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115 Search Results for ""habits of mind""

  • 7 Tips to Deal with Difficult 7 Tips to Deal with Difficult Student Dialogue

    • From: Jennifer_Davis_Bowman
    • Description:

      Difficult conversations are inevitable.  It hurts my heart when students try and try and yet they do not get the recognition (or score) they feel their effort warrants.  Further, it stinks, when you are required to have an awkward conversation with a parent-you have to pull the sheet from over their eyes and discuss how their baby (who technically is not a baby and who physically is bigger than me) has flaws and daily struggles in the classroom. 


      As we face these challenging conversations, the outcome only adds more stress.  In thinking about my talks with students over the years, the conversations rarely end as I would have liked.  Unfortunately, students have stormed out of the room.  There has been name calling-recently, a student nonchalantly noted, “You are just a teacher, you can’t do anything,” Of course, tears have been shed (many times by me-but in my defense, at least I was able to avoid the “ugly cry” that Oprah jokes about ). 


      So, can we learn to successfully navigate difficult talks with students?  Below are a few tips to help start the conversation-no pun intended:


      A communication strategy that is a personal favorite for me is incorporating story books when having a tough talk with a child.  If you match the child’s concern with a character or situation from a book, you may use the story as a starting point for the conversation.  If you want to take a look at my research in this area you can find it here


      A strong teacher-student relationship makes all the difference.  Unsurprisingly, research on improving conversations between physicians and patients confirms that when you maintain a relationship with a foundation of trust, you are “better positioned” to have tough conversations. 


      Similarly, feelings about your relationship are influential as well.  We hear of the ill effects of words during interpersonal conflicts-remember the chant to downplay the damage of words-“sticks and stones will break your bones…”, but research suggests that relationship satisfaction plays a bigger part than communication style in managing a verbal conflicts.  Specifically, how you perceive your relationship is more powerful than what is said during a heated conversation.  The take away for me is that if you have built a strong relationship with your students, it is ok if you do not know exactly what to say during a difficult conversation.  In the end, you will be able to reach a resolution that everyone is comfortable with. 


      In addition to strengthening the teacher-student bond, avoidance may be a strategy worth considering.  Keep in mind that avoiding the conversation has drawbacks, but in one conflict management study with couples, it was determined that avoidance is ok when there is time to go back to visit the issue later.  So it sounds like if a conversation is needed, but it is more convenient to speak with the student after school, or during a scheduled conference, delaying the talk may be effective.  Also, the study revealed that age and duration play a part in increased avoidance.  So, it seems that the avoidance strategy may be useful for older students, veteran teachers, and schools that utilize looping (same teacher stays with same group of students each year).


      If the idea of avoidance makes you uncomfortable, a more well-known strategy is trying to better engage the student in the conversation.  Although, we as teachers often divulge or own flaws to help the student see us as real people, research reveals that this may be a mistake.  One classroom study determined that teacher negative self-disclosure made students think less of the teacher.  My take away is that having a “pity party” with students may not be as effective as utilizing genuine empathy to facilitate teacher-student conversations. 


      Also, I found a body of research that links touching behavior with positive child outcomes.  For instance, touch helps with the growth of premature babies, sleep problems, and colic.  Further, cultures where more physical expression is shown to children, these places had lower incidences of adult physical violence.  A study with Greek preschool teachers (Stamatis & Stonkatas, 2009) revealed that the teacher’s touching habits resulted in the children feeling more comfortable and less insecure.  So, if you are having a difficult conversation with a small child, consider the benefits of tactile behavior.


      In my search for discussion strategies, I found Oprah Winfrey’s Life Class very resourceful.  Specifically, the episode with Life Coach Iyanla Vanzant offers a series of rules for managing hard conversations.  Some of these guidelines include setting ground rules, speaking from your own experience (using “I feel” vs. “You are”), and checking for understanding (differentiating between what was said and what was heard).  A video clip of those guidelines can be viewed here.


      These ideas are just a start.  What strategies seem to truly make a difference for you when having a sensitive conversation with a student?  What is your go-to method?  If you have tried any of the suggestions listed, how useful were they for you?  Also, can you share how effective or ineffective the strategy was for your students?  If you feel that my list is missing something, or you have insight on another approach, please leave a comment below.

    • Blog post
    • 1 month ago
    • Views: 1195
  • Good Better Best In Work, Rela Good Better Best In Work, Relationships...The Similarities

    • From: Kimberly_Horst
    • Description:


      Good, Better, Best...In Work and Relationships, the Similarities

      I like you are most likely involved in some type of observation plan. I like you find it tedious and hard work. I like you get hung up on jargon and I like you initially wondered why we really all have to do this in the first place, I confess.

      It takes time for the pieces of the puzzle to fit and I look desperately around me for how they are supposed to by making connections to what I already know and tag this to it. So, as I was sitting in a great and helpful meeting about iObservation (based on the Marazano Framework) the most interesting thoughts came to mind which made me smile. Working hard at our job, especially as an education professional is VERY similar to working hard on being married.

      If you are reading this, you are most likely married. My guess is that if you have been married more than 7 years...or more than 14 years or if you are like my parents and inching to the 50 year mark, you intentionally spend time cultivating habits that create a strong, healthy and thriving marriage. Without doing so your marriage will die. Also, it is important that two people are together working on themselves individually as well as working on the combination of themselves that make a marriage. A strong healthy self will bring the best of themselves to the marriage. One person cannot carry a marriage to make it strong. When that is done, a great divide happens and the ramifications of that divide create a survival mode..not a thriving mode..and sometimes, surviving only lasts for a little bit.

      If you are reading this, you are most likely in the same field as I am, education. I find that this process of iObservation or using a framework of some kind for teacher evaluations important. It is vital to reflect on, or take a pulse of yourself in your profession. I ask the students to do it in the classroom and it is only fair that I do so myself. When I stop and think about how am I doing and try to be honest, I am setting myself up for greater successes long term. I am able to create new goals and make a plan to achieve them. A goal with no plan is just a wish and that won't get you far. Why should I not critique myself? Why should I not be critiqued by others as well as my boss?

      So I looked up some lists and organized them below...of what makes a successful marriage and what makes a successful teacher. You will smile at the similarities and hopefully find yourself in them.

      But be honest. Okay, I will. I am NOT perfect nor do I pretend to be..or want to be..because that is not a growth mindset. I know where I fail...and it is okay with me when others in kindness to help me grow as a teacher do too. So I can approach this list and think..where do I need to grow?

      Mark Goulston, M.D. Ten Habits of Happy Couples. 

      25 Things Successful Teachers Do Differently by the  Teach Thought Staff.

      So briefly, here are some similarities between the two articles that can make your work as a professional educator OR as a person in a marriage or significant relationships moving forward reach the ROCK STAR level, and remember, it is a JOURNEY not a DESTINATION!

      • Keep it all interesting in your profession / relationship.
      • Walk side by side..not in front of not behind...stay together! Leave no one behind!
      • Make trust and forgivenessfocus on the positive.

      • Greet each other in kindness as well as bring positive closure to conversation.
      • Take a pulse of your relationships...do you need to tune things up? Don't be a zombie!!! 
      • Honor and respect one another.

      • Have clear objectives...what are your goals for your professional situation / relationship?
      • Have a sense of purpose. Post a mission statement for yourself / relationship. 
      • Learning, relationships, and education are a messy... much like planting. It takes time, and some dirt, to grow. (This is why my blog has the title it does.)

      • Have a positive attitude! That changes everything every where you go and with each life you touch. 
      • Expect success!
      • Have fun together and laughter is so good for work / relationships!!! 

      • Be a risk taker. Do you need to step out of the box in your profession /relationship? Do it. Be Brave! Break out of the box! 
      • Reflect on your profession / relationship...adjust the sails. 
      • Seek out mentors for your profession on your own as well as mentors for your relationship. Spend time gleaning information and help along the way. It is important! Never stop learning! 

      • Adapt and welcome change in your profession / relationship andexplore new avenues to take together!
      • Be a student of your students as well as a student of your spouse or significant other.There is always something to learn! Always.

      In closing, status quo does not work. It won't get you anywhere you want to be not in your profession and not in your relationships. So, that is why I don't fret or balk at the process that we are now doing at work...in fact, with a growth mindset, it is rather interesting and fun and I am learning a great deal about myself!!! 
    • Blog post
    • 7 months ago
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  • Beyond The “Scary White Screen Beyond The “Scary White Screen”: A Writing Strategy For Students

    • From: Ryan_Thomas1
    • Description:

      writing strategyBefore I started teaching, I spent five years as a writing tutor in the Marygrove College writing center. While each student had a unique set of needs, most struggled to commit their initial ideas to paper.

      Like most of us, students want to get it right on the first shot. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. Writing is chaotic. It’s messy. Why? Because most of us (that includes professionals) don’t really know what and how we’re going to say what we want to say until we actually start writing.

      To help students move beyond the “scary white screen,” I came to rely on a writing strategy called clustering. If you’re not familiar with this invention strategy, the student starts by jotting down a nucleus word; this should be a word or phrase that is related to the assigned topic. The nucleus word should trigger a series of other word associations that students continue to jot down quickly and without censorship.

      It’s a chaotic process, but even after five minutes of clustering, most of my students were astounded by how much they knew and how many questions they had about topics they, not even five minutes before, vehemently claimed were “boring.” 

      writing strategy 2While I started teaching students to cluster by having them write on a scrap sheet of paper, I eventually turned to a free web application called bubbl.us.

      During our session, the student and I would read through the clustering handout (you’ll find this below). Then I would pull up bubbl.us on my laptop and turn it over to the student.

      bubbl.us. is convenient for a few reasons: First, there’s no learning curve. Second, it allowed me to save a digital version of the cluster and email it to the student. When we picked up the following week, all I had to do was pull up the file and I would know exactly what we discussed in our previous session.

      In my experience, this exercise is helpful with students of all ages and abilities. I even use it myself. To help you teach clustering to your students, I’ve included the handout I used with my own students below.

      What is Clustering? And How Can It Help Me Develop My ideas?
      Most serious and experienced writers incorporate some sort of writing strategy into their habits, so you should feel no shame in using them. In the following exercise, you’ll learn how to use clustering as a way of developing your ideas.

      First, you must think of a word or phrase. You can do this with any random word or phrase, but it is far more effective to choose something that is related to the assigned topic. Say you are writing an essay about your experience with the American Dream….well, “American Dream” might be the best phrase to begin with. Here’s what to do next:

      • Get comfortable with the process of clustering by letting your playful, creative mind make connections. Maintain a childlike attitude by letting whatever associations come to you fall out onto paper. Avoid judging or choosing. Simply let go and write. Let the words or phrases radiate outward from the nucleus word; draw a circle around each of them if you like. Connect those associations that seem related with lines—even add arrows to indicate direction if you feel compelled. Just don’t get caught up in organization and tidiness; it’s not important now.

      • Write down anything that is triggered by the key word—and whatever you do, don’t inhibit or censor yourself. At this point, nothing is silly, stupid, inane or unrelated. If you plateau and can’t think of anything, write, “I don’t know what to say.”

      • Every writer is different, but you should know when to stop clustering when you feel a strong, sudden urge to write—this usually happens after a couple of minutes when you feel a shift that says, “Aha! I think I know what I want to say.”

      • You’re ready to write. Scan your clustered perceptions and insights. Something therein will suggest your first sentence to you, and you’re off. Should you feel stuck, however, write about anything from the cluster to get you started. The next thing and the next thing after will come because your right hemisphere has already perceived a pattern of meaning. Trust it.



                                                         Social Media Strategies for Teachers Webinar

    • Blog post
    • 7 months ago
    • Views: 290
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  • Habits of Instructional Leader Habits of Instructional Leaders

    • From: Steven_Weber
    • Description:

      Instructional leadership is essential in K-12 schools. What is an instructional leader? A second grade teacher can serve as an instructional leader. Principals and assistant principals should also be viewed as instructional leaders. A central office staff member may have the title of Chief Academic Officer or Curriculum Director, but that does not mean they are the only instructional leader in the school district. Once teachers begin communicating with teachers in the same grade level and make connections with the next level (i.e., middle school and high school transition), students will benefit from increased clarity on the essential learning outcomes.

      One of the tasks of curriculum leadership is to use the right methods to bring the written, the taught, the supported, and the tested curriculums into closer alignment, so that the learned curriculum is maximized” (Glatthorn, 1987, p. 4).

      How do you 'maximize' the learned curriculum? Developing the local curriculum, curriculum alignment, analyzing assessment data, and meeting in job-alike teams are important activities. However, meetings can often become a weekly ritual that do not lead to increased student understanding. An instructional leader is constantly focused on 'maximizing' student understanding. During the No Child Left Behind Era, student achievement was defined in most schools as passing a high stakes test. When instructional leaders define test results as student achievement, most meetings focus on test prep, curriculum reductionism, and closing gaps. Closing gaps is critical and ethical work. Closing gaps should not mean teaching to the middle or ignoring our gifted students who need challenging work. Schools throughout the United States have witnessed artificial gains in student test scores by eliminating science, social studies, art, music, PE, and other non-tested subjects. Glatthorn's question is one that drives the work of instructional leaders. Does test prep or curriculum reductionism 'maximize' student learning?


      3 Ways To Grow As An Instructional Leader

      1.  Join a Twitter Chat

      I have been participating in Twitter chats for the past two years. When I describe Twitter chats to other educators, they often look at me like a deer in headlights. Why would someone teach school all day and then join a Twitter chat at 9:00 pm on a Thursday night? How could a one hour chat with educators across the world support teaching and learning in my school? I have met educators in all 50 states. As a principal, I learn from principals, teachers, superintendents, university professors, education consultants, and others who are passionate about teaching and learning. Educators share links to their blogs, school websites, curriculum maps, school goals, presentations, family resources, and more! A Twitter chat is similar to attending a national conference. You will be exposed to multiple perspectives and it will challenge your own views on education. The conversations are lively, but professional. If you ask a question, you may get answers from New York, California, Arkansas, North Carolina, and Texas. Twitter chats will inspire an instructional leader and will offer multiple opportunities for professional growth.


      2.  Join and Become Active in a Professional Learning Community

      According to Schmoker (2006), "Mere collegiality won't cut it. Even discussions about curricular issues or popular strategies can feel good but go nowhere. The right image to embrace is a group of teachers who meet regularly to share, refine and assess the impact of lessons and strategies continuously to help increasing numbers of students learn at higher levels" (p.178). Schools throughout the United States are operating as a Professional Learning Community (PLC). If your school still allows teachers to operate in isolation, you can learn more about a PLC at http://www.allthingsplc.info


      “Schools committed to higher levels of learning for both students and adults will not be content with the fact that a structure is in place to ensure that educators meet on a regular basis. They will recognize that the question, ‘What will we collaborate about,” is so vital that it cannot be left to the discretion of each team’” (DuFour, 2011, p. 61). Instructional leaders believe in growth. Continuous improvement is possible when each instructional leader is a member of a PLC. 


      3.  Identify Essential Learning Outcomes

      It is difficult to maximize student understanding if you do not know the goals. Learning targets help instructional leaders know if students are reaching the goal. Is your goal college and career readiness? An instructional leader must define what the path to college and career readiness looks like for a ninth grade student. Is your goal to increase the number of students enrolled in Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) classes? Once you define the end in mind, it will be easier to determine the skills and understandings that students need to be prepared for advanced courses. According to Wiggins and McTighe (2007), "The job is not to hope that optimal learning will occur, based on our curriculum and initial teaching.  The job is to ensure that learning occurs, and when it doesn't, to intervene in altering the syllabus and instruction decisively, quickly, and often" (p. 55).


      Instructional leadership supports teaching and learning. It is easy to focus on standards, assessment, school safety, school improvement plans, faculty meetings, high-stakes tests, developing your next meeting agenda, technology integration, curriculum alignment, and state mandates. While none of these topics can be neglected, it is easy to lose sight of the goals of an instructional leader. Instructional leadership should not take the backseat to meetings, planning, or activities. Parker (1991) cautioned instructional leaders to avoid motion mascquerading as improvement.


    • Blog post
    • 8 months ago
    • Views: 5826
  • Into the Stratosphere Into the Stratosphere

    • From: Jennie_Snyder
    • Description:

      I just finished reading Michael Fullan's, Stratosphere.  In this book,  he outlines how: "the ideas embedded in the new technology, the new pedagogy, and the new change knowledge are converging to transform education for all" (p. 3).  Fullan's book resonates with a driving question I have grappled with in my own work.  How do we create meaningful change throughout our system to truly innovate teaching and learning?

      Fullan's argument is something to consider as we work to make our schools and systems more responsive to the students we serve. In some ways, Fullan's book treads familiar ground. In his earlier writing, Fullan has correctly warned that technology as the solution can be the "wrong driver" for school reform if it is not paired with "smart pedagogy."

      In Stratsophere, Fullan issues a similar warning.  I agree with him. We should not mistake the tools for actual student learning. Using upgraded technology will not automatically transform pedagogy.

      Fullan is critical of those who have ventured before him to articulate 21st Century learning frameworks. After reviewing several of these efforts, he concludes:

      No matter how you cut it, we are not making progress on this agenda. By and large the goals are too vague, having glitzy attraction. When we start down the pathway to specificity, the focus is on standards and assessment (which does help with clarity), but the crucial third pillar -- pedagogy, or fostering actual learning -- is neglected. And aside from its use in assessment schemes, which is a contribution, technology plays little role in learning, surely the main point of all this highfalutin fanfare. (p. 36)

      Prensky to whom Fullan pays tribute also critiques the Framework for the 21st Century precisely because identifying the outcomes students will need is the easy part; changing our pedagogy and engaging students in relevant learning is the hard part.

      While I agree with Fullan and Prensky that we can't simply identify outcomes and not transform teaching and learning, I don't think the frameworks themselves are to blame for not tackling the tough hill. The frameworks are just that -- an outline of skills and compentencies students will need for future success.

      From this starting point, we, as educators, need to define and articulate what these outcomes look like, how we help students develop these habits of mind and skills, and how we can determine whether students have mastered these competencies.

      Fullan's discussion of the "new pedagogy" aimed at higher-order thinking is helpful in this regard. He draws upon some of the most powerful voices calling for a fundamental rethinking about how we organize schools to make them more meaningful for students' learning. Citing the work of Tony WagnerSir Ken RobinsonMarc Prensky and Jonah Lehrer, he concludes that to "maximize learning", the integration technology and pedagogy must be:

      1. Irresistibly engaging
      2. Elegantly efficient
      3. Technologically ubiquitous
      4. Steeped in real-life problem-solving

      Putting these pieces together will require us to make changes within our systems to ensure that all students develop their fullest capacities  to meet the challenges ahead.  As in previous books, Fullan proposes a systems approach to change that "helps us achieve [the vision], learning while we go."

      It is not the work of isolated individuals working on bits and pieces, adding tools to our existing models that will ensure our students soar into the "stratosphere." It is the intentional effort of people throughout the system focusing on the essentials, building capacity, and leading the way.

    • Blog post
    • 1 year ago
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  • Contextual and Authentic Contextual and Authentic

    • From: Michael_Fisher
    • Description:


      I’m working with a new group of collaborators who happen to be in the fourth and fifth grade.

      Nine to eleven year olds from the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School (http://www.mjgds.org) are creating a book based on some kids’ poems I wrote decades ago and are illustrating them and publishing them and selling them and creating a marketing plan around our work. Eventually, they will use what they’ve created as a fundraiser for their school.

      These students are participating in a new form of learning that involves a mentoring relationship, new classroom roles, and embedded virtual learning. I’ve been able to Skype with them, email feedback about their work, and create additional learning “side trips” based on in the moment opportunities.

      Their art teacher, Shana Gutterman- http://shoshysartroom.blogspot.com/, their classroom teacher, Stephanie Teitelbaum- http://teachblogandtweet.wordpress.com/,  their Learning Coach, Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano- http://langwitches.org/blog, and I virtually collaborated on the development of this project, via Skype, email, and Twitter. We came up with objectives and lesson activities and planned virtual sessions. We had a modern learning plan in place and launched our project with the intent of changing the level of engagement and learning with students.

      Then, we discovered something. Something big.

      Because of the depth of instruction and the built in time to negotiate new roles for the students and the upgrade of seeing themselves as collaborators rather than passive learners, we struck oil! Silver! Gold! Students began to self identify interests that were related to their planned learning and lead us down paths of unplanned learning that enriched the designed project.

      While students were working on designing pictures to accompany poems in a book for multiple audiences, they also opened up cans of worms that were unforeseen in the curriculum design. These were some of the “teachable moments” or “side trips” that came out of our collaborative work:

      • Students learned new contextually specific vocabulary words such as emphatic, explicitly, iteration, synesthesia, and negative space.

      • Students were invited to investigate the meaning of “chiaroscuro” as it related to contrasting elements in their illustrations.

      • Beyond the chiaroscuro investigation, they were invited to read a book, The Tale of Despereaux, which explores chiaroscuro as a metaphor for the characters and action.

      • Students were asked to investigate and learn about Grandma Moses and art techniques that involved the layering of backgrounds and foreground elements in a painting.

      • Students learned about warm and cool feedback and improvement for the sake of the team versus just getting good grades.

      • They learned to articulate the reasoning behind the “why” of what they were doing and to be as specific as possible in deciding why their illustrations were a good fit for the poem’s text. They did this both with me and their peers, which I personally think is hugely significant. Once again: their peers helped to inform their improvements.

      • They became open to suggestions that were rooted in improvement versus identifying what was wrong with their work. This positive take on “doing what’s best for the intended audience” was a huge shift in meaning making.

      • They learned that its okay to explore different interest areas that were outside of the intended learning, particularly with one student that wanted to create his own comic books. We were able to have a conversation about the usage of Comic Life on the iPad to start designing his own graphic novels.

      • They learned to respond to different types of feedback from their formal teacher, their virtual collaborator, and their peers as they shaped their work.

      I would also like to add that the students referred to me as their collaborator; that the work we were doing was OUR work. I loved that. I also loved that their classroom roles included roles like “Skype coordinator,” “Twitter Expert,” and “Illustrative Notes Expert.” So far beyond “Reader,” “Writer,” and “Notetaker.”

      Authentic learning experiences that ask students to be part of the instructional design process AND the product are critical in the modern learning classroom. Student-centered work becomes student-owned learning even if teachers maintain an instructional anchor. In this case, the anchor was the product: the book. Everyone is contributing to it, though in multiple ways and with multiple extensions around their individual learning.

      I should also mention that this project, because of the level of collaboration between teachers and students, was not a neatly contained event. It took some time to develop, to interact, to collaborate both virtually and in person, and even after these several weeks, the students are just now gearing up to start working on the marketing plan. As teachers, we had to find a new common ground of comfort when balancing the time it takes to do something like this with the deep learning that was possible.

      Also, if you’d like to look at the project from several points of view--there’s a lot of blogging going on around it:

      Learning in the Modern Classroom - by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano

      Assessment in the Modern Classroom - Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 - also by Silvia

      Student Blogs:

      Who or What Is Digigogy?

      We Skyped with Mike Fisher

      And my favorite on vocabulary: Wacky Wacky Words!

      Needless to say--but I’m REALLY proud of my collaborators! I will be presenting with them at EdJEWcon in Jacksonville, Florida in a couple of weeks. I couldn’t be more excited to finally meet them in person and see our finished product! I’d also like to say Thank You to Shana, Stephanie, and Silvia for all of the great professional collaboration.

      Follow Mike on Twitter

      Upgrade Your Curriculum - Now available from ASCD



      Picture from Pixabay


    • Blog post
    • 1 year ago
    • Views: 1735
  • K2Twelve: For A Future Educati K2Twelve: For A Future Education

    • From: Vincent_Young
    • Description:

      Originally posted at K2TWelve.com

      The first two parts of Be Social Change and the Center for Social Innovation's three-part series on the Future of Education began with attendees sharing in small groups their personal transformative educational experiences outside and inside of the classroom. At both meetings and in both instances, the general opinion was that transformative educational experiences were personal experiences that felt "out of the box" or "above and beyond" what was expected.


      What has been clear in both Future of Education Meetups is that these transformative experiences are currently missing from college and K-12 classrooms. Both teachers and students are dissatisfied with the current education system and has chosen to value.


      From the educational entrepreneurs at the first Meetup, who spoke about their role in complementing and enhancing core college curriculum with hands-on job experiences, to the K-12 educators at the second Meetup, who spoke about an "educational ecosystem" and the necessity for self-efficacy and the acceptance of failure, the resounding message was that there is a disconnect between the classroom and what students want to know. Ivan Cestero of the Avenues school and a panelist at the second Meetup put it best when he said as educators we needed to "meld the passion piece with the stuff they (students) need to know."


      Lyel Resner, co-founder of Startup Box: South Bronx and moderator of the second Meetup began the discussion by asking the audience: What is school for? I was reminded of something Eduwonkette wrote years ago, conveying historian, David Labaree's vision of school as an environment that nurtured children's ability to

      • prepare children for their place in the economy
      • achieve democratic equality
      • nurture social mobility

      Participants responding to Lyel's question echoed Labaree's vision. They responded that the purpose of school was to prepare students for civic engagement and to teach them how to apply their passions, as well as build their social and emotional skills.


      Like going to an art opening and dropping words like "derivative" or "jejune", for the past couple of years, the password into educational cliques has been "Common Core" (sometimes "STEM", sometimes "21st Century skills/literacies"). When the topic of Common Core State Standards came up, there was no overtly negative criticism, only a cautionary thought from Ivan Cestero that the standards required "habits of mind, passion, and social skills to be meaningful."


      When the issue of standardized testing came up, panelist Tim Shriver, Dream Director at The Future Project said "test scores won't matter to students if they are not hopeful about their future success." Most everyone in the room (including me) believed portfolios are a superior and more accurate assessment than test scores.


      Panelist Leigh Ann Sudol-DeLyser, Computer Science Teacher & Consultant at the Academy for Software Engineering NYC, spoke of the trial and error process that software engineers engage in when writing code. She said that it was important to get students to try and fail at something and then try again. She said "self efficacy" needed to be cultivated. Students need to believe in their ability to solve difficult problems and overcome seemingly impossible challenges. Most of the room agreed with what Leigh Ann was saying.


      What has interested me most about these Meetups is the pragmatism. There is a lot of talk of innovation and "new" ways, but it has been tempered with talk of "accreditation" on the college level and systems level implementation in the K-12 grades. Andrea Coleman, CEO of the Office of Innovation at the New York City Department of Education, cited her office's partnership with The Future Project. I'm looking forward to that same pragmatism in the final Meetup of this series.


    • Blog post
    • 1 year ago
    • Views: 433
  • Jim_Kearse

    • ASCD EDge Member
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    • Since: 1 year ago
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  • Curriculum Impossible: Upgradi Curriculum Impossible: Upgrading

    • From: Michael_Fisher
    • Description:

       Curriculum Impossible

      I’m a big fan of the Food Network show “Restaurant Impossible.” The show features a struggling restaurant on the verge of going out of business and host Robert Irvine makes over the restaurant in hopes of saving it. I’ve watched several episodes of the show, and the structure is one that is applicable to upgrading curriculum work.

      1. What’s working? What’s not working? — Identify what you do well and should continue doing and then identify areas that need improvement.
      2. Prioritize improvements — Of the areas that need improvement, which ones need to happen sooner than later?
      3. Secondary considerations — Do those improvements have peripheral considerations that will impact the intended need? (For instance, if you decide that you want to upgrade a writing moment using a blog, how much teaching time will you need to devote to learning how to blog and use the tool?)
      4. Gather a team — For the needed improvements, who do you need on your team? Technology integrator? Other content areas? Those that think differently from you? Collaboration is key to effective upgrades.
      5. Budget time — Time is always a thorny issue. You need time for planning, implementation, and reflection.
      6. Budget resources — Use what you have. Leverage what you need from your team. Look for opportunities in places you haven’t looked before, such as Donorschoose.org or GrantWrangler.com.
      7. Ask the customer… the students – One of the missing pieces in Curriculum Design today is real input from the primary targets: the kids. I recently saw a tweet where a member of my network wrote that he supplied the students with an objective, then invited their opinions about how to reach it. Viable ideas were added to the plan.
      8. Implement — Unveil the upgrade and put it into place.
      9. Reflect and revise — What worked and what didn’t? What moves us forward and what holds us back?
      10. How do you sustain it? — Sustain your work by not letting it be an all-or-nothing “eggs in one basket” event. Get into the groove of continuous upgrades — one step, one unit, even one lesson, at a time.

      Additionally, this might be a novel way to approach upgrading other areas in a school, such as behavior/student management, interventions for students, modern methodologies, professional development and more. Anyone who reads me regularly knows that I like a good metaphor, and if a Food Network show can be involved — all the better!

      On the show, Irvine returns to the restaurant several weeks later to see how things are going (hence No. 9 and No. 10 above). Upgrading your curriculum doesn’t have to be an impossible task, though with all of the current nationwide changes it may feel insurmountable. The steps here are not meant to be a menu, though. I’ve written it as a linear process. One thing leads to the next, one step at a time. Find a way to do one step at a time. Slow and steady wins the race.

      Previously blogged on SmartBlogs in Education

    • Blog post
    • 1 year ago
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  • Mosaic of Effectiveness Mosaic of Effectiveness

    • From: Jason_Flom
    • Description:

      This post is a part of the ASCD Forum conversation on “how do we define and measure teacher and principal effectiveness?” To learn more about the ASCD Forum, go to www.ascd.org/ascdforum or join the ASCD Forum group.


      What is an effective teacher?


      It is the question we have paradoxically circled around and yet, improbably, ignored. Rather than define, describe and debate what effective teachers are or are not, we default to discourse on holding teachers accountable with test scores—crude metrics at best, destructive red herrings at worst.  In essence, we put the cart before the horse: measuring “effective” teaching before we know what it is or looks like.


      So what is an effective teacher?


      The effective teacher is a mosaic of professional behaviors, skills, and habits of mind that collectively amount to students’ vigorous well-being in body, mind, and emotion, or, in education reform parlance, “achievement” (another term crudely defined as a test score by default). The foundation of these behaviors, skills, and habits is learning: curiosity, inquiry, and a testing of theories. As a starting point, effectiveness in the business of learning is effectiveness as a learner.


      However, “master learner” is not synonymous with “effective teacher.” Educators must possess and apply a host of other qualities consistently in the service of students to attain the coveted “effectiveness” status. Dr. Leo Sandy, Professor of Counselor Education and School Psychology at Plymouth State University, penned a short essay, The Effective Teacher, that might serve as a good starting point for creating a common definition. Below is a distillation of his main points.


      He wrote:

      The effective teacher . . .

      • Must be a leader who can inspire and influence students through expert and referent power but never coercive power.
      • Is a provocateur who probes, prods, asks incessant why questions
      • Exemplifies what Maxine Green calls teacher as stranger.
      • Models enthusiasm not only for his subject but also for teaching and learning.
      • Is an innovator who changes strategies, techniques, texts, and materials when better ones are found and/or when existing ones no longer provide a substantive learning experience for her students.
      • Is a comedian/entertainer who uses humor in the service of learning.
      • Is a coach or guide who helps students to improve.
      • Is a genuine human being or humanist who is able to laugh at herself and the absurdity in the world without being cynical and hopeless.
      • Is a sentinel who provides an environment of intellectual safety.
      • Is an optimist or idealist.
      • Is one with others. He is a collaborator who places a high value on collegiality.
      • Is a revolutionary because she knows that, with the exception of parenthood, her role is the most vital one on earth in the preservation of the sanctity of life and its natural outcome – the elevation of humanity.

      It is here where I believe we should take up the question of what constitutes an effective teacher. Not because I agree with all of Dr. Sandy’s suggestions, but because I think they best approximate the kaleidoscope of responsibilities necessary to understand and meet the needs of all students.


      Hopefully for now we can set aside the brainstorm inhibitors—“How will these be measured?” and “How can we possibly go to scale with such subjective qualities?” Instead, let’s first understand what we want of our teachers (perhaps by considering the kind of transformational experiences we want for our students) and then determine the best ways to observe, cultivate, and measure those actions, behaviors, and “achievements.”  


      Image: eHow

    • Blog post
    • 1 year ago
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  • Engaging Reluctant Readers By Engaging Reluctant Readers By Recruiting Reading Role Models

    • From: Ryan_Thomas1
    • Description:

      reluctant readersIn an ideal world, our students would pop out of the womb with an innate appetite for books. That’s not the world we live in, so rather than dreaming, we’re going to offer a few tips to turn your reluctant readers into avid readers. One thing to keep in mind when trying to engage reluctant readers is that there are two types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic. Reluctant readers—students who can read, but choose not to—have little intrinsic motivation, which means that you’re going to have to be the extrinsic motivator; it’s up to you to use the techniques to unite students with books! Finding a reading role model is one way you can make this happen.

      Engaging Reluctant Readers By Recruiting Reading Role Models

      • Warm your students up to the idea of a reading role model.
        Before you wrangle up your reading role model, you’ll want to have a heart to heart with your students. Explain to them that many people love to read—in fact, reading is as essential to many professions as breathing is. How would a television or radio newscaster be able to tell us what’s going on in the world without reading? Would your students want an illiterate, or even a reluctantly literate, lawyer to take their case? Probably not.

      Now ask them to think of professions that require reading and discuss why. Make a list on the board and discuss it. Use it to reach out to potential speakers now

      • What do I say to my potential reading role model?
        As you start to email or call potential reading mentors, you might say something like this:

        This year, I am making it my priority to engage my reluctant readers and teach them not only to value reading, but actually love it. Last week, we had an in-class discussion; we talked about various professions and why reading is an essential part of that profession. As an insert profession here, my students thought that you would be a perfect reading role model! They would be impressed if you would stop by our classroom and tell them about your reading habits and how they correspond to your profession.

      • You’ve found your mentor. How do you prepare them?

      You might ask the mentor to tell your students about the different types of reading that they use on the job every day. Of course, this isn’t limited to just reading books. Your mentor may not be used to public speaking, so it might be helpful for you to talk a bit about your own reading habits and what you’ve told your students about them. If you need a framework, here’s what we might say:

      Every morning, I wake up, brew a pot of coffee and sit down to check my email. I encourage people to contact me as much as they like, so usually there are five or six emails from some of my colleagues, students or parents. Once I’ve read and answered the emails, I read over my lesson plans, reacquaint myself with some of the assigned readings and if I have time, I check out my favorite celebrity gossip blog. Remember, there’s no such thing as “real reading.” When I get home, I have to cook dinner—which means that I have to read and follow the directions in my recipe book. Etc. etc. etc.

      One thing we always try to keep in the forefront of our minds is the fact that most of us excel at something when we truly love it. Without passion or love, motivation will almost always diminish. Finding a reading mentor is only one small step we can take toward teaching our reluctant readers to love books. If you need a few more tips, check out one of our most recent blogs, “Teaching Reading Means Teaching Our Students to LOVE Reading.”

      Download our K-6 Reading Comprehension B

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  • Know Your Harbor Know Your Harbor

    • From: Michael_Fisher
    • Description:


      As 2012 comes to a close, I thought I would end my ASCD Blogging year with this recent post that I originally published on Smart Blogs in Education a few days ago. There are still so many that are overwhelmed with all the recent changes in education and my end of the year message is simple: talk to each other. Talk to each other physically, virtually, any way you can at any time you can. We are stronger as a chain of connected people and we can do great things for the children we teach. Good luck to you all in 2013, and I hope to see many of you in Chicago in March at the Annual conference!


      'Boats' photo (c) 2011, Matteo Staltari - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/


      Many teachers beginning the process of deep curriculum work and/or practice / teaching transformations start in zones of comfort.  It's difficult sometimes to articulate the changes needed when everything is new, and starting from a known point, i.e., current curriculum unit, current assessment, current methodologies, strengthens foundations and helps to solidify the systemic growth I’m always advocating for.  I call this "Knowing Your Harbor."

      Harbors are places of refuge, a shelter from the rough seas; they are known places. The assumption in the harbor is that you know where you are anchored, as well as know where to find what you need within that safe zone.

             We have to realize, though, that even when you are anchored in a harbor, you are still on a ship. A ship is not designed just for anchoring. In order to be a working vessel, it must be on the water, sailing. There's a big difference when we break down the nouns and verbs here.  Ship is different from shipping. Boat is different from boating. Sail is different from sailing. It is the verb, the action, that matters. This is a very important realization, and I discuss it often in my work with curriculum design and practice. If we are looking only for endpoints, for harbors and anchors as the barometer of our work, then we are not meeting the needs of ourselves, or our students.
             We have to know our ships, too. We have to know that they are designed for action and are not about the ship itself, it's what the ship can DO that matters.  The ship, in curriculum terms, could be you the teacher, it could be the collaborative group you work with, it could be the system you operate within. Whatever you determine your ship to be, the actions you collectively take are what matters to the shipping event.  You must determine who and what needs to be "on board" with you as you plan your journey. This includes content experts, interest experts (this could be students!), resources and technology, and could include elements beyond the ship. (Virtual experiences that relate to the learning.)  All of these elements have roles, and those roles could change with different shipping adventures: Captains, mates, or other crew.  

      Coaching Point:


      "Research on intelligence and the brain suggests that we learn best when we are engaged in meaningful classroom learning experiences that help us discover and develop our strengths and talents." (Silver, Strong and Perini, 2000)  When we think about the College and Career ready student, what are some considerations for preparing them to be Captain? If they are always crew, then they aren't really being prepared to sail the ship themselves. How can we assure that the students are ready? By having them take on multiple roles. I’ve mentioned in multiple blog posts and online conversations how important it is for students to use collaborative and communicative technologies, and we need to make sure that they are "on the boat" with it all. In terms of communicating, this would be a good time to work with students on something like  Thinking Routines, where students articulate how they are exploring, interpreting, and justifying through communication and conversation. This moves communication from a planning event to an action event, as well as a teaching and learning event. Teachers could use the Thinking Routines as a mechanism for establishing and sustaining curriculum conversations.


             The final step is about knowing your Journey. We have to know the destination, and we have to make plans for what it will take to get us there.

      "To begin with the end in mind means to start with a clear understanding

      of your destination. It means to know where you’re going so that you

      better understand where you are now so that the steps you take are

      always in the right direction." (Covey, 1994)

      If our destination is unclear, it's going to be hard to figure out what needs we may have along the way, what roles we need to plan for, and how we keep to our intended path along the way.
             When a teacher commits to a particular transformation or improvement in their professional practice and begins the process of revising and aligning curricular elements, the process of continued communication and collaboration (like we’re asking the kids to do!) allows for constructive feedback and additional revision moments. Committing, Communicating, and Re-Communicating are vital to meaningful and systemic transformations.  

      To complete the metaphor, these processes illustrate the "round trip" nature of good curriculum work. A boat sails out into the ocean on its journey, arrives at its destination, and sails home again to prepare for the next journey. The ship is always on the move, and always finding new places to visit.

      Covey, S. R. (2004). The 7 habits of highly effective people. New York, NY: Simon

      Project Zero, . "Project Zero." Introduction to Thinking Routines. President and Fellows of Harvard College, 2010. Web. 13 May 2011. <http://pzweb.harvard.edu/vt/VisibleThinking_html_files/VisibleThinking1.html>.

      Silver, H., Strong, R., & Perini, M. (2000). So each may learn: Integrating learning styles and multiple intelligences. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.


      Originally posted on SmartBlogs on Education:


      Mike on Twitter:@fisher1000

      Upgrade Your Curriculum: Practical Ways to Transform Units and Engage Students - coming in Feb. 2013 from ASCD

      Cure for the Common Core - eBook available now from Amazon

    • Blog post
    • 2 years ago
    • Views: 1092
  • 5 Secrets For Smarter Educatio 5 Secrets For Smarter Education Technology Integration

    • From: Terrell_Heick
    • Description:


      by Terry Heick, TeachThought.com

      With instructional strategies, data collection, curricular planning, personal communication, and classroom management to consider, where technology fits in to a teacher’s workday isn’t obvious—especially a new teacher. But if you can consider technology as a macro tool rather than a micro task, this simple paradigm shift can make all the difference.

      A Means and an End

      Technology is as much an end as a means.

      While it can act as a powerful tool to actuate thinking, curate performance, and connect learners, technology can create its own need to know, and even obscure the reasons for learning in the first place.

      On a simple level, there is the matter of function. While hardware (iPads) and software (programs and apps) are designed to be accessible, there are inevitably problems. Passwords can fail, broadband access can be problematic, and even the simplest act—such as copying a file from one drive to another—can take up more time than they save, and suggest a point of diminishing return.

      On a murkier, more complex level is the idea of workflow.


      Technology Workflow

      Technology workflow refers to the role of technology in learning facilitation—specifically what is used when for what reason.

      If a student is taking notes using an iPad, then needs to share those notes with a partner, the technology workflow is simple. The student internalizes materials, interfaces with the technology to capture thinking, then uses an app or function of an app to share the file. At this point, all is well.

      But if ten lab partners need to access unique databases, return to a shared physical (or digital) space to share ideas, communicate priorities, then re-disperse, the workflow is more complicated and recursive.  This matters less with individuals (though it matters then, still), and more when large groups like classes or entire schools access similar hardware, software, and even content.

      Workflow can make or break technology use.

      Luckily, there are some ideas to keep in mind as you plan.

      student_ipad_school - 111

      1. Think Function First

      As you approach technology, think first of what it is doing. What exactly it is doing.

      To do this, you’ll need to observe some barrier to learning—otherwise the technology use is, at best, gratuitous, and at worst, leading students away from what you’re wanting them to come to understand.

      Rather than think “What’s a cool way to use twitter?”, you might notice that students are missing out on real-world access to content experts. Then you might notice that blogging, twitter, and RSS feeds are all three powerful ways to connect students to said experts.

      Technology use here becomes strategic, intentional, and more likely to result in additional capacity for learning with technology.

      2. Let Students Lead

      Students may or may not know technology better than you. This is difficult to judge because their knowledge here can be so uneven.

      Regardless, they likely know it differently than you do. So let them lead.

      Let them choose new applications for existing technology—a new way to use Evernote, or a smarter way to use hyperlinking in Microsoft Word.

      Let them corral emerging trends in social media use and work them into the learning process.

      Let them figure out the logistics of turning work in, sharing feedback, and maintaining a digital portfolio. While this is necessary in a BYOD environment, it is possible anywhere.

      3. Start With What You Know

      While you’ll gradually need to push yourself out of your comfort zone, start where you’re comfortable—and not comfortable as a teacher, but as a technology user yourself.

      If you’re an avid user of facebook or pinterest, figure out a compelling way to integrate it into the learning process. Same with your Android smartphone or the new digital multi-meter you just picked up on Amazon.

      This will help you learn how technology actually works in the learning process while not having to juggle mastering a new technology while you’re at it. As a new teacher, you’ve got enough to keep you up at night.

      4. Experiment Constantly

      Whatever you do as you grow as a teacher, do not become complacent. Step out of your comfort zone, seek out better ways to complete the mundane tasks that sabotage your free time, and try new things with technology.

      This experimentation can come as the result of collaboration with your professional learning network, business leaders in the community, or the students themselves. Make sure that in your daily use of social media, physical print, or in-person observation you have access to powerful uses of technology, or your “idea well” will be self-contained and likely unsustainable.


      5. Be Mindful Of Your Own Biases

      Both new and experienced teachers will need to prioritize what’s most important in their classroom. There’s only so much time and so many resources. This is understandable.

      For new teachers, before you know it your first year becomes your fourth, and built-in habits that were formed during the storm of your first classroom experience can be difficult to even see, much less break.

      For experienced teachers, constantly seeing education technology with fresh eyes can help you see function first while also staying ahead of emerging trends. If you hold fast to this app or that operating system you risk creating your own personal learning environment rather than one for your students.

      Resisting this requires a solid framework for technology integration from the beginning that is catalyzed by your own interests and passion, but is also interdependent with students, experts, and your global learning network.

      Don’t be afraid to fail; everyone fails. Just be sure that failure comes in pursuit of better technology integration that is dynamic and evolving, rather than a stunted system of tried-and-true that will eventually catch up to you in your career.

    • Blog post
    • 2 years ago
    • Views: 1410
  • What are you doing to raise fi What are you doing to raise financially literate kids?

    • From: Clay_Piggy
    • Description:

      There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that we’re living in tough economic times these days. That means that understanding the value of a dollar, being able to manage credit responsibly, and being capable of making sound financial decisions overall is more important than ever before. It also means that we should be thinking as parents about how to teach our children good money management sooner rather than later.

      If you have children age 12 and under and you haven’t yet begun to teach them how to be financially literate, there’s no time like the present to begin. Studies show that the younger children are taught how to properly and responsibly deal with money, the more likely they are to grow up to have exemplary habits in regards to their own treatment of earnings and credit as they grow older. Let’s take a closer look at what you can do as a parent to help your children grow up with all the right values.

      Make Money Management Part of Everyday Life

      The best place to start with your child’s financial literacy is by simply opening the lines of communication when it comes to money. Make it a point to talk to your child about money and don’t just stop at dollars and cents either. Also make sure you explain concepts like credit, credit cards, debt, bankruptcy, and savings to your children. Be sure they understand how important it is to save for a rainy day and use credit responsibly.

      It’s also incredibly important to make sure your child understands where money comes from. When they see you swipe a credit card at the grocery store or withdraw money from the ATM, it’s all too easy for young children especially to get the impression that money is a limitless, free resource. Talk to them about your job and make sure they understand how hard (and how long) you have to work to earn a certain amount. Talk to them about how you plan a budget and strive to stick to it every month as well.

      You should also give your children chances to get hands-on themselves when it comes to managing money. Give your child an allowance and teach them the basics of saving through allowance management. When they’re old enough take them to open bank accounts of their own and encourage them to save part of their allowance so that they can deposit it into their savings account on a regular basis.

      Educational games on the computer that teach children about money management can also be great learning tools. They help to link the concept of learning and being responsible with money to fun and enjoyment. They also help your child to become smarter and more goal-oriented overall by using multiple modes of stimulation to help them learn.

      Set Good Examples Yourself

      Although what you tell your children in regards to money management and financial literacy is no doubt important, don’t ever underestimate the value of setting a good example via your own habits. Children look to the people around them to decide how they behave. Kids who grew up with spendthrift parents who abused credit and lived beyond their means often grow up to do the same. However, children who were taught up front about the value of a dollar, a solid work ethic, and the importance of sticking to a budget are more likely to avoid debt, manage credit well, and be willing to work hard for what they want in life.

      When it comes to financial literacy, early education is always the best course of action. Start talking to your children today about money and see what a difference it really makes.

      About Clay Piggy:

      Clay Piggy (http://www.claypiggy.com) is a virtual world gaming environment which teaches children basic money management skills and the concept of Earning, Spending, Saving, Investing and Giving in a fun and social way. Clay Piggy users choose their avatars by selecting and customizing their characters. Users earn virtual money by working at a job. Users also learn concept of credit score, different kinds of bank accounts, deposit money in bank, write checks and use debit / credit cards.

    • Blog post
    • 2 years ago
    • Views: 1253
  • 3 Curriculum Decisions to Make 3 Curriculum Decisions to Make Right Now

    • From: Michael_Fisher
    • Description:

      Decision paralysis is a real thing. Faced with making too many decisions at once and you’re likely to not make ANY decision. The mountain grows larger, the journey grows longer. Dan and Chip Heath talk about decision paralysis in their book, Switch. (2011) They describe scenarios where, rational or not, humans that are faced with too many choices can’t make a decision at all.

      Lately, decision paralysis has become the modus operandi in education. We have become habitually overwhelmed to the point of non-action. We lament the good old days while our students, with their smart phones and modern environments and yearnings to move on, sit in front of us waiting to be prepared for colleges or careers.

      So what do you do? Where do you start?

      You only have to do three things. That’s right, just three things. Consider invigorating your curriculum with the following:

      • Choices
      • Thinking
      • Vocabulary

      While there may be mountains of considerations with the new standards, their associated new assessments, and the tie-in to new teacher evaluations, these three things are really the core of your curriculum conversations and actions, no pun intended.

      3 Things

      I’ve highlighted a few considerations in each of the three categories in the visual though there are a myriad strategies to engage in. (Click on the image to make it bigger)

      I would suggest research based / peer reviewed strategies versus textbook driven decisions, however. In a lot of schools, much emphasis is placed on the textbook as the driver of the curriculum and then there is shock and disappointment when the students don’t perform. Modernizing our work means that there must be a focus on the essential learning needs of students and truly preparing them for college and/or careers, and not on what a salesman would like for us to believe.

      These three things are the learning essentials. They are the roots of good instruction and attending to them in specific and purposeful ways will help you align to new standards, prepare for new assessments, and prepare students for the world they will graduate into.

      Heath, C., & Heath, D. (2011). Switch, how to change things when change is hard. (1sted.). New York: Crown Business.

      Mike on Twitter:@fisher1000

      Upgrade Your Curriculum: Practical Ways to Transform Units and Engage Students - coming in Feb. 2013 from ASCD

      Cure for the Common Core - eBook available now from Amazon

    • Blog post
    • 2 years ago
    • Views: 1843
  • Adopt. Adapt. Adept. Adopt. Adapt. Adept.

    • From: Michael_Fisher
    • Description:


      I had a great conversation this morning with Professional Developers from different parts of New York State as we discussed the implementation of Curriculum Modules in their respective districts.

      Some were saying that they adopted the modules as they were published, including all associated resources and materials. Some said they adapted the ideas and framework of the modules, but changed some of the resources, materials and strategies based on their population of students and available books. I shared that I thought it would be important for teachers, as they adopted and adapted, to become “module specialists.” I thought it would be a good idea for them to know the structure of the module so well that the adaptations were multifaceted and assessment focused. (Not state test focused, necessarily, but evaluation of learning focused.)

      It dawned on me that this was a pretty decent cycle for implementation. Teachers could jump in at either the adopt or adapt zones, then become adept at the structure and process, something along the lines of:

      Teach the unit/module/lesson “AS IS” while looking for opportunities for improvement.

      Teach the unit/module/lesson in a “MODIFIED” way with new strategies and resources.

      Teach the unit/module/lesson in a “SKILLED REVISION” mode with full understanding of process and structure of unit with attention to assessment and appropriate strategies and resources for:

      • Engagement
      • Student Centered Work
      • Problem Solving and Critical Thinking
      • College and Career Capacities
      • Modern Learning Practices

      I think anyone that reads me regularly probably already knows that I’m not a fan of canned curriculum or curriculum module “gifts.” I believe the curriculum design and action plan is a purposeful and thoughtful process that begins with the end in mind, aligns to specific standards, and is considerate of specific populations of students and the resources a school may have. Teaching from these canned modules removes some of the most important factors of curriculum work, namely conversation and collaboration among colleagues.

      That said, as I continue to do curriculum work, sometimes concessions need to be made for those who may see a marked improvement by working in the “Adopt” zone. That experience leads to learning how to adapt, which in turn may eventually lead to working adeptly.

      In this Brave New Educational World with new standards, new planned curricula, new data considerations, and new teacher accountability, anything we do better in the best interest of kids is a step in the right direction. The impetus is upon us all to enter into curriculum work with open minds and high expectations that as we know better, we do better.*

      *Partially taken from a quote from Toni Morrison on the Oprah Winfrey show.

      Special thanks to colleagues Carol Bush from Orleans / Niagara BOCES and Dr. Marla Iverson from Wayne Finger Lakes BOCES for a great conversation and for thinking new ways.

      Follow Mike on Twitter: @fisher1000

      Upgrade Your Curriculum: Practical Ways to Transform Units and Engage Students coming from ASCD in February 2013
      Cure for the Common Core, eBook available now from Amazon Kindle Store

    • Blog post
    • 2 years ago
    • Views: 1134
  • The Inside-Out School: A 21st The Inside-Out School: A 21st Century Learning Model

    • From: Terrell_Heick
    • Description:


      Inside-Out Learning Model







      As a follow-up to our 9 Characteristics of 21st Century Learning we developed in 2009, we have developed an updated framework, The Inside-Out Learning Model from TeachThought.com

      The goal of the model is simple enough–not pure academic proficiency, but instead authentic self-knowledge, diverse local and global interdependence, adaptive critical thinking, and adaptive media literacy.

      By design this model emphasizes the role of play, diverse digital and physical media, and a designed interdependence between communities and schools.

      The attempted personalization of learning occurs through new actuators and new notions of local and global citizenship. An Inside-Out School returns the learners, learning, and “accountability” away from academia and back to communities. No longer do schools teach. Rather, they act as curators of resources and learning tools, and promote the shift of the “burden” of leanring back to a more balanced perspective of stakeholders and participants.

      Here, families, business leaders, humanities-based organizations, neighbors, mentors, higher-education institutions, all converging to witness, revere, respond to, and support the learning of its own community members.

      The micro-effect here is increased intellectual intimacy, while the macro-effect is healthier communities and citizenship that extends beyond mere participation, to ideas of thinking, scale, legacy, and growth.

      The 9 Domains Of the Inside-Out Learning Model

      1. Five Learning Actuators

      • Project-Based Learning
      • Directed and Non-Directed Play
      • Video Games and Learning Simulations
      • Connected Mentoring
      • Academic Practice

      2. Changing Habits

      • Fertilize innovation & design
      • Acknowledge limits and scale
      • Reflect on interdependence
      • Honor uncertainty
      • Curate legacy
      • Support systems-level and divergent thinking
      • Reward increment
      • Require versatility in face of change

      3. Transparency

      • Between communities, learners, and schools
      • Learning standards, outcomes, project rubrics, performance critera persistently visible, accessible, and communally constructed
      • Gamification and publishing replace “grades”

      4. Self-Initiated Transfer

      • Applying old thinking in constantly changing and unfamiliar circumstances as constant matter of practice
      • Constant practice of prioritized big ideas in increasing complexity within learner ZPD
      • Project-based learning, blended learning, and Place-Based Education available to facilitate highly-constructivist approach

      5. Mentoring & Community

      • “Accountability” via the performance of project-based ideas in authentic local and global environments
      • Local action –> global citizenship
      • Active mentoring via physical and digital networking, apprenticeships, job shadows and study tours
      • Communal Constructivism, meta-cognition, Cognitive Coaching, and Cognitive Apprenticeship among available tools

      6. Changing Roles

      • Learners as knowledge makers
      • Teachers as expert of assessment and resources
      • Classrooms as think-tanks
      • Communities not just audience, but vested participants
      • Families as designers, curators, and content resources

      7. Climate of Assessment

      • Constant minor assessments replace exams
      • Data streams inform progress and suggest pathways
      • Academic standards prioritized and anchoring
      • Products, simulation performance, self-knolwedge delegate academia to new role of refinement of thought

      8. Thought & Abstraction

      • In this model, struggle and abstraction are expected outcomes of increasing complexity & real-world uncertainty
      • This uncertainty is honored, and complexity and cognitive patience are constantly modeled and revered
      • Abstraction honors not just art, philosophy, and other humanities, but the uncertain, incomplete, and subjective nature of knowledge

      9. Expanding Literacies

      • Analyzes, evaluates, and synthesizes credible information
      • Critical survey of interdependence of media and thought
      • Consumption of constantly evolving media forms
      • Media design for authentic purposes
      • Self-monitored sources of digital & non-digital data
      • Artistic and useful content curation patterns

      The Inside-Out Learning Model Central Learning Theories & Artifacts: Situational Learning Theory (Lave), Discovery Learning (Bruner), Communal Constructivism (Holmes), Zone of Proximal Development & More Knowledgeable Other (Vygotsky), Learning Cycle (Kolb), Transfer (Thorndike, Perkins, Wiggins), Habits of Mind (Costa and Kallick), Paulo Freire, and the complete body of work by Wendell Berry

    • Blog post
    • 2 years ago
    • Views: 345
  • Killing Writer's Block Once an Killing Writer's Block Once and For All

    • From: Ryan_Thomas1
    • Description:

      writing strategies for studentsThere’s a rather famous Nietzsche quote you may have heard: “Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”

      Most likely, the “monster” Nietzsche had in mind wasn’t writer’s block and “the abyss” wasn’t the blank loose-leaf sheet or the wordless computer screen “that gazes into” our students when they sit down to write. But as far as our students are concerned, they might as well be.

      Even for the best writers, Joseph Conrad, for example, writing is difficult. In a letter to a friend, he writes, “I sit down religiously every morning, I sit down for eight hours every day - and the sitting down is all.”

      Writing isn’t easy. Writing well…even harder—apparently even for geniuses like Conrad. I don’t know what he did when he sat down religiously every morning for eight hours a day, but I always wondered if he might have benefited from these two writing strategies we’ve adapted from Cheryl Glenn and Melissa A. Goldthwaite’s book, The St. Martin's Guide to Teaching Writing.

      Writing Strategy 1: Clustering
      Most serious and experienced writers incorporate some sort of writing strategy into their habits, so your students should feel no shame in using them. One that your students might find useful is what we call clustering.

      First, you must think of a word or phrase. You can do this with any random word or phrase, but it is far more effective to choose something that is related to the assigned topic. Say your students are writing an essay about their experience with the American Dream….well, “American Dream” might be the best phrase to begin with. Here’s what your students should do next:

      • Get comfortable with the process of clustering by letting your playful, creative mind make connections. As you begin this writing strategy, maintain a childlike attitude by letting whatever associations come to you fall out onto paper. Avoid judging or choosing. Simply let go and write. Let the words or phrases radiate outward from the nucleus word; draw a circle around each of them if you like. Connect those associations that seem related with lines—even add arrows to indicate direction if you feel compelled. Just don’t get caught up in organization and tidiness; it’s not important now.

      • Write down anything that is triggered by the key word—and whatever you do, don’t inhibit or censor yourself. At this point, nothing is silly, stupid, inane or unrelated. If you plateau and can’t think of anything, scribble or write, “I don’t know what to say.”

      • Every writer is different, but you should know when to stop clustering when you feel a strong, sudden urge to write—this usually happens after a couple of minutes when you feel a shift that says, “Aha! I think I know what I want to say.”

      • You’re ready to write. Scan your clustered perceptions and insights. Something therein will suggest your first sentence to you, and you’re off. Should you feel stuck, however, write about anything from the cluster to get you started. The next thing and the next thing after will come because your right hemisphere has already perceived a pattern of meaning. Trust it.

      Writing Strategy 2: Brainstorming
      A second form of invention is brainstorming. Like clustering, brainstorming asks the writer to jot down any ideas that come to his or head. The difference is that it takes sentence form and is best done in 15-minute increments.

      The writer decides on a subject, sits down in a quiet place with a pen and paper or computer, and writes down everything—literally—that comes to mind about the subject. Here are some of the main “rules” of brainstorming:

      1. Don’t criticize or evaluate any ideas during the session. Simply write down every idea that emerges. If you can’t think of something to say for a few seconds, write, “I don’t know what to say, etc.” until something new occurs to you. Save the criticism and evaluation for later.

      2. Use your imagination for “free wheeling.” The wilder the idea the better, because it might lead to some valuable insights later.

      3. Strive for quantity. In other words, write a lot. The more ideas, the better chance for a winner to emerge.

      4. Combine and improve ideas as you proceed.

      The writer, in other words, free-associates, writing down as many ideas as possible. After doing so, the writer either tries to structure the information in some way—by recopying it in a different order or by numbering the items, crossing some out, adding to others—or finds the list suggestive enough as it stands and begins to work.

      At Marygrove College, we know that teachers need a support system; they need the guidance of caring and experienced mentors; they also need forward-thinking resources and constructive feedback on their curriculum. Mentors in Marygrove’s Master in the Art of Teaching program understand teachers. They want to see you succeed in your career and your classroom and that’s why they’ve built their online master’s degree program around you. Learn more about our online master’s degree program here.

        Learn more about our online Master's Degree Program

    • Blog post
    • 2 years ago
    • Views: 409
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  • Sandy_Conklin

    • ASCD EDge Member
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