About the Author

At the CTA Good Teaching
Conference in San Jose, California
       Hi! Welcome to the Common Core Café. My name is Gabriela Orozco Gonzalez and I’m a second grade teacher. I work at a school in Montebello Unified School District, in the Los Angeles County. I started teaching in 2000 and have taught K-6th grade. This year, I am teaching second grade. I have taught second grade now for 9 years. I love teaching this grade! They are full of wonder, eager to please, and the learning to read for fun. I am doing what I have always dreamed of doing. Teaching gives me purpose and provides the opportunity for me to help shape, engage, and educate children.
        I have always loved teaching and have wanted to be an educator since I can remember. I can recall being gifted a small chalkboard as a child, gathering the neighborhood kids, and teaching lessons in the back yard. It was as a high school tutor that I really knew that it was my calling. During my junior and senior year in high school I volunteered as a reading tutor at the Downey City Library, teaching illiterate teenagers and adults to read. When I was in college, I worked as a Kindergarten classroom aide (wish I had one now!). Being an aide was a true internship to what it meant to be a teacher. My job as an aide taught me patience, dedication, and that teaching was fun. It allowed me to see the dynamics of a classroom and how the profession changed every year, depending on the students. Then, I decided to try another career that allowed me to travel. What college kid would turn that down? Not me! I was able to travel to 38 different countries and over 20 states in the United States, during the course of 4 years. It was one of the most valuable experiences ever!
      It was because of these experiences traveling around the world that I feel, have given me a rich background in so many cultures.  As a teacher, I incorporate my knowledge into my curriculum, by providing students with multicultural lessons that focus on diversity and acceptance of others. Being an educator thus far has had many rewards, but I have found that keeping active in my profession is always the most gratifying. In looking for ways to professionally and personally grow, I began three years ago to further research my knowledge of the Common Core standards. I found that the standards were very aligned to what I was doing in the classroom, project-based instruction with a high focus in writing. I was selected in 2012 to be part of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. As an assessment writer, I developed performance tasks in Language Arts for the primary grades. In 2013, Smarter Balanced contracted me to work on Item Review for 4-6th grade Mathematics, specifically in Accessibility, Bias, and Sensitivity. I currently continue to work as an Item Reviewer and see this experience invaluable to the work I do with development and differentiation of my classroom curriculum. It has given me specific knowledge on how to guide my students successfully through formative and summative assessments. Furthermore, my classroom units of study and common core instructional strategies have been refined and tailored to meet the needs of my students.
    In the summer of 2013, I was one of 24 teachers in the state of California accepted into the California Teacher’s Association (CTA), Leadership Cohort. As a member of the cohort, we were asked to develop a project that would make an impact in our district, with the focus on CCSS. This is where the idea of the Common Core Café came to me. As teachers, we are always looking for resources, ways to collaborate, and share! What better forum than a Professional Learning Community (PLC) that would give teachers an opportunity to discuss the strategies they currently use in their classroom with other educators in the district. The idea behind the Common Core Café is to have a core set of master teachers working together to develop expertise of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and utilize technological resources to enhance instruction. In addition to being a CTA Teacher Leader, I have evolved to being part of the Instructional Leadership Corps (ILC). The ILC brings together accomplished classroom teachers, site leaders, administrators, and higher education professionals working to effectively implement the new California Standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics and Next Generation Science Standards in California's public schools. Through this work, I will continue to present at my district for local teachers and CTA Good Teaching Conferences. I write about the conferences on this blog and post all the presentation materials as a resource tool for teachers that may not be able to attend. 

May 2014 Issue
    In February 2014, I was selected by the National Educators Association (NEA) to be a Smarter Balanced Teacher Ambassador in California. This initiative is a partnership among the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (Smarter Balanced), the NEA, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), and WestEd, and is generously funded by the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. Teacher Ambassadors from across the nation learn how the Smarter Balanced Assessment System, including the formative assessment process, can be used to implement the Common Core State Standards. It was really exciting when the California Educator Magazine highlighted some of my work as an SBAC item writer and my work with the Common Core Cafe in their May 2014 issue. 

At the NEA Headquarters in 
Washington, D.C.

       My most recent endeavor has been the NEA ED Communities. The NEA ED Communities is a place where people come together to share ideas and resources to improve student success.  It is free and open to all!  NEA established the site in July of 2013 and is looking to create active communities working together to improve public education. My role as facilitator is to lead the Kindergarten through 5th Grade Common Core online community.  I will discuss professional topics and share educational resources and trends around Common Core State Standards. I will also be linking to content and providing educators with resources that are relevant to the classroom teacher and educators across the nation. Click on the following link to join my online community: Common Core K-5
         My vision for the Common Core Café blog is to provide teachers with resources, ideas, and advice on how to navigate through the Common Core State Standards to best guide their instruction in the classroom. I find that teachers are other teachers best teachers. An online community allows educators across the nation to view, share, comment, and collaborate on instructional strategies, materials, and curriculum design.

         Thank you for visiting my site and please add me to your Goggle circles and feel free to share my posts or ideas. I would love it if you joined my NEA ED Community and added your own resources or thoughts. As educators we are constantly seeking how to best meet the needs of our students and this community is an excellent way to learn from each other.

To learn more about my professional and education background, please link up to my profile at: LinkedIn

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