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  • 8 Responses to Late Work To Us 8 Responses to Late Work To Use Right Now

    • From: Jennifer_Davis_Bowman
    • Description:

      Take a second and think about the movie “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”.  If Ferris would have arrived home late, his whole ploy (to outsmart his parents by skipping school) would have been ruined.  This is an example of a case when lateness has detrimental effects.  On the other hand, think about filing your taxes.  Filing late with the appropriate extension paperwork is no deal breaker-you will not have to sell your soul or give away your first born son. This latter example is a case when lateness is less critical for an individual.   

       

      So, in addressing lateness (late work) in the classroom, I think it is important to look at the consequences which impact student success. I was interested in how other educators faced the late work dilemma and this is what I found:

       

      • Some find it helpful to dissect the issue.  In a piece I found about the grey areas of grading, it seemed that asking a series of questions was important.  For example, aking about the frequency (is it incidental or chronic) of the lateness can help in managing the issue.  Also, asking if the student has access to adequate resources to complete the assignment, or even if the student is able to conquer personal issues (time management, accountability, etc.) are helpful in determing solutions.  Don't forget that it is equally important to explore the teacher/instruction method for causes as well.  Think about how class instruction might facilitate or hinder the assignment submission process.

       

      • Some wish to use the concept of lateness as a way to explore real world issues with students.  We strive to make our classroom lessons applicable to the real world and looking at “lateness” allows just that.  For instance in a blog about what to consider in grading late work, we are provided with examples of how the world operates in spite of lateness-such as with flight delays, dental appointments, etc.

       

      • Some use the issue to engage students in positive talk.  For example instead of threatening to deduct points, there is an incentive to add points for submitting work early.

       

      • Some teachers perceive the issue as a conversation extender.  For instance one blogger describes the technique of requiring that students “convince me” of the need to accept late work. 

       

      • Some teachers view late work as better than nothing.  It seems that when ranking types of work, most teachers value the submission of late work more so than the submission of incomplete work.  A study showed that 61% of teachers were more likely to score incomplete work as zero whereas only 8% would score late work as a zero. 

       

      • Some teachers utilize a window of time to submit work.  For instance implementing the use of both a due date (this can last about a week) and a deadline (this is the last opportunity that a student can turn in work) may decrease the amount of late work submitted. 

       

      • Some teachers find it useful to collaborate with students in terms of due dates.  In addition, communicating with other teachers and staff in your school is helpful in developing an assignment calendar (to avoid flooding students with work due the same time as other teachers).

       

      • Finally, some teachers exchange the “late” status for “incomplete”.  This switch of terminology is important because typically, students are not granted any points for late work, but partial points for incomplete work.  In viewing work as “incomplete” (and then of course requiring completion), instead of late, this gives students the opportunity to earn back points.   

       

      “Can I still turn this in?”  How do you respond when you hear this from your students-is it frustrating or motivational in the classroom policy sense?  What solutions have you tried in addressing student late work and how feasible were they?  Sometimes, I find it useful to change my policy based on the students I am working with that particular year.  How have you changed your late work policy over time? 

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  • Change agents and the hiring d Change agents and the hiring dilemma

    • From: Scott_McLeod
    • Description:

      For hireHere’s a working hypothesis:

      The organizations that most need change agents probably are the least likely to hire them because change agents typically make people with non-change orientations scared or nervous. If the people within were already oriented toward change and innovation, their organizations wouldn’t be the ones in the most need of change agents.

      So a change- and innovation-oriented job candidate has a steep uphill battle to get considered and hired. The challenge is how to get people on hiring committees in non-change-oriented institutions to recognize the value of hiring for innovation, not replication… Got any thoughts on this?

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  • test blog post test blog post

    • From: James_Hourigan
    • Description:

      This is a test blog post. edited

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  • Riding the Waves of Change Riding the Waves of Change

    • From: Dawn_Chan
    • Description:

      Recently I was blessed to have the opportunity to travel abroad to recharge and refresh. During this trip I had an opportunity to snorkel over a barrier reef for the very first time. On the day that we went, the ocean was very choppy and the guide asked our group if we preferred to stay in shallow, calm waters or deeper, rough waters. The caveat of all this was that we were likely to see more wildlife in the rougher waters. Ultimately our group opted for the deep sea experience.

      Riding out on the ocean with the boat bouncing and sea water spraying, I admit that I became a little nervous about our recent group decision. Soon enough we were at our starting point and I found myself taking a deep breath and jumping in to the deep blue sea. The cool water felt invigorating, but as I rose to the surface the rough waters distracted me and I could feel myself starting to panic. My mind flashed to the snorkel techniques my husband and I practiced prior to our trip and realizing that I was getting nowhere other than more panicked by trying to stay above water, I took a deep breath and dove under.

      Beneath the rough waters was a colorful world of fish, coral and other sea life. As I let my body ride the choppy surface and my breathing finally returned to its normal pace, I was in awe of all that I was able to see. I found myself gesturing emphatically to my husband all the wonderful things I hoped we would remember later. Our guide zipped just ahead of us, pointing to other creatures and leading us over the world’s second largest barrier reef.

      In my life I have willingly taken on many personal and professional challenges, all of which I have never regretted. For someone who has been quite accustomed to change, even this brief experience, out of my element, was for a moment terrifying. So what has this experience reminded me about change? What can leaders bring to a community that is going through a change process?

      Recognize that people need to know why change is important and help them to make sense of it

      One of my favorite TED talks is Simon Sinek’s How Great Leaders Inspire Action. The premise of his talk is about articulating the why before the how or what. When we embark on change in our communities, individuals need to know why the change is important and more importantly, the reason should be one that resonates with the community. At times in education, we can be too focused on the change process itself and we must slow down to involve those impacted by the change. In our ocean adventure, our guide clearly explained our options for the day and ultimately let our group’s feedback shape the outcome.

      If you are the leader of the organization, jump in with your team.

      Change is never easy and it takes courageous leaders at all levels of a community to inspire others to be a part of the journey. I suspect if our guide had not jumped in to the rougher waters first, he may not have had many volunteers to jump in. Once he did, a few others were quick to follow and within minutes the whole group was in the water. For added support, there were staff that remained in our boat, not very far away from where we were snorkeling at all times. So leaders, invite others willing to take the first steps with you and also look for others who will be able to support the initial risk takers and ultimately the group, along the way. Failures and mistakes are an inevitable part of the process and with the right team can turn these situations into learning opportunities.

      Take a look beneath the surface and explore, don’t be too focused on outcomes right away.

      Of course when we embark on any change, there is an ultimate goal we hope to achieve. I support the use of goal setting and success criteria as they are essential to any endeavour. It is also important that individuals in a community have time to acclimate and dive beneath the rough waters under their own terms. I needed that moment when I first dove in to the water be slightly panicked, to catch my breath, and dive in when I was ready. When I saw what was beneath and how surprisingly more calm it was underwater, than above, you couldn’t get me out of the water.

      The point is people need time to explore and adjust when change is in progress. If you stay solely task oriented and rush too soon to the next task, you miss opportunities for individuals to see the beauty in the change and embrace it. More importantly, they will not have a chance to engage in their own explorations that could bring great value to the team’s overall process and goals.

      Let the group explore, but also remind them of the focus.

      Our guides were great about letting us explore, but also did not let us wander way beyond our limits. Our guide in the water wore bright swim shorts so we could easily identify him from afar and he would take the time to show us the beautiful wildlife that he thought would make the most of our experience. Change is messy and while it is important to let individuals find their own way (see above) and work through this process, it will be necessary to bring individuals together and remind them of what is most important.

      Change has never been easy and never will be, but with these few reminders from my recent vacation experience, I hope to make future change processes I am involved in meaningful to my community.

      What other analogies could you add about change? What opportunities should leaders take to make the change process a more meaningful one?

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  • A 5-Point PD Plan (since this A 5-Point PD Plan (since this is 2014!)

    • From: Craig_Mertler
    • Description:

      @craigmertler

      http://www.craigmertler.com/mec

       

       

      Two weeks ago, I wrote a blog about one of our son’s teachers, along with the frustration that he and we, as his parents, have been experiencing.  In case you missed it, I liken her to a teacher that I had in 1978––suffice to say, it was not a positive comparison.  I’ve been thinking a lot about what I wrote, about this teacher, and about the feedback that I’ve gotten from that blog.  While the feedback has been nothing but positive and supportive, I feel that I should do something to help this teacher, instead of just criticizing her.  Therefore, I am offering to her my 5-point professional development plan:

       

      (1)  Find ways to vary your instruction.  Each day in your class should not look like every other one.  Find ways to change what you do. Get your students more involved.  Some days, have them lead the instruction, perhaps by doing examples for the rest of the students.  Find ways to incorporate group work.  Model for them how collaboration can be highly beneficial in the teaching and learning process.

       

      (2)  Get up out of your seat (please!).  An active, more energetic classroom is by far a more interesting classroom.  I sense that your students get bored because there’s very little interactivity from the beginning of class to the end of class, as well as from day to day.  Similar to #1 above, mix things up a little bit––it’s hard for your students to be energetic and interested in learning when you don’t appear to be.  Surprise your students from time to time with activities they don’t expect––I guarantee that it will keep them more interested in what you’re doing, as well as in learning what you want them to learn.  When they know exactly what’s going to happen every minute of your class time with them, they will be bored––that’s simply human nature.

       

      (3)  Provide your students with scoring rubrics––or other specific forms of feedback––for their assignments and tests.  No one expects all of your students to ace every assessment you administer.  However, if you truly want them to learn from the assessments, you must provide them with concrete and formative feedback on how they can improve their performance.  Simply marking the number of points that they’ve missed and not providing them with explanations of why they missed those points may make your job easier, but it’s completely counterproductive to their learning.  Providing them with rubrics for constructed-response items––such as problem-solving on a math test––will not only provide them with sound feedback on their mistakes or misconceptions, but distributed in advance of your tests can inform them of exactly what your expectations are from them on the assessment.  This is simply good assessment practice.

       

      (4)  Be supportive of and try to work with students who struggle in your classes.  With the number of students that you see every day, this can be a challenge.  Trust me, I know––I’m a former high school teacher who used to see more than 150 kids every day.  However, when students struggle in your classes, your first line of defense should not be to brush them aside and simply tell them to get a tutor.  After all, YOU are their teacher; YOUR job is to help them learn, even when they struggle.  After you’ve worked with them, and you’ve determined that they clearly need some sort of additional support, then recommend that they see a tutor.  But, please remember that it is your primary responsibility to help them learn the content that you are charged with teaching them. 

       

      (5)  Listen to your students.  Look, I understand that this is your classroom, but you may not always know what’s best for your students’ learning.  When you have a high number of students who have been extremely successful during their previous 9 or 10 years of schooling and they are failing your class, something isn’t working right.  Sometimes, students will come out and tell you that they are struggling; other times, you must discern this in other ways.  Regardless, listen to what your students are verbally or nonverbally communicating to you about the struggles that they are having . . . and then do something to address those issues, as the professional educator that you are.

       

      By the way, every one of these 5 professional development strategies above can be effectively implemented and assessed by integrating an action research approach into how you do your work as a professional educator.  Come up with strategies to implement one or more of the points above; collect data from your students and assess the effectiveness of your efforts; appropriately revise how you approach these issues in the future.  You will become a better educator––and your students will become better learners.

       


      Post Script:

      • We found out last week that the teacher in question was named “Teacher of the Month” at our son’s school––quite simply, this defies rational explanation.
      • However, rumor has it she’s also retiring at the end of this year.  Unfortunately––or fortunately (depending on your perspective!)––it doesn’t look like she’ll have an opportunity to implement my 5-point professional development plan . . . still, I hope this helps someone out there.

       

       

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  • Shaping Ed Outcomes Shaping Ed Outcomes

    • From: Hannah_Gbenro
    • Description:

      Cross-Posted from: http://wsascdel.blogspot.com by @HannahGbenro

       

      This weekend, my family and I visited the Oregon Coast. As I stared at the ocean, I thought: Ocean waves are one of the most powerful phenomena on Earth - they shape the Earth's coastlines. Similarly, educational systems are powerful forces that prepare students to grow up and shape the future of our economy and society. 

       

      This got me pondering how ocean waves are made and how they crash against the shore 24/7. From a scientific perspective, waves are imparted from a combination of wind blowing over the surface of water and currents running under the water. I'm always amazed that when I simply look at the ocean, I don't see the system of wind and currents - I see their byproduct as the ocean waves crest and fall.

       

      Just as nature puts a lot of energy into shaping waves all day every day, a multitude leaders at every level strategically create & cultivate systems that shape high quality educational outcomes on a daily basis. The educational systems that yield the highest outcomes and maintain sustainability result from a collective approach to shared responsibility and leadership that's cultivated by lead learners.

       

      I invite you to join me in personalizing this idea by contemplating: What are the strategic approaches that lay the foundation for your educational system to generate high quality educational outcomes? How do you articulate these educational outcomes to different stakeholders? What is your role within this system?

       

      ocean

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  • Leaders Who Love... Leaders Who Love...

    • From: Mandy_Vasek
    • Description:

      

      If anyone of you has not read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, then you are really missing out on some effective communication strategies to use with your students and staff.  Chapman describes 5 different ways to communicate effectively to the ones we hold dear to us.  Now, you may be freaking out a little because that kind of language sounds too intimate for the workplace, right?  Wrong!!  Actually, he did write this book for more intimate relationships, such as spouses or close family and friends.  However, after reading this book for about the fifth time, I had a revelation!  Why didn’t I see it before?  I think it was because, like you are thinking, the words “love language” sounded too mushy for a working environment.   Nevertheless, Gary Chapman has inspired me to be a leader who loves.  When I use the word leader, I do not mean just an administrator but any person who leads others.  A leader could be a classroom teacher, an interventionist, coach, nurse, secretary, content specialist, bus driver, etc. 

      Chapman discusses five languages desired by human hearts.  His languages are recipes for healthy, happy relationships.   According to the author, most of us have a preferred way to be treated by others in order to feel worthy. Reciprocally, we also have a favored style we use to show others we care about them.  For many of us, we will demonstrate to others we care in the same way that we choose to be loved. 

      Below are the five languages discussed in the book along with examples, which I’ve added:

         Words of Affirmation- saying nice or kind words to the person

         Quality Time- Having a meaningful, quality conversation; listening

         Receiving Gifts- a coffee, favorite snack, an inexpensive token of appreciation

         Acts of Service- teaching a class for someone or doing their duty

         Physical Touch- a hug, a pat on the back, or a touch on the shoulder that says you care

       

       As a leader, you also yearn to be esteemed by one of these languages; you may even have two. In fact, you may desire all of these to some degree, but you probably have at least one or two dominant languages that feed your soul.   More often than not, you show others you care by reciprocating with your dominant language(s).

       For instance, I am “words of affirmation” and “quality time”.  In order to have my emotional tank filled, I need to hear kind, positive words about something I am doing or who I am.  I also love spending time with others.  As a wife, mom, and assistant principal, I tend to show others I care by participating in the same actions; that’s just human nature.  I do have to be aware that others may not share my same dominant language.  Their heart could thrive on one of the other three.   So, even though my tank is getting the fuel it needs, the person I am with may not.  I have to pay careful attention to signs that will help me identify their dominant language.  It may take experimenting and time, especially with students. 

      As a school leader, it is important to realize our students and staff have emotional needs.  These language identifiers really help!  Just think about how you could get children to do what they are supposed to do by simply speaking their language!  On the flip side, you must be careful and sensitive whenever critiquing or disciplining them.  If you use a lot of words that may be considered “put-downs” to a person who attains some of their self-worth from words of affirmation, you can actually degrade the individual. It does not mean the student or staff member cannot take constructive criticism; we just need to be mindful as to how we deliver our words.  Many times, our well-behaved students and staff might feel neglected, especially if their language is quality time.  Really, think about this…. Who gains most of our attention?   Yes, those who require more of our time and attention for learning or behaving. 

      Building relationships is key to sustaining a great educational environment for our students and staff.  You really have everything to gain in just trying.  It can’t hurt to affirm or care for someone a little too much as long as it is genuine.  In my opinion, it is a win-win situation.

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  • Feeny! Feeny!

    • From: Eric_Bernstein
    • Description:

          Next month I will travel to Los Angeles to join many of my students, almost all of whom I have only know through our Adobe Connect online classroom, for commencement from the University of Southern California Rossier School of Education.  As a full-time faculty member at USC, I have the privilege to work with students from across the country and world in our face-to-face, synchronous online Masters of Arts in Teaching program.  I prepare teachers for certification or to advance their practice. 

       

          One of my students was able to “score” tickets for us to go see a taping of the new Disney series “Girl Meets World” on May 14.  To say I am excited, well, that would be an understatement!  Maybe “totally stoked” would be more apt a description.  When I was a middle school social studies teacher and later a middle and high school principal, the original series “Boy Meets World” was at the peak of its popularity.  One of the greatest memories (and greatest honors) I have of my middle school students was when they would liken me to Feeny.  Since I am overdue for a blog post, I decided to consider some of the many lessons that Feeny could teach all of us as educators.  Here are my top ten (each scene is quoted first and then it is followed by what I have deemed “the Feeny Lesson” from that quote):

       

      Season 1, Episode 1 (1993): 

      Cory Matthews: Mr. Feeny, who cares about a guy who killed himself for some dumb girl?

      Mr. George Feeny: The tragedy here, Mr. Matthews, is not about a dumb girl, or the boy who kills himself because of her. It's about the all-consuming power of love. And the inevitability of its influence on each of our lives.

      Cory Matthews: [pauses] Are you aware that I'm only eleven years old?

      Lesson:  Don’t talk down to your students, believe that they can understand and learn by being spoken to like adults—even if they don’t realize it!

       

      Season 4, Episode 17 (1997):

      Mr. George Feeny: Even though this isn't a classroom at the moment, would you mind if I taught you a lesson anyway?

      Topanga Lawrence: Please.

      Mr. George Feeny: Believe it or not, there was a time in my life when I cared for someone as deeply as you two care for each other now.

      Cory Matthews: You believe we love each other?

      Mr. George Feeny: And for no reason I understood, my wife was taken from me, and I haven't been so deeply in love since.

      Cory Matthews: [to Topanga] Feeny believes we love each other!

      Mr. George Feeny: I believe that when you find love, you hold on to it, and cherish it! Because there is nothing finer, and may never come again. And that, my dears, is the most important thing I could teach you.

      Lesson:  Our work as educators is not and should not be bound by the walls of the classroom—there are important life lessons that we can teach our students that extend far beyond the formal curriculum.

       

      Season 2, Episode 9 (1994):

      Katherine 'Kat' Tompkins: This Jonathan Turner guy, what's the deal with him?

      George Feeny: It's really not my place to comment, from one teacher to another.

      Katherine 'Kat' Tompkins: Oh, come on. He asked me out! I just wanna know if he's an axe murderer.

      George Feeny: It wasn't on his resumé.

      Lesson:  How to handle gossip in the teacher’s lounge—enough said!

       

      Season 7, Episode 23 (2000):

      Mr. George Feeny: Believe in yourselves. Dream. Try. Do good

      Topanga: Don't you mean "do well"?

      Mr. George Feeny: No, I mean "do good".

      Lesson:  Doing “well” and doing “good” are not the same thing—and as teachers, it is not that we must work to merely do our jobs well, but we must strive to “do good” for our communities, our schools, and, most importantly, our students.

       

      Season 1, Episode 8 (1993):

      Cory Matthews: Shawn, what was your mother's maiden name?

      Shawn Hunter: Cordini.

      Cory Matthews: Cordini, so that would make you a WOP, right?

      Shawn Hunter: What did you call me?

      Cory Matthews: You heard what I called you.

      Shawn Hunter: [to Feeny] Did you hear what he called me?

      George Feeny: I heard what he called you.

      Shawn Hunter: What're you going to do about it?

      George Feeny: He's the teacher, what're YOU going to do about it?

      Shawn Hunter: I'm gonna knock his head off!

      Cory Matthews: What if you couldn't? What if you couldn't do anything about it?

      Shawn Hunter: What?

      Cory Matthews: What if you lived in a country where I could KILL you just because of your mom's last name.

      Shawn Hunter: Cory, what're you talking about?

      Cory Matthews: A 15 year old girl is DEAD! Doesn't anybody care? She was really smart and totally cool. Her name was Anne Frank, she wrote this book. They say she died of typhus but they killed her, BECAUSE her name was Anne Frank.

      Lesson:  Sometimes our students can be the best teachers of each other—and our job should include giving them opportunities to do so.

       

      Season 4, Episode 11 (1996):

      George Feeny: Eric, in the play of your life all your great scenes lie ahead of you.

      Eric Matthews: So you're saying in thirty or forty years I could write a play that you would wanna come and see?

      George Feeny: No, tonight pretty much killed any interest I had in the theater.

      Eric Matthews: Mr. Feeny you know everything. Where does my life go from here?

      George Feeny: Well, now, you have passion. You have drive. You certainly have guts. I frankly can't wait to see what happens to you.

      Eric Matthews: So you're not gonna tell me to give up my life as an actor and go get a college education?

      George Feeny: Eric I told you to get a college education ten-thousand times. I don't have to tell you anymore.

      Eric Matthews: What about my life as an actor?

      George Feeny: Get a college education.

      Lesson:  Encourage students and support them in even their wildest dreams—but tether them to reality as well, and guide them toward choices that will open doors rather than close them.

       

      Season 6, Episode 1 (1998):

      Mr. George Feeny: You can't tell Cory and Topanga what to do. I've been trying to do that since the first grade. I remember when I tried to separate their desks. She kicked me. He bit me. And some little punk kept saying "Leave 'em alone. They should get married."

      Shawn Hunter: I was cute then, huh?

      Mr. George Feeny: Precious.

      Lesson:  Looping works—when we stay with students year after year, we develop a better understanding of who they are as people and what their unique needs are.  Even if we don’t loop, it is important for us and to them that we maintain continued relationships with our students even after they move on to another teacher.

       

      Season 4, Episode 15 (1997):

      Mr. George Feeny: [passing by] Good morning, Miss Lawrence, Mr. Matthews, Mr. Hunter.

      [stops, then turns to Shawn, who is dressed as a girl]

      Mr. George Feeny: If there's anything you need to talk about, my door is always open.

      Shawn Hunter:  It’s for an article we’re writing, Mr. Feeny!

      Mr. George Feeny: I'm not here to judge.

      Lesson:  Notice when our students may need someone to talk to—then remind them that we are there to listen and that we will listen without judgment, that we will support them no matter what.

       

      Season 4, Episode 19 (1997):

      Cory Matthews: Mr. Feeny, look, the show's proving that we're absorbing the right kind of knowledge, I mean that's why we're the champions.

      [the class applauds]

      George Feeny: Hold it, hold it, wait a minute. Champions of what, Mr. Matthews? Of a generation whose verbal and mathematical skills have sunk SO low, when you have the highest technology at your fingertips? Gutenburg's generation thirsted for a new book every six months. Your generation gets a new web page every six seconds. And how do you use this technology? To beat King Koopa, and save the princess. Shame on you. You deserve what you get.

      Lesson:  Technology is only as effective as the users—and just because we use technology for something does not make the thing we are using technology for somehow inherently valuable or worthwhile.

       

      Season 7, Episode 23 (2000):

      [Eric hugs Mr. Feeny and follows Topanga and Shawn out the door]

      George Feeny: So Mr. Matthews

      Cory Matthews: You think we've known each other long enough for you to call me Cory?

      George Feeny: I think I've known you long enough to call you Cornielius

      Cory Matthews: Ssh! Mr. Feeny! Not even Topanga knows that.

      George Feeny: Your secret is safe with me.

      Cory Matthews: Well. I got Topanga to go to New York.

      George Feeny: Good for you.

      Cory Matthews: She's not even scared anymore.

      George Feeny: Nor should she be.

      Cory Matthews: I am.

      George Feeny: Well, you have a right to be.

      [Cory finally breaks down and hugs Mr. Feeny]

      Cory Matthews: You coming with us Mr. Feeny? You gonna sneak up on us in Central Park or something?

      George Feeny: No, I shall remain here.

      Cory Matthews: No. You'll always be with us. As long as we live okay?

      [Cory walks out the door. Mr. Feeny looks around the room]

      George Feeny [the last line of the series “Boy Meets World”]: I love you all... Class dismissed

      Lesson:  Know your students well, even better than they want their friends to know them—and love them, even if you wait until they all leave the room to tell them, because you will always be with them (whether you’ve done them right or done them wrong).

       

      The inimitable William Daniels, who played Feeny in “Boy Meets World,” had two other roles in his career that hold special places in my heart:  As John Adams in the 1969(?) musical AND 1972 film “1776,” he was with me every year that I taught middle school social studies and taught that very play and as the voice of K.I.T.T. in the TV series “Knight Rider,” he was a significant part of my own childhood television watching!  I would feel remiss if I did not include two bonus lessons from Feeny, but in each of those other two significant roles:

       

      Act I, Scene 3 – (1972—“1776”)

      John Adams: Now you'll write it, Mr. J.

      Thomas Jefferson: Who will make me, Mr. A?

      John Adams: I.

      Thomas Jefferson: You?

      John Adams: Yes!

      [Jefferson—6 feet 4—steps up, towering over Adams—5 feet 8—and looks down at him]

      Thomas Jefferson: How?

      [tapping his chest with the quill pen]

      John Adams: By physical force, if necessary.

      Lesson:  There are times when we must make a stand—even when the odds are stacked against us—so that the job will get done.  Teachers are often the little guys and we must stand up to the big guys, for what we know is right, even when (like Jefferson with Adams) they are actually on our side (although, history tells us of the extraordinary love-hate relationship those two Founding Fathers really had).

       

      Season 2, Episode 5 (1983—“Knight Rider”)

      K.I.T.T.:  Michael, I've been thinking about David Dudley's sportscar. I'm afraid it may have met with a dreadful end.

      Michael Knight:  I don't follow.

      K.I.T.T.:  It's occurred to me that in so far as the car is essentially evidence in a shooting, those hoodlums may have disposed of it in that crusher at the wrecking yard.

      Michael Knight:  Oh, well that would make a compact out of it, wouldn't it?

      K.I.T.T.:  I fail to see the humor in that. It's a most humiliating way to go, transformed into a tin can..

      Michael Knight:  Well, I'll remember that the next time I have sardines.

      K.I.T.T.:  Really, Michael. Sometimes you're so insensitive.

      Lesson:  Have empathy and realize that the lived experiences of our students may not be the same as our own—the things that may seem inconsequential or fodder for a joke to us may actually be genuinely and deeply personal for them.

       

      It is worth the side note for me to explain why “Girl Meets World” is really the full circle for me.  Like Feeny, I was a classroom teacher turned principal.  And like Cory Matthews (who grew up to become a teacher like his own mentor/second father “Mr. Feeny”), I grew up to become a teacher in (I can only hope) the likeness of my own mentors/second fathers, Mr. D and Mr. E and, of course, my own father who was also a teacher and then school administrator. 

       

      As I understand it, William Daniels has reprised (or will reprise) the role of Feeny in some capacity for the new series and I can only hope that he will appear on the episode taping on May 14—but in any event, I can’t wait!  And so concludes this blog post and my tribute to “Feeny” a.k.a. William Daniels a.k.a. K.I.T.T. a.k.a. John Adams.  Class dismissed!

    • Blog post
    • 6 days ago
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  • 5 Ways to Help Struggling Read 5 Ways to Help Struggling Readers

    • From: Ryan_Thomas1
    • Description:

      struggling readers


      Use the Web to find texts they want to read

      In the past, finding books that piqued our struggling readers’ interest was challenging, but with the help of websites like Bookwink, Whichbook, Shelfari, Your Next Read and BookLamp.org, finding good books has never been easier. Use these sites, and show your students how to use them, too.
       

      Pair struggling readers with younger readers

      Even when we give our students their choice of reading materials, many struggling readers continue to choose books that are too difficult for them. When you think about it, this makes a lot of sense. Most sixth grade students don’t want to be caught with the Magic Tree House books when their friends are reading the Divergent series.

      Pairing these students with younger readers is a simple solution to this. The “indignities” associated with “babyish” books are no longer an issue when we pair our struggling readers with younger readers and have them read aloud to them.

      Find creative ways to create independent reading time

      If you timed it out, we bet you’d be surprised by how much of the day is squandered on interruptions—you know, special deliveries, messages, forgotten lunches, notes, or quick questions from other teachers. Train your students to always have a book out on their desk. When an interruption occurs—and they will occur—students should immediately begin reading.

      Here’s another idea: When students finish their work early, skip the extra dittos and busy work; instead, allow them to read silently until their peers are all finished.

      Take Phonics instruction beyond “sounding it out”
      Encountering big words can be daunting for the struggling reader. Relying solely on teaching readers to “sound out” letters can prevent growth and lead to frustration, especially when encountering words with many syllables or words that don’t follow the standard rules. Teach readers to break words down into chunks – called “chunking” or “reading by analogy.”

      Handle struggling readers with care

      We have best intentions when we say, “Stop and reread this sentence,” or “Can you read a little bit faster?” but we should really avoid this type of coaching. To learn how to handle your struggling readers with care, check out a video by Amy Mascott called, “What Not to Say to Emerging Readers.”

                                                               



       

       

                                                                download click and clunk

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  • R.A.D. Neurological Lesson Pla R.A.D. Neurological Lesson Plan Elementary Level or Beginning Foreign Language

    • From: Judy_Willis
    • Description:

      R.A.D. Neurological Lesson Plan

      Elementary Level or Beginning Foreign Language

       

       

      By Paula Berlinck and Luciana Castro

      2nd grade Portuguese Teachers

      Graded School

      Sao Paulo, Brazil

      March 2014

       

       

      Unit Title:  Where does the bread come from?

      Subject(s):  Portuguese  Grade Level(s): 2nd grade

      Lesson Concept/Topic:   Reading and Writing Non-fiction

      Lesson Goals/Objectives:  Reading and Writing Non-fiction

       

      Lesson Elements:

      (and how they will be Neuro-logical)

       

       

       

      Plan:

       

       

      Getting Attention:

      How will you begin this lesson to engage learners’ attention?

       

      The attention filter (RAS) gives priority to sensory input that is different than the expected pattern. Novelty, such as changes in voice, unusual objects, songs playing when they enter the classroom, will peak students curiosity and increase likelihood of the related lesson material being selected by the RAS attention filter.

       

       

      1-As soon as each student arrives in the classroom they will find one wheat stalk on top of your own desk.

      2-The students are going to watch and listen to the music “O cio da terra” de Milton Nascimento e Fernando Brandt

       

       

       

       

       

      Sustaining Attention:

      What will you do to sustain students’ attentive focus throughout the lesson?

       

      The brain seeks the pleasure response to making correct predictions. When students have the opportunity to make and change predictions throughout a lesson, attention is sustained as the brain seeks clues to make accurate predictions. Individual response tools, such as white boards, can be used to make predictions and reduce mistake anxiety.

       

      1-Make the link with the Field trip to the Bread Factory and list the Previous Knowledge about “Where does the bread come from?”

      2- The teacher will start to read the book “Kika: De onde vem o pão?”

      3- Treshing the wheat and grind to find out the flour

      Motivation and Perseverance:

      Which dopamine boosters will be included in your lesson?

       

      The brain seeks the pleasure response to increased dopamine. Incorporating dopamine boosters (e.g., humor, movement, listening to music, working with peers) increases attention, motivation, and perseverance

       

      4- Finishing the reading aloud of the book

      5- Watching the video “Kika: De onde vem o pão?”

      6- Using a Graphic Organize to compare and contrast the information in the book and the video  

       

       

       

       

       

       

      Buy-in:

      How will you help students see value and relevance in what they are learning – so they want to know what you have to teach?

       

      Positive climate and prevention of high stressors promote information passage through the amygdala to the PFC. Motivation and effort increase when the brain expects pleasure. Buy-in examples include personal relevance, prediction, and performance tasks connecting to students’ interests and strengths.

       

      7- Bake the Bread in the classroom

      Every student will take part on the process, in group of 4 students at a time.

      Achievable challenge:

       How will you tailor the lesson to address students’ differences in readiness, learning profile, and interests?

       

      Differentiation allows students to work at their achievable challenge level.  The students who understand the new topic, if required to keep reviewing with the group, may become bored and therefore stressed.  If it is too challenging they will become frustrated. By providing learning opportunities within their range of achievable challenge, students engage through expectation of positive experiences.

       

      8- Students will be able to choose one of the videos from the series “Kika: De onde vem?”, (Kika: Where it comes from?) where they can find different subjects that explain things like: the waves, where the eggs comes from,  how TV works, etc)

      Students will work in pairs, considering their complementary abilities

      They are going to watch, to learn about the topic, take notes and then write it down to explain to another person. They could use different formats of graphic organizers, with more or less parts to drawn and break it down the information. They will be assisted by the teacher depending by their level.

      Frequent Formative Assessment and Feedback:

      How will you monitor students’ progress towards acquisition, meaning making, and transfer, during lesson events?

      How will students get the feedback they need and opportunities to make use of it?

       

      Effort is withheld when previous experiences have failed to achieve success. Breaking down learning tasks into achievable challenge segments, in which students experience and are aware of success on route to learning goals (e.g. analytic rubrics, effort-to-progress graphs) and reflect on what they learned and how they learned, builds their confidence that their effort can bring them closer to their goals.

       

      Students will be active in some paces of the process. The summative assessment is the nonfiction text that they will write using movie information, translating it in a graphic organizer and/or nonfiction text like “how to” or “all about”.

       

       

       

       

       

      Short-term Memory Encoding:

      How will you activate prior knowledge to promote the brain’s acquiring new input?

       

      Helping students to realize what they already know about a topic activates an existing memory pattern to which new input can link in the hippocampus.  Graphic organizers, cross-curricular units, and bulletin boards that preview upcoming units are examples of prior knowledge activation tools.

       

       

      Create a chart with the students remembering the prior knowledge that they have about the unit ALL ABOUT and HOW TO, that they had studied in their English class.

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

      Mental manipulation for Long-term Memory:

      How will students make meaning of learning so neuroplasticity constructs the neural connections of long-term memory?

       

      When students acquire the information in a variety of ways e.g. visualization, movement, reading, hearing and “translate” learning into other representations (create a narrative, symbolize through a video, synthesize into the concise summary of a tweet) the activation of the short-term memory increases its connections (dendrites, synapses, myelin) to construct long-term memory.

       

       

      As the students were exposed to a lot of different inputs, considering visualization, movement, reading, writing etc, we expect it will be built as a long-term memory.

       

       

       

       

       

       

      Executive Functions:

      Which executive function skills will be embedded in the lesson, homework, and projects? (e.g., analyze, organize, prioritize, plan goals, adapt, judge validity, think flexibly, assess risk, communicate clearly.)

       

      It is important to provide ongoing meaningful ways for students to interact with information so that they apply, activate, and strengthen their developing networks of executive function. Assignments and assessments planned to promote the use of executive functions (e.g. making judgments, supporting opinions, analyzing source validity) activate these highest cognitive networks developing in students’ brains most profoundly during the school years. 

       

      All executive functions are in place

       

      What strategies help students to…

      Set and reach goals:

       

      Individual feedback from the teacher

       

       

      Evaluate sources:

       

      videos

       

       

      Make decisions (analyze and deduce):

       

      Graphic organizers

       

       

      Support opinions:

       

      Share peers

       

       

       

       

      

      

    • Blog post
    • 6 days ago
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  • 4 Tips to Prepare Students for 4 Tips to Prepare Students for On-Demand Writing

    • From: Suzanne_Klein1
    • Description:

      Have you ever worked hard at teaching your class something only to discover that they don’t apply that learning on the test? I’ve noticed many students seem to struggle with on-demand writing during test taking.

       

      On-demand writing: a situation in which students are presented with a prompt (question or scenario) and are given a specific time limit to complete it.


      From the prototypes we are looking at, we are finding that on-demand writing is especially prevalent in Smarter Balanced and PARCC. On-demand writing is also an important skill for students to have in situations such as the rise of social media and for college and career readiness.

       

      Time management is the ultimate solution for student success with on-demand writing.  I’ve found that by teaching my students how to allot and judge time during their writing, they’ve become more confident when it comes time for on-demand writing. I did this by having my students practice writing with different timed allocations, beginning with 40 minutes. I then gradually lowered their timed writing to 10 minutes. As your students become more comfortable with timed writing, you will notice their skills improving, especially in their shorter on-demand writing pieces.

       

      Here are four tips we’ve learned that help prepare students for on-demand writing:

       

      1. Assigning writing prompts will help with on-demand writing.


      Within a WriteSteps unit you’re given the opportunity to assign a prompt or a “free choice” write. Have your students write in response to the prompt in a specific time frame. When assigning a prompt, choose one that relates to your other subject area s. By having students write about what they’ve read in ELA, science, social studies, or math, you’re helping prepare them for the on-demand writing they will do on tests, in other classes, and in the work place.

       

      2. Planning helps students focus their thoughts and organize their on-demand writing piece.



      I always have students plan before they write. This is taught in a step-by-step, strategic way. The goal is that through repetition, students will start to plan automatically whenever a writing assignment is given, whether it is a long writing piece or a shorter on-demand piece.

       

      Students in kindergarten begin practicing stating the topic. 1st graders write a paragraph for which they have planned the topic and include three facts or reasons. Students in grades 2-5 become skilled at planning multiple paragraph essays.

       

      3. Conferencing with students boosts their self esteem and confidence, which is needed for on-demand writing.


      Help each student identify their personalized goals by using a rubric, editing checklist, or revising checklist, and by asking your student to reflect on their writing. I’ve found this helps students find their errors when they’re writing an on-demand piece for which they will have no time for peer editing and revising.

       

      Students will not need to identify all errors in a timed writing piece, just those that might impede understanding. It is the philosophy of many standardized tests, including PARCC and Smarter Balanced, that spelling and grammar do not harm a student’s score unless they make it difficult for the reader to understand what the writer is saying.

       

      4. Self-assessment and reflection help a student to know themselves as a writer, which is beneficial for on-demand writing.


      One of my favorites tools that I like my students to use is the six traits rubrics. Students score their own writing and use the document to set goals for their writing improvement. Not only do students fill out the rubric, but they answer a short questionnaire that asks them to identify their strengths, weaknesses, goals, and areas for which they would like teacher assistance. This type of self reflection helps students prepare and improve from one writing piece to the next, regardless of length and time frame given.

       

      The on-demand type of writing is becoming more prevalent in social media, CCSS testing, and in preparing students for college and career readiness. One of the four ways teachers can increase students’ aptitude for writing on-demand is by including both longer duration writing with all steps of the writing process, as well as shorter on-demand writing.   

       

      Have you noticed a difference in your students’ longer duration writing versus their on-demand writing? What stories can you share with us?

      

    • Blog post
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  • Leadership Through the Looking Leadership Through the Looking Glass: A Tale of Two Teacher-Leaders

    • From: Krista_Rundell
    • Description:

      On March 15, 2014, a friend and fellow ASCD Emerging LeaderAllison Rodman, and I had an opportunity to present at the ASCD Annual Conference in Los Angeles, California.  The topic was "Teacher-Leadership" and the goal was to organize our ideas in the Ignite format.


      While we were both used to speaking at conferences and in front of large groups of people, neither of us had experience with this format.  Ignite limits the presenter to 20 slides, each on a 30-second timer.  This organizes the presentation to a manageable five minutes, but forces the presenter to remain focused in order to efficiently convey the true message of the presentation.  The task at-hand was exciting, challenging, and daunting.  Could we actually do this and be successful?

       

      Allie and I live about an hour away from one another, but our crazy schedules did not allow us to meet in person to organize our ideas or to practice.  We worked through google docs and phone calls to compile the PowerPoint, divided up ownership of the slides, then finally were able to practice together just 30 minutes prior to the actual session.

       

      Other Emerging Leader-friends were also part of this session, presenting their own insights into Teacher-Leadership.  We jested that we'd be the only ones to show up to the session but that at least we'd be there to support one another.  Our jokes became obsolete when the room filled to capacity of 150 people and others had to continually be turned away due to lack of seating and safety regulations.  Needless to say, our nerves were getting the better of us!

       

      I am incredibly proud of the work that Allie and I did leading up to that presentation, as well as the actual presentation itself.  We shared our professional experiences with one another, divulged our fears with one another, laughed with one other, learned from one other, and ultimately, achieved success together.  We challenged ourselves, stretched beyond our comfort zone, and drew on the wisdom of others for guidance (shout out to Alina Davis!).  Now we have a story to give back to those who come after us.

       

      We are teacher-leaders.

       

      P.S. Allie organized our slides and spoken words into a beautiful blog post on her site, The Learning Loop.  Please visit and enjoy!

    • Blog post
    • 6 days ago
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  • What I Learned Lately (WILL 13 What I Learned Lately (WILL 13/14 #18)

    • From: Joshua_Garcia
    • Description:

      What I Learned Lately (WILL 13/14 #18)

      4/16/2014

      @Garciaj9Josh

       

      “Are you OK, Am I OK?”

      How do I ensure that today I am wiser, calmer, and more relentless than yesterday?  As I continue to learn, I find that leadership in its easy silence of my thoughts, is truly as simple and complex as – “to be or not to be”.  I have found that in this time of year, we are both tired and excited.  It is an interesting time for educators, communities and most importantly our students.  During the spring many would like to rest.  Some lose their urgency and others may never have had it.  Yet, I see others that thrive during this time.  I am left to wonder if urgency is lost or mistaken for crisis when we are tired.  How do we continue to be urgent until the very last minute?  As an organization, can we handle relentless urgency?

      For our students, this time of year is filled with the realities of time running out and excitement of the unknown.  What will I do this summer? What will next year be like?  What will my next school be like?  What will it be like after graduation?  Will I make it this year?  Will I make it today?  Additionally, there is a sense of running out of time.  I heard one student recently say, “It is isn’t because they (staff) haven’t been telling us too, we just haven’t done it.”

      As a leader how do you “check yourself”?  How do you know if your vision is just?  How do you know if those who you are trying to serve value your service?  We are in the final stretch of the school year, we will blink and we will be headed into summer.  As we relentlessly drive forward, we must be clear.  For those who put their own interest ahead of the students that we serve, we must have no time.  Amid the doubt and unknown, we must relentlessly put our trust in our students’ abilities and in our staffs’ commitment to serve each of them.  Am I Ok?  Are we Ok?  Our pain and our struggle is our everyday life.  I pray that we never become numb to them, for I know that we will have given up.  The time is now to become urgent, one last push, our best effort, and I am confident that we will ensure student success. 

      Finally from, “Edmund Vance Cooke”

      Did you tackle that trouble that came your way?

      With a resolute heart and cheerful?

      Or hide your face from light of day

      With a craven soul and fearful?

      Oh, a trouble’s a ton, or a trouble’s an ounce,

      Or a trouble is what you make it.

      And it isn’t the fact you’re hurt that counts,

      But only how did you take it?

    • Blog post
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  • I hate testing not standards I hate testing not standards

    • From: Erik_Palmer
    • Description:

      Where the hell have you been?

       

      Pardon my language, but I do want to ask this to those of you who are vehement about how bad lots of testing is and how horrible high stakes tests are. I have hated all the testing and the Big Test for twenty years now.  Where were all of you?  Why didn’t you ever join me?  This testing mania has been around for decades and now suddenly you figure out that it’s bad for kids? And why do you blame it on Common Core?

                 

      A little history.  We have had high stakes testing for about twenty years now.  I was teaching when Colorado adopted the Big Test, the Colorado Student Assessment Program.  The governor at the time was sure education would improve if we had a Big Test For All To Take.  I was outspoken at the time that the test was unnecessary and bad for students. The governor and a congressman who was a big supporter of the test were persuaded to take the 11th grade test.  The governor refused to have his test scored; the congressman said he hoped his test would be shredded.  I was livid and I wrote a guest column for the paper: how valid is the test if very successful people can fail it?  It must measure something that doesn’t matter in life.  And what a waste of time and money!  This was 15 YEARS BEFORE COMMON CORE.

                 

      My district purchased test prep packets and we were supposed to go through them for the month leading to the Big Test.  Students and teachers got seriously stressed at CSAP time. I felt the packets were not the best use of instructional time and, in defiance, never used them.  (My students test scores were as high or higher than my peers who used the packet in fear of the big test.) This started 15 YEARS BEFORE COMMON CORE.


      I had my son opt out of the Big Test.  I felt it wasted a week of his life, had no instructional value, and told teachers nothing about him that they didn’t already know. This was 10 YEARS BEFORE COMMON CORE.

       

      My district added MAP testing two times a year, DRA testing two times a year, and a district-created writing assessment four times a year.  I gave the first writing assessment and realized that it had no instructional value so I never gave it again.  I was prepared to use the “asking forgiveness is easier than asking permission” defense, but no one ever noticed.  I was livid again.  Why all this testing?  No one can keep up with it!  This started 8 YEARS BEFORE COMMON CORE.

                 

      I was teaching 8th grade when the district added the EXPLORE test.  The EXPLORE test predicts how well kids will do on the PLAN test which predicts how well kids will do on the ACT test which has almost no predictive value about how well kids will do in college.  I was an outspoken critic.  More money wasted, more instructional time gone, no information that I didn’t already have.  This started 4 YEARS BEFORE COMMON CORE.

                 

      Where was the outrage all of this time?  Why was I the only voice against non-stop testing, test prep, and the Big Test?  If you think this is a Common Core issue, you are way wrong. If you hate the Common Core because of testing, you are way off base.

                 

      Are people making money from new tests? Probably, but I never hear a peep from you about the insane SAT or ACT preparation industries. Are there glitches in the new online tests? Of course, but at least testing is finally getting into the 21st century instead of looking exactly like the Iowa Test of Basic Skills I took half a century ago (46 YEARS BEFORE COMMON CORE!). But still, I agree: this testing mania is insane!

                 

      And here is the mind-blowing part: I don’t hate the Common Core State Standards.

       

      For some time now, I have been asking haters to tell me exactly which standard they don’t like. You don’t like “Determine the main idea of a text; recount the key details and explain how they support the main idea?” You don’t like “Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation?” You don’t like “Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate?” Well then, tell me exactly which ones need to be tossed out? NOT ONE PERSON HAS EVER ANSWERED THIS QUESTION. Only a fool sees things in black and white; all good or all bad; everything or nothing. Aren’t there some good ideas here?

                 

      More history. When I started teaching, I was told to teach language arts. I had some ideas of things to do, but I never had a clear idea of what the end result was supposed to be. I was told to assign book reports and teach topic sentences and other things, but everyone was weak on where we were all supposed to be headed. I would not have minded at all someone saying, “At the end of this year, see if you can get kids to recognize and correct vague pronouns (i.e., ones with unclear or ambiguous antecedents).” Ah, that’s what appropriate for this age! That’s my goal. We’ll shoot for that.

                 

      And that is all a standard is.

      No drama.

      No all or nothing.

      No “I hate Bill Gates.”

      And definitely no “But testing is horrible!!!!”

       

                 

      I am happy that after twenty years, people are joining me on the Too Much Testing Bandwagon. I am seriously disappointed, however, that people can’t see a distinction between a standard and a test. And I am shocked at the number of folks who haven’t figured out that you can have standards and not have ridiculous amounts of tests. They do not logically have to go together. You can (and should?) hate testing but not standards.

      

      

    • Blog post
    • 1 week ago
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  • Failing Goals of Education Failing Goals of Education

    • From: Tom_Whitby
    • Description:

      I recently had a discussion with a friend John, who is a Superintendent in a rural school district. We were discussing his district specifically and what it was providing its students in the way of relevant programs of study. The conversation came around to a question often asked and an answer that is too familiar. I asked what the purpose of school was? As educators what is it that we want for our students at the end of the journey of K-12? Of course the answer was to get them to college or to get them to a good job.

      My friend was consulting with a number of local companies to determine what they were looking for in employees. He was also consulting with area colleges to see what they expected to receive as college ready students. He was doing everything a responsible, caring superintendent could do in order to properly prepare his students for the stated goals of education, getting to college, or getting a job.

      Thinking about the goals, as pragmatic as they are, I was really having trouble with the idea of what the goals were. We were considering limiting kids’ learning to the limited needs an industrial complex, or the present entry requirements of institutions that are slow to change in an ever-changing culture.

      My other problem with these almost universal goals of American education is that for too many kids these goals are not an inspiration to learn. If college is truly a goal for education, why is it that only a third of Americans have completed four-year degrees?  The first answer that comes to mind is that most were not able to handle the studies involved. A more likely answer however, is that a degree has become cost prohibitive. People can no longer afford to go to college without incurring massive debt. How can any kid embrace a goal of education knowing that it is financially unattainable, or that it will come at a cost of unending loan payments? This is not unlike promising every kid playing sports should have an expectation to play in any of the national, professional sports leagues. Few might, but most will not.

      This goal of a college career is certainly less of an incentive when we consider schools in areas of poverty. Middle-income people may have some shot at college with the help of family, but that puts the student and the family into years of debt. What chance do poor kids have, especially in the current political climate of limiting any government funding for anyone?  Nationally, student debt is rising at an astronomical rate because of the need to fulfill the goal of college and its promise of financial security upon completion. Poor kids are told that college will break the cycle of poverty. How is that an incentive for a kid who knows its likelihood will never happen? Education’s goal is not the kid’s goal. That is not a winning strategy.

      Now for the second goal of education for those who we recognize as the non-college ready students. Our goal is to place them in the labor force. We ask business and industry what they require of their employees, and then we work that into our education system. We have then prepared our students for the workforce of today. The problem here is that they are not prepared for the workforce of tomorrow. That is more likely the place that they will live. We saw the result of this when the economy went bust. Many workers who found themselves again in the job market, were not prepared for the world of work today. We can’t program kids to fit into a workforce that may not support their skills after they graduate. Business, industry and our entire society are subject to rapid change driven by the evolution of technology. Think of how different the workforce will look from when a kid enters school until his or her graduation. In that time, that twelve-year span, how many businesses died, and how many started anew? Yet, we will have programmed our kids to be work ready for a workforce that may no longer need those skills. Think of how long a time it took moving typewriters out of education in a world of word processors.

      If college readiness and work readiness are failing goals in education, what should the goal of education be? I don’t know. I think life readiness or learning readiness might be more fitting for our world today. Teaching kids how to learn and continue to do so outside of a classroom is the best way to prepare them for whatever path they choose.  A goal of self-reliance might serve kids better in the future. To enable a kid to learn without a teacher is the best gift a teacher can give a student.

      Change will be slow however, because all of our educators and all of our society have been programmed to believe that school is to prepare kids for college or work. We have come to believe that education is salvation, when in fact it is the learning that is important. Education is a certificate of learning that comes at great expense. It does have its place however, and we will always hold it in high regard. The fact is however that fewer people will be able to pay for that piece of paper, but the learning it represents may cost a great deal less, not in terms of effort or work, but in terms of dollars and cents. In the future it may not be the degree, but the learning that is important. Maybe we need to reassess our goals in education? 

    • Blog post
    • 1 week ago
    • Views: 111
  • Service Learning Service Learning

    • From: Mike_Hennessy
    • Description:

      Many school districts in America have a Service Learning requirement. An idea well-intentioned but poorly implemented in most schools. Teachers and Administrators who have never even done volunteer work now demand that their students do what they have never done. Needless to say these administrators offer nothing but lip service to the cause. We set the requirement but then we back off, we want nothing to do with these service learning requirements. "That's your problem kiddo" go get it done. And by the way stop whining about it, just go do it. The teenager is now left to fend for themselves with little help from the adults in their world. Oh, sure we offer the opportunity for the students to meet after school with their counselor or the service learning coordinator to discuss upcoming opportunities but what about the adults who stand in front of them every day? Where are they? They are nowhere to be found.

       Let's be honest we forced this requirement upon our students because we believed it's so damned important but the truth is we do not walk the walk and talk the talk. If teachers and administrators truly believe that service learning is so damned important (and even if they do not) it is about time educators began to support the service learning agenda. It is about time educators stopped hiding behind empty rhetoric and began including service learning into the curriculum.

       Every single requirement for students is supported at school except service learning. Driver’s education is supported with classes and books, so is physical education, the constitution exam, health, sex education and the arts. But when it comes to service learning we kick the kids to the curb and wish them luck. Then we blame them when the appropriate number of hours is not met in the given time frame. If schools are going to make service learning mandatory then it's about time these educators began supporting this requirement with more than slogans and suggestions.

      The solution is simple. Every teacher at school must include two service learning projects into their unit plans every year. If the subject you are teaching is relevant then there must be some practical way to integrate this into your instruction. If you cannot do this then your subject is not worth teaching.

      Schools exist to prepare our young to be productive members of society. How is this possible if we do not demonstrate how the topic presented in class each day applies to a real world situation? Service Learning is the only graduation requirement we throw at students with little or no support. If we really believe in the value of service learning then let's start supporting that requirement in deeds not just with words. Let’s bring service learning into the curriculum front and center. Let’s give everybody a stake in the responsibility to complete and implement the service learning requirement

       

    • Blog post
    • 1 week ago
    • Views: 109
  • Teaching with an Adventurous S Teaching with an Adventurous Spirit

    • From: Tiffany_Della_Vedova
    • Description:

      

      As much I flooded my blog Teach on the Edge with shameless bragging over my preparations for and "reasons" to, it was hard to miss that I was in a triathlon race this weekend. When it was over, my 28 days of race blogging also came to an end, and I was left thinking about the connections between two central pieces of my identity: fitness and education. I feel strongly that one informs the other constantly, so I set out to explore these connections in an April blogging series: Teach Fit. 

      Teach Fit Tip: Teach with an Adventurous Spirit

      One synapse through which energy flows between all the facets of my personal and professional life is adventure. When I think of adventure, my heart returns to my childhood favorite The Goonies, in which an eclectic crew of well-intentioned, ill-prepared teens sets off to find the hidden pirate treasure that will "save the Goondocks" from foreclosure. With no forethought, the group hops on their bicycles with nothing more than an old map and key, an asthma inhaler, and a ton of brash courage. Along the way, they find friendship, purpose, compassion, inner talent, and (of course) the treasure.

      While it would be hardly responsible to send students off to impending doom by booby trap, it seems today that too many teachers are fearful of teaching with an adventurous spirit. As I stood in front of the waves on Sunday's race day, it was not without a fair amount of trepidation, but I also felt sure that I could at least survive and succeed given my level of preparation. In an age of so many creative and collaborative possibilities, educators would benefit from confidence in their abilities in order to dive into an adventurous sea. When facing something new or unexpected, we need to remember that we have arrived on this shoreline of possibility with no trivial amount of preparation. Unlike our beloved Goonies, we have far more in our packs to help us avoid danger and find the learning treasures with our students. Here are five adventurous seas most teachers face and should feel confident diving into...

      1) Tech Integration: Beyond checking age-appropriate guidelines for platform use, which are clearly outlined in the user terms, the integration of technology, especially that which has been specifically designed for the classroom, is a safe sea. While there will be waves to contend with, nobody is going to drown. Allowing students to play around in the surf and share with each other how they used different techniques to arrive at the same task completion is a great practice.

      2) Project-Based Learning: The best projects are often the most open-ended ones. It's uncomfortable for teachers to set forth projects with vague rubrics, but students can benefit from ones that set high standards for creativity, collaboration, and quality, with very little else detailed. 

      3) Choice-Based Exploration: As long as the prerequisite standards have been set so that students know how they must show they have learned, allowing students to choose what they learn and design their own demonstrations of learning is an excellent way to foster agency and creativity.

      4) Unfamiliar Topic: In today's data age, information is as easy to come by asking Siri. What is far more difficult to find is guidance, rapport, and connection. Allowing for student choice sometimes means allowing for topics outside our expertise. That's okay though because teachers are adept at the latter skills so as to guide students to the best resources and connections. We are boosters of brain power and creative, critical thinking...not databases for facts. Think Socrates--he never answered any questions!

      5) Being Ourselves: This is a personal and sometimes polarizing topic. Teachers cannot and should not try to be separate people in class and outside of school. While it would be unprofessional to over share information about one's personal life, our families and our interests make us human and relatable. These are two qualities a computer can never be. Yet, teachers are understandably fearful of sharing about their family if they feel the environment is intolerant. A moving example is Chris Friend's Edutopia blog "Silence is not Golden" in which Chris explores his missed opportunity in helping students embrace their own identities and differences. "Because I never brought up my sexuality on campus, I continued the discrimination. By hiding, I silently expressed my fear and added to the problem I feebly wanted to protect students from. I was trying to make sure that students felt safe in my classroom. Instead, I showed them that even I was not." 

      There is no shortage of fear in teaching. Sometimes we fear for ourselves, but mostly we fear the impact our mistakes will have on our students. We feel the weight of each interaction because we know that there are no neutral moments or do-overs. Still, with safe boundaries for exploration, we can trust in our skills as educators when faced with some trepidation. Our adventurous spirits can inspire our students to learn at new heights if we provision our packs with trust, creativity, and strong rapport. 

    • Blog post
    • 1 week ago
    • Views: 90
  • Leader to Leader News: April 2 Leader to Leader News: April 2014

  • Five Ways for Teacher-Leaders Five Ways for Teacher-Leaders to Bolster the Effectiveness of Peers

    • From: Krista_Rundell
    • Description:

      This post is a part of the ASCD Forum conversation “How to cultivate and support teacher leaders?” To learn more about the ASCD Forum, go to http://edge.ascd.org/page/ascd-forum.html


      How many educators have “fallen” into a teacher-leadership role without intention?  As a high school social studies instructor, I continually strived to refine my skills both the art and science of teaching.  In my ninth year, I was encouraged to apply for a grant-funded position that would take me not only out of my classroom, but also out of my comfort zone.  However, I also knew that I would regret passing up this opportunity for personal and professional growth. 

      During my five years as a Curriculum and Instructional Technology Coach, my growth was exponential.  My most pivotal insights involved learning how to best move the district towards achieving its mission and vision through ongoing, job-embedded, collaborative, and supported professional development. 

      It is my hope that what I have learned can serve not only as a guide for other teacher-leaders, but for all educational stakeholders interested in building a climate and culture dedicated to staff development and student achievement.

      1.     Be a life-long learner: Model continuous learning alongside peers.

            Learning can be engaging, enthusiastically contagious, and invigorating.  Experiencing that “AHA!” moment-of-realization continues to be remarkable, even in adulthood.  Teacher-leaders share the joy of this adventure with peers, engage curiosity, and spark momentum for knowledge-seeking.  Similarly, they also recognize that everyone has valuable contributions that add to the collective learning of a group, and thus, encourage the facilitation of learning over the “sage on the stage” mentality.

      2.     Be a contributor: Build a Personalized Learning Network.

            Connecting with other dedicated educators opens doors for the permeation of new concepts, astute advice, and best practices.  Teacher-leaders exchange ideas with their network, then share these perspectives with peers in the district to help direct next course of action.  Better yet, teacher-leaders invite interested peers to join their online network (see #5 below).  These additional viewpoints can help direct the movement of initiatives forward or provide guidance when the path needs to be altered. 

      3.     Be a canvasser: Seek input and multiple perspectives when introducing, modifying, or deepening initiatives.

            Valuing the opinions of others, even those who disagree, builds character, collegiality, and a positive climate in which learning and growth can flourish.  Teacher-leaders suspend judgment, actively listening to and incorporating the ideas, concerns, and solutions of others.

      4.     Be an advocate: Create a communication bridge between administrators and teachers.

             Uniting stakeholders helps reinforce our common goal to provide a valuable, meaningful educational experience for our students.  Oftentimes, our own vision is limited by the constraints of our daily schedule, the pressures of external forces, and the determined focus on accomplishing our own tasks.  Teacher-leaders weave connections between administrators and teachers to address the “whats, hows, and whys” to create a deeper understanding between both groups.

      5.     Be a capacity-builder: Stand next to colleagues as they integrate their new learning into practice - and reflect with them afterward.

            Offering to co-teach with teachers integrating a new practice can alleviate feelings of uncertainty, promote confidence, and lead to fun, engaging collaboration.  Teacher-leaders spend time with colleagues reflecting on the effectiveness of lessons in relation to student learning, focusing what went well, and addressing what could be improved.  In addition to building capacity among staff, this interaction shows students that teachers work collectively to provide the most effective instruction in order to meet their varied needs.

      “Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that but simply growth. We are happy when we are growing.”  ― W.B. Yeats

    • Blog post
    • 1 week ago
    • Views: 153
  • 9 Ways Students Can Develop a 9 Ways Students Can Develop a Growth Mindset

    • From: Ryan_Thomas1
    • Description:

      Last week, Larry Ferlazzo reblogged a photograph of a growth-mindset chart he came across on Twitter. I liked so much that I decided to reformat it into a printable version.

      Growth Mindset






                                                              New Call to action

    • Blog post
    • 1 week ago
    • Views: 390
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