CCTI Summer Edition

Central Carolina Teaching Initiative: Summer 2021

Summer and the Celebration of Daylight

Welcome to our Second Annual Summer Edition Newsletter at CCTI!

Whether you teach in a year-round or traditional school, a unique setting, or in a summer program, etc., this is a period of transition as one academic year closes and educators say goodbye to students. The days are longer, and warmer, and it just feels different. Our experiences as children trained us to feel the difference of Summer. The tradition is to celebrate the Summer Solstice, the official start to Summer and the longest day of the year on June 20th. While your Summer Break may be shorter or longer than prior years, or different from that of your peers, our hope is that you find time to reset, refresh and renew.

This Summer Edition provides resources for self-care. Before you begin to reflect, we ask you to reset. This year is a unique one as more learners and educators are engaged in extended learning practices to disrupt anticipated learning loss from the pandemic. Please take time to engage in self-care and to encourage fellow educators and learners to do the same.Teaching and learning occur best when the mind and body are open to new ideas.

The Summer Edition also focuses on our natural desire as educators to celebrate the bright moments of the past year and to also grow in practice. We look through a careful lens, reflect through a mirror on the past, find news ways to open windows to add more exposure for learning and build, or open, new doors to light the way for equitable opportunity in the future. Look for resources to help you set teaching and learning goals in the coming year.

Thank you for shining so brightly this year. We hope you enjoy the resources provided. Please know we are honored to learn with you and are blessed to have you in our CCTI family.

Lisa and Kathy

Try Bill Wither's Lovely Day for a Summer Reset

Bill Withers - Lovely Day (Official Audio)

20 of the Best Summer Songs of All Time

Lighthearted and breezy, these lively tracks are perfect for celebrating the warm weather season. BY KARLA POPE Apr 16, 2021

If music is the soundtrack of our lives, feel-good summertime songs are the chart-toppers. They exude a carefree, joyful vibe that can feel nostalgic and exciting as they sonically transport listeners to long lazy days and hot summer nights.

Read more here

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The year has been strange, but the school year is finally wrapping up. And it’s summer, so that overworked teacher is surely relaxing poolside somewhere, right? Wrong. While many people think that teachers “get summers off,” most of which are extremely busy planning lessons or attending professional development sessions and conferences. Here’s a totally usable to-do list for teachers to make summer “vacation” productive and relaxing.

Start a summer morning ritual

School mornings are stressful, but summer mornings don’t have to be quite as hectic. Start a new, slow morning ritual that allows for some calm, some reflection and one that doesn’t involve packing three tote bags and spilling hot coffee on your shirt.

Learn more about self care here.

Seriously, read those books on your nightstand

Take some time to finally read those books on your nightstand. Stay up late and finish that chapter. Hit the beach with your best fun read. Or, stay in your PJ’s and read cozily on the sofa!

Get organized and clean your space

It’s been a busy year. Those piles and dust bunnies need attention. Take a day to get your living space in order. Turn on some great music, dance, clean, and start your summer off with a sparkling space! You’ll feel so much better.

Schedule your lesson planning time and stick to it

It’s true. You do have to plan for next year. Those units don’t plan themselves! But there’s no need to lose all your summer days to lesson planning. Setting aside scheduled time throughout the summer for school work helps maintain the work-life summer balance — and saves you from the dreaded pre-fall scramble. Stick to your schedule of work time, use a checklist, take a deep breath and get things done! Then, get back to living your best summer life!

Learn more about how to de-stress and unplug here.

Create a personal mission statement for next school year

Who are you as an educator? What do you believe in? What do you want to accomplish? After you’ve just finished a school year, reflect and develop your own mission statement for next year. Keep your mission statement somewhere easily accessible and ensure that you live by it, referring back to it throughout the year.

Learn more about developing a teacher mission statement here.

Challenge yourself to grow as an educator

Many teachers attend professional development training or conferences during the summer. Think about what you’d like to work on for next year and find at least one PD, class, or learning experience to participate in this summer. You definitely deserve a break, but just like the kids, some learning and growth over the summer is important.

Reconnect with friends (virtually)

Chances are, there were times during the school year that you were too tired to socialize on weekends. Summer is the ideal time to get out there with your friends for a little fun. The Harvard Women’s Health Watch notes that “dozens of studies have shown that people who have satisfying relationships with family, friends, and their community are happier, have fewer health problems, and live longer.” So make a video chat date to catch up, laugh, and let go!

Read more

Greatest Hits for Professional Development

Check out this Jukebox-Themed Professional Development from NCDPI The resources are amazing! Locate content resources for ELA, World Languages, ESL/Title III, Math, Arts Ed, Science & Social Studies, SEL, Specialized Instructional Support.

Refine Your Practice or Learn Something New; Read On...

Setting Learning Goals: Focusing on Process over Product and Co-Constructing to Build Meaning

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How to Help Students Focus on What They’re Learning, Not the Grade

By Sarah Schroeder

November 30, 2020

Work that emphasizes students’ developing skills instead of a graded product reminds them to see learning as their goal.

Remote and blended instruction have forced an unprecedented review of teaching and learning practices. The result: an increased awareness of what works and what doesn’t and a renewed interest in what learning looks like and how we assess it.


Questions that learners ask about an assignment are telling. How long should it be? How do I get an A? What do you want us to turn in? When is it due? These questions focus on the grade, not the learning outcomes. They highlight the assessment trap, or a focus on “What do I have to produce?” versus “What am I learning from this assignment?”

Historically, problematic assessment practices have taught learners that the grade is the goal by doing the following:

  • Assessing for a score or grade
  • Assessing for compliance (due dates, formatting, following instructions, etc.)
  • Assessing to demonstrate “effort”
  • Assessing for “rigor” (more work turned in = more rigor)

Digging our way out of the assessment trap means shifting to learning experiences focused on skills that we want or need to measure. Education experts Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe called this “backward design.” Instead of the above problematic practices, we shift learning experiences to focus on demonstrating skill and expert learning. In this way, we take the focus off what students are expected to produce and place it on the act of learning, or the process.


Continue reading at Edutopia here

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Build it Together: Co-Constructing Success Criteria with Students

As you continue to reflect on this past year, consider the role of success criteria in learning targets and outcomes. Success criteria played a critical role in developing tasks from our learning targets, and also in creating single-point rubrics as road maps for skills and learning look-fors. Success criteria was critical to your success and learning, as well.

As you read the following article and listen to the podcast, consider this approach to co-constructing success criteria with learners in the coming year. Summer is a great time to consider revising one practice to improve many more.

Build it Together: Co-Constructing Success Criteria with Students | Cult of Pedagogy

Jennifer Gonzalez, April 12, 2021

Early on in my teaching career I would spend entire weekends grading a stack of student papers, highlighting the accompanying rubric to indicate problem areas and writing comment after comment to point out strengths and areas for improvement. The following Monday, when I returned the papers, far too many students would look at their grades and feedback like it was written in another language. Despite the fact that I had gone over the requirements at the beginning and given them a copy of the rubric ahead of time, they acted like they were seeing them for the first time.

That was my fault. I had done a few things right—namely, making the requirements available from the start—but I hadn’t really done anything to make sure students understood them.

As I gained more experience, I added in a few more steps that helped: I showed students models of finished products, which gave them a much clearer picture of what they were shooting for. I also had them score a few samples to get them to pay closer attention to the requirements in the rubric. Both of these went a long way toward getting students to understand what they needed to do. But I knew I wasn’t all the way there yet; I just couldn’t quite figure out why.

Read more here

Listen to the podcast below.

Co-teaching: How to Make it Work

If you think you don't need to know about co-teaching, you may want to add yet to the end of that sentence. Co-teaching is a practice nearly all educators will engage in at some point in their teaching career, if they are fortunate. There are a variety of structures designed to meet the needs of diverse learners through the co-teaching model. In addition, you will find useful link and documents to support you.

The following is from, Co-Teaching: How to Make it Work, February 5, 2017, by Angeela Peery from Cult of and Brief History of Co Teaching

Impossible. That was my first thought when I saw the class roster. In one of my ninth grade English classes, 13 of my 27 students had IEPs. Additionally, about one- third of the students had failed the class the previous year. I dreaded the first day of school. But then something wonderful happened: The principal assigned me a co- teacher, a special education expert to serve as another set of hands (and eyes and ears!) during this class every day. I was thrilled.

My co-teacher Sandie was a joy to collaborate with, but our relationship was by no means perfect, especially at the beginning. We often struggled to find planning time. Sometimes we disagreed about how to best help a particular student. However, we nurtured the co-teaching relationship and, in time, found a rhythm that worked for us—and for the students we served.

In the years since I co-taught with Sandie and other teachers, I’ve coached and consulted with dozens of successful and not-so-successful teams. Co-teaching, when done well, offers benefits for both students and teachers. When not done well, it can be confusing or downright frustrating for all involved. If you are or will be part of a co-teaching partnership, this post will show you some ways to make your partnership work beautifully.


In a co-teaching relationship, also known as a “push-in” arrangement, a general education teacher partners with a specialist who may be certified in teaching English Language Learners (ELLs), students with learning disabilities, or some other special population. A co-teaching team works in the general ed classroom; for the majority of the time, students with special needs are not pulled out to receive services in another location.

For instance, a middle school social studies teacher may have an ELL teacher co-teaching with him during one class period because five students in that class are newcomers to the United States and speak only Arabic fluently. A high school teacher may have one or two sections of biology to which many students with IEPs for reading are channeled; a co-teacher who specializes in reading disabilities co-teaches in these classes. A 4th grade teacher may have two students with 504 plans and another three who have specific learning disabilities in her class; she works alongside a special education teacher daily during lessons in the four core academic subject areas.

For more background, download this Brief History of Co-Teaching (https:/


General education teachers working with specialists in a “push-in” model often work in one of the following structures described by Friend and Cook (1996):

One teach, one observe: One teacher delivers instruction while the other observes student learning. Usually the observer collects data on student understanding so that the co-teaching team can better plan future instruction. Sometimes, specific students are watched closely so that the teachers can determine new strategies to use with them.

One teach, one assist: One teacher takes the lead in providing instruction while the other moves around the classroom, assisting struggling students. This help is not limited to students with special needs; the assisting professional is there to serve whomever needs support.

Parallel teaching: The class is divided in two groups and the same material is presented simultaneously by both teachers. The teachers plan the two groups deliberately to maximize the success of all students; this is not simply a “pull-out” or intervention group sitting in the same room.

Station teaching: Both teachers are actively involved in instruction as students are divided into groups and rotate from one station to the next. There may be stations where students work independently or with a paraprofessional in addition to the two stations the co-teachers facilitate.

Alternative teaching: One teacher takes a small group of students and provides them more intensive or specialized instruction that is different than what the large group receives from the other teacher.

Team teaching: Both teachers teach the content at the same time in tandem or “tag team” fashion.

It is important to note that both teachers have equal status and equal responsibility in all six of these arrangements. In the co-teaching relationships that work best, at no time is one teacher seen as subordinate to the other. Both professionals are credentialed professionals, although each may have his or her specific areas of expertise.


Researchers and practitioners have tons of advice about how to co-teach effectively, and as a person who has been “in the trenches” with several different co-teachers, so do I. The advice below sums up the most common recommendations.


Not surprisingly, mutual respect is critical to the co-teaching relationship. You’ll have to share ideas openly and do much of your work facing students together, so respecting each other is paramount. Sometimes you’ll disagree, and that’s to be expected. As co-teacher and ELL specialist Melissa Eddington

(https:/ Continue reading here

Your impact is lasting...take some time for yourself in the now.

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