I was talking with another colleague earlier this week and I was thrilled to hear her reflecting on all of the different uses of the Benchmark curriculum. There are so many components to this program and I know our teachers are using them in such innovative ways. As I was reflecting on this, I realized how much we can learn when we take time to communicate, reflect and share the strategies that we are using in our classes. This is true for the components of any curriculum and any online program! I am incredibly curious to hear more about how everyone uses the different programs we have. Some questions that I have that I would love to get information about are:

  • What are your go-to small group resources?
  • What are some challenges that you have students working on when they are not part of your small group?
  • How do you hold students accountable for their work?
  • What are some of your favorite features of _____?
  • Have you found any features of Benchmark that you feel make your teaching better or more effective?
  • Is this program innovative in the sense that it makes learning different for the better?


One of the things about Benchmark that I have found most useful is the fact that students can run a remote peer conference by sharing and commenting on each other’s writing! I also love the feature where students can message the teacher and get a response back (see the image below for an example of this). I was still curious about what parts of the program I have not yet seen. So, to learn more, I took my curiosity to Google and found the following:

Screen Shot 2019-02-22 at 5.00.36 PM

While we can learn so much from Google, I also wonder how we can share our practices with each other. I know that we are lucky enough to have time to do this during our collaboration, but how powerful would it be if we also shared our thoughts across multiple grade levels?! I know that I am constantly pushing these conversations and I hope that you will all take the time to share a few thoughts and strategies about how you are using Benchmark!


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