A Few Common Core Resources to Check Out

Hi all,

NYLearns.org is a relatively new website dedicated to curriculum management and standards based system.  You will find many different resources, including a searchable standards database.  This database (located in the “standards” tab) allows you to search any curriculum across all grade levels.  You can even select standards by course.  Even better than that, it contains symbols that you can click  on to connect content standards to Common Core Standards.   For example, if you view standards, and select by subject and grade level, there are social studies standards that relate to Common Core.  All you need to do is click the Common Core icon, and it brings you to the related standard in ELA or Common Core.  This will definitely be a webpage we can use to integrate these standards.

Just a quick post here to include some new Common Core resources from EngageNY.org.  Below you will see links to documents that relate to sample NYS assessments with the new Common Core focus.  Also, explore the evidence gathering lists for implementing Common Core strategies into lessons in your classrooms.   Most of this relates to ELA, but of course we can use these resources in our social studies classrooms as well.

ELA Sample Common Core Assessment Qs – Grade 3

ELA Sample Common Core Assessment Qs – Grade 4

ELA Sample Common Core Assessment Qs – Grade 8

Evidence Guide for Common Core Planning; ELA K-2

Evidence Guide for Common Core Planning; ELA 3-5

Evidence Guide for Common Core Planning; ELA 6-12

Of course, if you have questions or comments, please email: matthew.schultz@greece.k12.ny.us

Enjoy – Matt


New Things at EngageNY


EngageNY, the state’s website that follows the changes in education surrounding the APPR process, Common Core implementation and other policies, is regularly updated.  Two of the most recent additions to the website are new SLO resources, as well as a release of the 2013 NYS test guides in ELA and Math, grades 3-8.

These guides offer insight into the changes in assessment due to the Common Core Standards implementation.  Below is a quick summary of the test guides, as well as the new SLO resources.  Check them out at the links provided as well.

New SLO Resources at EngageNY:

Videos related to the SLO process span a wide range, but for teachers, the two most appropriate videos are: Student Learning Objectives 101 for Teachers, and the recently released Students Learning Objectives 102 for Teachers.   The videos distinguish unique teaching characteristics and implications for SLOs, they include guiding questions, and provide key points for SLOs.

Here is the link:  SLO Resource Page – EngageNY

Test Guides for ELA and Math with Common Core Standards:

Even though currently these tests cover ELA and Math, grades 3-8, there are overall trends that will impact how we teach social studies in the coming years.  The Common Core implementation timeline has already started, and in the next 2-3 years, social studies regents exams will reflect these skill-based shifts.

The test guides provide educators with insight into NYS assessments.  They address the following:

1) The ELA and Math shifts demanded by the Common Core Standards.

2) How the ELA and Math Common Core assessments differ from past NYS exams.

3) The 2013 Common Core ELA and Math test content and design

4) The new short, and extended response Common Core questions.

Social studies is closely related to ELA in terms of skill development, and the new ELA Common Core assessments include the following changes:

1) All text passage will be authentic, and some will be opinionated in which students may disagree.

2) Text passage may be longer and more rigorous than on past exams.

3) ELA tests will be split between four books and administered over three days.

4) Grade 3 and 4 tests will have a shorter maximum testing time.

5) New CCLS rubrics will be used for scoring short and extended response questions.

Explore the testing guides here: Grades 3-8 Common Core ELA and Math Testing Guides


Many of us have questions about assessments from the state – What is the new format?  How do I teach my courses when I don’t know about the summative assessment?  What will the Common Core standards look like on the new exams?  As well, the SLO post-assessment for local courses are also new this year (Global 9, Citizens in Action).  Spending some time on the EngageNY website will help with these questions, and many others as the end of the year approaches.  As well, look into the EngageGreece content on our own district website (www.greece.k12.ny.us), and our librarians can also be a great resource for Common Core questions.

As usual, any questions, please email me at matthew.schultz@greece.k12.ny.us.

New Resources

Hi all,

I’ve updated the pages of this blog to include many new resources.  The specific updates are under the “All Things Related to PLCs”, “RtI and Differentiation”, and “Research Based Instruction.”  As well, a new page, entitled “APPR and SLO Work” now has many resources for you to look through.  As usual, if you have questions or you want to see something new or different, let me know.

More to follow soon…

Matt (matthew.schultz@greece.k12.ny.us)


Knowledge Maps for Social Studies

Hi all,

For students, learning about how they learn is often times a key to growth and development in school.  Knowledge maps can help students focus in on what they know, what they need to improve, and what they don’t know – and how all of this impacts assessment and how to make sense of content.  Basically a knowledge map is a learning guide for students – in a unit, based on a reading, or through an entire year. Knowledge maps are modified graphic organizers for classroom content – but they can be much more than that.  They also can serve as a checklist for teachers and students to inform instruction both in terms of content and skills.  They are a great way to track student progress using formative data, and it enables students to internalize their own strengths and weaknesses. They can address skills related to the Common Core SS, classroom content, and are a great tool for student analysis.

Based on the Greece Central SD social studies curriculum maps, these knowledge maps give the basic outline for grades 7-11 , excluding AP courses.  If any teacher would like a knowledge map for an elementary grade level, or for an AP course, please let me know and I will create one.

Listed below these links are different strategies that teachers and students can use to enhance the use of these knowledge maps.  The maps listed here are based on an entire school year, but I’ve also included a blank map that could be used for revolutions in grade 6, 9 and 10.  Any theme can fit into these maps.


7th Grade US Knowledge Map

8th Grade US Knowledge Map

Global History 9 Knowledge Map

Global History 10 Knowledge Map

US History 11 Knowledge Map

Revolutions Knowledge Map


These next links will provide both a blank student checklist, as well as a completed check list.  These are to be completed at five week intervals so discussions with students can focus on learning, growth and improvement.

Student Checklist Knowledge Map – A blank copy that teachers and students could start using right now.

Knowledge Map Student Checklist Example – Anything highlighted in green indicates mastery, yellow is meeting, and pink is need to review.

This last link is a completed knowledge map in Global History 9.  A student completed this throughout the year, summarized the work on the student checklist above, and has indicated strengths and weaknesses based on content, assessments  and skills.


Knowledge Map Completed by Student – Again, green indicates mastery of content, yellow is meeting, and pink is working towards meeting.  This student also included both formative and summative assessment grades – which serve as evidence and data – for both teacher and student.  The process becomes very fluid throughout the year.


1.  Knowledge Map Completion – The purpose of this is to have students who are just being introduced to knowledge maps to organize and practice the lesson for one class period by completing a partially filled knowledge map.  Progression to a completely blank map, or even to having student create and knowledge map template could work.  The revolutions knowledge map above could be used for a lesson on any revolution in global history.

2.  Building Knowledge Maps – Once students get the basics of knowledge maps, have them generate maps based on content and skills.  This could occur over a lesson, through a non-fiction reading activity, or through an entire unit.

3.  Note-Taking Knowledge Mapping – Provide students with a blank knowledge map for the lesson or unit.  The map will help students organize information presented, worked on, shared or discussed through the lesson or unit.  Some students will be very challenged by this, so it’s a great way to incorporate differentiation or groupings of students so they can assist each other.

4.  Knowledge Map Essay – The knowledge map serves as the outline for a thematic essay.  Again, the revolutions example above could serve this purpose for the different revolutions that are focused on in Global History 9 and 10.

5.  Knowledge Maps and Common Core – Student can complete different reading and writing activities, grounded in non-fiction and primary source material through knowledge maps.  For example, student could use a knowledge map to summarize President Abraham Lincoln’s “House Divided.”  There are many different uses here.

Hope this helps…please let me know if you have questions.  The next post will focus on Common Core examples and Knowledge Maps.


Khan Academy in the Classroom

Hi all,

The Khan Academy – an online learning classroom – is a great resource for supplemental mini-lessons in our own classrooms.  Salman Khan is the founder of the Khan Academy, which is a website dedicated to a new, accessible style of learning and education.  To date, there are more than 3,400 short videos that follow Khan through easy to understand summaries of major trends, concepts and topics in lots of subjects.

The best part about The Khan Academy is that you can sign up as a teacher, have students join your “class” and track data for students as they take quizzes and join in on discussions.

There are over 10 million people that have accessed The Khan Academy.  History (social studies) is not the prominent subject provided, but there are some good summary lessons that are provided.  You can access videos and lessons by clicking on “watch”, then going to “humanities.”

If you teach economics, there are also some great lessons related to major concepts and models in both microeconomics and macroeconomics.  Some of the material relates very well to NYS standards and what we teach, while others do not connect as well.

Thes lessons are primarily for high school students.

For users of smartphones, there is also a Khan Academy app.

Click here to visit the webpage:  The Khan Academy

That’s it for now…


Mankind: The Story of All of Us

Mankind: The Story of All of Us

The History Channel has followed up “America: The Story of Us”, with “Mankind: The Story of All of Us.”  The first episode of 12 aired on November 13th, 9-11pm.  Each episode will be aired on Tuesday, starting at 9pm.

The series chronicles mankind, from the beginnings in Eastern Africa, all the way to modern times.  The first episode was entitled “Inventors” and outlined how humans created new technologies in order to survive and advance civilizations.  Some of the “inventions” included fire, farming, bronze, iron, democracy, writing systems, trade and war.

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This could be a great supplemental resource for 6th, 9th and 10th grade classrooms, and there are many different resources teachers could use from the History Channel website.  There are 2-3 minute video clips, and a Mankind classroom teacher guide.

Click here to explore more related to Mankind: The Story of All of Us




CIA Academy Begins November 28th

The CIA Academy, a unique partnership between the Greece Central School District and the Greece Police Department, will begin on November 28th, 2012. This is the first of 10 meetings between students in Greece, and Police Officers in the GPD. Students will learn, many times through hands-on experiences, the many different roles of the Police Department in Greece, NY. The first meeting centers on introductions and the Police Department as an organization. Officer Jim Leary has taken the lead again in partnering with district administrators and classroom teachers.

30 students from Arcadia, Olympia, Odyssey and Athena were selected to participate. The activities range from learning about different divisions in the GPD (Patrol, DWI Enforcement, Firearms safety, Criminal Investigations Division, etc.) to experiences at the Greece Town Hall, and Animal Services, among many others. More detailed information is included in the CIA Academy Schedule below.

Click on the documents below for more information, and as always, please email me at matthew.schultz@greece.k12.ny.us with any questions.


CIA Academy Schedule, 2012-13 School Year – A detailed schedule for teachers and students that includes the dates, times, and topics of the ten meetings – as well as Graduation Day. Look here if you have questions about when and where to attend.

An Overview of the CIA Academy in Greece CSD – This document summarizes the CIA Academy in Greece.


That’s it for now…