Jeff Elliott, supervisor of instruction K-12, said the manuals have a two-fold purpose. Teachers are provided with lesson plans in accordance with the standards, while placing all six elementary schools on the same page.
“The teachers are learning not only what to teach, but how to change their teaching ways,” Elliott said. “We wanted to be able to give them the materials and information so they could focus on the instruction component.”
Curriculum manuals consist of lesson plans for a nine-week period. Cleveland City Schools currently have manuals for math K-2, English Language Arts K-2 and the first nine weeks of ELA for third through fifth grade.
The completion of the manuals will allow all six elementary schools to consistently be at the same point in instruction. This means, for example, students from E.L. Ross Elementary could transfer to Stuart Elementary without a break in their education. This is a small-scale view of Common Core’s nationwide purpose.
Six instructional facilitators, one from each elementary school, and the facilitator coordinator have spent almost two years on the project.
According to Elliott, the facilitators studied various resources, contacted other schools to see their approach to Common Core and met with consultants.
The resulting information will be available for grade levels and subjects of the completed manuals. Elliott said he is currently working on placing the information online for easier access. Teachers with the coordinating grade level will be able to access the manuals through LiveBinders, an online binder.
Elliott presented the information to the school board at a recent meeting.
Board members requested Elliott either find a way to protect the information or copyright the finished product.
Elliott explained it would be difficult to copyright the material, as much was borrowed from other educators and school systems.
Daily lesson plans are provided in the curriculum manuals. A list provided for each lesson explains what standards are being met. Additional online resources are embedded in the plans.
Teachers will be able to incorporate the online books, YouTube clips and other resources to enhance their lessons.
Common Core has placed an emphasis on extended texts. Instead of textbooks with short stories, novels have been purchased for each elementary school.
According to Elliott, the manuals and additional online resources will be used to replace textbooks for K-5 ELA. Students will be reading novels over a period of time in addition to shorter stories.
He further explained the purchase of textbooks is a six-year commitment. He said the manuals, additional resources and novels will allow the school system to consistently update their material. The money usually reserved for textbooks will be used to provide the manuals and books.
Elementary teachers have already been provided with the prepared manuals for the fall semester.
Facilitators are working on creating and completing the K-5 ELA manuals for the second nine weeks.
Elliott said the goal is to have the manuals prepared before the winter break. The next step will be to create and distribute math manuals for grades 3-5.
Manuals are also being created for subjects and grade levels at Cleveland High School and Cleveland Middle School.