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22 Search Results for ""open letter""

  • Through a Two-Dimensional Cube Through a Two-Dimensional Cube: A Philosophy of Education in Action

    • From: Mindy_Keller-Kyriakides
    • Description:

      I find myself returning to a particular moment in one of my classes as an illustration of my philosophy of education. It wasn’t one of those inspirational lessons or fantastic units, either. It was a required, school-wide, test-prep math lesson.

      I’m an English teacher. Let's just say, math isn't my thing.

      In this school-wide initiative, we all did the same reading passage or math problem every day. These were sometimes not available until five minutes before the class and rushed out to teachers.

      On this day, we had this math problem that dealt with the volume of a cube ( or something like that), and we had to figure that out to resolve the larger problem. But the image provided was two-dimensional. It was a letter T, a box that was completely laid flat.

      2D cube.jpgWith a very clear, personal awareness of my non-math aptitude, I was actually a better model for learners that day. First, I had to offer myself some motivation for doing the problem other than the fact that it was required because doing something that way isn’t a motivation. I had to be curious about how to solve the problem.

      Teachers were given the answers, of course. But what good is an answer without wanting to understand where it comes from?

      I thought aloud about how to approach the problem as a learner for a bit and then opened it up for class collaboration, to see what we could do or not do with it. I modeled my thinking, which was probably something along the lines of "Seriously?! There has got to be a way…"


      rebuild cube.jpg
       

      My mind just wasn't getting it, though.  It didn't bother anyone, least of all me, that I didn't have the answer because we often held discussions where I didn't have the answer. That was okay in my class.

      So, we piddled and pondered together, and after a few minutes, a student figured it out (math whiz that he was!) jumped up excitedly and tried to tell us how he'd arrived at the (correct) answer. I didn't follow, so he ran up to the front, grabbed some scissors, cut the paper,

      cut cube.jpg

       

       

       

      and made the cube by folding it over.

      3D cube.jpg

       

       

       

       

      The whole problem rested on this spatial understanding.

      This learning moment exemplifies my philosophy of education.

      Now, I know a lot of people talk about strategies and methods when they discuss their philosophy of education, but I have to wonder what it is that induces those principles--what's behind the decision-making process that compels one to choose a particular strategy or method? Doesn’t our mindset come first?

      Because there was no method or strategy that I used in our cube story. But we learned.

      There were however, several mindsets at work, and I think my philosophy of education seems boils down to mindsets. If the mindset is appropriate, the method or strategy will emerge more naturally. They are (in no particular order): mindfulness, curiosity, creativity, and humility.

      Mindfulness has to do with a state of being in response to or approach to things as a teacher (or a learner).  Whether that is a stellar discussion post from an adult learner or a snarky comment from a teenager face-to-face, I steer away from knee-jerk reactions. Rather, I prefer to take a moment and consider what is actually happening or will happen. I allow the moment to happen--it's being fully present.

      In the cube story, I allowed the moment to happen. Without that mindfulness, I probably would have just glossed over to the answer.  If I attach mindfulness to an action, I would call it allowing. I enjoyed allowing the moment of not knowing, thinking, collaborating, and listening. 

      Curiosity as a mindset played a large role, here--the ability to be curious about things that we might not be interested in or that we might already know a lot about is a game-changer for education. It is a mindset that has helped me in so many ways with students.  For example, I taught Frankenstein every year in AP Lang. While I can certainly say I knew the story and characters inside and out, every year, I would approach the novel with new curiosity. I created a question for myself to answer, generally along the lines of "How is this ages-old novel STILL relevant today?"  And every year, without fail, I'd come up with an answer.

      Curiosity seems to attach to the action of searching. Students need to see us searching.

      Creativity has recently gotten a lot of press, but I'm careful when I say that this mindset is one of the driving forces of my philosophy. I'm not a creative genius or anything, but I know it when I feel it, and I notice when it's not there.

      I don't see it as a "what," though. It's a how. It's a process. It's a blend of willingness and flexibility and exciting discomfort. I want that in learners because that's where they can make some strides as far as autonomy (which they'll need) and in problem-solving.

      The art of brainstorming, collaboration, and sharing all fall under this category, and it seems to be one of the areas where my former students excelled. Though our cube story focused on one person as a catalyst, it was still a collaborative moment. Perhaps creativity can be connected to the action of trusting. Without trusting each other, could we have had this moment?

      The last mindset in my philosophy, humility, was really evident, here, and it certainly played a role in moving the students forward in comprehension. They saw me struggle and succeed. They struggled and succeeded, and we had a positive learning moment. Humility, as an action, could be seen as acknowledging one’s self. I am more open and flexible in my awareness of what I don’t know.

      Side note: I had to laugh, recently, because one of the comments I received on a course evaluation (I facilitate professional development courses for educators) was: "I know more on some topics than the facilitator does."


      I thought--"Damn right, you do! I learned from you! I want to learn from you! That's what it's all about!" Though I'm sure she meant it as a negative, it was actually a sort of positive for me, if only because she saw me as fellow-learner, which was my goal anyway.   

      After the student had shown the class what the heck was going on with cube, you could hear the collective, "AHHHHHH..." followed by the scribbling of the problem resolution.

      We applauded him and ourselves that day. We shared in that moment of curious searching, mindful allowing, creative trusting, and humble acknowledging of ourselves and each other as a community of learners. 

       

      Mirror Site: http://joyfulcollapse.blogspot.com/2014/07/through-two-dimensional-cube-philosophy.html

       

    • Blog post
    • 3 weeks ago
    • Views: 187
  • 5 Activities for the Last Day 5 Activities for the Last Day of Class

    • From: Ryan_Thomas1
    • Description:

      last day of schoolThe end of the school year is always a strange and exciting time. Like my students, I look forward to a break, but I always have mixed emotions about parting ways after spending the better part of a year with them. On the last day of school, I like to keep things light, but I also think it is important to have them reflect on their classroom experience. Below you’ll find a few of the activities I plan on using this year. 

      Conduct interviews
      This is an idea I’m borrowing from Dr. Richard Curwin. Here’s how it works:

      Divide the class into small groups and ask each group to think of four questions they want to ask you about the past year. There’s no need to place any restrictions on the questions; if you feel a question is inappropriate, simply pass. Students may ask you questions like, “Why did you give us so much homework?” or “Why couldn’t we keep our smartphones in class?”

      Once you’ve answered each group’s questions, it’s your turn to ask them questions. You may, for example, ask them about their favorite classroom activity, their least favorite activity, and so on.

      Crack open those time capsules
      This activity requires some planning. At the beginning of the year, I have students fill out a questionnaire in which they answer a variety of questions about their hobbies, their current favorite song, their favorite school experience, what they hope to learn this year, and so on. Once they complete the form, I have students roll it up and slide it into a paper towel tube that they’ve decorated and written their names on.

      On the last day of school, I hand out the time capsules. It’s both funny and insightful to see how much students have changed over the course of a year.

      Have students evaluate themselves
      Every classroom is different, but a decent portion of my students’ grades has to do with the level of engagement and preparedness they’ve shown during our seminar discussions. I have my own system for tracking each student’s progress, but I also like to have students reflect on their own performance.

      Below is the handout I give to students:


      As you know, a significant portion of your grade not only has to do with the quality of the work you have submitted over the course of the semester, but the level of preparedness you demonstrated in our weekly seminars. As we close out the semester, I would like for you to reflect on your own performance and level of commitment in our course by proposing the letter grade you believe you earned in this area. Please keep in mind that you are not proposing your final grade—I simply wish to know the grade you believe you earned for class preparation and participation. Although I will not accept your proposition without some consideration, I will carefully consider and weigh it before calculating your grade. Before you begin though, I want to remind you of what class preparation and participation refer to:

      1. Reading all assigned texts attentively and being prepared to discuss them in class
      2. Actively contributing/vocalizing your thoughts during class discussions and group activities
      3. Coming to all class meetings—and coming on time
      4. Turning in all of your assignments in (and on time)
      5. Not using your cell phone in class
      6. Bringing your essays to all of our in-class peer reviews
      7. Fully and willingly participating (that means not just sitting back and allowing your peers to do all of the work) in group activities

      Proposed grade and explanation:

      Role Play
      This is another activity recommended by Dr. Curwin. Here’s how it works:

      Using small groups, ask the students to role-play you teaching a class. Be prepared for the role-play to be funny, yet highly accurate. Then you get to turn the tables and role-play any of the students' behavior in class. Try for humor, not sarcasm.

      Sample situations from students:

      • Teacher giving a lecture.
      • Teacher trying to quiet the class.

      Sample situations from teacher:

      • Students asking silly questions.
      • Student explaining a complicated concept.


      Set summer goals
      I’ve shared this activity before, but I think it’s worthwhile to add it to the list.

      Start by having students read an excerpt from Michael Jordan’s book, I Can’t Accept Not Trying. After students finish reading, ask them to pair up with another student and write a one-sentence summary of the information.

      Next, students get together with another pair of students to compare their summaries and work together to develop the best one-sentence thesis/summary they possibly can. Once groups finish, I like to have each group write their sentence on the white board. Then, as a class, we review the strengths and weaknesses of each summary and work together as a class to create the most accurate and concise one-sentence summary that we can.

      Following this, each student completes a goal-setting worksheet, or writes out a one-page reflection in which they set summer goals and reflect on how they will achieve them. After completing the worksheet, give students the opportunity to share their goals with the class.

      Photo credit: Richard Elzey / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)

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    • Blog post
    • 1 month ago
    • Views: 5773
  • You're Fired! You're Fired!

    • From: Barry_Saide
    • Description:

      My mother used to tell me I was "very persistent" growing up. "You didn't take no for an answer," she often said. One of her favorite examples of this was when I was fired from a summer camp job and managed to get rehired for the following summer. (I was 22).


      I  made a lot of mistakes that first summer working as a head counselor, most of them because of pride and immaturity: being afraid to ask questions when unsure, not actively listening to the children and assistant counselors in my group (I was real good at telling them what to do), and not utilizing problem solving strategies prior to making decisions.


      When I wasn't rehired I was surprised: didn't most of the kids like me? So, I had a few parental complaints. Don't we all? Yes, the Camp Director had to speak to me privately once or twice. Isn't that an initiation rite? (It wasn't).


      The camp let me know by letter that I would not be rehired for the following summer. The administration cited my "inconsistency in relating to staff, campers and their families. on a regular basis." I really liked working at the camp, liked the kids, and enjoyed the staff. The atmosphere was warm and inviting. However, the place I liked didn't think I'd be a good fit in the culture and climate they created.


      I needed to be honest with myself if I was going to grow and put forth a better me: introspect, digest what the camp administration stated to me during our "one-to-one conversations" over the summer and in the letter, then share with the Camp Director and Camp Owner that I'd learned from my failures. 


      So, I wrote my own letter. To them. I stated that I understood I had made some poor decisions when interacting with some of my younger counselors and campers. My role was to model how to behave in a recreational atmosphere, build on the positive environment they'd created, and send the children home wanting to come back the next day. Campers needed to have fun playing sports while feel safe and appreciated. Their parents needed to feel that the environment was nurturing. I hadn't fulfilled my end of the bargain, and if the administration hadn't fired me, they wouldn't have done their job.


      However, my job description was now to show them I listened to them, that I took the time to have an honest conversation with myself, and I wanted an opportunity to show them I used my failures as learning opportunities. I asked the Camp Owner and Camp Director for two things in my letter to them: to meet with me so I could apologize personally, and if they were open to it, to hire me back on a contingent basis. Week to week, day to day, unpaid, didn't matter to me. I wanted to be there. I wanted to make a difference.


      The Camp Owner and Camp Director met with me. They were honest with me, sharing what got them to the point where firing me was the best option. I reciprocated their honesty, explaining my thought process during different incidents, what I learned from each experience, and all I asked for was an opportunity to continue to learn in an environment I truly enjoyed. We could figure out the money situation later.


      I was hired back. I'd like to say I was a a new man, but I wasn't. I still made errors in decision making as I continued to learn. But, I grew. Rapidly. I made less mistakes. I shared my stories with new counselors and counselors in training who I saw making similar decisions early in their career. I made fun of myself, and said, "Don't pull a Barry." For some of them it stuck, and we remain friends to this day. For some, they weren't ready to hear the message, weren't rehired, and made a choice to seek future employment and guidance elsewhere.


      I stayed at the camp for seven more years, until an opportunity to direct a summer camp came my way. My mom references this camp story as an example of me "being persistent, of not hearing no. I still can't believe you got that job back." I view it in a different lens now: I was taught that having grit, perseverance, and a willingness to take risks were worthwhile. I didn't like being fired, so I asked myself what I could do to change the situation. When I made mistakes during my following years at camp, my administration took the time to ask me questions instead of making snap decisions: explain what happened? What was your thought process? Why did you chose to solve the problem that way? Upon reflection, what can you do differently next time? How do we know this experience will make you better?


      I keep these questions and this story in mind when I work with students and teachers. No one comes in fully-formed. (Exhibit A: me). We all have room to grow, and it's incumbent upon me to teach others how to think (not what to think), identify mistakes and learn from them, as my camp administrators did for me.


      I wouldn't honor them if I did not pay it forward, and remember their lessons when I need to tap into my own perseverance and grit. Because, each opportunity in my work with teachers and students is another chance to reinforce to the Camp Director and Owner who rehired me that their investment in me taught me something, and made a difference in my life.  And if I'm lucky, a student I've taught, a child I've worked with in the Before and Aftercare program, or a teacher I've mentored will internalize and model what I've shared so they "Don't pull a Barry" too.

    • Blog post
    • 7 months ago
    • Views: 724
  • Taking the Parents Back to Sch Taking the Parents Back to School at Back to School Night

    • From: Barry_Saide
    • Description:

                 For the past 12 Back to School Nights, I've presented in a very prescribed way. I introduce myself, my years in education, my in-district accomplishments, and my organizational affiliates. I focus on the textbooks we use, the subject matter we cover, and the goals of being a student in whichever grade I was teaching at the time.

                  It was a dry, easy sell, and did not reflect the social curriculum I've tried to embed into everything we do as students and people in the classroom. I've always felt it was hard to explain to parents who were raised in an academically driven culture, who have attended big name schools of higher learning and have impressive job titles, that the research shows that a child needs to feel a sense of belonging, significance, and fun in order to do their best learning. That a handshake greeting from a peer and teacher each day may be the validating experience that drives their child to take a risk and apply a new strategy when approaching a multi-step math problem. That when we create the environment where students feel comfortable taking risks and making mistakes (because that's how people learn), then true learning will occur. I always wondered if parents would think I was 'soft' for this philosophical belief.

                  So my ultimate goal of creating lifelong learners beginning in the elementary grades, who were driven not by the letter grade, but by the learning itself, was kept under wraps. We held daily Morning Meetings, infused Energizers during transition times, and met as a class during Closing Circle. These opportunities for collaborative and cooperative learning eliminated a lot of the little cliques I used to see form among students. The faces or body language students would use when I grouped them with other students they didn't connect with were slim and none. Students treated each other respectfully, fairly, and in many cases, patiently. These approaches to learning drove our academics, and allowed us to learn at a more rapid rate. The consistent reflections we conducted at the end of each lesson (what did you learn from working with Jake? what did Sam say during your conversation on the Civil War?) enabled us to see one another as peers, not people who happened to be in the same class.

                  Parents, during conference time, would say to me, "Fred really likes those Morning Meetings," or, "Hillary can't stop talking about that 'Just Like Me' energizer." I would nod my head, smile, and simply state we do 'team building exercises.'

                  However, this past Back to School Night was different. Perhaps it was the fact that I lost my PowerPoint presentation two hours before I was supposed to present. Or, maybe I was ready to model what I've told my students to believe about risk taking: you will learn more from the mistakes you make and the failures you have, than any success you achieve. Fail means a first attempt in learning, and if we're really open to new ideas, willing to think creatively, and trust our ability, we need to try new things and embrace our instincts.

                  So, at Back to School Night I took the risk and left myself vulnerable. I presented a bare bones PowerPoint that focused on the philosophy, theory, and research behind how our classroom was organized and run. We modeled social skills because they aren't inherent. That my mini-lessons were no more than 15 minutes, because it wasn't about me as a 'sage on a stage', but as 'guide on the side'. Students would learn more from each other than they would ever learn from me. After all, there was only one me, and 20+ of them. That research in the business world proves that more people lose their job, not because of a lack of knowledge, but an inability to work with others. So, it was incumbent upon me as the children's teacher, to create a comfortable environment where soft skills like collaboration, cooperation, problem solving, perseverance, failure, and grit were celebrated as successes. Mistakes were looked at as learning opportunities. And students took ownership for their work, even when the grade wasn't what they wanted.

                  An amazing thing happened as I got halfway through my presentation: parents began to nod their heads in agreement. Some wrote down notes. Others stared at me without yawning. And at the end, I made it clear we were all in this together. That our classroom community extended outside the classroom to their homes. We were only as strong as each other, and we were all 'pulling on the same rope, in the same direction, for the same thing' -- what was best for their children.  And, if they didn't understand something I did, call or e-mail me. I wouldn't take offense to it. If anything, I would appreciate their sharing their concerns, and we could work together to figure out solutions when issues arose. I just asked for the benefit of the doubt, as I would give them, so we adults could also best model the behavior and soft skills we were working on in the classroom.

                  I shared my last slide, thanked parents for coming, and then ended stopped talking. Some parents came up to me and said hello. Others had a couple academic questions, or a general "How's my son doing in class?"

                  As one parent walked out though, she turned around and said to me, "You should really have some kind of regular meeting with parents. Talk about topics in education. I felt like I needed to learn so much more." I told her it was a good idea and I'd think about it. First, I needed to digest what I just did.

                  And learn from it.

    • Blog post
    • 10 months ago
    • Views: 616
  • An Open Letter to the NC GOP An Open Letter to the NC GOP

    • From: Michael_Fisher
    • Description:

      

      An Open Letter to the NC GOP:


      You have failed the children of your state.


      This is not meant to be just a dramatic sentiment that pulls the heartstrings of the reader. It is meant to remind the people who put you into office that you are incapable of doing what is best for children.  


      With your new budget, you have effectively dismantled the education system in your state and sent a clear message to all of your teachers. That message is: get out while you can.


      Who among you in the legislature wants to feel devalued in their profession? Who among you would like to better themselves professionally at your own expense without seeing the rewards of doing so? Who among you would like the rug pulled out from under you every time you turn around? Who among you would like to lose their job when a poorly constructed performance evaluation indicates that you are terrible at what you do though the parameters of the evaluation are, in large part, beyond your control? Who among you qualifies for public assistance as an educated and employed professional?


      A decade ago, there were projections being made about the number of teachers that North Carolina would need in the coming years. At the time, back in 2003, it was tens of thousands. Because of the populations of students in some of your neediest areas, teacher turnover was already excessively high, and that’s before factoring in class sizes, high-stakes testing, and low pay. Exclusive of teacher assistants, NC has approximately 90,000 teachers teaching approximately 1.5 million students. That’s a ratio of about 1 teacher for every 17 students, a generalization that doesn’t factor in geography, population concentrations, content area numbers or grade level numbers. That generalization also doesn’t factor in which of those 90,000 teachers are Special Ed or intervention level support. We do know that class sizes are already too large in many cases and they are about to get larger.


      The legislature has paved a road of inequity upon which a mass exodus of teachers in your state will walk.


      When you planned for the gutting of education in NC, did you also plan for the consequences; the ramifications of your actions? What will this mean a year from now? 5 years from now? 10 years from now? Is public education blatantly being sidelined in preparation for the privatization of learning, a step that will reward the haves and punish the have nots? Did you plan for who will ultimately clean up the mess you’ve created, which, in the long run will be potentially more expensive than justly funding education in the first place?


      I’m ashamed of your willingness to make your constituents feel abandoned and hopeless. I’m sad that the pervasive mood going into the next school year is one of defeat, anguish, and despair. I’m deeply troubled that students will ultimately be the ones affected when the quality teachers move on to greener pastures.


      The only hope I have is that those NC Teachers going back into their classrooms this Fall will teach civic responsibility, community values, and critical thinking like they’ve never taught them before, so that this generation doesn’t grow up believing that public education is an undeserving budgetary castaway. I hope that NC Teachers will teach how deeply we must know our elected officials and what they stand for and what they won’t stand for.


      I also hope that your children, especially those in public schools, have what they need to be prepared for college or careers in light of the extraordinary obstacles you have placed in front of your state’s teachers.


      I stand in solidarity today with my educator brothers and sisters in North Carolina.


      Mike Fisher

      Former NC Teacher






    • Blog post
    • 1 year ago
    • Views: 1948
  • 5 simple ways to strengthen st 5 simple ways to strengthen student engagement

    • From: Ryan_Thomas1
    • Description:
       

      student engagementTeaching entails many things, but at its core, teaching is about relationships. Relationships breathe life into a curriculum that would otherwise be static; relationships also create a safe space for open discourse, they encourage exploration, confidence and respect. Most of us believe this and while we do our best to nurture strong relationships with students, we often feel them getting lost in the hum of daily activity and the increasing demands of our profession. Thanks to Diane Mierzwik’s book, Quick and Easy Ways to Connect With Students and Their Parents, we’ve got five simple ways you can strengthen your relationships with students.

      5 simple ways to strengthen student engagement

      Handing back papers
      Returning papers is a perfunctory activity; it doesn’t require any preparation or expertise, so often we ask one of our students to hand back papers while we take attendance or make last-minute preparations. But there’s a good reason for teachers to reclaim ownership of this activity.

      When teachers return papers, they have the opportunity to connect a student’s performance to that student. “But why not simply glance at my grade book?” you say. Sure, you can do that too, but we’ve found that handing back papers helps connect specific assignments and lessons with that particular student; this makes it easier to remember when our students are succeeding and struggling. 

      Collecting assignments
      Many of us collect work by having students “pass up” assignments from the back row to the front. This is efficient, but it is another lost opportunity to connect with students. Walking up and down the row to collect each assignment may take another minute or two, but the payoff can be huge.

      When you collect homework, you know immediately who did not complete the assignment. Instead of literally getting lost in the shuffle, now you know exactly who you should speak to after class to find out why the assignment is missing.

      Commenting on your students’ work
      Imagine a track runner; every time she completes a lap and passes her coach, he simply shouts, “B minus!” That’s not very helpful, is it? Based on this “feedback,” the runner is able to ascertain that she could be performing better, but she still has no idea what she’s doing wrong. Now apply the analogy to your students.

      Regardless of where we teach, most of us are expected to issue letter grades. Fine, but is there a way to supply your students with more information about their performance? Where could they improve? What did they do well? All it takes is a sentence or two to encourage, congratulate and instruct.

      What do your students think about their work?
      Teaching our students to self-assess is an important life skill. Too often our students look to us to give them the answers or tell them what is “wrong” with their work. Having students write self-reflections and attach them to their homework gives us the opportunity to see their work through their eyes; it also gives students the opportunity to think critically about their own work, what they did well, and where they could improve.

      Informal, 5-minute conferences
      Another effective way to connect with students is through informal conferences. The purpose of these conferences is simply to catch up and ask your students how they think things are going. We encourage students to openly share their thoughts. We usually ask them the following questions:

      • What activities do they enjoy?
      • What are their least favorite?
      • Where could they improve?
      • Where are they succeeding?
      • What are their goals for the upcoming month?
      • How might we better assist them in their goals?

      While you can run conferences during class, we recommend having them before or after school, or turning them into an informal “lunch with a teacher” event.  

       

                                                       15 Ways to Kick Start the First Day of School

    • Blog post
    • 1 year ago
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  • Creativity and Engagement in t Creativity and Engagement in the CCSS Era

    • From: Thomas_Martellone
    • Description:

      

      There have been many editorials over the past year or so with strong feelings that creativity and engagement have been taken from students and teachers in the classroom setting.  I had the good fortune this week to have two very excited and proud first grade students come to see me, making me realize that student engagement and creativity are alive and well within the classrooms of my school and within the curriculum based on Common Core State Standards .


      I was just preparing to start one of my monthly literacy department meetings, when my administrative assistant came to get me in my office.  Normally, I hold those meetings in our literacy center, however, on this day, I was holding the meeting in my office due to some testing that was being done in our regular meeting space.  I left my office and went out to the main office area, only to find two first grade boys standing there waiting for me, both looking serious with papers in their hands.  


      Both boys shared that they had done some writing and they were there to share with me.  Knowing that students often times enjoy sharing their work, I invited them to my office where the literacy staff were waiting for me and I asked the students if they would share with me and the other adults I was meeting with.  I was pleasantly surprised when the two boys let me know that they wanted to share some persuasive writing with me!


      The first student began to read his piece, which in fact, was about me.  He shared in his piece of writing that he thought I was a good principal and that I helped students.  I wasn’t sure who his intended audience was, but I gave a small chuckle and appreciated the fact that he was trying to persuade someone to think I was a good principal. It was very flattering.  


      The second student then read his piece, which was writing that was intended to persuade me to buy some soccer balls so that they would have them to play with on the playground.  The student had tried to use a basketball and that didn’t work too well for soccer, thus, his persuasive letter.  After reading his letter, the other student turned to him and told him that he had a soccer ball at home and that he didn’t use it, so he would gladly bring it to school for them to use.  


      My reading specialists, the K-5 ELA department head and I all shared with the two boys how impressed we were with their persuasive writing.  The two boys beamed as they held their papers in my office and were excited that they not only got the chance to “persuade me”, but that adults were pleased with their writing.  Their teacher later shared with me how thrilled they were to come to the office with their writing and she also was very happy with how much her children were writing in the classroom.  


      Providing students opportunities in the classroom to prepare them for college readiness does not equate to learning that is not engaging and it certainly does not equate to teachers not using their skills to provide students with creative ways to learn.  The “art and science” of teaching refers to teachers employing their “art”, which is the creative way they deliver content and instruction to students.  The “science” is the following of aligned curriculum, which over time, helps create well prepared students to leave our schools and go forward into the world.  


      As a school leader, it is important to foster a culture where teachers feel that they can use creativity in the classroom no matter what standards are being taught and no matter what curriculum is being delivered in a district.  Teachers must have latitude to use a level of professional judgement around what will stimulate learning and engagement for students.  


      It is also important, that while promoting creativity, that principals have open and transparent dialogue with teachers about what needs to be taught.  Delivering instruction that will support students after they leave our schools is imperative and should be a non negotiable.


      In the end, it really is about the art and science of teaching, it is about balance, and it is about using good judgement to provide students engaging instruction within a structured curriculum where teachers are able to use the gifts that we’ve hired them to give to students!



    • Blog post
    • 1 year ago
    • Views: 488
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  • Writer's Block Writer's Block

    • From: Tiffany_Della_Vedova
    • Description:

      I am empathizing with my students as I write this because I am stuck. I often say to them, “Oh I love to see you frustrated!” and to them, this seems very cruel, but getting stuck forces us to push through obstacles and grow. Hence, I like to see them get stuck because seeing them get unstuck is the most rewarding gift in teaching. 

      But I digress. I was talking about how I am currently stuck and currently empathetic to my students. Usually, when this happens to my students or to my children, I suggest they just start writing, so that is what I am doing. My hope is that somewhere along the way, purpose will emerge and I will sound brilliant, inspirational, or at the lowest standard, competent and organized. The risk in this practice is (of course) that no sense will emerge and that the process will do nothing but consume time which very much needs to be spent getting the job done. What I am most fearing in this moment is this exact outcome. I have three more tasks on my to-do list today, and these are the central to-do’s not the tangential ones. Hence, this is a huge risk. 
      The second approach I take when my well-intentioned, hard-working students return with a page or two full of scattered pieces of thought is to ask, “Well, what do you want to say about this topic? What do you really think about it?” If I could accurately describe the looks on their faces when I ask this question, I may elicit the just the right level of sympathy from you, my dear reader, as I am currently feeling for them as I (which you have likely surmised by now) do not know exactly what I want to say; or perhaps, I want to say too much, which is more or less the same thing. But back to their despondent faces. How else is one to feel after carefully cupping and carrying baby seeds of genius to a well-seasoned gardener in hopes of carrying away a stunning plant in full bloom...only to be turned away with some vague sense that what one has in her hands is not truly a plant because it is only the parts to a whole which mandates more skill and material to grow than what one believes she possesses?
      But again, I digress. I believe we were speaking of empathy when one is blocked. On that point, I believe it’s important to feel empathetic of the student experience from time to time. It’s cliche to state, but we really do forget what it’s like. How do we re-experience, if not re-live, the fear of not fitting in and the overwhelming sense that this not-fitting-in supersedes any learning objective on any given day for any given purpose? How to we re-activate prior knowledge to recall that the Essential Question of every day is who are my friends? How do we re-enter a class for which we have prepared to the greatest extent but still feel insecure about our knowledge? How do we re-imagine what the heat in our cheeks feels like when our name is called and we don’t know the answer? How do we re-dream the dream we had when we accidentally fell asleep while up too late trying to get unstuck for the paper that is due absolutely no later than tomorrow? How do we re-cry the tears of relief (because it is really relief, not truly joy) or shame (because it is really shame, not truly sorrow) when we open the decision letter and know that someone who met us on paper, in an hour of one particular day, or in a few check marks from a portfolio around a table, has decided whether they want to really know us? 
      I have come to the realization it is ever harder to remember but ever more important. Age is not our friend in this endeavor. We have to approach the task with intention (at least I will earn high marks for that today if not for efficiency). To remember, we must intentionally place ourselves in chairs, in classrooms and experience what it is like to see the nuances of learning through the eyes of a child: the good, the bad, and the boring. We must experience where to find the elusive Dropbox in Schoology, how to sit still and focus on our work when we just saw the funniest thing ever and the stifled giggles are infectious, and how to free one’s thoughts when they are confined by the Berlin Wall and the timer is on in English class. Hence, we must force ourselves to get stuck sometimes.
      But then comes the joy of getting unstuck. It is akin to breaking down The Wall (though I only read about it and watched it on the news) or reaching the greatest summit (though I’ve only been to 11, 138 ft. on my two feet)...but I think the point is that by allowing ourselves to bump up against the great obstacles of school from time to time, we can remember the sense of achievement which comes from surmounting them, the very great sense of achievement in the summit of the smallest moment of a seemingly inconsequential victory.
      Beyond that, we can recapture the immense joy of learning and revive our sense of responsibility in providing this joy so that it transcends the frustrations, disappointments, and failures inherent to any of life’s worthwhile journeys. At my school, we frequently talk about the gifts we give each other on a daily basis in the most mundane of exchanges and the weight they carry in painting the landscape of the day, week, and year we share together. Sometimes we give the gift of a great obstacle in exchange for the gift of growth. As often, we give the gift of a integrated, engaging learning experience in exchange for the gift of appreciation and joy of learning. Other times, we give the gift of empathy in the face of failure in exchange for the gift of rapport. The sense that we are on this journey together is the daily gift we give each other. While most of the time, we are out ahead with signs reading This Way To Success, sometimes we circle back and are side-by-side. Today I was stuck, and I thought of my students. They emerged ahead...and I followed them.
    • Blog post
    • 1 year ago
    • Views: 488
  • An Open Letter to Ed Majors (G An Open Letter to Ed Majors (Guest Blog Post)

    • From: Mindy_Keller-Kyriakides
    • Description:

      I wanted to share one of the replies to my blog post on "Why I Teach". Elizabeth brings up some powerful points. I was surprised that this reasoning is STILL pervading the College of Education. What might WE do to help offset this issue?

       

       

      Guest Blogger Elizabeth Anderson is an education major at the University of Toledo, specializing in English-Language Arts and Sciences. She writes the newsletter for the UT Writer’s Guild; she also runs their blog. Her own blog, Inkwell, can be found here, or you can follow her on Twitter here.

       

      Dear fellow education majors,

       

      I just thought you should know that you should change majors if you chose education because:

       

      1. You hate kids but want to teach college someday.

       

      You don’t need teacher certification to teach college; you need a Ph.D. in your area (at least to be full time). If you hate kids, you should not be a teacher.

       

      2. You want summers and weekends off and the other benefits that teachers get.

       

      It’s not bad to want these things—I’m looking forward to them myself. But if benefits are the only reason you want to be a teacher, you should not be a teacher.

       

      3. You want to be paid to sit at a desk and do nothing.

       

      YOU, you more than any of the aforementioned people who should not be teachers, are exactly the reason why the public has such a poor opinion of teachers. Teachers are not supposed to sit at a desk and do nothing. Teachers are supposed to teach. If you don’t want to teach, you should not be a teacher.

       

      Look. It’s not that I begrudge you benefits or any easy job. But I do begrudge you a job that I actually want, for what I flatter myself are the right reasons, when you don’t actually want said job. Every time I tell people that I’m going into education, they say, “WHY? You won’t make any MONEY.” As if money is the only important thing.

       

      I’ll tell you why.

       

      I’m majoring in education because I like kids. While I admit that kids are much worldlier now than they were when I was a kid (much worldlier than I am now, frankly), they’re still not as jaded as adults—not as disbelieving. I’ve had kids at camp who say, “Fairies don’t exist,” but they’re not quite sure, and when I point out the glitter on the ground, their disbelief vanishes, and they run ahead to find fairies.

       

      I love kids. You can still do fun stuff with kids.

       

      And I chose education because I love English and biology, and I wanted to share my passion with people. I can’t think of a better way to do it. What better way to get people excited about biology than taking them out in nature and scooping up pond water to examine under a microscope? Who better to build people’s confidence as writers than someone who loves reading, writing, and editing?

       

      But most of all, I want to become a teacher because I want to teach. At the end of the day, that’s what it comes down to.

       

      And if you’re becoming a teacher for a different reason—if you don’t want to teach, or you don’t like kids, or you aren’t passionate about your subject—then you should not be a teacher.

       

      Because YOU are the reason the public turns teachers into the enemy—part of the reason—and I and people like me are going to have to fight against that opinion, and you, every step of the way.

       

      Sincerely,

       

      a proud future teacher

       

       

      Mirror Site: Joyful Collapse

       

       

      

    • Blog post
    • 1 year ago
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  • Heartfelt Reflection on Becomi Heartfelt Reflection on Becoming a Teacher: A Cover Letter and My Story

    • From: Robert_Thollander
    • Description:

      This is a cover letter written last winter.  In it, I expressed not only my interest in the job I was applying for but gave a heart felt reflection of my own transformation into a life-long educator.  

                                                                                                                                                   Friday, November 11, 2011

       

       

      Dear Naadia Shafizadeh,

       

      I am writing you this letter to communicate my interest in becoming a CTF Selector for the 2012 selection year.  Please accept this letter as my formal intent to pursue open positions as a Selector for Chicago Teaching Fellows.  

       

      In the email that I received expressing the need for Selectors this year, I read a quote that embodies one of the most meaningful reasons of why I am applying to be a Selector.   “Last year, one of our new Selectors shared a sentiment felt by other members of the team, ‘It was invigorating to meet new potential teachers and people very excited about teaching. I left each selection day feeling excited and energized.’”   

       

      I remember how excited I was on the day of my CTF interview here in Chicago.    It was my first time in Chicago and it was snowing as I walked up the steps of a brick school where the interviews were held.   I arrived early and was waiting nervously in an auditorium with the other candidates.  Then you and Kate walked on stage and gave a wonderful introduction that calmed our nerves.  Your energy was amazing.   Next, you introduced the Selectors and outlined the day’s schedule.  I knew then and there that CTF was a very special program and that the information I had read about it was true:  Chicago Teaching Fellows is closing the achievement gap in Chicago.   I knew it was true because there were people like you and the Selectors (people embodying the values of hard work, dedication, and compassionating) making sure that it became true.

       

      I was once one of the potential teachers who was exciting about the potential of becoming a teacher in CPS.  I know the quote referenced above is true because I could see that the Selectors left the session that day feeling excited and energized. 

       

      Having traveled all the way from Florida for my interview, the Selectors made me feel at ease and I could tell that I wanted to be like them one day.  My close friend whom I was staying with picked me up after the interview.  It had stopped snowing but while I was in the school, everything had become covered in snow.  I had never seen a city covered in fresh snow; it was quiet, beautiful, and magical.  I got into my friends car and before taking off for the airport I turned to her and said, “This is the group of people that I want to work with.  I’ve never felt like there was a more perfect organization for me to work for in my life, I really hope that I did well and am selected.” 

       

      I found out about a month later that I was invited to join the 2009 Cohort of Chicago Teaching Fellows.  I had interviews setup with Fellows Programs in Denver, D.C., and Oakland.   I also had secured a full-ride for graduate school with a generous living stipend at two prestigious universities.  I faced a tough decision.

       

      I knew the decision would be either be my top choice graduate program or Chicago Teaching Fellows so I canceled the interviews with the other Fellows programs.   I filled out the paperwork for both opportunities and signed the commitment forms for both of them.  Next, the paperwork and forms were put into their respective envelopes, which were addressed and stamped.   I thought it over for a week, day and night.  I knew both were great opportunities and that I wanted to do both equally but I knew that I had to decide between the two and that my decision would determine the next 5 to 10 years of my life.   

       

      On a Friday night, after a long day of work, which was also the last day that I could have possibly waited to send out the commitment forms, I found myself standing in front of a mailbox with both envelopes one in each hand.   Intellectually, both opportunities weighed equally and both would require the same amount of hard work and dedication over the next many years of my life.  However, only one led to making a difference in the lives of other people.  Only one of the decisions was more selfless than the other and when I stopped thinking, asked myself which one would lead to a better world and which one was the right path for me, I got quiet and started listening to my gut.   The answer was simple.   Within 30 seconds, I was putting the CTF envelop into the mailbox and ripping up the full ride to graduate school.

       

      I immediately got on the phone and told everyone who would answer that I was moving to Chicago to become a teacher in Chicago Public Schools and that it was going to be the best decision I had ever made.  At the time I could not have imagined how right I was.   I could not have predicted how CTF would transform me into a better person.  I could not have seen the amount of lives that I would be able to effect in a positive way.    I also could not have possibly predicted how closing the achievement gap would become the most important mission of my life thus far and how dedicated to it I would become of the next several years.    

       

      Closing the achievement gap in Chicago has become my life’s mission and goal.  It is the work that I tirelessly devote myself to daily.  I want to be on the forefront of selecting new teachers to join me in my mission of closing the achievement gap.  I work hard and have seen much success because of the training and experiences I gained through CTF.   I am able to shape the lives of about 140 children each year because of the opportunity that CTF gave me.   It is not just a one-sided relationship either; over the past several years I have learned more from the teaching profession and from my students that I ever thought possible.   

       

      Furthermore, being a CTF Selector is aligned with my professional development and career path.   I plan on applying to be a CTF Site Visitor or a CTF Trainer during the 2012 Summer Institute.    Being apart of the selection process will prepare me for that job, show you that I am capable of being an excellent staff member of CTF, and also allow me to be apart of the selection process of the new cohort.   Finally, just as I plan I teaching in CPS for many more years, if I am given the opportunity of becoming a Selector for CTF, I plan on returning each year to be apart of the selection process.   

       

      I believe that I would be an excellent addition to the Selection staff at Chicago Teaching Fellows.  Since moving to Chicago, I have demonstrated a passion for teaching and raising the academic performance of my students.  I set high expectations for my students and myself and commit myself to the hard work and dedication necessary to achieve those expectations.  Finally, since I started my student teaching in the summer of 2009, and even more so now that I am starting the second quarter of my third year teaching, I have exhibited strong time management, organizational and communication skills, and a history of high expectations for and success with students and teachers.    I have also demonstrated all of the characteristics that are listed under the qualifications section for the Selector Job: Strong critical thinking skills, flexibility and persistence, the ability to work in a cooperative setting, and openness and responsiveness to feedback.  In conclusion, I believe that I am a perfect fit for the job and I hope you do too.   

       

      Thank you for your time in reviewing my application, cover letter, and resume. 

      I look forward to hearing from you soon.  

       

       

      Respectfully yours,

       

       

      Robert Thollander Jr

      

    • Blog post
    • 2 years ago
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  • Leader to Leader (L2L) News: M Leader to Leader (L2L) News: May 2012

    • From: Meg_Cohen
    • Description:

       

      Your To-Do List: Action Items for ASCD Leaders

      • Join us for the Whole Child Virtual Conference until May 11, 2012. This event is free to all who wish to attend, and registration is still available for Thursday and Friday sessions.
         
      •  Submit a proposal for the 2013 ASCD Annual Conference. ASCD is accepting proposals until May 15 for the 2013 Annual Conference themed “Learning: Our Story. Our Time. Our Future”. Visit the ASCD website for more information and to access the online submission form.
         
      •  Vote on the proposed changes to the ASCD Constitution between now and June 2. Please go to www.ascd.org/vote and read a letter from Immediate Past President Paul Healey, which summarizes the proposed changes, and a PDF of the current Constitution and the proposed new language.  Then log in with your Member ID and password and vote whether or not to approve the changes. If you need your Member ID or password, contact the ASCD Service Center at 1-800-933-ASCD (2723) and then press 1. If you have any questions, please contact ASCD Governance Director Becky DeRigge at bderigge@ascd.org.

      •  Write for Educational Leadership.Would you like to publish a manuscript in Educational Leadership? ASCD is looking for high-quality, original submissions that shed light on our monthly themes. We will also consider non-theme-related articles for Special Topics.View the complete list of our upcoming 2012–13 themes and deadlines.

       

       

      OYEA Winners and Honorees Featured in Educational Leadership for 10 Year Program Anniversary

      This month, in honor of the 10th anniversary of ASCD’s Outstanding Young Educator Award (OYEA) program, we invited past winners and honorees to share their stories about the first time they felt like a real teacher “Tell Me About…” column for the May 2012 issue of Educational Leadership themed “Supporting Beginning Teachers.”

      From “Air Quotes and Empowerment” to “Resilience in Response to Tragedy,” these stories are funny, powerful, moving, and inspiring. Read their stories online and in pages 92–95 of your print copy of EL.

       

      New Jersey ASCD Executive Director Shares Reflections From Common Core Symposium

      As a result of the successful recent symposium entitled The Common Core Standards: Implications for Higher Education (PDF), New Jersey ASCD Executive Director Marie Adair wrote a white paper synthesizing the ideas and concepts presented during the symposium. 

      The document, Re-Envisioning the Teaching Profession:  A Collective Call to Action (PDF), provides challenges for K–16 educators in determining the changes and the innovations that will need to be created in teacher preparation programs to advance our profession. 

      Other resources from the symposium are available on the New Jersey ASCD website.

       

      Events

      ·         California ASCD is hosting an Educator Appreciation Day on May 11.

      ·         Hawaii ASCD is collaborating with the Hawaii Association of Independent Schools and the Hawaii Department of Education to cosponsor a two-day conference at the end of May with Art Costa on “Habits of Mind.”

      ·         Minnesota ASCD is partnering with the state department of education to host a Standards Camp.

      ·         Tennessee ASCD presents “Professional Learning Communities: What are They and How do They Work?” with Bob Eaker and Janel Keating.


      Other News

      California ASCD welcomes Chief Academic Officer and Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services for Central Unified School District Laurel Ashlock, and Program Manager for CTAP Region 10 Dennis Deets to the affiliate board of directors.


      OYEA Honoree Co-Authors Book on the Common Core State Standards

      2011 OYEA Honoree Maureen Connolly and  Vicky Giouroukakis of Molloy College have recently co-authored the book, Getting to the Core of English Language Arts, Grades 6-12: Meeting the Common Core State Standards with Lessons from the Classroom.  In this book, they discuss the benefits of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for the teaching of reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language, and they provide lessons from the field for grades 6–12 that effectively guide students in meeting these standards. 

      “The CCSS have the potential to allow divergent thinking among teachers and students alike because they are not about prescribing instruction, but rather they are about ensuring that our instruction and students’ learning experiences are rigorous and purposeful,” said Connolly. “ Vicky and I designed our book with a combination of theoretical and practical perspectives to guide and inspire teachers as they plan for instruction.”

      Congratulations, Maureen!

       

      OYEA Honoree and Emerging Leader to be Baltimore County Superintendent

      Dallas Dance, 2009 OYEA Honoree, 2010 Emerging Leader, and chief middle schools officer in the Houston school district, has been chosen as the next superintendent in Baltimore County.

      “We were extremely impressed with Dr. Dance during his interviews, with his poise and his maturity. His answers showed a depth of understanding. His references and prior experience were stellar,” said Baltimore County School Board President Lawrence Schmidt.

      In an open letter published in the Baltimore Sun, Dance pledged his commitment to the new position:

      “Education is my calling, not just a career. I've always known that this would be my life's work, and it has been professionally and personally rewarding. To quote one of my heroes, Teddy Roosevelt, “Far and away, the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” As your next superintendent, I pledge to the residents of Baltimore County to devote every waking minute to your children and giving them the excellent education they deserve.”

      Congratulations to Dallas!

       

      Director of Constituent Services Publishes Third Book

      Director of Constituent Services Walter McKenzie has just published his third book, Intelligence Quest: Project-Based Learning and Multiple Intelligences. The book, published through the International Society for Technology in Education, offers a fresh look at multiple intelligences theory and how it can be applied to successful implementation of technology in teaching and learning.

      McKenzie has been teaching and administering online communities of practice since 1997, through his work with Classroom Connect, Pepperdine University and the University of Mary Washington. He has developed and led online global symposia and conferences through the Capital Region Society for Technology in Education, and has served as the head of departments of technology and information systems for the public schools of Salem, Massachusetts, Northborough and Southborough, Mass., and Arlington, Va. McKenzie will have been with ASCD for two years this July; his previous published titles are Multiple Intelligences and Instructional Technology (ISTE, 2003, 2nd ed.) and Standards-Based Lessons for Tech-Savvy Students: A Multiple Intelligences Approach (Linworth, 2005).

       

      Throughout May on www.wholechildeducation.org: Mental Health

      A child’s mental health is influenced by her biology, social and physical environment, and behavior, as well as the availability of services. Good emotional and behavioral health enhances a child’s sense of well-being, supports satisfying social relationships at home and with peers, and facilitates achievement of full academic potential. Research shows that one in five children and adolescents ages 9 to 17 experiences symptoms of mental health problems that cause some level of impairment. However, fewer than 20 percent of those who need mental health services receive them.

      But, being mentally healthy is not just about emotional and behavioral difficulties. It’s also about being mentally strong and resilient and having the skills and supports to deal with stressful issues when they arise. In a nationally representative survey of 12- to 17-year-old youths about their traumatic experiences, 39 percent reported witnessing violence, 17 percent reported physical assault, and 8 percent reported a lifetime prevalence of sexual assault.

      Just as one can be physically healthy or unhealthy, one can also be mentally healthy or unhealthy. Join us throughout May as we discuss the importance of each child, in each school and in each community, being socially, emotionally, and mentally healthy.

      Download the Whole Child Podcast to hear from Erica Ahmed, director of public education for Mental Health America; Jo Mason, acting national business manager and national professional product development manager for whole child partner Principals Australia Institute and MindMatters, Australia; and Philip C. Rodkin, associate professor of child development in the Departments of Educational Psychology and Psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. As always, visit the Whole Child Blog to read posts from diverse writers, leave your comments, and get free resources on promoting good mental health for children.

       

      Something to Talk About

       

      Association News

      •  ASCD Welcomes New Staff to Marketing and Member Services Team—ASCD welcomes two new staff members to the association’s Marketing and Member Services Team. Bonnie Kasander has been appointed as ASCD’s new director of membership, and James Mahoney has been appointed the association’s new director of marketing. Read the full press release.
         
      • ASCD’s 2012 Summer Conference in St. Louis Helps Educators Revolutionize the Way We Teach and Learn—ASCD will present its 2012 Summer Conference in St. Louis, Mo., on July 1–3, 2012. This conference's more than 140 sessions will focus on the theme, “Revolutionizing the Way We Teach and Learn” and will be directed by leading education experts. Read the full press release.
      • ASCD Makes Catalog of 300 Professional Development E-Books Available Through Barnes & Noble—ASCD has made its entire professional development e-book catalog of more than 300 titles available to Barnes & Noble NOOK Study users. Read the full press release.

      • ASCD Invites Educators Worldwide to Attend Free Whole Child Virtual Conference—ASCD invites educators from around the globe to participate in this year’s free Whole Child Virtual Conference, held May 3–11, 2012. This year’s theme is “Moving from Implementation to Sustainability to Culture,” and the event focuses on highlighting the great work of ASCD-associated schools, providing a forum in which educators who implement the whole child approach to education can learn from one another and presenters, and expanding awareness of a whole child approach to educators worldwide. Read the full press release.

      • North Carolina School System Partners with ASCD to Achieve Professional Development Goals—Johnston County Schools (JCS), located in central North Carolina, has selected ASCD as its new professional development partner. JCS is one of the largest school systems in the state, serving more than 32,000 students across 44 schools. Read the full press release.

      • ASCD Names Elected Leaders, Presents Affiliate Awards—ASCD recently announced Debra A. Hill, associate professor at Argosy University, as the association’s new President. Hill took office at the conclusion of ASCD’s 67th Annual Conference and Exhibit Show in Philadelphia, Pa., on March 26. In other association news, ASCD announced new members of the ASCD Board of Directors and presented its 2012 Area of Excellence Awards to outstanding affiliate organizations. This year, Rhode Island ASCD and Virginia ASCD were recognized for their outstanding advocacy work, and North Carolina ASCD was recognized for Overall Excellence. Read the full press release.
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  • L2L News: December 2011 L2L News: December 2011

    • From: Meg_Cohen
    • Description:

      ASCD Leader to Leader (L2L) News is a monthly e-mail newsletter for ASCD constituent group leaders that builds capacity to better serve members; provides opportunities to promote and advocate for ASCD’s Whole Child Initiative; and engages groups through sharing and learning about best practices. To submit a news item for the L2L newsletter, send an e-mail to constituentservices@ascd.org.

       

      This Month’s L2L News

      •  Your To-Do List: Action Items for ASCD Leaders
      • Leader to Leader Spotlight
      • ThroughoutDecember and January on www.wholechildeducation.org: Assessment
      • Mark Your Calendar
      • Something to Talk About
      • Association News

       

      Join the L2L Conversation on Twitter

      Add #ASCDL2L to your tweets and follow the feed to share news and resources with your fellow ASCD leaders.

       

      Your To-Do List: Action Items for ASCD Leaders

      • Register now for ASCD’s legislative conference in Washington, D.C., January 22-24, 2012. We are striving to make this year’s Leadership Institute for Legislative Advocacy (LILA) the best ever and hope you can join us at The Westin Georgetown hotel in Washington, D.C. (See travel and lodging information). You’ll learn about the Obama administration’s No Child Left Behind waivers and how they will shift education priorities in your state and affect your district and school. Congressional insiders will share their outlook for reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and discuss Congress’s education priorities. You’ll also get timely updates on Common Core State Standards implementation and the fate of education funding for programs like Title I and the Individuals with Disabilities Act so you can begin thinking and planning for next year. Register online or by phone at 1-800-933-ASCD (2723), then press 1 (Monday–Friday, 8:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. eastern time). Questions? Contact ASCD’s policy team at policy@ascd.org.
         
      • Register for ASCD Annual Conference now and save $100. ASCD Annual Conference takes place March 24-26, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Register by January 18, 2012, and receive $100 off your registration. Discounts also apply for purchasing a pre-conference institute registration or sending a team. Details regarding meetings and events for ASCD leaders will be available in December. Learn more and register for ASCD Annual Conference at ascd.org.

      • Listen to last week’s webinar recording to get the inside scoop on ESEA. The ASCD policy team hosted a webinar on December 6 to update association leaders on the status of ESEA legislative developments, detail what it portends for possible reauthorization in 2012, what ASCD leaders can do now to help influence these deliberations, and answer attendee questions. If you were unable to join us, we invite you to click on the recording link and access the information shared at last week’s webinar.
         
      • Sign up for the new ASCD e-newsletter Core Connection: The e-newsletter, sent every other week, includes information on the association’s Common Core State Standards resources and activities as well as common core updates from around the nation. We hope it helps you stay up-to-date on common core developments and supports your implementation of the standards. If you haven’t already signed up for Core Connection, subscribe here. Access additional common core resources from ASCD at www.ascd.org/commoncore.
         
      • Interested in running for elected office? Go to www.ascd.org/nominations to access the application form and information on the open positions in 2012. Applications are due January 31, 2012.
         

       

       

      An Accomplished Educator, Budget Cuts, and the Obamas: An ASCD Leader’s Personal Story

      What do you do when you can’t share a teachable moment? Marnie Hazelton, 2009 Outstanding Young Educator Award Honoree and 2010 Emerging Leader, shared her powerful story in the December issue of ASCD Express. Read Marnie’s story, “After the Garden is Gone,” on ascd.org.

       

      Emerging Leader Richard Katz’s Letter to the Editor Featured on ASCD Inservice

      From ASCD Inservice:

      “In a recent letter to the editor, I argue that current education reforms are misguided on several fronts: their high stakes, standardized testing focus is at odds with innovative, 21st century goals; they make teaching less attractive; and they do not pay enough attention to the influence of poverty.

      “Why do we illogically continue developing new policies not employed and often discouraged by countries whose results we seek to emulate? Although there is nothing wrong with holding professionals accountable for performance standards, I argue that what we really need is to reposition conversations and focus actions on the real targets: implementing known, proven practices and addressing issues of poverty. Richard Katz, superintendent/principal of Clinton-Glen Gardner School District, Clinton, N.J., and a member of the ASCD Emerging Leader Class of 2010.

      Read and share your comments on Richard’s “Reforms Miss Real Targets” ASCD Inservice post, with excerpts from his November 15 Letter to the Hunterdon County Democrat Editor, “Proposed Education Reforms Misguided.”

       

      ASCD Welcomes Three New Student Chapters

      ASCD is proud to announce that University of Winnipeg in Canada, Lipscomb University in Tennessee, and Northeastern University in Massachusetts have all joined the ASCD Student Chapter Program. Northeastern University and the University of Winnipeg are the first ASCD Student Chapters to be formed in Massachusetts and the province of Manitoba, while Lipscomb joins Aquinas College ASCD Student Chapter in Tennessee. All chapters have developed plans for recruiting new members and are eager to become visible on campus while collaborating with their local affiliate. With the addition of our three new chapters, there are now 69 ASCD Student Chapters throughout the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. Learn more about the ASCD Student Chapter Program on ascd.org.

       

      New Jersey ASCD Approves New Operational Format

      The New Jersey ASCD executive board approved a new operational format for the organization based on value creation for the New Jersey affiliate and its constituents. The format is aligned with goals and activities in the strategic and biennial plans through the programs, resources and services New Jersey ASCD provides.  The board explored the issues of maintaining relevance, building relationships, and inviting professionals, outside of the executive board, to join them in planning offerings based on their needs and current issues in New Jersey.

      New Jersey ASCD is willing to share a diagram of the operational format and the accompanying narrative with interested affiliates. Please contact New Jersey ASCD Executive Director Marie Adair for a copy of the operational format narrative and diagram.

       

      Events

      Other News

      • Please welcome Ed Bailey, who recently replaced Pat Engblade as Student Chapter Faculty Advisor for the ASCD Baker College of Muskegon Student Chapter.
         
      • Please welcome Susan Schiller, who now co-facilitates the Holistic Learning and Spirituality in Education Professional Interest Community with Gary Babiuk.
         
      • Congratulations to Gerry Buteau, who was recently awarded full professor status and became chair-elect of the Plymouth State University Alumni Board of Directors. Buteau is the New Hampshire ASCD Immediate Past President and Plymouth State University ASCD Student Chapter Faculty Advisor.
         
      • Congratulations to Clare Struck, who was recently named Iowa Elementary School Counselor of the Year. Struck is the school counselor at Price Lab Elementary, an ASCD Whole Child Vision in Action Award school.
         
      • South Carolina ASCD announces a Whole Child Award Application. Award winners receive recognition and a $1,000 grant to implement whole child related activities.
         
      • Please welcome William Jewell College ASCD Student Chapter back to the ASCD community. Located in Liberty, Mo., the chapter recently reinstated their active chapter status, and student leaders are now enthusiastically planning recruitment events and other activities for the coming semester.

       

       

       

       

       

      Throughout December and January on www.wholechildeducation.org: Assessment

      We focus extensively on test scores and far too little on the whole child. We often choose one-size-fits-all fixes while ignoring solid research about the infinite ways students learn and children develop. The true measure of students’ proficiency and college-, career-, and citizenship-readiness must be based on more than just their scores on state standardized reading and math assessments.

      We shouldn’t simply teach to the test. We need to teach for understanding, and assessments are tools to gauge that understanding. When used effectively, assessments can facilitate high levels of student achievement by providing ongoing information about students’ grasp of key concepts and how to enhance their learning to help them meet or exceed academic requirements. States, districts, and schools should provide a more comprehensive picture of student achievement through multiple assessments of and for learning. Join us throughout December and January as we take a look at how assessments can serve a whole child approach to education and inform—not drive—school improvement efforts.

      Download the first in a series of Whole Child Podcast episodes on assessment, “Assessment 101,” to hear from Nancy Frey, professor of literacy in the School of Teacher Education at San Diego State University and co-author of several ASCD books; Tom Whitby, adjunct professor at St. Joseph’s College and founder of #Edchat; and Peter DeWitt, principal of Poestenkill Elementary in New York, consultant for the International Center for Leadership in Education, and author of the Finding Common Ground blog for Education Week. As always, visit the Whole Child Blog to read engaging posts from diverse writers, leave your comments, and get free resources on multiple sources and measures of assessment.

      Something to Talk About

       

      Association News

      • ASCD Announces GlobalScholar as Lead Partner for 2012 Annual Conference and Exhibit Show, Provides Details on Special SessionsGlobalScholar, a provider of innovative education solutions, has joined Discovery Education as a lead partner for ASCD’s 2012 Annual Conference and Exhibit Show. From March 24 to 26 in Philadelphia, Pa., the association’s 67th Annual Conference and Exhibit Show, "A Collective Call to Action," will explore what committed educators are doing to support the success of each learner. Read the full press release on ascd.org.

      • Latest ASCD Policy Priorities Newsletter Explores How Policy Lags Behind Social Media Adoption and What That Means for Today’s Students—ASCD’s latest online issue of Policy Priorities focuses on the role of social media in education. Exploring everything from the teacher on Facebook to the student using Twitter for a project, this issue, available at no charge, delves into the need for government and district policies to keep pace with social media innovations and their evolving use. Read the full press release on ascd.org.

      • Two Free Institutes Headline ASCD’s 2012 Annual Pre-Conference Professional Development Events—ASCD announces two free professional development opportunities among a series of pre-conference institutes leading up to the 2012 Annual Conference and Exhibit Show in Philadelphia, Pa., March 24–26. Read the full press release on ascd.org.

      • ASCD Appoints Additional Staff to Support Association InitiativesASCD announces two new staff appointments. Megan Wolfe has joined ASCD as the association’s new manager of public policy advocacy, and Lori Schulman has joined the association as general counsel. Read the full press release on ascd.org.

       

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  • Grading in a Classroom of One- Grading in a Classroom of One-Part 3

    • From: Karl_Fivek
    • Description:

      FORMATION OF THE BUTTERFIELD PLAN- Following the "Sputnik" scare in the mid-1950's, there was an outcry for improving the manner in which children were educated in the public schools.  Scholars, educational practitioners and politicians were advocating the need to develop "new" subject content and how it should be taught. For example, what ultimately came to be known as "New Math," developed by mathematicians working with textbook publishers, emphasized the the teaching of mathematical concepts as opposed to requiring students to learn mathematical operations before understanding the concepts behind  them.  If you wish to pursue those events, take a look at David Klein (2003), A Brief History of American K-12 Mathematics Education in the 20th Century. Mathematical Cognition, James Royer, ed. Information Age Publishing, retrieved from http://www,csun.edu/~vemth00m/AHistory.html  An excellent article by Stephan W. Wilson (2011), "In Defense of Mathematical Foundations was published in Educational Leadership 68(6)m 70-73). It was thought that mastery of the concepts would increase student retention and reduce the amount of time needed for memorization tasks.  Questions arose regarding the dichotomy between New Math methods and terminology used in the classroom and the more traditional methods and terminology used on the standardized  achievement tests.

      The consequences of the disconnect among local districts, state boards of education, textbook publishers and standardized testing companies were most acutely felt by the classroom teachers who had  to teach from the assigned texts and administer standardized achievement tests that may not  reflect what was being taught.  Nevertheless, standardized achievement tests were administered annually.  Although one of the bedrock principles held by teachers and administrators was that it would be unprofessional and unethical to "teach to the test,' the educational community was open to new strategies.

      In a selection describing the role of what was called "open education" or "open classroom" in the 1970's, sociologist Carl L. Bankston III wrote that the open classroom/open education movement "has grown throughout the previous decade, but it was further popularized by the book Crisis in the Classroom: The Remaking of American Education(1970) by Charles e. Silverman.  "The concept of the open classroom... generally involved learning that was initiated and directed by the students themselves rather than by the teachers...." Please go to Carl L. Bankston III (2005), Education in the United States.  The Seventies in America, John C. Super, ed. This was retrieved from http://salempress.com/store/samples/seventies_in_america/education, no page.  

      Following a district-wide referendum, Butterfield opened its doors in 1970 with the intent to serve 4th through 8th grade students residing in a portion of the district experiencing the greatest amount of growth.  Butterfield School's one-floor design minimized the number of load-bearing walls; thereby permitting a variety of classroom arrangements.   The classrooms adjacent to a centrally-located "Activity Area" in each of the two academic wings had demountable walls. The students in those classrooms were able to work independently or in small groups in the Activity Areas while remaining under the classroom teacher's visual and instructional supervision. 

      An expansive and well-organized "Learning Center" anchored the two academic wings.  The classrooms, the Activity Areas and the Learning Center were all carpeted; thereby eliminating one source of distraction as students moved before, during and after their classes.  In addition to regular grade level classes, Butterfield students could enroll in Spanish or French.

      An additional wing, later called the "Expression Center" provided for vocal and instrumental music, art, drama, industrial arts and home economics.  A large well-equipped gymnasium, cafeteria and administrative offices completed the building's overall plan.  The building's design would play a significant role in facilitating the changes that came with  the Butterfield Plan. 

      School District 70's assessment methods were not unlike the other districts of similar size in the county(Lake) and the state.  Lesson plans were derived from  the content of the textbooks that had be officially adopted by the school board for each grade level in the district.  Materials and activities that supplemented the required curriculum were encouraged.  Student homework, quizzes and tests were designed on  the basis of what was taught in the classroom setting.

      Student grades were recorded and given to parents each quarter.  Excluding kindergarten and the primary grades, the grading system was A,B.C,D and F.  The use of "+"s and "-"'s were used for each of those letter grades except for the grade of "F."  "True/False," "Multiple Choice," "Fill in the Blank,"  essay questions and similar exercises generated a raw number of correct responses.  the numerical value of each letter grade corresponded to a percentage of student responses deemed to be corrrect.  This was general method of instruction throughout the district.

      The classroom teacher determined how many assignments, quizzes and tests were to be given in each quarter as well as the relative "weight" of the items within each quarter and for each subject area.  The p;oint value of less well-defined assignments such as essays and full-sentence answers on worksheets, quizzes and tests was usually established by the classroom teacher.   

      Periodically, district-wide articulation meetings were used to promote greater dialogue among the teaching staff.  The SAS that District 70 used was credible in that it accurately reported student outcomes to the extent that they conformed to the adopted grading system.

      Part 3 will discuss the TRANSFORMATION of Butterfield School by the creation of what came to be known as the "Butterfield Plan." 

      Enjoy!

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

        

       

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    • 3 years ago
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  • Grading Practices- My Mindset Grading Practices- My Mindset

    • From: Celina_Brennan
    • Description:

      Over the past week I have read numerous blog posts regarding perspectives on grading procedures, along with several articles on the topic from Educational Leadership’s newest issue, Effective Grading Practices. I have thoroughly enjoyed the candor expressed within each intentional word spoken about the topic.

      In my teaching partner (Ann) and I’s world of Multiage, we have naturally changed our own perspective as the year has moved forward. In our building/district, we are in year three of Standards-Based Grading. Even though we have been focused on scoring student progress as a 4,3,2,or 1 rather than letter grades of A,B,C,D, or F for several years now, truly understanding Standards-Based Grading sinks in over time. It is a process you have to become accustomed to since a shift of thinking is required. You must focus on their progress towards a standard and record where their progress is at each grading period, rather than their effort and graded work averaged over a chunk of time. This transition, though, has been a very comfortable process for me. I like how it is black or white in nature; a student either has it or doesn’t. Simple.

       And this year Ann and I have really been able to take it to a new level. Our students have the ownership of “Meeting Standard” or “Not-meeting Standard”. (Again, they either have it or they don’t-very simple for them to understand.) We are very open with the students about the standards they are to learn, introducing them within our Target Walls, but also providing students with their own Mini-target walls that are building blocks based on their individual needs, not their grade level. Standards-Based Grading allows for the flexibility to move at the student’s pace, based on the student’s individual needs. It’s what I love about it the most- it allows for “no ceiling, no floor” during the learning process.

      The way that we have instilled our grading practices are non-threatening in nature. Students are not working for an extrinsic motivator, nor competing against their peers. They have specific goals, work towards them, “meet standard”, move on to the next building block, and set new goals. Then they repeat the cycle while understanding that they MUST continue rehearsing, reflecting, and synthesizing their knowledge base as learning continues in order for long-term retention to take effect. They understand the true learning process. It isn’t about a grade, or a meeting standard mark, but building their own intellect- because that’s the real purpose, right?

      So filling out report cards can seem tedious in a process that is built in this manner. (Our students could have filled them out on their own, had we let them, because they already know these facts about their journey. Every day is about their own personal progress.) Formal report cards are an extra step, but it does allow for a documented trail of learning: where the student has been, where they are now, and where they are going. Tracking learning is something to treasure- one should have a way to appreciate their hard work and courageous effort.

      Regardless of which stance you take concerning grading, please remember that any type of grade labels a student. They should not be blindsided by the marks on their formal report card. Formative assessment along the way should have involved the students to allow them to clearly understand themselves as learners and where they are on their own continuum. The feedback they receive is essential to their growth.

      The questions we should continuously be reflecting on often, through our own learning journey regarding this issue, are: How often do I provide my students with feedback? Is my brain doing the work during the correcting process, or is theirs? Do my students have specific information about their own learning profile? Do they set their goals, or do I do it for them? Do they choose their path each day, or do I make those decisions?

      Ann and I allow our students to teach us every day, and because of this mindset we have grown exponentially with the use of daily formative assessment and student self-assessment. In the end it isn’t about the final grade, but the learning path you walk together.

      www.themindsofbreott.blogspot.com  

      ~Celina

    • Blog post
    • 3 years ago
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  • Who Elected Bill Gates? Who Elected Bill Gates?

    • From: Gary_Stager
    • Description:

      It's sad to watch a once smart and talented man go mad right before our eyes. There needs to be an intervention for Bill Gates. I fear that he has taken leave of his senses and finally jumped the shark.

      I have written about Bill Gates and his interest in "school reform" for years, beginning with An Open Letter to Bill Gates, published in 2006 when I had little reason to question his motives or desire to improve public schools. Since then I wrote the School Wars: Who's Trying to Control Your Public Schools? (2008) cover story for Good Magazine in which I urged citizens to be weary of billionaire bullies trying to privatize public education. I mocked Gates' inept attempt to influence the 2008 presidential campaign with his ED in '08 organization in the article, Bill Gates and Eli Broad Go Gangsta.

      I sat back stunned when Gates shared the remarkable ephipany that we should find out what effective teachers do and share those ideas with others as if such a patronizing revelation had never occurred to educators. In his incredibly condescending TED Talk, Gates went on to suggest that we film excellent teaching and share it with others; another long-established practice he thinks he invented to rescue children from all of the awful teachers consciously suppressing standardized test scores. Gates doesn't offer to film the classrooms his children attend, but rather the obedience schools like KIPP he prescribes for poor children. In the world of Bill Gates his children deserve one quality of educational experience and other people's children should receive a joyless diet of remediation, testing, deprivation, compliance and shame.

      Since when do philanthropists call for the deprivation of children?

      I didn't write an article when Gates complained that teachers should not be compensated for post-graduate education, not even when his puppet, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan amplified his ridiculous argument against educators being educated. I blogged that Bill Gates was investing in Khan Academy because it deskills teachers and reduces the cost of education when public schools can be replaced by a hobbyist's YouTube videos. I didn't gloat when the "School of the Future" Microsoft built in Philadelphia and based on absurd corporate fantasies proved to be a predictable failure

      I remained quiet when Bill Gates, a monopolist whose company has a record of labor violations here and abroad, when he attacked teacher seniority and pensions. His affection for Teach for America and other gimmicks to recruit cheaper less qualified and more compliant teachers is predictable. Trickling down on the little guy is what American corporate bigwigs do.

      I shrugged when the Obama Administration's Department of Education was flooded with former Gates Foundation employees. I was unamused when Microsoft's business partner, NBC News, had my FaceBook access blocked for criticizing their shameless publicity on behalf ot the Gates-financed propaganda film, Waiting for Superman. I tweeted in horror when I learned that the Gates Foundation was funding a scheme to put earpieces in teachers so they may be controlled while teaching.

      You would think that nothing else could surprise me, but now, Bill Gates has descended into the delusional world of Charlie Sheen. Gates told the nation's governors (they seem to speak with Bill more than their caddies) that the critical cuts to public schools could actually improve education if class sizes were increased so that we can "get more students in front of the very best teachers." That's right, Bill Gates is now advocating for larger class size! Since when do philanthropists call for the deprivation of children?

      Gates' crazy plan to raise class sizes FOR THE CHILDREN is one thing, but his desire to get more students "in front of the very best teachers" reveals his ignorance on how learning occurs. Learning is an active process constructed by each learner. It is not simply the immediate result of being taught.

      Who elected Bill Gates and gave him control of a national treasure, our public schools? Would someone please suggest that he return to the corporate world and refocus his energies on the technological triumph that is the Zune?

      Originally published in The Huffington Post March 1, 2011

      Follow Gary Stager on Twitter: www.twitter.com/garystager

      Subscribe to Gary's newsletter

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  • Part 3 Tammy Renyard's RAD bio Part 3 Tammy Renyard's RAD bio lesson plan

    • From: Judy_Willis
    • Description:

      Habitat

      Squirrels prefer to live where there is an abundance of food. Usually, this is an area with nut- and seed-producing plants. Squirrels also like areas that produce many grasses and plants, because the new plant shoots are edible. Squirrels have to live in places that have trees, even in a city. This is because squirrels build nests in the trees, specifically for bearing young. It keeps the baby squirrels safe from harm when they are very young and left alone while the adult squirrels are searching for food. Red Squirrels live in forests usually. The gray squirrel is the most common squirrel in America and is often found near cities and people. In the winter when the time of nesting is over squirrels live in tree trunk holes to stay warm, or they find their way into local home's attics.

      Foods

      Since squirrels are from the rodent family of mammals, they are primarily vegetarians. They love eating acorns and other nuts, all kinds of seeds, fruits, mushrooms and young plants. They will also eat twigs and barks if the other foods are scarce. Even though squirrels prefer these foods occasionally they will break away from vegetarian foods to enjoy a small frog or a bird egg. Squirrels that are near people also will eat scraps, dog food and even raid the bird feeders. Squirrels don't always eat their food right away. They bury it around the ground, in fallen trees, and anywhere that seems a good hiding place. Later they did it up when hungry. Although they do this year round, it is done to a greater degree in the fall to prepare a store of foods for winter.

      Anatomy

      Squirrels have teeth that continually grow so that they stay sharp. They use their teeth to crack open nuts, and for chewing through things to get to food. Often when squirrels chew on wires or rocks, they are keeping their teeth worn down a bit but still sharp. Their claws are used for digging up stored foods or for tearing down barriers to get to foods. Their paws are flexible with individual digits allowing them to reach into small places and to hold on to the small foods they eat. A squirrel's bushy tail is also used in an indirect way during a food search. The tail helps the squirrel balance among the tree branches or along fences and roofs, so they don't fall while finding food. The last part of anatomy that helps a squirrel find food is its big eyes that can see to the sides very well. However, they are not good for seeing directly in front of them so for that they rely on their keen sense of smell to locate the food.

       

      Source:  http://hubpages.com/hub/The-Squirrels-Habitat-and-Food-Sources

       

      Gene Package:

      • Colors
      • Texture of fur
      • Nose length
      • Size
      • Claws
      • Teeth (grinding, pointy)
      • Tail size

       

      New Habitat:

      • Island
      • Rocky ground near beach – large groups of rocks with crevasses
      • Crabs and other beach life
      • Dirt/sand inland with shrubs and bushes but spread out
      • Some berries and variety of flowering plants
      • Predators – hawks, snakes
      • Climate – warm desert-like inland, cooler by the water

       

      TASK:  Survival of the Fittest – Divergent Evolution/Speciation – Your team must create two viable squirrel species that fill two different niches in the new habitat.  You must justify the physical attributes and behavioral attributes of the two new squirrels as they relate to their specific niches.

      Squirrel Population 1

      Attribute

      Justification

      Color

       

      Texture of Fur

       

      Nose length

       

      Size

       

      Claws

       

      Teeth

       

      Tail Size

       

      Squirrel Population 2

      Attribute

      Justification

      Color

       

      Texture of Fur

       

      Nose length

       

      Size

       

      Claws

       

      Teeth

       

      Tail Size

       

       

      ID - Image Details (with words and definitions)

       

      Word

      Definition

      Images

      pictures•feelings•colours•sounds•

      textures•scents•motion

      Details

      What is important to remember?

      Species

      A group of similar-looking (though not identical) organisms that breed with one another and produce fertile offspring in the natural environment.

       

       

       

       

      Niche

      Combination of an organism’s habitat and its role in that habitat.

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

      Reproductive Isolation

      Separation of populations so that they do not interbreed to produce fertile offspring.

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

      Speciation

       

       

      The evolutionary process by which new biological species arise.

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

      Word

      Definition

      Images

      pictures•feelings•colours•sounds•

      textures•scents•motion

      Details

      What is important to remember?

      Darwin’s Finches

      13 bird species on the Galapagos Islands.  All evolved from a single ancestral species.  All exhibit body structures and behaviours that enable it to live in a different niche. 

       

       

      Adaptive Radiation

      Process, also known as divergent evolution, in which one species gives rise to many species that appear different externally but are similar internally. 

       

       

       

      Divergent Evolution

      (same ancestor)

      Pattern of evolution, also known as adaptive radiation, in which one species gives rise to many species that appear different externally but are similar internally. 

       

       

      Convergent Evolution

      (different ancestors)

      Phenomenon in which adaptive radiations among different organisms produce species that are similar in appearance and behavior; opposite of divergent evolution.

       

       

      Analogous Structures

       

      Structures that are similar in appearance and function but have different origins and usually different internal structures. 

      Habitat

      Squirrels prefer to live where there is an abundance of food. Usually, this is an area with nut- and seed-producing plants. Squirrels also like areas that produce many grasses and plants, because the new plant shoots are edible. Squirrels have to live in places that have trees, even in a city. This is because squirrels build nests in the trees, specifically for bearing young. It keeps the baby squirrels safe from harm when they are very young and left alone while the adult squirrels are searching for food. Red Squirrels live in forests usually. The gray squirrel is the most common squirrel in America and is often found near cities and people. In the winter when the time of nesting is over squirrels live in tree trunk holes to stay warm, or they find their way into local home's attics.

      Foods

      Since squirrels are from the rodent family of mammals, they are primarily vegetarians. They love eating acorns and other nuts, all kinds of seeds, fruits, mushrooms and young plants. They will also eat twigs and barks if the other foods are scarce. Even though squirrels prefer these foods occasionally they will break away from vegetarian foods to enjoy a small frog or a bird egg. Squirrels that are near people also will eat scraps, dog food and even raid the bird feeders. Squirrels don't always eat their food right away. They bury it around the ground, in fallen trees, and anywhere that seems a good hiding place. Later they did it up when hungry. Although they do this year round, it is done to a greater degree in the fall to prepare a store of foods for winter.

      Anatomy

      Squirrels have teeth that continually grow so that they stay sharp. They use their teeth to crack open nuts, and for chewing through things to get to food. Often when squirrels chew on wires or rocks, they are keeping their teeth worn down a bit but still sharp. Their claws are used for digging up stored foods or for tearing down barriers to get to foods. Their paws are flexible with individual digits allowing them to reach into small places and to hold on to the small foods they eat. A squirrel's bushy tail is also used in an indirect way during a food search. The tail helps the squirrel balance among the tree branches or along fences and roofs, so they don't fall while finding food. The last part of anatomy that helps a squirrel find food is its big eyes that can see to the sides very well. However, they are not good for seeing directly in front of them so for that they rely on their keen sense of smell to locate the food.

       

      Source:  http://hubpages.com/hub/The-Squirrels-Habitat-and-Food-Sources

       

      Gene Package:

      • Colors
      • Texture of fur
      • Nose length
      • Size
      • Claws
      • Teeth (grinding, pointy)
      • Tail size

       

      New Habitat:

      • Island
      • Rocky ground near beach – large groups of rocks with crevasses
      • Crabs and other beach life
      • Dirt/sand inland with shrubs and bushes but spread out
      • Some berries and variety of flowering plants
      • Predators – hawks, snakes
      • Climate – warm desert-like inland, cooler by the water

       

      TASK:  Survival of the Fittest – Divergent Evolution/Speciation – Your team must create two viable squirrel species that fill two different niches in the new habitat.  You must justify the physical attributes and behavioral attributes of the two new squirrels as they relate to their specific niches.

      Squirrel Population 1

      Attribute

      Justification

      Color

       

      Texture of Fur

       

      Nose length

       

      Size

       

      Claws

       

      Teeth

       

      Tail Size

       

      Squirrel Population 2

      Attribute

      Justification

      Color

       

      Texture of Fur

       

      Nose length

       

      Size

       

      Claws

       

      Teeth

       

      Tail Size

       

       

      ID - Image Details (with words and definitions)

       

      Word

      Definition

      Images

      pictures•feelings•colours•sounds•

      textures•scents•motion

      Details

      What is important to remember?

      Species

      A group of similar-looking (though not identical) organisms that breed with one another and produce fertile offspring in the natural environment.

       

       

       

       

      Niche

      Combination of an organism’s habitat and its role in that habitat.

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

      Reproductive Isolation

      Separation of populations so that they do not interbreed to produce fertile offspring.

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

      Speciation

       

       

      The evolutionary process by which new biological species arise.

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

      Word

      Definition

      Images

      pictures•feelings•colours•sounds•

      textures•scents•motion

      Details

      What is important to remember?

      Darwin’s Finches

      13 bird species on the Galapagos Islands.  All evolved from a single ancestral species.  All exhibit body structures and behaviours that enable it to live in a different niche. 

       

       

      Adaptive Radiation

      Process, also known as divergent evolution, in which one species gives rise to many species that appear different externally but are similar internally. 

       

       

       

      Divergent Evolution

      (same ancestor)

      Pattern of evolution, also known as adaptive radiation, in which one species gives rise to many species that appear different externally but are similar internally. 

       

       

      Convergent Evolution

      (different ancestors)

      Phenomenon in which adaptive radiations among different organisms produce species that are similar in appearance and behavior; opposite of divergent evolution.

       

       

      Analogous Structures

       

      Structures that are similar in appearance and function but have different origins and usually different internal structures. 

      ID Image•Details


       

      Name: ___________________ Date: __________ Task: __________________________________________

       

      Images Sensations: feelings, sounds, colours, tastes, scents, textures, sizes, patterns, motion… connections

      Details What is important to remember?

      Chunk 1

       

       

      2

       

       

      3

       

       

      4

       

       

      Reflections I noticed

      Goal(s) Next time I will

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       G•O•S•S•I•P

      This tool is great for activating and extending background knowledge, and for gathering ideas before summarizing and synthesizing information, after learning.  Learners G•O•S•S•I•P by Going out and Selectively (or systematically) Searching for Important Points, using the principles behind real gossip.

      Process:

      1. Learners are set up in A/B partners or in groups of four (two sets of A/B partners).
      2. The teacher invites learners to discuss how effective G•O•S•S•I•P works, and to co-construct criteria for powerful gossiping.
      3. The teacher models the G•O•S•S•P process with one team, inviting the onlookers to notice important details in the process.
      4. Each learner uses the criteria and what was demonstrated, to set a personal goal for using G•O•S•S•P to activate and summarize knowledge.
      5. A concept or question is offered, and learners generate their own ideas and questions in relation to the prompt, in the first box on their papers.

       

      Variation 1: A/B partner interviews, and then G•O•S•S•I•P to exchange ideas.

      One partner explains what (s)he knows. The other partner listens, asks clarifying questions, summarizes what (s)he heard, then jots down important points in words or graphics, in the box labeled My Partner ___’s thinking.

      • After jotting the ideas down, (s)he confirms the information to ensure (s)he captured the essence of what the person said. Roles reverse. The partners thank each other and prepare to move.
      • When they find a new partner, their job is to pass information they gathered from their first partner, and to capture information their new partner gathered. They write the name of the person they meet with, and his or her information in a new box. They thank the person and move to another person, repeating the process. Each time, they pass-on the ideas they just heard.

       

      Following the gathering of ideas, each person returns to their A/B partnership or team. At this point Lettered Heads works wonderfully to stimulate and extend thinking, before each individual summarizes what (s)he knows, understands and wonders.

      • If we are in A/B teams, they collaboratively summarize their findings, and their questions about the topic. One member of the team reports out to the class, using a reporting frame: My partner ___ and I know ___. We wonder ______. Note: Once learners are comfortably using G•O•S•S•I•P and Lettered Heads, we stretch to justify the wondering by having each team explain the thinking behind the questions they generated.
      • The process ends with each person summarizing what they know, understand, and wonder.

       

      Variation 2: Individuals are part of a team, and head out to G•O•S•S•I•P and bring back information to share with their team.

      • After jotting down their own ideas in the first box on their page, they stand and move about explaining their understandings and questions, and capturing ideas and questions from partners. Each time they greet a new partner, they pass-on information gathered from what they have heard. The process ends when each person has four filled boxes, or when the teacher calls, “Time.”
      • Learners return to their team, and use Lettered Heads (‘A’ going first…) to explain the information and questions each person gathered. One letter is chosen at random by the teacher (role of the dice etc) to report out a summary of the team’s findings. The team rehearses the person reporting out. This stimulates review and elaboration of the information. One team presents its information; subsequent teams add only new information and new questions.
      • The process ends with each person summarizing what they know, understand, and wonder.

      Variation 3: Concept development… going for the big ideas, after processing new information. In this version individuals are part of a team and head out to G•O•S•S•I•P and Mine for Gold, then bring back information to their team.

      • After jotting down their own ideas in the first box on their page, they stand and move to a new partner. Their job is to ask “What’s important about…?” and when the person answers, they ask, “Why is that important?” When the person answers again, they press for deeper understanding by asking, “And, why is that important?” When the partner gives a further statement, they respond one last time with, “Why is that important?” They write the final statement or nugget in their box, and then roles reverse.
      • Teams gather and discuss what was important by sharing the big ideas that came out of the G•O•S•S•I•P. They summarize the big ideas and prepare to present and justify them. One member of the team is selected randomly, and the team rehearses that person. The team uses a reporting frame: “My partners ___, ___, and ___ think ___ was important because___. We also think ___ was important because ___.”
      • The process ends with each person personally writing to explain and justify what was important.

       

      ©Susan Close Learning. G•O•S•S•I•P, Lettered Heads and Mining for Gold are learning processes in a collection called, BrainSmart Tools: 21st century pathways for powerful learning, publication date February 2012: www.smartlearning.ca.

       

      ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

       

      ID: Image•Details

      A page is set up in two columns, one titled images and the other titled details. As learners work with a chunk of text (print, media, experience…) they sketch and/ or use words to identify sensations, images, feelings, important ideas, connections … on one side of a page and then sift through those ideas to generate important details to remember on the other side of the page. A/B partner-talk is structured into the processing. Through the interactions learners explain their understandings, notice similarities and differences and add new learning and insights to their own thinking before demonstrating their understandings.

      Variations:

      • IC: Image•Connections
      • IQ: Image•Questions
      • IQS: Image•Questions•Synthesis

      ©Susan Close Learning. G•O•S•S•I•P and Image•Details ID are learning processes from BrainSmart Tools: 21st century pathways for powerful learning, (February 2012): www.smartlearning.ca.

      Permission is granted to Judy Willis to feature G•O•S•S•I•P  and Image•Details ID, in a lesson sequence developed by Tammy Renyard, as long as copyright information is included at the end of the lesson.  

       

      ID Image•Details


       

      Name: ___________________ Date: __________ Task: __________________________________________

       

      Images Sensations: feelings, sounds, colours, tastes, scents, textures, sizes, patterns, motion… connections

      Details What is important to remember?

      Chunk 1

       

       

      2

       

       

      3

       

       

      4

       

       

      Reflections I noticed

      Goal(s) Next time I will

       

    • Blog post
    • 3 years ago
    • Views: 876
  • An Open Invitation to Exceptio An Open Invitation to Exceptional Children Teachers and Specialists

    • From: Steven_Weber
    • Description:

       

      ASCD EDge has educators who frequently write about the following topics:

       

      Assessment

      Collaborative Teams

      College Readiness

      Common Core State Standards

      Curriculum Alignment

      Curriculum Development

      Curriculum Mapping

      Differentiated Instruction

      Educational Leadership

      English Language Learners

      Grading Practices

      Literacy

      School Improvement

      STEM

      Technology Integration

      21st Century Skills

      Understanding by Design

      Web 2.0 Tools

       

       

      ASCD EDge has grown from 12 members (ASCD Staff) to over 25,000 members.  One important topic seems to be missing from the professional conversations.  Who is addressing "Exceptional Children?"  There are thousands of specialists, teachers, school administrators and parents with expertise in this area.  With over 25,000 members, one would think that this topic would have several blogs and even an expert who blogs on a regular basis.  This is an open invitation to anyone who works with Exceptional Children (EC) in K-12 schools.  Your experiences and resources will benefit all teachers and administrators.

       

      ASCD EDge helps you start or join professional conversations.  If you have a specialized interest, you can join an existing group (i.e., Understanding by Design or Teaching English Language Learners) or create a new group.  ASCD EDge provides educators with the opportunity for teachers, administrators, curriculum coordinators and others to share ideas, discuss recent books about curriculum, share tools for supporting the work of teachers and administrators, and participate in an online professional learning community.  If you are still wondering how ASCD EDge will support your career, join today!  You will have access to educators who share your interests and who are waiting to learn from your experiences!

       

    • Blog post
    • 3 years ago
    • Views: 1093
  • A Nation at Risk: Edited by Yo A Nation at Risk: Edited by Yong Zhao

    • From: Yong_Zhao
    • Description:

      A Nation At Risk - April 1983

      Edited by Yong Zhao, March, 2011

      Next month marks the 28th anniversary of the publication of A Nation At Risk, one of the most influential education documents in the US history. As an English language learner, I have always been impressed with the prose and composition of this document, although I have raised questions about its content in my book.

      The title of the document captures the present condition of American education very well. The goals and aspirations are well stated and I agree with them. But what I don’t agree is the indicators of risk, i.e. student test scores by and large, which after almost 30 years, have been proven to be irrelevant, as I have argued in my book. The real risk America faces is the insane policies and scapegoating practices in education. So I decided to edit the document. I have replaced what I think misleading and misconceived phrases, sentences, and paragraphs with what I believe to be correct. The italics are what I added. If you are interested in what I deleted, read the PDF version.I have only done this for the first part. I may continue to edit the rest. Theoriginal version of the document is here—YZ, 10-03-11

       

      All, regardless of race or class or economic status, are entitled to a fair chance and to the tools for developing their individual powers of mind and spirit to the utmost. This promise means that all children by virtue of their own efforts, competently guided, can hope to attain the mature and informed judgement needed to secure gainful employment, and to manage their own lives, thereby serving not only their own interests but also the progress of society itself.

      Our Nation is at risk. Our once unchallenged preeminence in commerce, industry, science, and technological innovation is being overtaken by competitors throughout the world. This report is concerned with only one of the many causes and dimensions of the problem, but it is the one that undergirds American prosperity, security, and civility. We report to the American people that while we can take justifiable pride in what our schools and colleges have historically accomplished and contributed to the United States and the well-being of its people, the educational foundations of our society are presently being eroded by a rising tide of insanity and scapegoating that threaten our very future as a Nation and a people. What was unimaginable a generation ago has begun to occur--others are matching and surpassing our educational attainments.

      If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the insane policies that threaten democracy, turn American children into robotic test takers, narrow and homogenize our children’s education, reward grant writing skills instead of helping the needy children and stimulate innovation (e.g., Race to the Top), value testing over teaching, and scapegoat teachers that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war. As it stands, we have allowed this to happen to ourselves. We have even squandered the gains in student achievement made in the wake of the Sputnik challenge. Moreover, we have dismantled essential support systems which helped make those gains possible. We have, in effect, been committing an act of unthinking, unilateral educational disarmament.

      Our government and business leaders seem to have lost sight of the basic purposes of schooling, and of the high expectations and disciplined effort needed to attain them. This report, the result of 18 months of study, seeks to generate reform of our educational system in fundamental ways and to renew the Nation's commitment to schools and colleges of high quality throughout the length and breadth of our land.

      That we have compromised this commitment is, upon reflection, hardly surprising, given the multitude of often conflicting demands we have placed on our Nation's schools and colleges. They are routinely called on to provide solutions to personal, social, and political problems that the home and other institutions either will not or cannot resolve. We must understand that these demands on our schools and colleges often exact an educational cost as well as a financial one.

      In his 2011 State of the Union speech, President Obama said ““We need to out-innovate, outeducate and outbuild the rest of the world,” This report, therefore, is as much an open letter to the American people as it is a report to the Secretary of Education. We are confident that the American people, properly informed, will do what is right for their children and for the generations to come.

      The Risk

      History is not kind to idlers. The time is long past when American's destiny was assured simply by an abundance of natural resources and inexhaustible human enthusiasm, and by our relative isolation from the malignant problems of older civilizations. The world is indeed one global village. We live among determined, well-educated, and strongly motivated competitors. We compete with them for international standing and markets, not only with products but also with the ideas of our laboratories and neighborhood workshops. America's position in the world may once have been reasonably secure with only a few exceptionally well-trained men and women. It is no longer.

      The risk is not only that the Chinese make faster computers, cheaper toys, and more electronics than Americans and have government subsidies for development and export. It is not just that the Indians recently built the world's cheapest cars, or that American strawberries and applesonce the pride of the world, are being picked by Mexicans. It is also that these developments signify a redistribution of trained capability throughout the globe. Knowledge, learning, information, and skilled intelligence are the new raw materials of international commerce and are today spreading throughout the world as vigorously as miracle drugs, synthetic fertilizers, and blue jeans did earlier. If only to keep and improve on the slim competitive edge we still retain in world markets, we must dedicate ourselves to the reform of our educational system for the benefit of all--old and young alike, affluent and poor, majority and minority. Learning is the indispensable investment required for success in the "information age" we are entering.

      Our concern, however, goes well beyond matters such as industry and commerce. It also includes the intellectual, moral, and spiritual strengths of our people which knit together the very fabric of our society. The people of the United States need to know that individuals in our society who do not possess the creativity, entrepreneurial spirit, global competence essential to this new era will be effectively disenfranchised, not simply from the material rewards that accompany competent performance, but also from the chance to participate fully in our national life. A high level of shared education is essential to a free, democratic society and to the fostering of a common culture, especially in a country that prides itself on pluralism and individual freedom.

      For our country to function, citizens must be able to reach some common understandings on complex issues, often on short notice and on the basis of conflicting or incomplete evidence. Education helps form these common understandings, a point Thomas Jefferson made long ago in his justly famous dictum:

      I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them but to inform their discretion.

      Part of what is at risk is the promise first made on this continent: All, regardless of race or class or economic status, are entitled to a fair chance and to the tools for developing their individual powers of mind and spirit to the utmost. This promise means that all children by virtue of their own efforts, competently guided, can hope to attain the mature and informed judgment needed to secure gainful employment, and to manage their own lives, thereby serving not only their own interests but also the progress of society itself.

      Indicators of the Risk

      The educational dimensions of the risk before us have been amply documented inmaterials read by this editor. For example:

      These deficiencies come at a time when the demand for creative and globally competent workers in new fields is accelerating rapidly. For example:

      Analysts examining these indicators of student performance and the demands for new skills have made some chilling observations. Educational researcher Paul Hurd concluded at the end of a thorough national survey of student achievement that within the context of the modern scientific revolution, "We are raising a new generation of Americans that is scientifically and technologically illiterate." In a similar vein, John Slaughter, a former Director of the National Science Foundation, warned of "a growing chasm between a small scientific and technological elite and a citizenry ill-informed, indeed uninformed, on issues with a science component."

      But the problem does not stop there, nor do all observers see it the same way. Some worry that schools may emphasize such rudiments as reading and computation at the expense of other essential skills such as comprehension, analysis, solving problems, and drawing conclusions. Still others are concerned that an over-emphasis on technical and occupational skills will leave little time for studying the arts and humanities that so enrich daily life, help maintain civility, and develop a sense of community. Knowledge of the humanities, they maintain, must be harnessed to science and technology if the latter are to remain creative and humane, just as the humanities need to be informed by science and technology if they are to remain relevant to the human condition. Another analyst, Paul Copperman, has drawn a sobering conclusion. Until now, he has noted:

      Each generation of Americans has outstripped its parents in education, in literacy, and in economic attainment. For the first time in the history of our country, the educational skills of one generation will not surpass, will not equal, will not even approach, those of their parents.

      It is important, of course, to recognize that the average citizen today is better educated and more knowledgeable than the average citizen of a generation ago--more literate, and exposed to more mathematics, literature, and science. The positive impact of this fact on the well-being of our country and the lives of our people cannot be overstated. Nevertheless, the average graduate of our schools and colleges today is not as well-educated as the average graduate of 25 or 35 years ago, when a much smaller proportion of our population completed high school and college. The negative impact of this fact likewise cannot be overstated.

      Hope and Frustration

      Statistics and their interpretation by experts show only the surface dimension of the difficulties we face. Beneath them lies a tension between hope and frustration that characterizes current attitudes about education at every level.

      We have heard the voices of high school and college students, school board members, and teachers; of leaders of industry, minority groups, and higher education; of parents and State officials. We could hear the hope evident in their commitment to quality education and in their descriptions of outstanding programs and schools. We could also hear the intensity of their frustration, a growing impatience with shoddiness in many walks of American life, and the complaint that this shoddiness is too often reflected in our schools and colleges. Their frustration threatens to overwhelm their hope.

      What lies behind this emerging national sense of frustration can be described as both a dimming of personal expectations and the fear of losing a shared vision for America.

      On the personal level the student, the parent, and the caring teacher all perceive that a basic promise is not being kept. More and more young people emerge from high school ready neither for college nor for work. This predicament becomes more acute as the knowledge base continues its rapid expansion, the number of traditional jobs shrinks, and new jobs demand greater sophistication and preparation.

      On a broader scale, we sense that this undertone of frustration has significant political implications, for it cuts across ages, generations, races, and political and economic groups. We have come to understand that the public will demand that educational and political leaders act forcefully and effectively on these issues. Indeed, such demands have already appeared and could well become a unifying national preoccupation. This unity, however, can be achieved only if we avoid the unproductive tendency of some to search for scapegoats among the victims, such as the beleaguered teachers.

      On the positive side is the significant movement by political and educational leaders to search for solutions--so far centering largely on the nearly desperate need for increased support for the teaching of mathematics and science. This movement is but a start on what we believe is a larger and more educationally encompassing need to improve teaching and learning in fields such as English, history, geography, economics, and foreign languages. We believe this movement must be broadened and directed toward reform and excellence throughout education.

      Excellence in Education

      We define "excellence" to mean several related things. At the level of the individual learner, it means performing on the boundary of individual ability in ways that test and push back personal limits, in school and in the workplace. Excellence characterizes a school or college that sets high expectations and goals for all learners, then tries in every way possible to help students reach them. Excellence characterizes a society that has adopted these policies, for it will then be prepared through the education and skill of its people to respond to the challenges of a rapidly changing world. Our Nation's people and its schools and colleges must be committed to achieving excellence in all these senses.

      We do not believe that a public commitment to excellence and educational reform must be made at the expense of a strong public commitment to the equitable treatment of our diverse population. The twin goals of equity and high-quality schooling have profound and practical meaning for our economy and society, and we cannot permit one to yield to the other either in principle or in practice. To do so would deny young people their chance to learn and live according to their aspirations and abilities. It also would lead to a generalized accommodation to mediocrity in our society on the one hand or the creation of an undemocratic elitism on the other.

      Our goal must be to develop the talents of all to their fullest. Attaining that goal requires that we expect and assist all students to work to the limits of their capabilities. We should expect schools to have genuinely high standards rather than minimum ones, and parents to support and encourage their children to make the most of their talents and abilities.

      The search for solutions to our educational problems must also include a commitment to life-long learning. The task of rebuilding our system of learning is enormous and must be properly understood and taken seriously: Although a million and a half new workers enter the economy each year from our schools and colleges, the adults working today will still make up about 75 percent of the workforce in the year 2000. These workers, and new entrants into the workforce, will need further education and retraining if they--and we as a Nation--are to thrive and prosper.

      The Learning Society

      In a world of ever-accelerating competition and change in the conditions of the workplace, of ever-greater danger, and of ever-larger opportunities for those prepared to meet them, educational reform should focus on the goal of creating a Learning Society. At the heart of such a society is the commitment to a set of values and to a system of education that affords all members the opportunity to stretch their minds to full capacity, from early childhood through adulthood, learning more as the world itself changes. Such a society has as a basic foundation the idea that education is important not only because of what it contributes to one's career goals but also because of the value it adds to the general quality of one's life. Also at the heart of the Learning Society are educational opportunities extending far beyond the traditional institutions of learning, our schools and colleges. They extend into homes and workplaces; into libraries, art galleries, museums, and science centers; indeed, into every place where the individual can develop and mature in work and life. In our view, formal schooling in youth is the essential foundation for learning throughout one's life. But without life-long learning, one's skills will become rapidly dated.

      In contrast to the ideal of the Learning Society, however, we find that for too many people education means doing the minimum work necessary for the moment, then coasting through life on what may have been learned in its first quarter. But this should not surprise us because we tend to express our educational standards and expectations largely in terms of "minimum requirements." And where there should be a coherent continuum of learning, we have none, but instead an often incoherent, outdated patchwork quilt. Many individual, sometimes heroic, examples of schools and colleges of great merit do exist. Our findings and testimony confirm the vitality of a number of notable schools and programs, but their very distinction stands out against a vast mass shaped by tensions and pressures that inhibit systematic academic and vocational achievement for the majority of students. In some metropolitan areas basic literacy has become the goal rather than the starting point. In some colleges maintaining enrollments is of greater day-to-day concern than maintaining rigorous academic standards. And the ideal of academic excellence as the primary goal of schooling seems to be fading across the board in American education.

      Thus, we issue this call to all who care about America and its future: to parents and students; to teachers, administrators, and school board members; to colleges and industry; to union members and military leaders; to governors and State legislators; to the President; to members of Congress and other public officials; to members of learned and scientific societies; to the print and electronic media; to concerned citizens everywhere. America is at risk.

      We are confident that America can address this risk. If the tasks we set forth are initiated now and our recommendations are fully realized over the next several years, we can expect reform of our Nation's schools, colleges, and universities. This would also reverse the current declining trend--a trend that stems more from weakness of purpose, confusion of vision, underuse of talent, and lack of leadership, than from conditions beyond our control.

      The Tools at Hand

      It is our conviction that the essential raw materials needed to reform our educational system are waiting to be mobilized through effective leadership:

      • the natural abilities of the young that cry out to be developed and the undiminished concern of parents for the well-being of their children;
      • the commitment of the Nation to high retention rates in schools and colleges and to full access to education for all;
      • the persistent and authentic American dream that superior performance can raise one's state in life and shape one's own future;
      • the dedication, against all odds, that keeps teachers serving in schools and colleges, even as the rewards diminish;
      • our better understanding of learning and teaching and the implications of this knowledge for school practice, and the numerous examples of local success as a result of superior effort and effective dissemination;
      • the ingenuity of our policymakers, scientists, State and local educators, and scholars in formulating solutions once problems are better understood;
      • the traditional belief that paying for education is an investment in ever-renewable human resources that are more durable and flexible than capital plant and equipment, and the availability in this country of sufficient financial means to invest in education;
      • the equally sound tradition, from the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 until today, that the Federal Government should supplement State, local, and other resources to foster key national educational goals; and
      • the voluntary efforts of individuals, businesses, and parent and civic groups to cooperate in strengthening educational programs.

      These raw materials, combined with the unparalleled array of educational organizations in America, offer us the possibility to create a Learning Society, in which public, private, and parochial schools; colleges and universities; vocational and technical schools and institutes; libraries; science centers, museums, and other cultural institutions; and corporate training and retraining programs offer opportunities and choices for all to learn throughout life.

      The Public's Commitment

      Of all the tools at hand, the public's support for education is the most powerful. In a message to a National Academy of Sciences meeting in May 1982, President Reagan commented on this fact when he said:

      This public awareness--and I hope public action--is long overdue.... This country was built on American respect for education. . . Our challenge now is to create a resurgence of that thirst for education that typifies our Nation's history.

      The most recent (1982) Gallup Poll of the Public's Attitudes Toward the Public Schools strongly supported a theme heard during our hearings: People are steadfast in their belief that education is the major foundation for the future strength of this country. They even considered education more important than developing the best industrial system or the strongest military force, perhaps because they understood education as the cornerstone of both. They also held that education is "extremely important" to one's future success, and that public education should be the top priority for additional Federal funds. Education occupied first place among 12 funding categories considered in the survey--above health care, welfare, and military defense, with 55 percent selecting public education as one of their first three choices. Very clearly, the public understands the primary importance of education as the foundation for a satisfying life, an enlightened and civil society, a strong economy, and a secure Nation.

      At the same time, the public has no patience with undemanding and superfluous high school offerings. In another survey, more than 75 percent of all those questioned believed every student planning to go to college should take 4 years of mathematics, English, history/U.S. government, and science, with more than 50 percent adding 2 years each of a foreign language and economics or business. The public even supports requiring much of this curriculum for students who do not plan to go to college. These standards far exceed the strictest high school graduation requirements of any State today, and they also exceed the admission standards of all but a handful of our most selective colleges and universities.

      Another dimension of the public's support offers the prospect of constructive reform. The best term to characterize it may simply be the honorable word "patriotism." Citizens know intuitively what some of the best economists have shown in their research, that education is one of the chief engines of a society's material well-being. They know, too, that education is the common bond of a pluralistic society and helps tie us to other cultures around the globe. Citizens also know in their bones that the safety of the United States depends principally on the wit, skill, and spirit of a self-confident people, today and tomorrow. It is, therefore, essential--especially in a period of long-term decline in educational achievement--for government at all levels to affirm its responsibility for nurturing the Nation's intellectual capital.

      And perhaps most important, citizens know and believe that the meaning of America to the rest of the world must be something better than it seems to many today. Americans like to think of this Nation as the preeminent country for generating the great ideas and material benefits for all mankind. The citizen is dismayed at a steady 15-year decline in industrial productivity, as one great American industry after another falls to world competition. The citizen wants the country to act on the belief, expressed in our hearings and by the large majority in the Gallup Poll, that education should be at the top of the Nation's agenda. ?-###-

      [Introduction] [Findings]

       

    • Blog post
    • 3 years ago
    • Views: 5488
  • You must be joking, Professor You must be joking, Professor Chua: An open letter to the Chinese Tiger Mom

    • From: Yong_Zhao
    • Description:

      You must be joking, Professor Chua: An open letter to the Chinese Tiger Mom


      Dear Professor Chua,


      By now, your Wall Street Journal article Why Chinese Mothers are Superior has circled around the globe and you have appeared on many media outlets. Undoubtedly you are aware of the firestorm the article has created everywhere. Frankly I was at first appalled by your article because I have read your book Days of Empire, in which you suggest that tolerance is the force that helped build great empires. But in this article, you seem to suggest otherwise—that a totalitarian, authoritarian, and dictatorial approach will produce a successful person. This contradiction helped to realize that you must be joking, just like this YouTube video by Eric Liang that makes fun of how “crazy Asian moms” react when their children get a B.


      I am sure, as a well-educated Professor of Yale, you must know that even in China only “garbage parents” call their children garbage. And those who call their children garbage or similar things are generally looked down upon and considered uncivilized by their neighbors and colleagues. I grew up in China and came to the US when I was 27. In all those 27 years, I don’t remember being called garbage by my parents nor have I ever called my children garbage.


      I am also sure that you are aware that your strict method, while quite commonly practiced in Chinese families, does not always (and quite often do not) lead to a virtuous cycle or produce successful people. There is this running joke that supports your argument. Surprised by the fact that an uneducated peasant family were able to have all three of their children achieve high test scores to be admitted to college in China, reporters asked the father for his parenting secret that produced this miracle. The father went inside the house and took out a huge club behind the door. But this club did not do any wonders in my village. When I was growing up, my father was among the few who did not have such a club hanging on the wall. But I became the only one in the village who graduated from high school and went on to college.


      Furthermore, I am sure you, as a Chinese American who seems to be familiar with China, are aware of the psychological damages your method has caused in China. As I have documented in my book, Catching Up or Leading the Way, the high suicide rates, wide-spread depression, and rebellious behaviors due to parent and school pressure in China have already caused the government and society to take drastic actions to reform its education system. The Asian students in the U.S., the so-called “model minority,” have also been found to have more psychological issues due to family pressure by researchers because their academic excellence is “forced” rather than chosen (read the book by a number of Asian American researchers Model Minority Myth Revisited: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Demystify Asian American Education Experience).


      Moreover, I am sure you are aware that what you were doing to your children is simply serving as a taskmaster whose only job is to ensure that they do what the authority or the “successful” sector of the society values. In other words, you externalize the value of individual human beings as what others think important. You do not have an independent view of human value so you just rent the view of the society. When you force your children to get As in school, without necessarily even know what lies behind the As, you are no different from carrying out an order of an agency without ever questioning why. This, by the way, is the reason behind the misperception that somehow Chinese parents care more about their children’s education than Americans because they put a lot more pressure on their children to do school work and judge their children by school grades. I believe American parents care as much but they have different definitions of education—sports, music, art, independence, creativity, passion, a well-rounded education, or simply a happy childhood!


      Lastly, I am sure you know that your children’s success—Carnegie Hall performance and other kudos and trophies—may have more to do with you as a Yale professor, the community you live in, the friends and colleagues you have, the schools they attend, the friends they have (oh, I forgot, they are not allowed to have friends, well in this case, the classmates they have), than your parenting style. There are at least 100 million Chinese parents who practiced your way of parenting but were unable to send their children to Carnegie Hall.


      So I think you are joking. You are not really saying that your Chinese tiger mom approach is a great way to educating our children. Or at least, I hope!


      And to conclude, I want to share a quote by Paulo Freire:
      The struggle for humanization, breaking the cycles of injustice, exploitation and oppression lies in the perpetuation of oppressor versus oppressed. In these roles, those who commit the injustice, the oppressors, do not only deny freedom to those they oppress, they also risk their own humanity, because oppressor consciousness "tends to transform everything surrounding it into an object of its domination.”


      Please tell me, Professor Chua, that you are joking.

    • Blog post
    • 3 years ago
    • Views: 2413
  • Leader to Leader News: October Leader to Leader News: October 2010

    • From: Meg_Cohen
    • Description:

      Leader to Leader News: October 2010

      ASCD Leader to Leader (L2L) News is a monthly e-mail newsletter for ASCD constituent group leaders that builds capacity to better serve members; provides opportunities to promote and advocate for ASCD’s Whole Child Initiative; and engages groups through sharing and learning about best practices. To submit a news item for the L2L newsletter, send an e-mail to constituentservices@ascd.org.

       

      Join the L2L Conversation on Twitter

      Add #ASCDL2L to your tweets to share news and resources with your fellow ASCD leaders.

       

      This Month’s L2L News

       

      Your Vote Counts: Cast Your Ballot in the 2010 ASCD Election

      ASCD’s General Membership election opened on September 1. Please take advantage of your privilege as an ASCD member by casting a ballot to help shape ASCD’s future leadership. Go to http://my.ascd.org, enter your member ID and password, and click on the “Vote” box. The election closes on October 15.

      Please e-mail Governance Director Becky DeRigge with any questions.

       


      Save the Date: 2011 L2L Event Dates Confirmed

      Reserve July 21-23, 2011 for next year’s Leader to Leader Event. The 2011 L2L event will take place in the D.C. metropolitan area; details regarding the venue will be announced in the coming weeks.

      L2L Event on ASCD EDge: The 2010 L2L Event group will be disabled; join the
      Leader to Leader group on ASCD EDge for updates regarding the 2011 L2L
      Event!

      E-mail l2levent@ascd.org for questions.

       

       

      Your E-Communications Answered: Join Us for the October 13 L2L Web Seminar

      Tech Me Out: Taking Strategic Communication From Page to Screen
      3:00 – 4:00 p.m. eastern, Wednesday, October 13
      Register Now

      How do you currently share information with your target audiences? Can you share information through new vehicles, while maintaining the quality of what you currently do? Are you looking to transition your print publications to an electronic format? This webinar is your opportunity to address the pros, cons, and strategies around adjusting your communication plan to effectively and efficiently share vital information.

      As the second of a three part series on integrating technology into your work as an ASCD leader, this web seminar is an opportunity to ask your questions and get specific answers from ASCD staff experts:

      Carole Hayward has worked for ASCD for three years as the director of Newsletters and Special Publications and in education publishing for many years. Current challenges include incorporating social networking into the association’s publications, messages, and website; connecting and engaging members while still providing them with quality content; and balancing the perceived needs and wants of readers while offering them options using the latest technology. Hayward received her master’s degree in multimedia production and editing from George Mason University and her bachelor’s degree in journalism/english from the University of Rhode Island.

      Mike Kalyan has been ASCD’s production manager since 2007 and heads a unit that is responsible for the print and electronic production of ASCD’s member benefits and programs, products and services. He has a bachelors degree in communication from American University and a master’s in publishing (specializing in marketing, design and e-publishing) from George Washington University. As a self-confessed technophile, Kalyan is constantly researching social media trends and new ways to showcase content using emerging technologies.

      Submit your questions to Carole Hayward and Mike Kalyan in the online registration form and they will answer them live during the presentation.

       


      Register for the Leadership Institute for Legislative Advocacy (LILA)

      Congress is making education policy decisions that affect you, your local schools, and your students. Do not let Congress make decisions without the crucial information you can provide! Come to the national’s capital for information and insights on the behind-the-scenes action where policy and politics collide.

      The Leadership Institute for Legislative Advocacy (LILA), formerly known as LEAP, will be held from January 23 to 25, 2011, in Washington, D.C. E.J. Dionne, journalist, political commentator, and Washington Post columnist, will be the opening speaker at the LILA kickoff session on Sunday evening, January 23, 2011.  A more detailed agenda and session descriptions will be posted to the ASCD website in the coming weeks.

       


      Season of the Educational Documentary

      We are in the season of the education documentary. Much has been written about the four films coming out for theatrical run and community screenings this fall about the state of the U.S. public education system: Waiting for “Superman,”  The Lottery, The Cartel, and Race to Nowhere.

      Each film portrays somewhat different issues and presents a range of solutions. Waiting For Superman has garnered the most attention and was highlighted on the Oprah Winfrey Show. These episodes prompted a lot of feedback including from Managing Director of Whole Child Programs Molly McCloskey, and an open letter to Oprah from Executive Director Dr. Gene Carter. But far less has been mentioned about what happens after the final credits roll. The lack of any real follow-up discussion materials for the films The Lottery, The Cartel, and Waiting for “Superman” make it appear that these producers believe their films have made their points and any ongoing discussions should not be about their content but about how to rally troops.

      The film Race to Nowhere takes a different approach. This film, which looks at the pressures faced by schoolchildren and teachers in a test-obsessed era and paints a different picture from the other three movies, tells viewers to continue the debate in their communities, schools and homes and search for answers that work at the local level. This approach presumes that the film is the start of the conversation and not the end. It is also, somewhat ironically, the only film that has incorporated direct actions and discussions that actually involve students.

      The film fits with ASCD’s commitment to the whole child and Healthy School Communities in particular, but it was the commitment to an ongoing dialogue that prompted ASCD’s Executive Director Gene Carter to write the foreword to the facilitation guide that accompanies the film:

      “Challenges, when discovered, need to be addressed. Problems, when they arise, need to be solved. This is never so true as when we are talking about our children—their health, their growth, their education and their development. It is not enough to alert people to issues and then walk away. It is not enough to uncover problems and then neglect to work through them. It is not enough to lay blame and then move on.”

       


      Tune in to This Month’s Whole Child Podcast: The Critical Role of the Arts Throughout a Whole Child Education

      Arts play an essential role in providing each student with a well-rounded education that meets the needs of the whole child.  Although classes strictly focused on music, visual arts, drama, dance, and art history are crucial, integrating the arts across the curriculum is also key to ensuring that students are healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged. How can we provide students with a well-rounded education that includes learning through and about the arts? How can policy and practice support the integration of arts across the curriculum? Join us to hear a discussion about how the arts can increase students’ college, career, and citizenship-readiness in all subjects as well as keep them engaged in school and contribute to their social and emotional health. You’ll hear from exceptional arts educator Vanessa Lopez; recording artist and founder of Operation Respect and United Voices for Education Peter Yarrow; and Senior Deputy Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer of The National Association for Music Education Mike Blakeslee.

       


      ASCD Unveils New Android App

      For customers with Android-based mobile phones, ASCD has released a new application that can be downloaded within Android’s app store Market. This new, free app allows users to stay in touch with all of the latest freely available ASCD news and content, and already has 350 downloads. The app includes Latest News, which compiles all of ASCD’s dynamically served RSS-content and individual content feeds for categories such as Educational Leadership (current issue/previous month’s issue, open articles only), ASCD Inservice, ASCD on Twitter, Whole Child Blog, Whole Child Podcasts, and ASCD YouTube videos.

      To Download the Application: Go to the Market icon on your Android phone and then search for “ASCD.”

       


      Alabama ASCD Hosts Annual Conference November 1-3, 2010

      Alabama ASCD will hold its annual conference, Building a Leadership Team: Connecting Collaboration, Assessment, and Instruction at the Marriott Shoals in Florence, Alabama, November 1–3, 2010. Tommy Bice, Tim Brown, and Nancy Weber will be this year’s keynote speakers. Session topics will include State Department Updates, Connecting Positive School Culture to Academic Achievement, Grading and Examining Student Work, Using Assessment Results for Decision Making, and Collaborating to Enhance Student Achievement. ASCD Director of Constituent Programs Walter McKenzie will attend to meet with the affiliate board and present concurrent conference sessions on instructional technology.

       


      Arkansas ASCD Supports the Whole Child

      Arkansas ASCD Executive Director Mary Gunter and her Board will welcome ASCD Managing Director of Public Policy David Griffith in November to plan advocacy work around the Whole Child Initiative. The first affiliate to pass a Whole Child Resolution through both the state Senate and House, Arkansas ASCD seeks to strengthen its Whole Child resolution through additional state legislation that will provide specifics for implementation. At the same time, Arkansas ASCD is looking to work closely with the state department of education in leading the implementation of common core standards for Arkansas.

      Learn more about the Common Core State Standards Initiative.
      Take action to support the whole child.

       

       

      Quick and Easy Time Saver: Now It’s Easier to Connect with ASCD Leaders

      Now you can get an e-mail notification when someone responds to your comment on ASCD EDge! Change your profile to receive these timely updates in less than 30 seconds. Here’s how—

      1. Log in to the ASCD EDge online professional networking community.
      2. Under “My Categories” on the left hand side of the screen, click on “Edit Photo/Settings” in the gray box, second item from the bottom.
      3. Under “Send Me an E-mail When:” Select both boxes, “Comments are left on my profile or media” and “Comments are left after me on media and profiles.”
      4. Click “Update Profile.”

      Now you’ll receive notifications regarding your online conversations on ASCD EDge.

      Questions? E-mail constituentservices@ascd.org.

       

       

      Indiana ASCD Hosts Annual State Conference October 7, 2010 in Indianapolis

      Take Action, Indiana - Educating the Whole Child was a full-day event focusing on Indiana’s support for ASCD’s Whole Child Initiative. Executive Director Tami Hicks shares that Alfie Kohn, Stephen Wessler, Tom Jenkins, Kevin Dill, Barbara Resch, Michelle Henderson, the Indiana Department of Education, and ASCD Managing Director of Whole Child Programs Molly McCloskey spoke on the theme to attendees. In a separate Indiana ASCD event, ASCD author Debbie Zacarian is presenting at the ESL Conference on November 3.

       

       

      Wisconsin ASCD Fall Conference a Success

      Navigating Change: Innovation for Transformation, held September 29– October 1 in Appleton, Wisconsin featured Richard Cash of Minnesota ASCD, Robert Marzano, and James Popham. Wisconsin ASCD Executive Director Denise Pheifer shared a highlight of the conference when Marzano and Popham agreed to a lively discussion comparing and contrasting their views on assessment. While the discussion was not in a debate format, it gave both gentlemen the opportunity to share their ideas while affording the audience the opportunity to consider varying points of view on this crucial topic in education.

       

       

      How to Follow the L2L Conversation on Twitter

      Now you can get access to interesting education resources and ASCD news each day on Twitter! Not sure how to follow the #ASCDL2L hashtag conversation? Follow these step-by-step instructions:

      • Log in to Twitter and go to your homepage.
      • To view the hashtag conversation, type “#ASCDL2L” (no quotes) in the search box on the right hand side of your screen.
      • Click on the magnifying glass to see all the tweets that ASCD staff and leaders have sent out over Twitter recently on that conversation.
      • Find the small, green plus sign in the upper right-hand corner of the list of tweets, and next to it a link that says, “Save this search.” Click on that to save the conversation to your right hand navigation under the search bar.

      Any time you want to see the L2L twitter feed, click on the #ASCDL2L link on the right hand side of your screen, and the conversation will show up.

       

       

      New Group Features Launched on ASCD EDge

       

      This month, ASCD launched a new groups experience on ASCD EDge that significantly enhances the site’s usability.

      What’s New:

      ASCD EDge group members can now:

      • Upload documents (e.g., Word, PDF) and share with the rest of the group.
      • Upload content (e.g., video, audio, and blogs) only for that group.
      • Engage in new threaded messaging (replying to someone’s post rather than writing another separate post) on the group wall.
      • Create links and paste in HMTL on the new group wall.
      • Take advantage of Facebook’s “Like” status icon.
      • View My Groups and other lists of groups in streamlined format.

      Now there is a group owner for each group page. The group owner has the ability to

      • Edit group content and participants.
      • Schedule and edit events in the new group calendar.
      • Promote an event or link in the group header bar.
      • Edit and add RSS feeds specific to the group 
      • Make the group private if they so choose.   

      If you’d like to start a public or private group on ASCD EDge, e-mail constituentservices@ascd.org  with the name of your group, the name of the group owner, a short description, and a .JPEG image of the logo or image that represents your group.

       

       

      Something To Talk About: ASCD EDge Blog Roundup

       


      Association News

      • New ASCD Book Helps Stressed-Out Educators Take Ownership of Personal Wellness—Combating teacher burnout can seem like an endless battle, but author Mike Anderson outlines practical steps for teachers to take ownership of their physical, mental, and emotional wellness in his new ASCD book, The Well-Balanced Teacher: How to Work Smarter and Stay Sane Inside the Classroom and Out. Anderson documents struggles, bad habits, and eventual successes from his own classroom and from other healthy teachers. Follow Mike on Twitter.
      • ASCD Statement on the Oprah Winfrey Show’s “The Reaction” Episode—On September 21, 2010, ASCD Executive Director Gene R. Carter wrote an open letter to Oprah Winfrey explaining ASCD's response to the September 20 episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show about the movie Waiting for “Superman.” On September 24, The Oprah Winfrey Show aired an episode detailing the reaction from parents, educators, and politicians. Read ASCD’s response to the episode.
      • Read David Griffith's opinion piece in District Administration magazine—Griffith's commentary focuses on the importance of broadening K12 curriculum in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization, and it highlights ASCD's recommendations for how the federal government can better support a well-rounded education for each child.

       

    • Blog post
    • 4 years ago
    • Views: 1206
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