers and record any discrepancies.  It is important to note that this activity calls the topics the Critical Areas and this differs slightly from the “Major Work of the Grade” as laid out by PARCC.  PARCC’s use of Major Work of the Grade is more specific and the Critical Areas activity creates fewer and broader categories that do incorporate the major work of the grade.

It is a great activity for teachers to see the vertical progression of topics in mathematics with the CCSS.  The site went a step further and created this great one page document ( 2.3 Summary Critical areas summary) over viewing the critical areas from kindergarten to high school mathematics.  The site also included a one page overview of the fluency standards (Key Fluency Expectations Recommendations and Examples of Culminating Standards).  I encourage coaches to print these pages out and laminate them for every teacher.

The site offers great activities on math practices, examining coherence in one domain, and text complexity.  I strongly encourage coaches, administrators, and department chairs to visit the site and utilize some of the great resources.

Categories: Common Core, PARCC Tags: , ,

CCSS Math Resources

February 26, 2014 Leave a comment

It seems as though everywhere you look you can find Common Core math resources.  This is both a blessing and a curse.  I remember years ago (before Common Core) trying to search the internet for resources on math topics such as imaginary numbers or adding rational expressions.  I think that is why blogging drew me in and I started this blog.  I was having a hard time finding great tasks, and using vetted tasks from teachers like me was a blessing.  I wanted to share!

But now we have the CCSS and that means there should be a lot of great resources out there.  Be careful!  I have come across a lot of resources labeled CCSS and PARCC, only to find weak content and revamped activities.  Not everything has to be new, but everything should be aligned.  I wanted to share one of my new favorite sites for finding great resources for CCSS in mathematics.  It has become my ‘one stop shop’.


Here is why I love this site:

  • This site take the best resources and organizes them in one location.
  • It is easy to search by standards to find tasks.
  • You will find links to all the curriculum maps released by states.
  • There is no password or login required!!

Here is part of the mission statement from the site:

“There is so much that has been created by so many and it is out there free to the public via the internet. However, it remains difficult to sift through it all to find the best things for our children to use. This site will hopefully allow teachers to spend more time teaching and give kids more of an opportunity to learn both at school and at home.”

You will find resources from

  • Khan Academy
  • Learn Zillion
  • Mathematics Assessment Project (MAP)
  • NCTM Illuminations
  • Science Net
  • Texas Instruments
  • Dan Meyer
  • Hot Math
  • and many more…
Categories: Common Core, PARCC Tags: , ,

Common Core & PARCC Sample Items

February 18, 2014 1 comment

I have been working on planning professional development for my district on Common Core State Standards and the PARCC assessment.  There is so much information on the PARCC website and it can be overwhelming for a teacher to navigate it.  My goal is to try and weed through the information and present only what is necessary and beneficial to teachers.

PARCC recently released sample questions in their intended environment.  This means the computer-based tools such as drag-and-drop, multiple select, text highlighting, and an equation builder are all active.  It is a great opportunity for teachers to see what computer skills are necessary and how students will navigate the assessment.  This sample assessment does not reflect a complete PARCC assessment.  The questions on the online assessment are all previously released sample items. The one frustration that I have is that  the questions are separated by grade bands and not grade levels.  In my experience, teachers want to focus on their grade level, although I think it is important to be aware of what comes before your course and where students are heading.  To help teachers and administrators, I have created the following documents to support teachers while they are looking at the online PARCC environment.  The documents address each questions content standard(s), grade level (course), and math practice.  Detailed scoring guides and explanations of the questions can be found on the PARCC website under the respective grade band.  Please feel free to provide feedback in the comments.

PARCC Computer Based Samples Grades 3-5

PARCC Computer Based Samples Grades 6-8

PARCC Computer Based Samples High School