•  
Results 1 - 20 of 291

291 Search Results for ""what works""

  • 7 Tips for Re-doing the Studen 7 Tips for Re-doing the Student Re-do Process

    • From: Jennifer_Davis_Bowman
    • Description:

      In grading a recent test, I noticed that the scores were lower than usual.  I questioned if we had spent enough time on the material.  I wondered if I had failed to address the challenging content appropriately.  Was I to blame for the below average scores? Was it time for the dreaded “It’s not you, it’s me” speech.  After wallowing in this short self-blaming, “I stink as a teacher” mode, I decided to do something about it.  I decided to offer my students a re-do.  I love a good old re-do because they are wrapped in hope, second chances, and all things warm and fuzzy.   I think we all could benefit from a do-over every now and then (or every day).  Like the infamous episode where Oprah gave away cars, teachers should give away do-overs in their classrooms.  Every once in a while teachers should say, “here’s a free do-over for you, one for you, one for you…”  The only problem is that there are some drawbacks to the revision process.  Students may take advantage, the revision opportunity may limit the effort put forth on the initial work, and of course the practicality issue (in the real world we do not always get to correct our mistakes).  Lastly, sometimes students don’t follow through and do not participate in the revision process at all.  In the spirit of revision, I have developed a list of 7 strategies to facilitate the process and in turn encourage student participation:



      1.  Assess student interest in revision.

       

      When thinking about assessing interest, an online ad (it has over 20 million views) about gender stereotypes came to mind.  You can watch the entire ad here.  In the ad, there are adolescents that role play physical activities "like a girl" and then they act out the same activities "like a boy".  Unsurprisingly, within the role plays, the girls are portrayed less flatterinly than boys (for example they run less powerfully, swim less aggressively, etc.).  The best part, however is after a discussion of gender stereotypes, the adolescents are asked if they wish for a second chance to do their role plays "differently".  Instead of forcing a do-over, the children are invited to revisit their stereotypically laden gender beliefs.  And you know what-each child participates in the do-over. The big take-away here is that a simple participation request allows for instant participant buy-in and thus increases participation in the revision process.  

       

      2.  Include students as peer reviewers in the process.

       

      Even though teachers are more knowledgeable than students (we are the experts in the classroom), we can learn a great deal from our students.  The “curse of the expert” theory outlines how experts may sabotage learning (they often underestimate the level of task difficulty and overestimate potential performance of novices).  In order to get around this, try to incorporate the help of your students in the revision process.  Students share the same language or jargon, and provide a variety of feedback to help one another improve their work (Cho & MacArthur, 2010).

       

      3.  Consider how to manage time in the revision process.


      If you are not careful, all of your teaching time will turn into revision time.  To avoid this, one educator in an article titled “The utility of a student organized revision day" describes the benefits of designating one class day for student revision (Gill, Ong, & Cleland, 2012).  Another idea that I tend to use-would be to include detailed rubrics so that the students have what they need to get the assignment right the very first time.  A final suggestion would be the use of video to record assignment instructions or tips (Whatley & Ahmad, 2007). The video method is effective because conversational style is often more user-friendly than written/formal style (personalization learning principle).

       

       
      4.  Consider how your feedback influences student revision.

       

      An article titled "What does it take to make a change?" shows the that the type of teacher feedback impacts the likelihood that a student will participate in the revision process (Silver & Lee, 2007).  Specifically, when teachers offer advice about how to improve work quality, this facilitates more revision than other feedback methods (such as praise or criticism).  So, if you tell your student, “I wonder if you can provide more details”,  instead of saying “I like how you use detail in this one part”, the student may be more inclined to revise the work. 

       

      5.  Examine how students view the revision process.

       

      Do you remember Maslow and the Hierarchy of Needs?  In general, Maslow described our needs in terms of layers- basic needs had to be met before we could pursue higher order needs.  A Maslow-like theory may explain how students perceive the revision process (Thompson, 1994).  In a paper from the College Composition and Communication conference,  an educator described that in revision,  students attend to basic needs (what is required to pass or not fail the assignment) and then they move on to higher order revising skills (creativity, synthesis, etc.).

       

      6.  Adjust classroom perception of revision.

       

      Students view revision as a reflection of themselves.  One study from the English Teaching Practice and Critique Journal showed that students believed that teacher revision comments indicated they were "careless" (Silver & Lee, 2007). Also, students reported that the teacher feedback lowered their confidence and made them feel angry. My take away from this study is that teachers must work to improve the way students perceive the re-do process. Perhaps reminding students that change is not bad.  Additionally, identifying real-life examples of revision (such as remaking movies or remixing songs) to help students see that revising is a normal part of life.  

       

      7.  Measure the revision process.


      If you decide to offer students a re-do, measuring how well the process works (or not) is useful.  Think about asking the students to provide feedback about their experience with revision.  Typically, students report that revision allows for an increase in knowledge and confidence (Gill, Ong, & Cleland, 2013).  Also, reviewing the grade changes (before and after the revisionn) will offer insight into the usefulness of allowing students to re-do future assignments.  
       





      

    • Blog post
    • 1 week ago
    • Views: 3290
  • Cultivating a Trusting Environ Cultivating a Trusting Environment

    • From: Mindy_Keller-Kyriakides
    • Description:

      I’m sure we’d all agree that a trusting classroom environment is crucial for students. We know that they naturally thrive in an environment where they can reach out to be heard and possibly take creative risks. The sense of community in a trust-based classroom is stronger, and students feel more like they belong to something, which, in turn, positively impacts their learning.  All that's a given. But while teachers tend to start the school year relatively well in this area, somewhere along the line, things start to unravel. So, how do we go about actively creating this environment and, perhaps more importantly, maintaining it in the classroom? 

       

      One way to tangibly cultivate a sense of trust in the classroom is to ensure that the physical environment reflects trust.  For example, the seating arrangement of a class sends an immediate message of trust or distrust. Sitting in rows (all facing the teacher at the front) or a U-shaped arrangement (everyone facing inward) each says something different about how much the teacher trusts the students. One approach says, “I have to have you all looking at me at all times,” and the other says, “Let’s learn together.” Compare these two:

      layoutgood.jpg

       

      Granted, the types of desks in the left image are designed to be more flexible. Nonetheless, any desk type can be reorganized in a shape that is more inviting than rows. Further, we’re talking about first impressions, here, as the needs for the class will shift throughout the year. (Rows might be necessary at some point, but they aren't immediately necessary.)

       

      standard rows.jpg

      Of the two classrooms, though, which one would evoke more trust from the student perspective? Taking the time to mindfully choose a classroom layout that sends a message of trust is a step we can take before students even arrive in the classroom.

       

       

       

       

      Once school has begun, a teacher’s choice of words, whether spoken or written, can also serve to cultivate trust or distrust. Are we actively creating a sense of trust in how we refer to the class and students? Take a look at these two classroom posters: 

       

      Notice2.jpg

       STUDENT NOTICE.jpg

       

       

      (For a clearer look at these images, click here.)

      The use of “we” and “our” makes a huge difference in establishing the foundation for trust, here, particularly the vast difference in tone between “This is MY classroom” and “This is OUR classroom.” Further, the negative expectation of failure (snarkily cushioned with "if" statements”) versus the positive expectation of “will” sends out completely different messages of trust. It’s as though one teacher  expects to have all sorts of problems, which automatically sends out an “I don’t trust you” message. The teacher on the right expresses a sense of confidence in the students (and himself/herself) that is designed to cultivate trust.   

      Imagine coming into a classroom on the first day and seeing one of these posters. Which classroom would you really want to be a part of? In which classroom would you feel more likely to express your thoughts and take creative risks? (On a side note, the poster on the left is offered as a “Motivational Poster” on eBay for $8.95.  The other image is my revision of it.) Actively seeking to establish a sense of collaboration and community, once students are in the class, is another crucial step we can take.  

      Maintaining the trust throughout the year is probably the most difficult part, and having a strategy in mind to maintain patience will aid in keeping that trust alive. Well-intentioned teachers may start out the school year just fine. They’ve set up the classroom and diligently used language designed to inspire collaboration, but somewhere in October, things can fizzle. Kids start to fray our nerves; we lose patience and react without thinking. Unfortunately, losing that patience also means that any trust we’ve established will begin to dissolve.

      Acclaimed educator Rafe Esquith (2007) notes, “It is deeds that will help the children see that I not only talk the talk but walk the walk.” Walking the walk entails not only our initial actions, but also our reactions. For example, if you’ve told students that you will use a particular procedure for getting their attention (such as raising your hand or counting to five), and instead, you lose it and start yelling at them (“Alright! Everybody QUIET!”), they will no longer trust you. You are not walking the path you said you’d walk. Once you’ve lost your cool, you’ve evaporated the trust, and you’ll have to work to build it up again.

      Having a strategy for maintaining patience, even in the midst of chaotic mutiny, really helped me out with high school freshmen. My strategy was a little silly, I guess. I would visualize the calmest person I could think of: Mahatma Gandhi.

       

       

      gandhi.jpg

       

       

      Then, I would repeat a mantra: Be what I want to see (a quick version of his famous quote “As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him” (Gandhi, 1958).

      This sort of “channeling of Gandhi” strategy compelled me to pause before reacting—not unlike counting to ten, but a tad more inspirational. Who pops into your head as the epitome of patience and calm strength?

       

      Another means of maintaining trust is to cultivate a mindset that is passionate for understanding. In this mindset, no matter what, you do whatever it takes to ensure your students “get” what you want them to get. Esquith (2007) offers this straightforward strategy in developing the mindset—answer all student questions:

       

      I answer all questions. It does not matter if I have been asked them before. It does not matter if I am tired. The kids must see that I passionately want them to understand, and it never bothersme when they don’t. During an interview, a student named Alan once told a reporter, “Last year, I tried to ask my teacher a question. She became angry and said, ‘We’ve been over this. You weren’t listening!’ But I was listening! I just didn’t get it! Rafe will go over something fivehundred times until I understand.”

       

      What the student described is pure trust. This approach sounds easier than it is because having one student ask you something and then having the very next question be the same question can be exhausting and annoying. However, a kid who knows that you’ll answer his questions, no matter what, trusts you. In that “knowing” is the trust. 

      This kind of trusting classroom environment is attainable if we take some time to reflect on how we present the physical environment, what messages we convey, and actively seek to maintain it. What do you want your kids to “know” about you?


      • Create a physical environment cultivates trust
      • Use language that cultivates trust
      • Find strategies that will help you maintain patience and trust
      • Cultivate a mindset that is passionate for understanding

       

      Mirror site: Joyful Collapse

       

      References

      Esquith, R. (2007).  Teach like your hair’s on fire (Reprint). Retrieved from http://www.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=11644

      Gandhi, M.K. (1958). The collected works of Mahatma Gandhi (Vol.19, p. 233). Delhi, India: Government of India, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Publications Division.

      

      

      

       

      

      

       

       

    • Blog post
    • 2 weeks ago
    • Views: 1945
  • Minecraft: Research Product Minecraft: Research Product

    • From: Michael_Fisher
    • Description:

      Earlier this week, a member of my digital network, Brent Coley ( @brentcoley ), shared the following tweet where a student created a Minecraft video that represented a virtual tour of Mission San Diego de Alcala (Wikipedia link):


       

      Link to video outside of tweet.


      I was absolutely blown away by what this 4th grader created and I thought it was a good representation of what a research project product that wasn’t a paper looked like.  I’ve previously blogged about Infographics as a research product and I advocate vociferously for digital product replacement thinking when I work with teachers. If the outcome is building knowledge and demonstrating that students can both investigate a topic and learn from it, whoever said that research had to result in a paper?


      The research standards in the Common Core are usually just the three writing standards associated with Research to Build and Present Knowledge. However, I always lump writing standard six in there as well, as it deals with how writing can be presented in a digital format/presentation. I want to share the fourth-grade-specific Common Core writing standards here, standard seven from the Research Standards, and standard six from the Production and Distribution of Writing section:


      W.4.7. Conduct short research projects that build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic.


      W.4.6. With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of one page in a single sitting.


      As you read through the rest of this blog post (and hopefully after you’ve viewed the video), read with these standards as lenses. Ask yourself, “did this student meet the standard?” “Did this student provide evidence of what they know and are able to do within the confines of this standard?”


      In my book, Digital Learning Strategies: How Do I Assign and Assess 21st Century Work?, I describe several questions to ask when assigning digital student work:

      1. What is the learning objective?

      2. Is the instructional task worthy of a digital upgrade? Will using digital tools enhance the learning? If so, in what ways?

      3. Will the digital tools increase or decrease the cognitive rigor of the task? What additional skills might have to be considered in order to engage this upgrade?

      4. Does the digital upgrade involve collaboration, communication, creative problem solving, and/or creative thinking?

      5. Are sufficient digital tools available and do all students have access to them?

      6. Are the students involved in some of the decision-making? How much are the students contributing to the design, process, or product?


      I wanted to blog about this student’s Minecraft project through the lens of these six considerations, annotating what this fourth grader was able to accomplish.


      • What is the learning objective?

        • The learning objective here was to learn about the Mission San Diego de Alcala. This student had to learn the layout, information about the different areas, and be able to speculate about the people that lived there.

        • This student also had to learn specific information about the founder of the Mission, Father Junipero Serra, as he both introduces the video and then explains several of the artifacts contained within the video.

      • Is the instructional task worthy of a digital upgrade? Will using digital tools enhance the learning? If so, in what ways?

        • In this case, I believe the learning was enhanced exponentially. Besides the research to build knowledge about the mission, this student had to do a brick by brick recreation to create the video.

        • In the comments section of the video, the student’s father includes information about the student having to develop his own system for creating the texture of the tiles on the roof.

        • This obviously had to be tightly scripted for both production and the narration, so the writing definitely occurred at some point. Everything in the video though is beyond the writing...beyond the end point of the traditional research product.

        • In terms of worth? You tell me. Was this digital upgrade a worthy replacement?

      • Will the digital tools increase or decrease the cognitive rigor of the task?

        • The traditional version of this research would have resulted in a paper, most likely, perhaps a diorama or detailed schematic drawing. In this case, using Minecraft, the detail involved demanded a time-intensive process that resulted in a very professional product. The decisions this student made to develop the detailed depiction all involved discernment and critical thinking in some way. Big time rigor here.

        • Additionally, the student used multiple digital tools to get to the final product: Minecraft to create the representation, an audio tool to record the narration, and a screen-capturing tool to record the video. All of these individually would raise the thinking level of the task because they all represent learning that is above and beyond the expectation of the standard and the traditional version of the research. Together, they represent problem solving nirvana.

      • Does the digital upgrade involve collaboration, communication, creative problem solving, and/or creative thinking?

        • I get the sense from the comments on the Youtube page that the student engaged in some conversation with his dad to create the video, though I don’t see specific evidence of collaboration or communication.

        • As for creative problem solving, the student’s father references an issue with the roof tiles that the student had to discover a solution too, but the entire video also represents a finished product that is the end product of trial and error thinking. If you’ve ever been in Minecraft, you know that you have to try stuff out and see if it works. Once you discover what works, you build, literally, on it.

        • In terms of creative thinking, there’s so much here. From decisions about the design and interactive elements, to details about Father Serra’s artifacts, to the layout and navigation of the Mission for the viewer of the video, this student had a lot on his plate to think about. The finished product demonstrates extremely high levels of thinking and decision making.

      • Are sufficient digital tools available and do all students have access to them?

        • This I don’t know. I’m not privy to the project’s parameters or to the population of students that were assigned this project and their access to / equity within digital tools or connected access points.

        • I do know that this student seems to be fairly comfortable creating within the digital realm, which suggests an early affinity / comfort with digital tools at a young age that allows him to demonstrate learning at this level even in the fourth grade.

        • Based on the comments from dad, I’m speculating that this student has no issues with computer / internet access and that it is just a part of his world.

      • Are the students involved in some of the decision-making? How much are the students contributing to the design, process, or product?

        • Again, since I don’t know anything about what was assigned, I don’t know how much the students contributed to the design of the project.

        • Even if the design of the Mission and its subsequent creation within the Minecraft system was with the help of his father, note that the standard (#6) advocates for “guidance and support from adults.”


      In the book, I also recommend some questions to ask when assessing student work, two of which revolve around how students are reflecting on what they are creating and how they are attributing their source material, both of which are important components of research.


      In this case, there is little evidence of either. I was hoping to learn from where the student found his information. (And I was secretly hoping to discover that he used multiple verified sources.) I was also hoping to learn why he chose to use Minecraft to create his product versus other available web tools. Perhaps eventually this could be added to the Youtube comments. If I were the teacher, I might ask for this as a separate component of the task.


      All in all, though, I must say, that this effort is serendipitous. I’m struck by both the level of quality and the apparent level of learning of this student. I hope that those reading this are understanding that this is what a 21st Century demonstration of learning looks like. This is what is possible when we relinquish the limits of traditional practice. This is what is possible when we begin orbiting the boxes that we’ve asked students to think outside of for decades. This is 21st Century Learning.


      Kudos to this kid and his dad. What they created was future-forward and just plain awesome. I subscribed to their Youtube channel. I can’t wait to see what they will do next!


       


      Follow Mike On Twitter: @fisher1000

      Mike’s Website: Digigogy.com

      Digital Learning Strategies: How Do I Assign and Assess 21st Century Work?


    • Blog post
    • 3 weeks ago
    • Views: 431
  • Change Requires Moving From a Change Requires Moving From a Fixed to a Growth Mindset

    • From: Eric_Sheninger
    • Description:

      For many years New Milford High School was just like virtually every other public school in this country defined solely by traditional indicators of success such as standardized test scores, graduation rates, and acceptances to four year colleges. These indicators have become so embedded in the minds of those judging our schools and work that we, like everyone else, worked hard to focus only on initiatives that would hopefully produce favorable outcomes in those areas. If we were doing well we continued down the same path allowing the status quo to reign supreme.  The mentality of if it isn't broke than why fix it resonated so profoundly with us that we would not have even considered changing our ways.  If results were not what our stakeholders wanted this would then trigger meetings leading to the development of action plans to get us back on course. 

       

      For so long schools have resembled a hamster running on a wheel doing the same things over and over to improve sets of numbers.  We were no different and had succumbed to a fixed mindset. Every excuse in the book was at our disposal not to change and continue down the same path year after year. Heck, our education system has become so good at maintaining the status quo and enforcing compliance throughout that we and many others have been brainwashed into thinking any other course of action would be foolish.  If education is good for one thing it is making excuses not to move forward. There is still an innate desire to sustain a school structure and function that has remained relatively unchanged for well over a hundred years. This is a problem. It was a huge problem for us. We were in a rut and didn't even know it. Luckily change came in the form of a little blue bird that gave me the kick in the butt that I desperately needed back in 2009.  Being blessed with an amazing staff, student body, administrative team, and community provided the necessary support needed to move us forward.

       

      As another school year comes to a close I can't but help reflect on the many successful initiatives that have been implemented this past year.  It is even more gratifying to see numerous other initiatives that were implemented over the past couple of years flourish.  Moving from a fixed to a growth mindset and feeding of the daily inspiration that connected learning provides gave me with the fuel to create a shared vision that eventually became a reality as a result of action. For change to be successful it must be sustained. As leaders we must not only be willing to see the process through, but we must also create conditions that promote a change mentality. It really is about moving from a fixed to a growth mindset, something that many educators and schools are either unwilling or afraid to do. The essential elements that work as catalysts for the change process include the following:

      • Empowerment
      • Autonomy
      • Ownership
      • Removing the fear of failure
      •  Risk-taking
      •  Support
      • Modeling
      • Flexibility
      • Collaboration
      • Communication

      What I have learned is that if someone understands why change is needed and the elements above become an embedded component of school culture he/she or the system ultimately experience the value for themselves.  The change process then gets a boost from an intrinsic motivational force that not only jump starts the initiative, but allows for the embracement of change as opposed to looking for buy-in.  We should never have to "sell" people on better ways to do our noble work nor rely on mandates and directives. These traditional pathways used to drive change typically result in resentment, undermining, and failure.

       

      This gets me back to the main point of my post and that is reflecting on the many changes that have been implemented and sustained at NMHS.  Even in the face of adversity in the form of education reform mandates, Common Core alignment, impending PARCC exams, new educator evaluation systems, loss of funding, and an aging infrastructure we have not only persevered, but proven that positive change can happen with the right mindset.  If we can overcome these challenges and experience success others can as well. Throughout the past couple of years we have also seen improvements in the "traditional" indicators of success by mainly focusing on creating a school that works better for our students as opposed to one that has always worked well for us.  Here is a short list of some of the changes that have been implemented and sustained:

       

      ·        Social media use as a communications, public relations, branding, professional growth, and student learning tool implemented in 2009. So many of my teachers are making the choice to integrate social media as a learning tool that I just can't list all of the examples:

      • Online courses through the Virtual High School implemented in 2010. Students now have access to over 250 unique courses that cater to their interests. 
      • Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) implemented in 2011.  The success of this initiative has hinged on our ability to ensure equity, give up control, trust our students, and provide educator support in the form of professional growth opportunities. Charging stations for the students were purchased this year and placed in all common areas.  The three guiding tenets of our BYOD initiative are to enhance learning, increase productivity, and conduct better research. See what CBS New York had to say.
      • The Academies @ NMHS implemented in 2011 as part of my superintendent's vision. These are a means to allow students to follow their passions in a cohort model of learning based on constructivist theory. The Academies are open to any and all students regardless of GPA who what to pursue more rigorous and authentic coursework and learning opportunities. This initiative compelled us to add over 20 new courses to our offerings to better meet the learning needs and interests of our students.
      • Independent OpenCourseware Study (IOCS) implemented in 2012. Students elect to take OpenCourseware and receive honors credit once they demonstrate what they have learned through a non-traditional presentation.
      • Google Apps For Education (GAFE) implemented in 2012 empowering students and staff to learn collaboratively in the cloud.
      • Flipped classroom and instructional model implemented in 2012. A variety of teachers have moved to this model consistently to take advantage of instructional time. The best part is that NMHS teachers themselves are creating the interactive content as opposed to relying on Khan Academy. See what CBS New York had to say.
      • Grading reform implemented in 2012.  A committee was formed to improve our grading practices that resulted in a failure floor and seven steps that had to be met before student can receive a failing grade. All student failures are now reviewed by me to ensure that the seven steps have been met. This was probably the most difficult change initiative I have ever been a part of. If you want a copy of this just add your email in the comments section at the bottom of this post. 
      • The Professional Growth Period (PGP) implemented in 2013.  By cutting all non-instructional duties teachers now have two or three 48 minute periods during the week to follow their learning passions based on the Google 80/20 model.  The rise in many innovative practices have resulted by creating this job embedded model for growth.  I love reviewing the learning portfolios my teachers develop each year to showcase how this time was used to improve professional practice.
      • Makerspace added to the library in 2013. I have written extensively about this space, which has transformed learning thanks to the leadership of Laura Fleming. See what CBS New York had to say.
      • Creation of a digital badge platform to acknowledge the informal learning of teachers implemented in 2013 by Laura Fleming.
      • 3D virtual learning implemented in 2013 using Protosphere. See what CBS New York had to say.
      • McREL Teacher Evaluation Tool implemented in 2013.  This required a huge shift from how we have observed and evaluated teachers for a very long time.  Google Forms were utilized to solicit anonymous feedback from staff members about the rollout, process, and value of the new tool.  This feedback was then used by the administrative team to improve the use of the tool.   

      I need to stop here, but I think you get the point.  We have transformed the teaching and learning culture at NMHS that begins and ends with a growth mindset.  The time for excuses, talk, opinions, and fear needs to end if our goal is really about improving teaching, learning, and leadership outcomes. Leadership is about action, not position or ideas that just get pushed around. We continue to push ourselves to create a better school.  So what's stopping you?

    • Blog post
    • 1 month ago
    • Views: 479
  • Assistive Technology: Listenin Assistive Technology: Listening To Children's Needs

    • From: Robin_Shobe
    • Description:

      I believe that children (all people, really) who might benefit from the use Assistive Technology such as a Communication Device, ultimately tell us what tools they need and how they will use them for their own benefit. When we attempt to support people in this process, we have to be acute observers and be willing to follow their lead.

      I was born without a left hand. Prosthetics available to me and my parents were quite simplistic at the time and did not resemble a hand (I had a hook, shown here in the picture). I hated it, I was more capable without it, but the therapists and MDs advised my parents to use it. They believed that it made me look more "normal" and that in time, it would help me. At the age of 12, I was finally able to convince my loving parents and intelligent doctors that this was indeed not something I needed.

      I have met many individuals with an arm similar to mine. Some were born this way, as I was, and others lack of a hand resulting from an illness or accident. Many of these people do not find a prosthetic device useful, again like me, while many others do. It was ultimately a personal decision for each of us.

      As a speech-language pathologist assisting children to use assistive technology such as a Speech Generating Device (SGD), this personal experience is a reminder to me that although I am the specialist, the child ultimately knows themselves best. My job is to introduce the child to the tool- the communication system or systems, model their uses over time, with different communication partners, and for multiple communicative purposes. Only then, can the child decide how assistive technology is going to work for her. Successful assistive technology use or integration is a process, often iterative. We don't know what is going to work until we try. We have to be willing to reevaluate frequently and we have to respect what the child ultimately deems beneficial for themselves.

      I see many of us struggling with AAC and AT implementation and use. Children, their families, their teachers and even the specialists- speech-language pathologists. It has been my experience, that when I put my direct teaching strategies aside, model the use of the communication devices, up the fun, and follow the child's lead- communication happens.

      Let the child choose the assistive technology that works best- for them.



    • Blog post
    • 1 month ago
    • Views: 145
  • Professional Development and C Professional Development and Common Core Writing: What Works?

    • From: Suzanne_Klein1
    • Description:

      We know that standards cannot impact student learning if they’re just sitting on the shelf. We need teachers who can teach them. Standards accomplish nothing alone. But many teachers have told us they still feel unprepared when it comes to the Common Core. Are you one of them?

      As the clock ticks toward the transition from practice testing to the actual Common Core testing in 2015-2016, there are three things to think about:

      1. The SIT & LISTEN model is not an effective way to train. Thanks to studies by The Consortium for Policy Research in Education, we have known this for a long time. Although districts continue to favor this passive, large-group model, it's clear that it doesn’t improve student learning.

      2. The COACHING model works best.

      • Coaches take teachers to their growing edge by helping them to analyze their students’ work and devise plans to keep improving it.
      • Coaches respond to specific teacher questions with tips and feedback on instruction.
      • Coaches typically work with small teacher groups over a period of time.
      • Coaching taps into the collective wisdom of teachers and encourages sharing of successful practices within grade-level teams.


      3. The biggest challenge in teaching the K-5 Common Core ELA Standards is WRITING. Even more than making the leap to reading complex texts, teachers are hard-pressed to meet the new writing standards without help.

      • Writing was not part of No Child Left Behind, so it hasn't been given priority in many schools. Many teachers will be playing "catch up."
      • Writing is one of the most difficult subjects to teach because it requires higher order thinking and offers no "right" answers.
      • The Common Core restores writing to its fundamental place as one of the 3 “R”s. Make no mistake about it: the Common Core expectations for writing are high.

      Free Reflection Guide: Improve Your Writing Instruction


      Teachers: Use the reflection guide as a personal professional development evaluation. It will help you determine your strengths and weaknesses in your writing instruction.

      Administrators: Use the reflection guide when planning a professional development day. Follow the directions below.

      1. Print “Questions Teachers Have When Teaching Writing”, and pass the reflection guide out to your teachers.  

      2. Ask your teachers to follow the directions in the reflection guide. They will fill out their glows (strengths) and grows (weaknesses) for writing.

      3. Design your professional development day into sessions where each teacher will have 10 or 15 minutes to share a teaching idea or tool they have used successfully.

      4. Teachers can consider their “grows” and choose to sit in on sessions that will be most helpful to them.

       

      What was your most memorable professional development experience? Tell us in the comments section below.

      

    • Blog post
    • 1 month ago
    • Views: 329
  • The Power of Personalized Prai The Power of Personalized Praise and Encouragement

    • From: Mindy_Keller-Kyriakides
    • Description:

       

      Is there a word for being both very pleased and angry at the same time?


      Because that's what I am.


      I'm so pleased that one of my initiatives has proven valuable to my peers. The use of a midcourse update in which we let course participants know how they're doing and, if relevant, what they need to work on or complete, has received very positive feedback. These (roughly) personalized updates are designed to enhance motivation and touch base on a personal level. Most of our course emails are coursewide, but this one goes out to each person separately.


       

      The responses have been overwhelmingly positive. However, I find myself in this strange happy/angry state. For example, one participant wrote:

              Thank you for your encouragement!  It is not often I get to hear things like that! Made my day! 

      This response brought a tear to my eye. First, I was really glad I made this person's day! But, then I thought, I didn't do anything big or huge, here.

      And then I thought, "Why HASN'T this teacher been offered this sort of encouragement more often?  Really, this effort took only a moment. Why is this such a surprise?"

      School administrators have a daunting task, granted. Further, they're limited on time, and much of their "attaboys/attagirls" come via generic school-wide emails or on evaluations.

      However,the generic email is just that...positive, but lukewarm. A recipient may or may not connect with it. Further, the school-wide or coursewide email goes out to those who may not really deserve to hear the praise, so it's incumbent upon the recipient to self-evaluate with those memos. This approach works for special occasions (We did a great job with Open House!), but not for the kind of morale-boosts that teachers really need.

      And hearing praise on an evaluation is also somewhat...meh. It's sort of required, so it doesn't offer the same motivational jolt that a personalized message would.

      People need to hear what they're doing RIGHT. That way, we can subtly (or not-so-subtly) reinforce that behavior. Do we bother to do that?

      Teachers need to hear more of what they're doing well and effectively. They also need to hear WHY what they're doing works well or reflects best practices.  

      Students need to hear more of what they're doing well and effectively. They also need to hear WHY and HOW what they're doing works well.

      For that matter, school administrators need to hear more of what they're doing well and effectively. They also need to hear WHY what they're doing works well with staff and faculty or reflects best leadership practices. 

      Our children need to hear what they're doing well and effectively. They also need to hear WHY what they're doing works well, helps others, or contributes to the family. 

      Our spouses, significant others...The list goes on...

      And don't give me that "There's not enough time in the day."

      There is time enough in the day to prioritize those things that will make everyone and everything run more smoothly.

      There is time enough in the day to send out an "attaboy/attagirl" email, which could, if sincerely offered, offset the later need for a full one-on-one conference to discuss an issue.

      There's time enough in the day to write a quick positive on a sticky note and put it in a briefcase, purse, backpack, or lunchbox.

      And not just "I like your artwork" or "You are the best!" This positive criticism needs to express both WHAT works well and WHY or HOW. Otherwise, the recipient may perceive you as inauthentic, which is counter-intuitive.

      Pre-emptive positives such as these quick emails may take a bit more time, initially, but they ultimately save time and serve to create a powerful foundation of communication and rapport.

      How long has it been since you've heard or provided a personal attaboy or attagirl? Tell us about your experiences in the comments, below! 

       

      Mirror site: www.joyfulcollapse.blogspot.com

    • Blog post
    • 3 months ago
    • Views: 411
  • R.A.D. Neurological Lesson Pla R.A.D. Neurological Lesson Plan Elementary Level or Beginning Foreign Language

    • From: Judy_Willis
    • Description:

      R.A.D. Neurological Lesson Plan

      Elementary Level or Beginning Foreign Language

       

       

      By Paula Berlinck and Luciana Castro

      2nd grade Portuguese Teachers

      Graded School

      Sao Paulo, Brazil

      March 2014

       

       

      Unit Title:  Where does the bread come from?

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

      Lesson Concept/Topic:   Reading and Writing Non-fiction

      Lesson Goals/Objectives:  Reading and Writing Non-fiction

       

      Lesson Elements:

      (and how they will be Neuro-logical)

       

       

       

      Plan:

       

       

      Getting Attention:

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

       

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

       

       

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

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

       

       

       

       

       

      Sustaining Attention:

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

       

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

       

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

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

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

      Motivation and Perseverance:

      Which dopamine boosters will be included in your lesson?

       

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

       

      4- Finishing the reading aloud of the book

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

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

       

       

       

       

       

       

      Buy-in:

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

       

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

       

      7- Bake the Bread in the classroom

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

      Achievable challenge:

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

       

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

       

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

      Students will work in pairs, considering their complementary abilities

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

      Frequent Formative Assessment and Feedback:

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

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

       

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

       

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

       

       

       

       

       

      Short-term Memory Encoding:

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

       

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

       

       

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

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

      Mental manipulation for Long-term Memory:

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

       

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

       

       

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

       

       

       

       

       

       

      Executive Functions:

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

       

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

       

      All executive functions are in place

       

      What strategies help students to…

      Set and reach goals:

       

      Individual feedback from the teacher

       

       

      Evaluate sources:

       

      videos

       

       

      Make decisions (analyze and deduce):

       

      Graphic organizers

       

       

      Support opinions:

       

      Share peers

       

       

       

       

      

      

    • Blog post
    • 3 months ago
    • Views: 414
  • Resiliency Strategies that Wor Resiliency Strategies that Work in the Classroom

    • From: Marcia_Collins
    • Description:

       

      Hello colleagues:

      My name is Marcia Collins, I am a graduate pursuing a Doctorate in Education (Reading, Literacy and Literacy leadership ) 

      My current research interest and passion include combining  "resiliency strategies and literacy, by providing proven researched methods to enhance school climates, and the lives of educators across the country. What are your thoughts concerning research around these practices. 

      Do you believe as educators we a

    • 3 months ago
    • Views: 263
    • Forum: What Works ...
  • An Introvert In A 21st Century An Introvert In A 21st Century Skills-Driven Classroom

    • From: Krista_Rundell
    • Description:

      Introverted students constitute one-quarter to one-half of your classroom.  Just as we differentiate our instruction for student learning styles, interests, and needs, so should we consider differentiating for this trait that impacts how we process and respond to information and our environments.  As teachers, it requires an awareness of how others learn and respond to stimuli along with slight modifications in the teaching and learning strategies employed in our classrooms.  A little shift can go a long way.

       

      The headphones and book I always carry within arms reach?  Not just to entertain me, but to keep me from having to engage in random small talk conversation.

      The U-shaped format for my classroom desks?  Not just to facilitate conversation among my students, but to give me enough personal space to breathe easily in a room filled with people.

      The 45-minute afternoon nap I take after working with a school district all day?  Not just because I am exhausted after throwing all my energy and positivity into a presentation, but to find my balance again so I am not cranky for the rest of the evening.

      The beautiful, light piano music that plays every time my cell phone rings?  Oh, wait.  I never hear it because my phone is always on silent.  Leave a message and I’ll call you back when I have the answer to your question or know what you want to talk about.

      You are a teacher!  You have presented at conferences! You talk to and with people all day long!  You cannot possibly be an introvert!

      But, I am - and the rising popularity of books and articles (Marti Laney’s book “The Introverted Advantage”Susan Cain’s book “Quiet”, Carolyn Gregoire’s Huffington Post article) on what it means to be an introvert continues to remind me.  Through understanding, introversion is no longer seen as a “personality disorder”, but as an end-post of a personality continuum (Introvert – Ambivert – Extrovert) that is dependent upon a number of factors: Are you energized by solitude or by large groups? Do you need time to process information and gather your thoughts?  How do you feel about making small talk with others?  Do you enjoy phone conversations?  Do you look forward to engaging in deep, abstract conversations?

      I love to collaborate.  I love to communicate.  I love people; I really do.  But, if as an adult, I have developed coping strategies for living in a country where extroversion is more the norm… how are our students faring, especially if they have not recognized that they lean more toward the introverted side of the Introverted-Extroverted Continuum?

      As an introvert and a strong advocate for 21st century teaching and learning, I can’t help but think about how classroom teachers are now encouraged to foster collaboration and communication.  How do we cultivate a natural fit between the two that creates a safe learning environment for all?

      I’d like to offer a few suggestions on how to support the introverted student in your class (beyond helping them develop their own coping strategies for daily life).

      1.  Seating – I understand that it is easier to put students in alphabetical order when creating seating charts.  But I like to sit in the back or near the edge so I feel I have room to “breathe”.  I was once seated in the front middle seat because of my name and the teacher taught the class standing three inches from my desk; all I could focus on that year was devising methods of escape.  Please allow me to select my own seat with the understanding that if there is a disruption to the learning process, you will rearrange.  Besides, you can learn a lot about a student by watching where, and near whom, he or she sits.

      2.  Icebreakers – I understand the value icebreakers to foster a sense of community, and I admit that it DOES get better once you get started.   But, as soon as I hear that word, I want to slink to the floor and crawl to the door.  To keep me in my seat, to encourage participation, and to prevent me from leaving for an unnecessary bathroom/coffee/water/food/phone call break, don’t tell me to “find a partner you don’t know”.  Please pair me up with someone randomly by counting us off, using playing cards with numbers, pulling popsicle sticks with names… anything.

      3.  “Turn and Talk” – I understand the need to formatively assess how students are processing the information and to check for clarity by sharing it out, but I need time to internalize and sort through information on my own.  If you gave me two minutes to collect my thoughts or even allow me to write them down, I will be better prepared to share with a partner what I have learned.  The concept of “Think, Pair, Share” works much better for me.  Please give me the time to “think” and organize the array of thoughts racing through my head.

      4.  Group Projects – I understand the importance of learning how to collaborate in a group, divide up roles, share ownership, and negotiate ideas.  But sometimes I like to do projects independently instead of being forced into a group.  I’d love the occasional opportunity to “work with a group/partner or work independently” – even if this means I will have “more” work to do on my own.  Please give me a choice occasionally.

      5.  Participation Points – I understand, and appreciate, that you want everyone to be involved and to have an opportunity to share his or her thoughts.  I realize that participation points are one way to encourage this.  Check out my body language, notice my eye contact on you, see that I am taking notes and listening to what is being said, use a polling system in class (polleverywhere.com, mini whiteboards, thumbs up/down), or ask me to turn in an exit slip before leaving class.  Please recognize that I can be participating and actively processing discussions and activities without having to speak out loud.

       

    • Blog post
    • 4 months ago
    • Views: 673
  • 5 Keys to Teaching Writing 5 Keys to Teaching Writing

    • From: Suzanne_Klein1
    • Description:

      Helping elementary students sharpen their writing skills without hindering their creativity is hard work. It's not like teaching math or phonics; but it's not rocket science either. There is a well-established body of best practices in writing instruction that works beautifully for children. What you need is:

       

      1. A common set of practices and vocabulary about writing. Good writing really comes from developing a whole tool kit of abilities, including organizational and analytic skills. First graders who learn to analyze anonymous student writing by finding “glows” and “grows” (strengths and weaknesses) need second grade teachers who will use the same techniques and language to build their capacities. Consistency across the grades rewards both students and teachers.


      2. Common assessment methods students can count on across the grades. Assessing writing isn't simple; a common assessment tool empowers both students and teachers to think clearly about the elements that make "good writing" convincing and easy to read. WriteSteps uses the 6 Traits rubrics from 1st through 5th grade.

       

      3. Principals who hold teachers accountable. This doesn't have to take a lot of time. It's as simple as asking each teacher to share 3 student writing samples per month: one each from a low, medium, and high-performing student. Principals might also pop in a classroom to browse students' writing notebooks on a monthly basis, just to see how often they're writing. These simple acts convey a clear message to teachers and students: writing matters.

       

      4. Time.  K-5 teachers need permission to spend 50 minutes a day, 3-5 times a week, modeling, inspiring, coaching, cheerleading, and celebrating students' written work.

       

      5. Professional development that is practical and solution-oriented. Overstretched teachers need PD that translates into immediate student learning, not lofty ideals and resources that require hours of additional study to create usable lessons. PD funds can be used to purchase a comprehensive program like WriteSteps, because we offer PD in the form of grade-level coaching that really works!


      Do you have any advice to share that has helped you with writing instruction? We’d love to know what has worked for you! Please tell us in the comments below.

      

    • Blog post
    • 4 months ago
    • Views: 2296
  • Much Ado About Something Much Ado About Something

    • From: Janet_Hale
    • Description:

      Much Ado About Nothing is a comedic play by William Shakespeare that chronicles two pairs of lovers: Benedick and Beatrice (the main couple), and Claudio and Hero (the secondary couple). By means of "nothing" (which sounds the same as "noting," and which is gossip, rumor, and overhearing), Benedick and Beatrice are tricked into confessing their love for each other, and Claudio is tricked into rejecting Hero at the altar on the erroneous belief that she has been unfaithful. At the end, Benedick and Beatrice join forces to set things right, and the others join in a dance celebrating the marriages of the two couples. (Much Ado About Nothing. Captured from Wikipedia. February 28, 2014.)

      What is currently taking place across the United States regarding the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), Much Ado About Something, does not bring to mind a comedy; rather, it brings to mind a tragedy. Before I continue, I must state that my post is not an “I’m on this side or I’m on that side” commentary. It is simply a personal and professional reflection based on working intimately with the CCSS and scores of teachers K-12 across this country and overseas coupled with what I have observed regarding those who are making “much ado”. My hope is that I mirror Benedick and Beatrice’s desire to set things right.

      Whether it be politicians, parents, or people in educational circles commenting, I most-often hear them not making comments about the standards themselves – the basic, no-frills standard statements that convey what students need to know and be able to do. For example, let’s take a Reading Literature standard for Grade 7:

      CCSS.RL.7.7 Compare and contrast a written story, drama, or poem to its audio, filmed, staged, or multimedia version, analyzing the effects of techniques unique to each medium (e.g., lighting, sound, color, or camera focus and angles in a film).

      This standard, here as it appears in the CCSS ELA Progressive Continuums App I created to aid teachers in collaboratively designing systemic curriculum that uses italic font to represent learning from a previous grade or grades and boldfaced text to indicate new learning in a grade, speaks directly to 21st-century (modern) learners needing to not only become literary literate, but media literate as well, as my colleague, Heidi Hayes Jacobs, promotes in her new book, Mastering Media Literacy (Solution Tree, 2013).

      Before one can compare and contrast, one must know these two literacy forms as stand alones, which generates interesting conversations with teachers I work with as we develop content and skills because they were not taught media literacy when they were growing up (even younger teachers). Our conversations usually result in the seventh-grade teachers realizing they need to become deep learners themselves to best design content and skills associated with media literacy. And, as you can visually see represented in the standard above, comparing and contrasting written works to media is in italics, which means this process and learning about media-based versions has been learned in at least one previous grade (actually, starts in Grade 4 and is expanded on in Grades 5 and 6). Therefore, not only do seventh-grade teachers say they need media-literacy professional development, but fourth, fifth, and sixth grade teachers share they want to be included as well.

      Common Core State Standard RL.7.7 is not saying specifically what must be read, what must be watched, or what the focus must be when read and watched, which is what I find many unhappy-with-the-CCSS commentators are up in arms over (excuse the film pun). While myriad companies and non-profits have developed recommended reading/media lists, units of study, and lesson plans that “are align to” the CCSS, these resources are not the standards. These aligned documents, programs, textbooks, etc., are how tos (instruction and assessments) based on someone or some group’s interpretation of the standards. For example, based on this standard, groups can have a wildly different take on what is an appropriate text versus movie/staged production for seventh graders – one group choosing a very liberal text and film and another group select a very conservative text and staged production.

      Regardless of the selections, it is not the standard that is making a selection, human beings are. If studied closely, standard RL.7.7 is asking students to be critical thinkers and reason deeply regarding the nuances in a selected text and audio-visual representation, which is exactly what 21st-century students need to be doing critically thinking and problem solving as well as reasoning and providing text and media evidence for their claims (e.g., requirements also found in standards RL._.1, RI._.1, W._.1). And, if we are truly trying to engage learners and wanting them to own their own learning, how about allowing students to select the text and film or staged production they will analyze?

      What I often find interesting is that if you ask someone who is knocking the CCSS (let’s say in reference to a unit of study that is for some reason “inappropriate”) to tell you specifically what standard or standards he or she does not like (e.g., W.7.1a. Introduce claim(s), acknowledge alternate or opposing claims, and organize the reasons and evidence logically.), the person will hem and haw and can’t state the standard. And, when shown the aligned standard he or she most often comments that the standard is fine, it is the reading or film selection, the activity, or assessment item or task that is not liked. Evidence once again that it is not the standards themselves that is truly the concern.

      With this said, I need to make one comment at this juncture: the CCSS are not perfect. There are definitely some flawed standard statements, but the flaws are minimal when compared to the total number of CCSS K-12.

      The bashing or knocking of the CCSS, which is getting louder in some states with each passing month, is frustrating to me as a curriculum-design consultant who has worked extensively with the CCSS since they were in draft form and officially adopted in 2010. I know the standards inside and out from Kindergarten to Grade 12. I have spent hundreds of hours of meaningful conversations with teachers concerning the vertically articulated standards. These teachers care passionately about their students’ learning as they develop collaborative, systemic curriculum.

      My passion and work has been, and will continue to be, dedicated to aiding teachers in designing curriculum maps with the students’ best interests in mind. The CCSS are our curriculum-design building “codes”, much as an architect uses codes to design blueprints, which Heidi Hayes Jacobs, Jay McTighe, and others have used as an analogy for many years. For the first time ever the largest number of independent United States have chosen to have the same building codes. This does not mean that each state, district, or school has to build the exact same home – one can choose to design a modern two-story, another a log cabin, another a green home, and another a ranch-style hacienda. The point here is that the infrastructure of the home design remains the same regardless of where the home is built. I grew up in the military and lived around the world before I was 15 years old. Today, given our ever-growing mobile society, chances of having a similar (and thankfully not exact) blueprint-based curriculum for a K-12 education is better than it ever was when I was in my formative years.

      Academic standards are not the curriculum (Concept-based curriculum and instruction for the thinking classroom. Erickson. Sage, 2007. p.48). I whole-heartedly believe this is true. And while it absolutely takes time and commitment to develop a worthwhile systemic curriculum (oftentimes two to three years to fully develop and implement), I remind myself and others that curriculum mapping is a verb and the deep conversations and collaborations across grade levels immediately impact student in positive ways through teachers who are reconsidering the learning, teaching, and assessments while embracing what is new in the CCSS content and process standards. This immediate and on-going process validates why I have been involved in this specific field of work for over 15 years. Designing CCSS-based curriculum involves a two-phase process: studying and breaking apart the standards systemically to first develop learning based solely on what the standards (and critical ancillary documents, such as the CCSS Math Progressions) explicitly and implicitly require; and secondly, develop meaningful units of study that combine the learning, teaching, and assessment tasks based on a current program or encouraging teachers to create their own program.

      Well, I may have not set things right, but hopefully a little bit right, in that it is not the CCSS themselves that are the problem; instead, it is CCSS-based interpretations made in the form of instructional choices and assessment practices, as well as one area I chose not to get into here: teacher evaluations.

      As I previously mentioned, I will continue to work diligently with districts and schools who have a like passion – looking collaboratively and critically at the CCSS and systemically designing curriculum that aids their students in experiencing meaningful learning journeys K-12+.

    • Blog post
    • 4 months ago
    • Views: 895
  • Bringing Parents into the Lear Bringing Parents into the Learning Partnership

    • From: Adrian_Bertolini
    • Description:

      A student’s performance is mostly impacted by three communitiesSchool Students Parents.jpg

      1.       The School Learning Environment

      2.       The Student’s Peer Community and their own beliefs about learning

      3.       The Parental / Family Community

      Schools tend to spend most of their time, money and energy working on the School-Student leg. Most of the professional development done in schools is based on pedagogy, curriculum or elements of student well-being and engagement. This is understandable as the people who are employed within the school need to be within a professional learning community that has a major focus on developing their capacity to do their job.

      However there is a high leverage aspect leg of a student learning community that I believe that schools don’t do enough to empower and develop – the parental / family community. As a parent of two school aged children – one at primary school and one at high school - and an educational consultant who works with schools to improve their planning and learning environments, I find myself quite challenged by the way that parents are related to by schools. I find that there is, quite often, very little guidance from the school to be able to support my children in their learning.

      The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development - the organisers of the PISA tests used to compare education across countries – performed in-depth research on the factors underlying student performance within each country. What they found was the power of parental involvement in a child’s achievement.

      “even when comparing students of similar socioeconomic backgrounds, those students whose parents regularly read books to them when they were in the first year of primary school score 14 points higher, on average, than students whose parents did not.”

      As Franklin Schargel, a noted educator and expert in the area of school engagement, pointed out … it is the little things that parents do that makes a difference to student achievement. For example:

      ·         Parents reading to and with their children

      ·         Parents asking their child how their school day was and showing genuine interest in the learning that they are doing can have the same impact as hours of private tutoring

      ·         Parents telling stories to their children (not from books but from the life of the parent)

      ·         Parents sharing about their day

      ·         Monitoring homework

      ·         Making sure children get to school

      ·         Rewarding their efforts and talking up the idea of going to university

      As Franklin reports, the OECD study found that “getting parents involved with their children’s learning at home is a more powerful driver of achievement than parents attending school board meetings, volunteering in classrooms, participating in fund-raising, and showing up at back-to-school nights. “

      As teachers have shared with me, their experience shows that the mindset that a child has to learning is driven by the parents. If a parent had a poor experience of school as they grew up then it is likely they will pass on that mindset to their children. If the parents’ value education as a tool for learning and development then it is likely the norm that the child will come to develop will value education. It isn’t surprising that the higher the educational level the parents have attained the greater they value education.

       

      So how can you support and encourage parental involvement in their child’s learning at home? Perhaps asking yourself that question as a teacher community within your school is the first stage. If you are aware of each child’s stage of development then there might be suggestions you can make to the parents on how they can support their child best. Perhaps:

      ·         When / if you send homework home with the child you put a short couple of paragraphs to the parent on how they can support their child best to achieve the goals of the homework.

      ·         Recommend that the parents not do the homework themselves (helicopter parents tend to do this) but what could be the factors and suggestions that might make the biggest difference to the child moving forward and grappling with the learning themselves.

      ·         Provide clear learning intentions, success criteria and formative rubrics in work sent home for the child to do

      ·         In the school newsletters continually provide short informative articles or guides for parents about learning. The default understanding about schools and learning for most parents is what they experienced. The more you can provide something for parents to read and grow as learners themselves the more it will make a difference.

      ·         Invite parents to their child’s culminating events for rich learning tasks within the school

      ·         Organise experts to come and talk to parents about aspects of child development or even recommend to parents to subscribe to the newsletters of people like Michael Grose (positive parenting), Barry McDonald (mentoring boys), Kathy Walker (play based and personalised learning), or even Intuyu Consulting amongst the many other educational providers.

      ·         I have seen one school in a low socioeconomic area even organise sponsorship from a large book provider (e.g. Scholastic) so that they can send books home with children that they can keep and build up a library at home.

      For more reading and research on this topic:

      ·         Five Ideas to Bring Parents into the Learning Process

      ·         Untapped Resource? Engaging Parents in the Learning Process (this article has some great ideas and links  in the comment section)

      ·         The Difference between Parent Involvement and Parent Engagement

      ·         One Page Overview of The Difference between Parent Involvement and Parent Engagement

      ·         How to Guide Parents in Homework Help

      ·         Parenting – communicating with teenagers

      ·         What parents can do to help their children succeed at school

      I know that it is unlikely that the majority of parents have a similar attitude to learning as we do but I believe it is worth schools paying attention to how they can support parents better to be their own children’s learning partners. The more that schools build strong, learning partner relationships with parents the more they become involved. If we are to create a society that values life-long learning and encourages human beings who connect, and grow, and adapt to an every changing world, then we do need to spend the effort and time to empower everyone involved.

    • Blog post
    • 5 months ago
    • Views: 1519
  • Lists and Social Media Lists and Social Media

    • From: Tom_Whitby
    • Description:

      As a tweeter of education tweets (many, many education tweets), I often find myself on lists that people put out as recommendations. Whenever that happens there will be a number of people who will pass their judgment over the quality of the list or the quality of the qualifications of individuals on that list. Of course, there are no rules in social media, so that will go on no matter what. I do think that we need a perspective on these lists in order to gauge the intensity of criticism.

      First, we should state that anyone putting out a list, recommending people to follow, has found worth in the information that those people have put out. We can’t judge the value of that information to that individual, since we all come from varied backgrounds with varied experiences. What an inexperienced educator finds of value from others may not be as valuable to an educator of many years experience. That does not mean that the information is worthless. It is still valuable to a new educator. It indicates only that that particular list would not meet all the needs of a more experienced educator.

      The biggest problem with any list is that someone is always left out. Even in listing your best ten recommendations there is sure to be someone you want on that list equal to all the others, but that would be eleven. Not gonna happen.

      We should keep in mind that these are all personal recommendations. As we personalize our learning, we follow those people who best speak to our needs for learning. Again, who works for me might not work for you. I know that I have seen people on list who I follow, or have stopped following because they do not offer enough to supplement or challenge my learning. Those recommendations would not meet my needs, so although I would not take them, that gives me no license to publicly criticize the list, or individuals on it.

      Another criticism that I have become most sensitive to recently is faulting an educator for “not even being a teacher”. Not every educator is a classroom teacher. That does not mean they aren’t educators. That doesn’t mean they can’t offer valid information, or considered opinions. (I do draw the line at non-educators making education policy. That is another discussion for another bottle of wine.) Administrators technically are not classroom teachers.

      Quite honestly, many classroom teachers have little time to spend on social media when compared to those who educate educators as a vocation. Many consultants, bloggers, vendors, and retired educators spend greater amounts of time sharing information. We need to remind ourselves that sharing in social media allows us to judge the worth of the idea rather than who proposed it. I have become somewhat of a social media professional educator, hence my sensitivity to the criticism. That position however, is based on a 40-year classroom career (for the haters).

      The main benefit of any lists recommending people to follow is that there are lists of people to follow. Social media, although no longer in its infancy, is still new to many educators. New educators are joining the community daily. All of us can take recommendations of people to follow. Lists offer a starting point for some, and additional value to established Personal Learning Networks for others. We must however, determine on our own, if any person warrants a continued “follow”, or a quick, unheralded “unfollow”. We design our own learning. We have a say, a voice in who we choose to learn from. Lists are introductions to people we might not yet have been exposed to.

      I would hope that lists could be viewed with more tolerance, if not appreciation. Remember that the people on the lists did not choose to be there. Their appearance on the list came from another. They do not deserve to be publicly criticized for that. They are not to be targeted because someone else doesn’t get it. Respect is key to social media succeeding as a vehicle for our learning.

    • Blog post
    • 6 months ago
    • Views: 247
  • Starting the Year with Great H Starting the Year with Great Habits

    • From: Adrian_Bertolini
    • Description:

      A little over two years ago I sat down with two primary (elementary) school teachers to have a conversation with them to discover what had them be so successful with developing their students to learn. It was one of those conversations that connected certain ‘dots’ for me about what I had been reading about the findings of neuroscience and setting up powerful learning environments.

       

      Cue Routine Reward.jpg

      Habits are the key

      One of the critical keys to their success that made such a difference to setting up a powerful learning environment for their students was that the two teachers, both of them relatively recent graduates, were the habitual practices they had unconsciously embedded at the start of the year. Over the previous 2-3 years that these two teachers had worked together, occasionally team teaching but mostly teaching independently, they had tried and tested a range of structures, routines and procedures that they found made a difference for their students to become independent learners. A learning coach had suggested some additional new structures and these built upon the foundation that these two had laid earlier in the year. What the two teachers discovered was that by the middle of the year (Term 3) the students started to take learning into their own hands and be much more self-sufficient and self-guided. This allowed the teachers to then focus on being learning partners to the students rather than always driving the learning.

      A Mathematics and Science teacher in a secondary school in Queensland discovered the exact same shift in learning culture when he implemented a range of structures and habits that allowed his students to develop their capacity to be independent learners. He found that rather than spending all of his time teaching and managing behaviour in his classes, the students knew what there was to do, how to support one another, and he had the opportunity to work with students who were struggling with particular concepts.

       

      What do they build?


      None of this should come as a surprise because teachers always begin their school year with routines and procedures. But are they well thought out and intentional?

      This is a conversation I often have with teachers in my workshops. What are your habitual practices and what do they build? Unless you are conscious about the habits you have then you can’t give them away nor can you test whether or not they are working or can be refined. As an occasional field coach for little athletics I am continually thinking about habits and how to give them away. What are the habitual actions a high performing discus thrower does to throw further? What practices can I teach the athletes to have them develop those actions?

      In the same way you as a teacher or school leader can ask yourself two questions:

      1.       What are the habitual practices I want my students / teachers to develop?
      Then list all the habits that you want the students to develop throughout the year.

      2.       If I want my students to develop these particular habits what structures, routines, procedures can I put into place that will develop these habits over time?

      It is even worth getting together as with your colleagues to collect that habits they have found works for them and then trying them out.

      One primary school we are working with has created over-arching themes for each year level. For example, Foundation year is “Having a go and looking after each other”. The teaching team are now designing structures, routines, conversations and ways of interacting with the students that reinforces the idea of “having a go and looking after each other”. The intention is for the students to develop a growth mindset about learning and that it is about learning is about safety and community.

       

      Possible Habits

      I have attached links to a range of articles for you to access to give you some ideas about possible habits you can use. Doug Lemov’s book, Teach like a Champion, is a gem. One thing worth noting is that there may be some unconscious habits you want to stop doing in the process. One big one for some teachers is they talk too much! It is worth reading Charles Duhigg’s book called The Power of Habit where he gives a range of examples and coaching on how to change the routines we are stuck in.


      5 Scientific Ways to Build Habits That Stick

      25 Reading Strategies That Work In Every Content Area

      Developing Student Centred Learning and Teaching

      Hacking Habits: How To Make New Behaviors Last For Good

      How Visual Thinking Improves Writing

      Feedback Unlocks Reluctance

      Why Teaching Helps Students Learn More Deeply

      My Biggest Regret as a Teacher: Extrinsic Rewards

      SLANT

      Rituals make us Value things more

    • Blog post
    • 6 months ago
    • Views: 554
  • Decision Making 101 Decision Making 101

    • From: Kimberly_Horst
    • Description:

      

      Decision Making 101

       
      http://www.thethingswesay.com/
      We are all faced in our jobs, in our families...in life in general to make decisions. How do you go about making decisions and how do you know when you have made a good one?

      This weekend, many decisions were weighing on my head and I felt the burden of each one to the point of almost collapse from always having to "be on" and think through things from top to bottom.   When so much is coming at me it is important for me to reflect. As a woman of faith, the way that I do that is by listening to music that reflects my faith and by being still. I spend time reflecting on scriptures that point me to God's promises. I take time to worship and thank God for things that I see and for the things that I do not see. I pray for wisdom.

      Ironically as I stepped in at church to serve in Sunday School, our lesson was on King Solomon  when God said he would give him all the riches of the world...but Solomon asked for wisdom.

      I am thankful for the pressing on my heart that I get to just stop, drop and pray.

      Because MONDAY CAME!

      Welcome to my Monday.   Due to circumstances that I did not foresee, I discovered that I would have to let go for awhile, a part of my routine this year in first grade and do something else I also love, which is working in the area of interventions. I was given the opportunity to work this out with the other stake holders in involved in this process and then just let my principal know how it will all work out.

      Here is how I went about making this specific decision.

      1) IT IS NOT ABOUT ME AND IT NEVER WAS.
      billfortney.com/
      As a stakeholder in this situation, I could easily have been a bit upset, I really love what I am doing. Why change? Why upset the fruit basket? I hope that people will see as I live my life, that I don't make life or issues all about me.


      2)ANALYZE THE OPPORTUNITY COSTS FOR ALL STAKEHOLDERS.
      In this situation there was one handful. Everyone would have to give up something. That is what happens when decisions get made that affect so many. Be realistic.

      3)THE END DECISION SHOULD BE THE BEST WIN-WIN FOR ALL STAKEHOLDERS.
      After laying the cards down, looking at each one and not just at face value, where can we make choices that though we all have an opportunity cost, we can all walk away with some kind of "win" whether it is big or small.

      As I discussed this with three of the major stakeholders, outside of the KEY stakeholder, the students, my goal was to hear their heart on the matter and put our KEY stakeholders, the children front and center and make the best decision for them.  It was clearly evident which direction to go.

      I also know that there is no such thing as equality. If we are looking for equality, we won't find it. Fair is NOT equal. It never is in life. So, what would be the best choice keeping that thought in mind?  I think all my interest and study of  standards based grading is really coming into play with this thought, but it works in life!

      My church has a motto that I love and believe in: Love God, Love People. Serve the World. It IS about how my talents and gifts can be used in this world to create the best good.

      I am thankful for my co-teacher who I was able to hash things through passionately and my co-worker who let me cry as I let go of something I really love, to do something else I really love as well.



      So winning. We all won!  It doesn't all look the same but the people that mean the most who this is really about won the most. They get the best possible scenario given to them to continue to build them in their journey of learning.

      My heart is steady. It is going to be alright! That is how I know the decision reached was a good one. Peace of mind. Every student. Every day! 
      You matter. They matter. 
    • Blog post
    • 7 months ago
    • Views: 236
    • Not yet rated
  • Dan Pink Q&A Dan Pink Q&A

    • From: Tom_Whitby
    • Description:

      From my introduction to Dan Pink through his book Drive I was amazed at how he could write a book about business that pertained so much to what educators do. It was not in the sense of how to create widgets, which is often a business approach to education, but rather what incents people to do what they do in the best way possible. It was more than just the best way to drive students, but the best way to drive educators to their highest potential as well. For that reason Dan has been recognized and engaged by national and international education organizations to address their memberships. I have listened to several of his keynotes with never a disappointment. In personal conversations I have found him to be a really nice guy. I sought him out at a recent trip to D.C. to ask him about his new book, To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others . I was hoping to find his latest book to be as educator-friendly as Drive.

      1. You say that today, like it or not, we're all salespeople.  Is that true even of teachers?  

      On the first question, the answer is "yes."  When you look at what white-collar actually do each day, it turns out they spend a huge portion of their time persuading, influencing, and convincing others.  It's what I call "non-sales selling" or "moving" others. Money isn't changing hands. The cash register isn't ringing. And the transaction isn't denominated in dollars, but in time, effort, attention, energy commitment and so on.

      This is what teachers do much of their day. Think about, for instance, what a good algebra teacher does.  At the beginning of a term, students don't know much about the subject.  But the teacher works to convince his or class to part with resources -- time, attention, effort -- and if they do, they will be better off when the term ends than they were when it began.   

      2. You also say that sales has changed more in the last 10 years than in the previous 100. How have the forces causing that change affected education?

      The biggest change in the buyer-seller relationship.  One reason that selling has a bad rap because most of what we know about it arose in a world of information asymmetry -- where the seller always had more information than they buyer and therefore could rip the buyer off. But today, information asymmetry is giving way to something at least close to information parity. That's changed the game in ways we've scarcely recognized.  In conditions of information asymmetry, the operative principle is "buyer beware." In a world of information parity, the operative principle is "seller beware."

      This has affected teaching in some interesting ways. One hundred and fifty years ago, we began to have schools in part because that's where the information was and teachers were the mechanism by which students accessed that information.  Those conditions prevailed for a very long time. But now -- thanks to the Internet, mobile phones, social media and so on -- students have the same access to information that teachers do.    That means that a teacher's job isn't to transmit the information, but to equip students with ways to analyze the information, make sense of the information, evaluate the information.  What's more, it has begun to change what happens inside the classroom itself as more teachers move to flipping the classroom -- providing the lectures electronically and use class time for hands on work that computers can't replicate. 

       3. What are the underlying principles of this new approach to selling -- whether you're selling your product, your idea, or yourself?

      The result of the change I just described is that sellers -- of anything -- need a new set of skills. There is a rich body of research -- in psychology, economics, linguistics, and cognitive science - that reveals some systematic ways to become more effective in moving others on a remade terrain of information parity.  The old ABC's of sales were Always Be Closing. The new ABC's of Attunement, Buoyancy, and Clarity. These three qualities are the platform for effectiveness. Attunement is perspective-taking. Can you get out of your own head and see another's -- a student's, a colleague's, a parent's -- perspective. Buoyancy is staying afloat in an ocean of rejection.  And clarity is helping students move from accessing information to curating it and from solving existing problems to identifying hidden problems.

      4. On your concept of attunement, what is something a teacher can do to become more attuned with his or her students?

      It's important to understand at the outset why attunement matters so much.  All of us today have less coercive power. It's tougher for bosses, teachers, parents, and so on simply to command something and expect compliance. The better approach is to understand another's perspective in the hopes of finding common ground. 

      But that can be a challenge. One sturdy finding of the social science is feelings of power and acuity of perspective taking are inversely correlated. That is, feeling powerful tends to degrade our ability to take another's perspective. This is important because teachers are often in a position of relative power with regard to their students. So being effective often requires beginning from a different position: Assume that you're not the one with the power. This of it as persuasion jujitsu, where you enlist an apparent weakness as a strength. Start your encounters with the assumption that you're in a position of lower power. That will help you see the student's perspective more accurately, which, in turn, will help you move them. 

       5. What is one other tip teachers might glean from your book?

      One of my favorites comes from a technique know as motivational interviewing. With this technique, you can deal with resistance by asking two seemingly irrational questions.  So imagine you've got a student that simply doesn't do his homework. Instead of threatening him or punishing him or pleading with him, use the two-question strategy (which I learned from Yale psychologist Michael Pantalon).

      The first question is this: "On scale of 1, with one meaning 'not the least bit ready," and 10 being 'totally ready," how ready are you to begin doing homework.

      Chances are, he'll pick an extremely low number -- perhaps 1 or 2.  Suppose he answers, "I'm a 2."

      Then you deploy the second question: Why didn't you choose a lower number?

      The second question catches people off guard.  And the student now has to answer why he's not a 1. "Well, he might say, if I did my homework, I might do a little better on tests." "If I did my homework, I might learn a little more." "I'm getting older and I know I'm going to have to become a little more responsible."

      In other words, he moves from defending his current behavior to articulating why, at some level, he wants to behave differently. Equally important, he begins to state his own autonomous, intrinsically motivated reasons for doing something. When people have their own reasons for doing something, they believe those reasons more deeply and adhere to them more strongly.

      So on a scale of 1 to 10, how ready are you to use Pantalon's technique? And why didn't you choose a lower number?

       

       

       



    • Blog post
    • 7 months ago
    • Views: 501
  • In Memory of: Emilie Parker & In Memory of: Emilie Parker & the Sandy Hook Angels

    • From: J._Cruse-Craig
    • Description:

      WOW! It has been a year. I clearly recall walking into our building on Monday, December 17, 2012 and feeling overwhelmed with emotions as the building was swimming in green and white as students and teachers wore green in remembrance and honor of the victims in the Sandy Hook tragedy. So many hearts and souls grieved on this day in history, December 14, 2012.


      One year later and their spirits live on… As I reflect about such a tragic day in history when so many beautiful spirits transitioned from this physical realm, Albert Einstein’s thought resonates in my spirit…“Energy cannot be created or destroyed; it can only be changed from one form to another.” This statement is very appropriate and true as we remember and give tribute to the victims in the Sandy Hook tragedy.


      Though my heart aches for each and every soul affected by this tragedy, I would like to specifically address the beautiful, vibrant, loving, caring and talented Emilie Parker. My, my, my…her physical body was young in age, but her soul was rich with love.


      Emilie’s family, friends and supporters have done an extraordinary job capturing and sharing many reflective and informative moments over this past year. These published works have provided me with a very clear vision as to who Emilie was and the spirit that continues on making a difference in this world. You know, when you watch or read something, it often produces some type of feeling. As I focused on the information about Emilie, I felt the strength of her spirit picking up momentum through the many vessels created to carry her energy forward on this journey. She was created for a purpose and it is manifesting through the lives of many connected to her in spirit.


      The strength that radiates from Alissa (Emilie’s Mother), Robbie (Emilie’s Father), Madaline (Emilie’s Sister) and Samantha (Emilie’s Sister) is simply amazing and contagious. To know of the tragedy and circumstances, yet read and watch the communications from this family is a testament of who Emilie was in her physical vessel and is in spirit. Her family is moving forward in life and carrying on in the spirit of little Miss Emilie.


      In the video “Evil did not win”, Alissa (Emilie’s Mother) shared the things that Emilie loved. Emilie loved mornings, making art, being fancy, giving and seeing her baby sisters happy. Well, at the age of 6 and her passion and love for life, without knowing you could speculate that he was much older. That fact in itself is evidence that she was created for greatness. Alissa stated some very profound things learned from this tragedy. Please take a moment and reflect on the words she shared: grief, peace, patience, forgiveness, joy and love. I did, and all I could think about were the fruits of the spirit. Exactly…Emilie’s fruits are being manifested in the spirit for many although she is gone physically. What a blessing!


      Yes, she transitioned from this life by a horrendous crime, but I truly believe that God makes no mistakes. Her spirit and energy lives on and will make significant differences in the lives of many.


      We have a duty and responsibility to seek our purpose and be obedient to your calling as we remember and give tribute to these Angels. There are many options as several Sandy Hook Angels have organizations in their honor to go towards philanthropic needs that embody their spirits. Emlie’s family also leads 2 additional projects: Emilie Parker Art Connection and Safe and Sound Schools.


      The Sandy Hook Angels and Emilie’s life was not in vain. Their energy lives on!!! Can you feel it?

    • Blog post
    • 7 months ago
    • Views: 206
  • Breaking Some Habits Breaking Some Habits

    • From: Mamzelle_Adolphine
    • Description:

       

      An intriguing viewpoint posited in the article, “Rethinking Learning,” found on  www.3gSelling.com, is that we often base our decisions more on what we are accustomed to than on what really works best. This is a useful perspective from which to examine expections and decisions that are made with regard to curriculum use and teacher evaluation.

      It is not unusual for the directions on how to use a curriculum to include an admonition that in order to be used effectively, the curriculum must be followed as is. Doing this is often problematic because though learning takes place within a process, learning itself is not linear.

      Hence, a teacher might opt to complete a particular aspect of a lesson based on what she knows about her students and not on a stipulated timeframe or, manner stiuplated by the curriculum. This type of professional judgment is integral for meeting specific needs through such vehicles like diversity, personalized learning and differentiation; all of which focus on meeting individual’s needs.

      Given this recognition of varying individual needs, it is equally important to understand and accept that even when different instructional methods are used, not all students will grasp concepts at the same time.  Similarly, a teacher will not always be able to address learning deficiencies during one lesson. Being able to do this is highly dependent on the nature of the lesson and student effort.

      This is an especially important issue for evaluators during classroom observations.  Conclusions about a teacher's practice should not be based on how many students did not grasp a particular concept at one point and time but rather they should be centered on what the teacher does subsequently and how effective it is in moving students towards mastery.  This is in keeping with the true nature of learning, which occurs overtime and at a different pace for each person.

      Unrealistic expectations and unsound decisions easily become the norm because they sound great and because changing them entails some discomfort. However, for learning to thrive, these habits need to be laid to rest.

    • Blog post
    • 7 months ago
    • Views: 297
    • Not yet rated
  • Path to Thought Leadership Tod Path to Thought Leadership Today

    • From: Tom_Whitby
    • Description:

      A question that I often get from educators is: How do I get to do what you do?  Always intrigued by that question, I continually have to consider what it is that I do, that would appeal to anyone other than me? In reflection, I love what I do in this second career that I stumbled into about five years ago. I get to tweet, chat, blog, broadcast, podcast, interview, comment, write, speak, consult, and travel around the world. I guess I could be considered a professional social media educator. Of course it is not something I could devote enough time to, if I was not retired from teaching after 40 years in the classroom. I find myself on, or near a computer all day, every day. I know of several dozen educators actively involved in doing many of the same things. Most of these educators started as early adopters of social media when it began to gain momentum in our society.

      What were the conditions in education that empowered certain educators with the ability to influence, to some degree, the profession of education? Who is responsible for recognizing and validating certain individuals as education thought leaders? What changed in education that diverted us from the usual more traditional spheres of influence in education to a social media-driven influence?

      Traditionally, education authors had influenced education with published works. These experts, many from Higher Education, would write books and Journal articles that affected the profession. Recognition came through published works from highly credentialed educators. These are the same experts who would also speak at education conferences. Recognition was also given to educators who successfully presented at the National Education Conferences. For decades these were the influencers of change in education.

      As Education became more political the influencers changed. Politicians, and business people began to enter the discussions in education. Big companies making big profits in education began gain more influence in the discussion. Before long the educators’ voice in education was barely a whisper. Discussions resulted in mandates and laws, which was the culmination of influence of many non-educators with little transparency in the system that produced these directives.  

      With the rise of social media, educators began their own discussions online. The education community started to grow on LinkeIn, Facebook, and Twitter. The educator discussion began as a collaborative sharing of ideas for teaching. Soon educators began to compare notes on pedagogy, methodology, policies and mandates. Questions about inconsistencies and flaws began to be explored. The discussions were interactive, and reflective. It was educators questioning educators about education without influences of re-election, tax implications, profit margins, or public opinion.

      Collaboration revealed ideas that were practice to some but innovation to others. Social media is global and that influenced ideas as well. Ideas from other cultures entered the conversations. The community soon noticed those educators, who embraced the ideas, and exposed the hypocrisies, and inconsistencies. Recognition came to those who were consistent with good and original ideas.

      Those same educators who tweeted their thoughts needed to expand their ideas and moved onto blogs. Some still felt limited and found a need to author books. The pathway to thought leadership had become more democratized. People were recognized for their ideas rather than their titles. Educators had access to other educators for vetting ideas. Access through collaboration using technology as a tool to make collaboration an anytime, anywhere endeavor was a game-changing advancement.

      Potentially, any educator today, who has the ability to collaborate with other educators, can share their way to thought leadership. It takes: a collaborative mindset, a love of learning, ability to creatively think, ability to effectively write, ability to comfortably speak, and a driving desire to affect change in education. These are the skills of the several dozen people that I know who have become thought leaders in education through social media engagement.

      Collaboration has long been a factor in the education profession. It is through technology that this element, this form of learning, has been turbo-boosted to become a driving force in learning. It empowers people to gain control over what it is they need, or want to learn. It also enables that person to intelligently and responsibly shares their learning with others in order to fill a void created by the isolationism of education in the past. It was that isolationism that made educators vulnerable to influences of outside forces that may not have had education improvement as their main goal. That is the stuff that makes a good education thought leader. It is within the reach of most educators to get to that position, and the profession, as well as the system, will benefit with every attempt by educators to get there.

    • Blog post
    • 8 months ago
    • Views: 875
Results 1 - 20 of 291

Terms of Service