[Editor’s note: “My Tech Essentials” is a new monthly feature on eSchool News that highlights the choice of ‘must-have’ technology used by one tech-savvy educator; with the hope that other educators might also find these peer-tested tools useful. Be sure to check back every month for a new “My Tech Essentials.”]

As the Curriculum Specialist with Vancouver Public Schools, I oversee Secondary English Language Arts, Advanced Placement, Running Start, and College in the High Schools.

In our district, we are making a concerted effort to move toward project-based learning and a “teacher as designer” model, which helps teachers learn how to partner with both their students as well as their content. Our 1:1 approach to technology has allowed us to move into an era of blended learning. Teachers have the opportunity to partner with their technology in order to both support their content and better entice students with material that is engaging and current.

A Curriculum Specialist’s Tech Essentials

1) ThinkCERCA: Since the onset of the Common Core State Standards, much of the focus in reading has shifted to informational texts. Close reading has become essential for all assignments, and many teachers have used claim-based essays based on each reading as formative assessments. ThinkCERCA has provided an avenue for these brief essays, as well as helping students to strengthen their annotation, summary, and paragraphing skills. The articles found in ThinkCERCA are not only filled with informational text, but written in a way that keep students focused and willing to do the work for each lesson.

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