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Celina Brennan

Personalized Professional Development Elements: Supporting the CCSS Transition

Personalized learning has proven effective for empowering students to monitor their learning, establish goals, and reflect on progress. As the the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) have become a target of focus for educators, we must consider how we are embarking on this learning journey as adults. Providing a professional atmosphere for personalized learning is essential in supporting teachers through the CCSS transition.

Each educator brings forth a unique background based on professional style, years of experience, and depth of CCSS understanding. As learners embracing this educational mind-shift, we each inevitably need something different as we engage in trainings and conversations related to the CCSS. Our learning experiences should not be a one-size-fits-all approach. Nor should professional development send us into information overload. As learners, we should be inspired to interact with the knowledge and perspective of the CCSS in order to find our own place within the transition.

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Celina Brennan

Braving the Common Core Waters: Reflection as Our Raft

We, as educators across the United States, are spending precious time this summer reflecting upon the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and our professional practices. Some of us are just now dipping our toes into this new thinking, and others are comfortable wading out a bit further into the water. A number of educators are fully swimming in this transition, some even lifeguarding the waters as they guide others along the currents. And some are feeling completely submerged in the transition, struggling to come up for air.

The largest wave to surf within these waters is the way in which we analyze and tackle these standards. Our initial approach to teaching to these new standards should be less about content and more about the skills and strategies, attitudes, and habits of mind required of our students when they approach new information, especially if we intend to meet the needs of the whole child. In order to be intentional with keeping our students engaged and challenged, as well as ensuring they are healthy, safe, and supported, we must look more deeply within the CCSS.

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Celina Brennan

Aspects of Whole Child Classrooms

We are in an intense time of change within education, from the Common Core State Standards Initiative to the rapid advancement of technology to new teacher and principal evaluation processes. Ordinarily, the changes we face in education are often just old practices with innovative twists. Today's challenging changes are different, requiring educators to dig deeply for a mind-set that will withstand and embrace the shifting paradigms of the educational landscape. After all, our students deserve educators who are well-informed and thoughtful about how their practices affect the whole child now and in the long run.

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Celina Brennan

Inspire the Whole Child

Establishing a thriving learning environment is instrumental in students obtaining personal success. We must be strategic in how we develop our classroom communities at the beginning of a new school year. The setting must support the whole child, adapting to the needs of the group as everyone settles in for the yearlong learning journey. The environment must specifically be designed to support the health and safety of our students, strengthening the emotional well-being of each individual. Providing an atmosphere that supports learning endeavors from every angle offers students many opportunities to be truly engaged and challenged.

But how do we guarantee that we WILL develop a solid foundation that supports the whole child?

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Celina Brennan

Empower Students: 5 Powerful Strategies

Meeting students where they are is key to their social, emotional, and academic success. A piece of this puzzle is to allow them to be empowered in the learning process. We want to ensure that we are teaching the whole child and providing each student a learning experience that meets his personal needs. Who knows the child better than herself? Students are aware of their likes and dislikes, their own opinions, the things that they feel confident with, and the things that challenge them, as well as the dreams they have.

Sometimes we need to step back, let go, and empower our students to take charge of their own learning. The following five strategies will prove to be powerful when utilized with any age.

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Celina Brennan

Student Learning Communities

Professional learning communities (PLCs) are the topic of many conversations within education: the culture that is imperative for success, the goals we choose to focus on, the protocols we should follow, the structure that must be in place, and the realities that we face. There is an abundance of research I have read to support how PLCs are necessary in improving students' learning. I myself belong to an amazing PLC (as well as many micro PLCs within my PLC). But my thoughts lately have been on how to take the characteristics of successful PLCs and apply them within the walls of the classroom for students.

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