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Patrick Riccards  @Eduflack

Patrick Riccards @Eduflack

Patrick is an award-winning writer and communications strategist. In 2013, PR News named him its Public Affairs Professional of the Year for his leadership in education reform. He was also named Bulldog Reporter’s Not-for-Profit Communications Professional of the Year for his work transforming the communications and public affairs efforts at American Institute of Research.


Named a 2014 Social Media MVP for his Eduflack platform, Patrick can be followed on Twitter via @Eduflack. He regularly speaks on social media, communications, and education reform and is the author or ghost author of work that has appeared in more than 100 publications, including USA Today, Washington Post, New York Times, and Education Week.


 



Patrick is an award-winning writer and communications strategist. In 2013, PR News named him its Public Affairs Professional of the Year for his leadership in education reform. He was also named Bulldog Reporter’s Not-for-Profit Communications Professional of the Year for his work transforming the communications and public affairs efforts at American Institute of Research.


Named a 2014 Social Media MVP for his Eduflack platform, Patrick can be followed on Twitter via @Eduflack. He regularly speaks on social media, communications, and education reform and is the author or ghost author of work that has appeared in more than 100 publications, including USA Today, Washington Post, New York Times, and Education Week.


Patrick is an award-winning writer and communications strategist. In 2013, PR News named him its Public Affairs Professional of the Year for his leadership in education reform. He was also named Bulldog Reporter’s Not-for-Profit Communications Professional of the Year for his work transforming the communications and public affairs efforts at American Institute of Research.


Named a 2014 Social Media MVP for his Eduflack platform, Patrick can be followed on Twitter via @Eduflack. He regularly speaks on social media, communications, and education reform and is the author or ghost author of work that has appeared in more than 100 publications, including USA Today, Washington Post, New York Times, and Education Week.


 


Posted by on in Common Core Standards
stencil.twitter post 60

April 22nd is Earth Day. I’ll be spending it in my daughter’s elementary school, helping to coordinate an all-day “Science Day” for a building full of eager kindegarteners through third graders.

It wasn’t until I had kids and started looking at their curriculum that I began to wonder how key ideas and concepts could be relayed to some of our youngest learners. Earlier this academic year, I marveled at how my daughter’s third grade teacher was able to make science (astronomy in particular) come alive for the class, while using it as a strong, teachable moment to reinforce the Common Core. Imagine that, being able to teach students science, while also teaching to our expectations around English-language arts, teamwork, critical thinking, and the like.

When it comes to the environment, my kids sorta get it. They understand that recycling is important, and will begrudgingly help as we both place our trash in the requisite bins in our garage and then haul them out to the curb each week. And in past years, as previous Earth Days have rolled around, they’ve been quick to come home with new lectures to preach at us. But it has never really gotten at the issue of how one can take a concept like the environment and Earth Day and really make it an integrated part of a student’s learning path.

Regardless of the subject matter, we know that, to be most effective, classroom lessons have to be tied to student interests. This is particularly true with younger learners. One can’t just get up in front of a class of second graders and begin to lecture them on the environment, the causes of World War I, or cell biology. No, we have to find ways to link content to the student. This means both what is taught and how it is taught.

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Posted by on in Common Core Standards

MakingitWorkLarge

Not a day can go by without someone criticizing the Common Core State Standards or blaming the Common Core for all that ails our public education system. And while assessments are usually the prime target for Common Core haters, the standards’ emphasis on non-fiction texts have drawn greater scrutiny in recent months.

No, I'm not going to (AGAIN) rise the defense of Common Core and all that it stands for. Instead, I’d just like to provide a terrific example of how an exemplary educator can use the expectations under Common Core, mix it with a non-fiction topic, couple it with student collaboration and teamwork, and produce a final learning experience that is a winner for all those involved.

Full disclosure here, I am completely bias. The teacher in question is my daughter’s third grade teacher. Earlier this school year, she had students work in pairs to develop “marketing” brochures for each of the planets in our solar system. Students did research and identified key facts. They organized those facts to make a compelling argument. They were then asked to present their findings as if they were travel agents, trying to convince families to visit a particular planet. Bunches and bunches of Common Core standards and expectations, all wrapped up in a project-based science lesson that demanded teamwork and critical thinking.

Here’s the brochure my daughter and her partner came up with. They were tasked with marketing Uranus, and played up the terrific aspects that a cold, ice planet could offer a little kid.

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