The Two Books you NEED this School Year

3:00 AM

I am one of "those" teachers, you know, that reads professional books-lots of them!  I always have and I always will.  It's how I build the depth and complexity in my own thinking so that I can transfer that same depth and complexity to my students.  This summer I built a home office and I was able to consolidate all my at home professional books in one location to the joy of my husband! Here is just what I have at home!  

Anyways, there are a few that I come back to time and again.  With the onset of Common Core, I realized that I needed to grow in my understanding of how to incorporate the "new" standards into what I was doing.  I mean, have you tried to understand some of this wording!  It is, to say the least, mind-boggling!  That is, until I found these two bad boys right here!  

math, reading, ela, the Standards, Common Core,

These are the Common Core Companions:  The Standards Decoded, by far the best professional purchase I have made since Common Core came out! Here is a little breakdown of what is inside!  

ELA Version:

Inside the ELA Version you will find the Standard broken down by grade level.   The book come as K-2 and 3-5.  So, the intermediate book shows How the standard looks for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade.  

Next, the standard is followed by "What the Student Does".  This page shows both the literature and informational text breakdown of how the students are to master the Standard.  This is where the magic of this book happens!  The author's clearly explain what the Standard is to the student!  It is very easy from this page to also come up with "I can..." statements for students.  Super simple from this page!  

The next two page spread is key to you, the teacher.  The first page of the spread shows you how to teach the Standard.  Some of these ideas are really key to developing good lessons.  I've included them in a number of products including this one:  

On the other side of the spread, there is a lesson planning page so that you can jot notes.  This is not a "lesson" planning page.  It is more of a mindset "lesson" plan.  It makes you think about your classroom and the Standard connected across academics and behaviors.  

Finally, the last spread is about the academic vocabulary of the standard and how you are going to teach it.  This continues for each and every standard in ELA!  Brilliant!  


The Math version is laid out a little bit differently and took awhile to get used to, since I had used the ELA version a ton before I dived into math.  

The first page of the Standard appears to be not so important till you dig into the Standard.  Then, you suddenly realize you have to turn back to this page.  It gives a very good overview to the Standard, providing the limitations to the Standard as well.  Then it provides the Standards for Math Practice that connect to the particular Standard.  These were very eye opening, again providing some insight into the limitations of the Standard.  Very interesting... I would normally have skipped right over this, but am now glad I took the time to read them.  

This book doesn't work in "spreads" like the ELA book.  These get right into the Standard from here.  The page has the Standard listed at the top.  Then it jumps into "What the Teacher Does" followed by "What the Students Do".  At the bottom, there is a section called "Addressing Student Misconceptions and Common Errors".  At the end of each Cluster there is a sample planning page with suggestions and ideas for questioning and differentiating.  Then, next to it is a blank planning page for your use.  

The other awesome thing about this book is that they offer online resources that match each book.  Graphic organizers and other goodies are available once you purchase the text!  Bonus!  

Overall, these are the best purchases I have made in a long time!  I highly suggest them for you too!  They are so valuable as a tool to really understand what we are teaching without the text book companies getting in the the way!  They are considered so valuable that my administrators purchased them for the whole staff!  How about that!  So, I'll keep a copy at home and a copy at school!  WOOT!! 

Let me know what you think and what you think is your most valuable professional book! I might just have it in my library too!  

by Julie from The Best Days Classroom

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