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Using the New Kansas Early Learning Standards to Make Every Moment Matter


by Carianne Short


As I look at the draft of the NEW Kansas Early Learning Standards I can’t help but notice that they are well aligned with the common core standards, provide achievable benchmarks for all students to work towards, and provide knowledge and skills that children need as they enter into Kindergarten. 



Common Coring the River

Common Coring the River

By Robi Alstrom



Literacy strategies and book sites for Social Studies's picture

Feeling a bit uneasy about how to respond to the Common Core Literacy Standards for History / Government? Struggling with what that looks like? Need a few ideas and suggestions for integrating reading and writing into your social studies instruction?

Here ya go!

Literacy Strategies & Book Sites:


The One Thing I Want My Grandchildren’s Teachers to Know About Reading

janes's picture

The One Thing I Want My Grandchildren’s Teachers to Know About Reading

On a blustery, cool, March morning in 2005, my first grandchild, Evie, arrived.  Naturally I was elated with the prospect of cuddling, rocking, and reading to her.  Fast-forward a few years and, with the addition of three grandsons, our house tends to rock on its foundation when all four are visiting!!


Sparking Conversations with PhotoSpark's picture

Sparking conversations is something that doesn’t come naturally for everyone. In fact, as I look at my four children, several of them love to visit with others and share their thoughts, beliefs, and values openly, while others like to keep it to themselves. At the dinner table we used to ask the normal question, “How was your day?" and we would get the normal response, “Good.” Since the adoption of the common core state standards, my husband and I (both teachers) changed our approach to encourage more speaking and listening opportunities so conversations are little more lively at the dinner table! We now have each family member share what is great about his or her day and encourage other family members to ask questions relating to what was shared. We also share how we helped someone in need or an action we took that aligned with the virtue our family is studying (i.e., trustworthiness, compassion, gratitude, etc.). Now we have a new possibility for SPARKING conversations in our homes and classrooms--PhotoSpark! Staff from ESSDACK, an educational service center in Central Kansas, recently created a resource called “PhotoSpark” that can be used to spark conversations in various learning environments. Each deck includes 50 unique pictures and a card listing possible ways the photos could be used to support learning. You know what is really cool? They also support the College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards. Below are ten easy ways to implement them in the classroom to spark conversations:


Keeping Learning Learning 'Afloat' in a Time of Limited Resources

Even with limited resources, effective educators keep learning ‘afloat’ through the Common Core, free technology tools, school resources, community members, and a little ingenuity to ensure that rigor and relevance don’t drown. 


Calculators or No Calculators: That Is the Question

renees's picture

I was recently contacted by an instructional coach from a school district where I work regularly.  She and her teachers were working on math units aligned to common core.  They were trying to determine whether students should be allowed to use calculators during instruction and whether they would be allowed to use them on the new state assessments. 


Procedures Are Not Enough

tfellers's picture

My husband asked me to return something to a local craft store recently. Upon arriving at the store I handed the clerk my receipt, which she promptly allowed the computer to scan. The computer beeped at her and indicated the receipt was too old. She informed me that only merchandise purchased within the last 60 days could be refunded. Since the item had been purchased more than 60 days ago, she would have to give me store credit for the lowest price in the last 60 days. I indicated that was fine and she proceeded.


What's in a Name?

GingerLewman's picture

CommonCore Standards … College and Career Readiness Standards … Corporate takeover of our schools … evil incarnate … the greatest change in education in the past 9,000 years …

Over the past two years, I've heard these new CommonCore standards called a lot of names by a lot of different people. In fact, some states are even changing the name of the CommonCore standards while not actually changing the standards themselves.


Skill + Confidence = WIN!

amyw's picture

As a teacher in the nineties, the focus in our classrooms was self esteem.  Self esteem is important and I have done my fair share of helping others believe in themselves.  But like many initiatives, some things get lost in our pursuit of something else.  Lately, I've noticed something.  It seems that many of our young professionals have a whole lot more confidence than skill.  I am not saying that this group lacks skills, rather I am saying that often times the ego promises a lot more that what the skill can deliver.



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