Greetings Oklahoma AltEd Community!

As many of you know, the 2014-2015 school year marks a significant change in Oklahoma standards and assessments. English Language Arts and Math will implement the Common Core Standards in their entirety, while Social Studies, Science and Technical Subjects (electives) will be fully integrating the Common Core literacy standards alongside Content Standards.
Assessments for 2014-2015 will include new ELA and Math assessments in grades 3-11, while Science and Social Studies will continue to see CRTs/EOIs in the regular subjects. Some test prototypes are already available on the OSDE website here:
More sample items are expected to be released this Spring and our curriculum specialists at K20ALT will forward this information as it becomes available. If you would like to subscribe to the K20ALT email list serve, visit
This winter edition of our newsletter has a new selection of standards-aligned resources for teachers and resources on shifts in assessments. Be sure to check out the Events Near You for upcoming teacher workshops!
As always, we are available for site-based professional development and curricular assistance. We are adding new standards-aligned lesson plans to our website regularly, so be sure to visit soon!

Your Friends at K20Alt!

Upcoming PD Events Near You!

K20Alt will be hosting events this spring and summer specifically geared for Alternative Education teachers. See events below for more information.


Spring Alt Colloquium

Feb 27th, 9:00-12:00: Planning for Multi-Level Instruction in the AltEd Classroom: Essential Questions

This K20Alt Colloquium explores the usefulness of Essential Questions as a tool for integrating diverse learning communities which are common to the Alt Ed classroom. The goal of this session is to assist alternative education teachers in designing lessons that have real-life applications in the lives of students and which engage reluctant learners and encourage active learning. Participants will leave with instructional tools, universal strategies that can be applied to any subject area or grade level, as well as a copy of the book Essential Questions by Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins.

Follow the link below for registration:
If you have questions or issues with registration, please contact Aimee Myers at the K20 Center:


AltEd Summer Workshop

K20Alt will be hosting a full-day summer workshop in June. To better serve the Alternative Education teachers throughout the state, we would greatly appreciate it if you completed the following survey. This survey will allow us to build a workshop to better meet the needs of teachers within the alternative community. Please complete the needs assessment before March 31st.
Needs Assessment Survey Link:


Core Corner

Math Spotlight – A Different Kind of Problem
Almost every math textbook has one or two problems at the end of the chapter which will usually include a visual representation of the problem and a description of the problem. Students refer to these types of problems as “word problems” and will often skip these problems or comment “I can’t do word problems.” However, if you take the problem and present it to students in a different way it is no longer the “dreaded word problem” but rather an opportunity to engage in substantive conversation about math while problem solving. Here are some suggestions to change a traditional textbook problem.

• Present students with a visual picture or video clip and ask a single question about the picture or video which will require students to use math.
• Have students work with a partner or in a small group to determine a plan to answer your question. Their conversations should be centered around what math concepts they need to apply to answer the question and any information they need in order to solve the problem. You are basically asking students to define the problem and identify variables necessary within the context of the problem.
• Have students share their plans with the whole class so you may determine the information they need to solve the problem and the approaches they plan to use.
• Supply students with values they have identified as being essential to answering the question.
• Give students plenty of class time to work through their solution and have them present their answers to the whole class or prepare a poster showing their process.
• Take away the smooth path

Flipping problems and allowing for discourse encourages perseverance in math problem solving. Math becomes a tool necessary to answer a question not a series of steps to go through to reach an answer that has no meaningful connection. To solve this type of problem requires a greater depth of knowledge than is required to solve traditional problems.


Online Resources:


ELA Resources:

A project of Teachers College, Columbia University with reading and writing resources across the core areas.

Tools and strategies to support teachers in literacy, includes interdisciplinary (for purchase).

Real life English teacher collects resources and share knowledge of classroom based Common Core activities

Personal letters from artists, writers, scientists, etc…. Helps build foundation for non-fiction primary texts

Social Studies

Attention Geography Teachers!  Visit these two sites for great lesson plans and resources for teaching geography:

Arizona Geographic Alliance-Geography lessons integrated with math/history/literacy.

11 Online geographic activities for students about the changing planet

Math Resources

This site provides many resources for the K-12 math teacher including integrating technology, instructional videos, and inspiring problems.

This site provides free math activities to use with Google Earth allowing students to make meaningful connections between concepts and application.

Math games is a site created by the National Council of Teachers and Mathematics and  You do have to sign up in order to access the site.

Dan Meyer knows the challenges you face in the classroom and in this video he discusses some way you can help your students become patient problem solvers.

This site contains over fifty “Three Act” lessons created by Dan Meyer.  The lessons are aligned to core standards, math practices, and have a suggested question to help focus the lesson.

On this site, you will find resources for elementary classrooms (maybe even some middle school math classrooms) and resources like picture books ideas, apps for student use along with other resources by Content Strands (like number sense, measurements, etc).  There are also some General Resources and links to blogs and other sites where you can find lesson ideas.

Science resources

This site has a section devoted to news for students in the following areas: Atoms & Forces, Earth & Sky, Humans & Health, Life, Tech & Math.  These articles may provide excellent opportunities in literacy for your students.

Articles, pictures, and videos can be found at this site to help you embed literacy into your lessons.  They even have an entire section focused on education including classroom lessons and activities.

Travel Time

Kristi Adams here, science and math content specialist for K20Alt.  I’d like to share an experience with you about our work.  This past fall I was fortunate enough to be able to teach model lessons to alternative students.  A K20Alt model lesson is written using the 5E format: engage, explore, explain, expand, and evaluate.  As I reflect on the effectiveness of these lessons I realize how important creating a culture of collaboration is to instruction.  As a guest teacher coming into the classroom I am often faced with the challenge of setting up collaboration protocol in order for the lesson to be successful and to come up with creative ways to get students to talk, not only to each other but to me, in classes where this may not always be encouraged.  By the end of the lesson, students were inviting me back and thanking me for the opportunity to discuss science in a meaningful way.

A collaborative culture is one where students feel safe to have a voice as they engage in small group and whole class discussions.  They should feel valued not only by their peers but also their instructor for their unique perspectives on class content.  Fostering this type of environment is a constant challenge and I applaud the efforts of teachers dedicated to maintaining a culture of collaboration in the classroom and honoring student diversity.  A few tips from edutopia include: focus on process not right answers, let students teach each other, build in accountability, and consider classroom geography.  For more information on these tips you may access the following website, or contact us about professional development in this area.

Remember that the K20Alt Team can provide free on-site professional development on a variety of AltEd topics at your school and teach model lessons in your content area. Contact us at to book a date!