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Originally posted at Curriculum21.com/blog
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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+.
(reprenting from Vicki's Rethinking Education blog)
APPR has created a tremendous amount of change in our districts and buildings. It has also increased the amount of work principals have to do on a daily basis, let alone the amount of stress. Staying positive is key to the success and survival of these demands. As a 13 year administrative veteran, here are some top tens I would like to share (In no particular order!)
1. Keep Your Door Open and Be Visible: Your staff, students and parents need to see you as the leader and you need to be accessible. Keep your door open, listen, listen, and listen even more. Give encouragement to your staff who are working hard to embrace a new curriculum and create engaging lessons for students. Be in their classroom, the hallways, the lunch room and the playground. Greet the buses and parents in the morning. Get on the announcements daily and say the pledge, your school pledge and your belief statement. It's powerful, it resonates, and starts the day on a positive note.
2. Use a Scheduler: If you don't write it down on your schedule to do a walk through, be visible, orthat observation, then it will not get done! I use Google Calendar and live by it. I have shared the calendar with my secretary who schedules my observations and meetings with staff when needed. Using an online calendar such as Google Calendar, iCal, or Outlook will help you organize YOU. The best part is that it notifies me of my schedule in the morning, and notifies me 10 minutes in advance.
3. Provide Mini-Observations: Teachers want feedback on how they are doing. When you do a walk through or mini-observation give them honest, constructive feedback. I like what Kim Marshall has listed in how to do mini-observations the right way: Unannounced, Frequent, Short, Face-to-face, Perceptive, Humble, Courageous, Systematic, Documented, Linked to Rethinking Teacher Supervision and Evaluation, 2nd Edition, 2013.) Marshall suggests to do 10 mini-observations on each teacher, throughout the school year.. That would be 1 mini-observation per month. In our district, we do 5 mini observations for tenured, 2 formal observations and 3 mini-observations for 1st year teachers, and 1 formal observation and 4 mini-observations for 2nd and 3rd year non-tenured teachers. What it has accomplished for me is having powerful, professional conversations about what is occurring in the classroom, asking questions of the staff, and coaching best practice. It is also building trust and it is so important to have those face-to-face conversations about what is working and what needs to be refined. It’s about growth and should not be about a “gotcha”.teamwork and improvement, Linked to end-of-year teacher evaluation, and Explained well. (Kim Marshall,
4. Share The Leadership: I am the sole administrator/lead learner at East Side, with a student population of 463 and about 60 staff members. There is no way I can do this job alone and I rely on the staff to help run the school. Give leadership roles to your teacher's. Give them opportunities to work together so they can manage the Common Core. They are the ones in the trenches and will help boost school morale and provide great education for our students.
5. Be the Lead Learner: Rather than being "the principal", be the Lead Learner. Joe Mazza, Lead Learner of Knapp Elementary School in the North Penn School District, PA, coined this term and it means to talk the talk and walk the walk. Say what you mean, mean what you say. Join your teachers in professional development. Share your learning and what you find. Get on Twitter people! (Social media networking is huge and you should be embracing this venue.) Gone are the days of the principal sitting in the office, managing discipline and minutia. We need to be visible, be a part of what is happening in our schools, and be in the classrooms.
6. Your Hour of Power: Tony Robbins says that we have to have a daily ritual of physical and emotional . This means having time for you. Are you experiencing an extraordinary life? He also says to put in some type of physical activity. I try to power walk the hallways of my school and examine student work displayed and in turn, see the pride in our students’ accomplishments. This also gives me an hour to reflect on the day and plan. Give yourself this hour to rejuvenate and reflect.
8. Climate and Culture: How is the climate of your building? Have you given a culture survey? Are you dealing with lots of discipline issues that boggle you down? Maybe it is time to implement a social and emotional curriculum such as Responsive Classroom or PBIS. If you don't address the social and emotional aspects of students and get to know your kids, forget about the academics. Programs such as these change the culture of your building not only for students, but for the adults. The social and emotional curriculum is just as important as the academic curriculum. Once you have the social and emotional curriculum in place, academics are a breeze. It is about the relationships we develop not only with our students, but also with adults.
9. Celebrate: Celebrate the joys of being a team, a school family. We just finished our Holiday stocking stuffing exchange and what amade for the staff. We also celebrate baby showers, weddings, birthdays, you name it. Again, as adults, it's about the relationships and working together to be the best we can be. I always say to the staff, "You are the best of the best." You say it often, and it starts to become a part of you, and we show our pride.
10. It's People, Not Programs: Todd Whitaker says it best that it’s about the teachers, the people, not the programs. “We can spend a great deal of time and energy looking for programs that will solve our problems. Too often, these programs do not bring the improvement or growth we need. Instead, we must focus on what really matters. It is never about’ programs; it is always about people.” (Todd Whitaker, What Great Principals Do Differently, 2003.) have new Common Core State Standards and those modules, but if you are not putting the time into your people, your staff and teachers, giving them time to plan, collaborate, reflect and giving them ownership, then it will be a tough road ahead. Empower your teachers and your staff, and you will have a better school. You know that if you have great teachers, you will have a great school. “The program itself is never the the problem.” (Todd Whitaker)
In the end, it is all about teamwork. As the lead learner, create those opportunities for collaboration, leadership, reflection and rejuvenation. You are the lead leaner and remember to remain positive!
In my recent column in Educational Leadership, I drew upon some studies synthesized in a new book from Newsweek and New York Times journalists Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman, Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing, which provides a slew of fascinating insights, including the importance of framing problems as challenges versus threats.
In sports, for example, professional soccer players are more apt to kick a tie-breaking goal when they are kicking to win—that is, to give their team the lead in a shootout—than when kicking in a sudden death situation to avoid a loss. In addition, Bronson and Merryman point to a study conducted at Princeton University, which invited two groups of students from high schools under-represented on the prestigious campus to answer questions about their backgrounds (to remind them of their outsider status) and then take a short math test.
The tests the two groups took were nearly identical, with just one subtle, yet important difference. For one group, the exam was a framed as an “Intellectual Ability Questionnaire;” for the other, it was called an “Intellectual Challenge Questionnaire.” The differences in performance were striking; the students taking the “challenge” test answered, on average, 90 percent of questions correctly; the students taking the very same test labelled as an “ability” exam answered, on average, just 72 percent of the questions correctly. In effect, framing the test as a threat rather than a challenge resulted in a two-letter-grade drop in performance.
Consider yet another study included in Top Dog. It found that the size of the venue in which students take the SAT test has a tremendous effect on performance—the smaller the venue, the higher the score. Certainly, many explanations might be offered for this finding. One likely culprit, though, is that being surrounded by a large group of fellow exam takers can be threatening. As Bronson and Merryman observe, “These kids know darn well that the entire country is taking the test that day; however, having so many at the same place, often in the same room, is intimidating. It’s a stark reminder of just how many other students are competing with you for college spots."
Bronson and Merryman connect these findings with yet another dot: business research that shows that companies whose CEOs create a “promotion focus” (i.e., set ambitious goals and encourage innovation) are more likely to outperform competitors than those led by CEOs who create a “prevention focus” (i.e., cautiously fixate on preventing errors).
In my column, I related these insights from Top Dog to the current environment in many schools, which for nearly half of all educators, according to a recent MetLife survey of educators, is characterized by high levels of stress, due in no small part to ongoing pressure to raise student performance while enduring budget cuts. In short, what many educators appear to be facing are tantamount to threat conditions that are likely not conducive to kind of the creative and collaborative thinking that is required to develop better learning environments for students.
That’s not to say pressure and competition are always bad. On the contrary, Top Dog identifies conditions under which competition spurs higher performance and even, surprisingly, creativity (for example the rivalry between Renaissance painters Michelangelo and Rafael). Along these lines, the pressure created by the last two decades of reforms hasn’t been all bad; it has focused attention to helping all students succeed, relying upon data to make decisions, and looking for bright spots and best practices.
That said, we need extrapolate only a little to question the current direction, and underlying theory of action, beneath the continued press to tighten the screws on the package of high-stakes testing, school accountability, and educator performance evaluations tied to student achievement scores (which, as I noted in a previous Educational Leadership column, researchers caution is fraught with concerns of its own).
For starters, if simple tweaks to tests, such as reframing them as challenges, reducing the number of fellow test takers in the room, or, as I noted in an earlier blog, offering students small rewards, can dramatically alter how students perform on them, one wonders if we’re really assessing what we think we are. Moreover, one might wonder whether the threat conditions we’ve created for many schools with high-stakes accountability are serving us well, or if it may be time to begin to reframe accountability in terms of a challenge condition that encourages educators to harness their collective ingenuity to create better learning environments for all students.
I’ll write more about what these efforts might resemble in future blogs and columns. For now, though, I’d encourage readers to absorb the many surprising insights from Top Dog (of which I’ve barely scratched the surface) and consider how this science of competition, adeptly captured in the book, might point us toward a more enlightened approach to school improvement.
After five decades of being an educator, I am growing weary of the constant discussion over the divide between education and technology. When will we reach a point where we will discuss Education, teaching and learning without having to debate technology? The idea of learning hasn’t changed since the beginning of time. We learn to survive and improve. Much like breathing, it is what we do naturally. Unlike breathing, some learn better than others, but the concept is the same for everyone. It is the degree of learning that is the variable.
Education addresses learning and teaching for specific goals. Of course what those specific goals are, is a point of contention among many people, both educators and non-educators alike. I think we can agree that education teaches many skills, which people can use to exist, thrive, compete, and create in society. This should hold true for whatever skills are taught in whatever society they are taught in, be it primitive, or advanced. Obviously, the more complicated the society is, the more sophisticated the skills that must be taught.
If we analyze and list all the skills that we deem essential to teach, I think there would be a great deal of commonality without regard to any country. The languages may vary, but the skills would be the same. Discussions of education in these terms would sound similar no matter what country in which these discussions took place. For the sake of this discussion, we could break down all education to its basic elements of reading, writing, and speaking. I am sure that there are some educators who remember education being just as simple as that from back in their day. Actually, it wasn’t all that long ago.
What has changed in education since the late seventies is not the specific skills we teach, but how they will be used. Technology has crept into our society in both obvious, and subtle ways. It has changed the way many of us do things, but for our children it is the only way they can or ever knew how do things. We old folks grew up watching TV. It was part of our culture. Kids today do not view it the same way. We used to dress up as an occasion to travel on a plane. Today, never a second thought is given to jumping on a plane dressed in any manner to get anywhere. A second phone in a household was once a luxury, and today each member of a family carries their own phone. The world has changed and continues to do so at a frightening pace. It is not something we control. IT has become part of the infrastructure. It is as important as roads, rails, planes and power grids.
The very skills that we as educators are charged to teach our kids will be used in a technology-driven society. The skills remain the same, but their application has drastically changed over the last decades. We can discuss education as education without technology, but at some point we must address how kids will be using that which they have learned. If the application of their learned skills will be technology driven than the very tools they should be learning with should also be technology-driven.
The biggest problem with technology is the pace at which it evolves. It moves faster than folks can catch up to it. Because of that, it becomes a burden on educators to learn what they need to know in order to teach skills in an environment close to what kids will be expected to live in. Many educators are running as fast as they can to catch up, but too many others are reluctant.
Some believe that just teaching the skills is enough. They feel kids will adapt, after all they are digital natives. I don’t feel that way. I have come to see that kids are great at exploring the Internet, Google searching, downloading music and movies, and texting at lightening speed with two thumbs. Beyond that, kids need to be shown how the skills that they have learned fit into the world in which they will live. This requires using tech in education as a tool and not a skill. We need not teach tech, to use it. It should be a tool for curating data, collaborating, communicating, and creating. This requires an application of their learned skills to produce and create stuff in a format that society recognizes as relevant.
I think the point that I am painstakingly trying to make is that technology needs not to be in discussions of education, but rather in how will the education of any kid be applied in an ever-evolving, technology-driven world in which tour kids will be required to live. We need to recognize what it is we are educating kids for. Where will they apply their education? If it is a world void of technology, than technology is less important in education. If not, than we need to better prepare them for what they will need.
In order to accomplish that, we need to better prepare ourselves as educators to deal with that. Educators need to be digitally literate and that doesn’t happen on its own. It takes effort. The excuse of “too much on the plate already” doesn’t hold up against the argument of professional responsibility. The argument of education for the sake of education and the hell with technology doesn’t hold up in light of the technological world in which these kids will live. Yes, we need to do more, and it isn’t always easy. If we are to better educate our children, we need to better educate our educators. It is not an easy job. Isn’t that what we tell people all the time?
AS I type this Congress has not reauthorized ESEA. Our state has given away most growth revenue to businesses in the form of tax credits and lowered corporate taxes on horizontal drilling. As a result, our state government is facing a revenue shortfall created by this corporate welfare! While causing this fiscal crisis by their actions, these same legislators have enacted pages of reform proposals for education without providing any funding to accomplish those reforms! At the same time, our state is experiencing growth in population and serving some 40,000 more students than were served in 2009 when the Great Recession occurred and now we are expected to serve them with some $270 million less dollars!
Wouldn't it be refreshing if the rhetoric we all hear about education being a priority was backed by actions that proved it? I don't think I will hold my breath waiting for that to happen!
If we live in a society in America where our representatives are supposed to work on our behalf my only conclusion is we have the policies and budget priorities that the majority of Americans want! It is obvious there is no outcry when corporations buy politicians to the point they receive massive amounts of tax credits and tax reductions that serve to enrich their bottom lines but simply rape budgets for state funded services like public education. Since this is reality in the U.S., then I have one question for parents of the students we are serving. Who will buy the politicians for school children since they can't do that for themselves?
Education costs money and to provide services to children that need additional attention costs money too. Schools are subject to inflationary costs so if their budgets decline, they can provide less services and attention to those students they serve. Why is this reality not understood by the parents of these students and why are they comfortable with it?
The old saying "you get what you pay for" implies that today's parents are more than willing to allow politicians to provide less services for their children by the funding policies they allow our lawmakers to enact! Does this reflect education as a true priority? I think not!
Școala Gimnazială ,,Virgil Iovănaș“ Șofronea, Romania
WHAT IS CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT?
Effective Classroom Management is:
1. Planned not improvisational
2. Preventative rather than simply reactive
3. Controlled and organized rather than chaotic
4. An opportunity for all students and teachers to experience success
Tips for Arranging the Classroom
1. Have extra supplies available at a location in the classroom where students who have forgotten supplies will be able to go without disrupting other students (i.e. a cup of pencils at the center of each table or the back of the classroom).
2. Set a good example to your students by providing a neat and organized classroom.
3. Make your classroom look attractive. Use plants, bulletin boards, banners, warm colors, or anything to help make your classroom look aesthetically pleasing.
4. Structure your classroom as to avoid chaos and promote learning. For instance, do not place a talkative student next to the pencil sharpener because this creates many opportunities for disruptive behavior.
5. The teacher should be able to observe all students at all times and be able to see the door from his/her desk.
6. Students should be able to see the teacher/presentation area without having to move or turn around.
7. Arrange the room as to allow easy movement.
8. Main idea: Make your classroom fun, attractive, motivating, & functional.
Tips for Building Positive Student/Teacher Relationships
1. Follow the Golden Rule – Treat each student with respect and kindness.
2. . Identify a few students each class period and find ways to individually praise them so that by the end of the week every student in your class has been praised.
3. Be available before and after school in case a student needs help or simply needs to talk
Praise students for good work.
5. Praise students for effort.
6. Establish appropriate levels of dominance and cooperation.
7. Create one-to-one interactions with students.
8. Display students’ successful work in the classroom.
9. Disclose appropriate personal information that your students might find helpful (i.e. share a personal story that helps you describe a particular point of the lesson).
Time Saving Strategies
Center for the Advancement of Mental Health Practices in Schools
1. Establish time-saving, efficient routines for collecting papers and distributing materials and supplies (i.e. bins for each subject or class, mailboxes for each student or class).
2. ORGANIZE! ORGANIZE! ORGANIZE!
3. Establish daily routines.
4. Make a “To Do List” at the end of each day so that when you arrive the next morning you know exactly what needs to be done. Prioritize it and list the things that must be done first.
5. Create classroom jobs. This will help save you time and teach them responsibility.
6. Create a system for monitoring unfinished assignments. (i.e. Keep a clipboard with a list of student names with several boxes for each class next to each name. When you have finished grading the assignments, check off the boxes next to the students who have handed in the assignment.)
7. Teach your students how to be organized. Encourage them to have separate folders for each class and a home folder for assignments/notes.
8. Create your own filing system. Assign each class a color and keep important lesson materials in each folder.
1. Give directions one step at a time and avoid long and detailed directions.
3. Provide a variety of learning experiences, including peer teaching, cooperative learning, small group instruction, and lecture.
4. Provide homework assignments and activities that are meaningful, relevant, and instructional.
5. Teach students good study habits and provide a variety of different study suggestions.
6. Have your class summarize the lesson or activity at the end of each class.
7. Provide students with feedback (about what they did right and wrong).
8. Help your students set realistic goals.
Tips for Creating a Positive Classroom Environment
1. Use humor.
2. Greet students at the doorway and in the halls.
3. Show enthusiasm and be animated.
4. Provide opportunities for every student to succeed.
5. Model good listening skills by paying attention when
6. Create anticipation for lessons or tasks.
7. If a particular student is struggling, provide the student with a classroom buddy who is mature and responsible.
8. Create classroom rituals and traditions which build a sense of community.
9. Encourage parental and community involvement.
Tips for Preventing Misbehavior
1. Establish realistic and age appropriate rules and procedures.
Center for the Advancement of Mental Health Practices in Schools
2. Have discussions with your students about the rationale and purpose of each rule. When appropriate, incorporate student opinions and thoughts into your classroom rules and procedures.
3. Walk throughout the classroom during lectures and seat work to provide assistance and monitor behavior.
4. Keep class work and assignments separate from behavior issues.
5. Carefully plan each class time and have extra plans in case you finish early.
6. Have extra activities available for students to do when they are bored or finished with all their work.
7. Establish routines for transitions (leaving the room, using the bathroom, etc.) and prepare students for transitions by warning them ahead of time.
8. Reinforce and praise appropriate behavior.
9. When deciding whether or not to intervene with a behavior, determine if the problem is solely “teacher-owned.” Does the behavior simply annoy you or is it harmful to other students?
10. Establish a program that teaches self-discipline and responsibility to students. When appropriate, give students extra duties that will help save you time and teach them responsibility.
Tips for handling student discipline situations
1. REMAIN CALM AND COMPOSED!
2. When correcting misbehavior, communicate in the most private, respectful, and positive manner.
3. Make all discipline decisions after the “heat of the moment.”
4. Use appropriate humor to de-escalate conflict situations.
5. When you feel as if you or your student is too emotional to handle a particular situation, suggest postponing the discussion until both are prepared to talk it out.
6. Instead of blaming, use I-messages to explain why the behavior was disruptive. Instead of saying “You’re disruptive” try saying “I lose my concentration when you are talking in class.” This helps to avoid an angry retaliation.
7. Use positive self-talk to reduce stress and help to remain control. Mentally say things such as “remain calm,” “I’m doing a good job at handling this situation.”
8. Attempt to de-escalate situation by providing distractions. These distractions give people the opportunity to cool off.
9. Exaggerate issues to help students put the situation in perspective.
10. Use stress management techniques such as deep breathing or repeatedly tensing and relaxing your muscles.
11. Address only student behavior rather than personal traits.
February 17, 2012
I recall seeing a recent Facebook post by ASCD asking teachers to finish the sentence: Professional development should be…. Not surprisingly, relevant and personalized were top responses. At some point, each of us has sat through a well-intentioned and/or even brilliant PD experience wondering, What does this have to do with me and when can I get back to work?
|image by dkmz.net|
Listening well—actively and deeply—is a skill that requires both attention and intention. It starts with our ears (making sense of words as well as the speaker’s tone) but also involves our eyes (body language says a lot). In a world increasingly cluttered with information, getting students to listen mindfully is a challenge. Julian Treasure suggests in a TED Talk that we are actually “losing our listening.” Teaching students to listen better will help them to succeed in your classes, as well as to engage more deeply with the world.
When you want your students to explore a specific topic or question, here’s a small group strategy to use that encourages active listening (along with offering all the advantages of collaborative learning).
Before starting this activity, review the following guidelines with your students:
First, you must listen with openness: suspend your judgments and biases and listen for those things with which you agree as well as those you might challenge.
Second, listen with curiosity: engage your desire to learn and understand, rather than to try to fix anything or simply offer your own point of view.
Third, listen respectfully: listen without asking questions that interrupt the speaker; jot these down and save them for later.
Fourth, listen schematically: listen for patterns, trends, and for what is not being said.
Fifth, listen intentionally: decide what you intend to do with the information you’ll learn.
There are only two rules:
Step One: Break the students into small groups of four or five.
Step Two: Give them the topic or question that you would like them to discuss.
Step Three: Each group should identify or appoint a group leader who will make sure the rules are followed and time is observed.
Step Four: One person begins by saying something about the topic or starting point question; the others listen using the guidelines noted above.
Step Five: Another student asks a follow-up question or comments about what has just been said.
Step Six: Repeat Steps Four and Five until everyone has spoken at least twice, or for a specific amount of time.
Step Seven: The group leader, with help from the group, summarizes the conversation and identifies any patterns or insights that emerged or developed.
Step Eight: Report out to the class.
You could follow this activity with a reflective journal entry, asking students what surprised them (it may be the difficulty of listening actively) and what new or interesting points/ideas they learned.
The first few times you try this, you may need to float around the room, encouraging students to stay on task. Once they get the hang of it, you’ll find this activity combines active listening, active learning, collaborative learning, and writing, all strategies that help students to probe and reflect on their own learning.
Artze-Vega, Isis. “Active Listening: Seven Ways to Help Students Listen, Not Just Hear.” Faculty Focus: Higher Ed Teaching Strategies from Magna Publications. 10/1/2012. http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-and-learning/active-listening-seven-ways-to-improve-students-listening-skills/
Mankell, Henning. “The Art of Listening.” The New York Times. Opinion. 12.10.2011. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/11/opinion/sunday/in-africa-the-art-of-listening.html?_r=0
Thanks to Lisa Dresdner, Ph.D., Norwalk Community College, and to Dr. Judith Ableser, director of the Oakland University Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, for this tip.
This post is a part of the ASCD Forum conversation “how do cultivate and support teacher leaders?” To learn more about the ASCD Forum, go to www.ascd.org/ascdforum.
It is a way to confront challenging issues without piling more on the district office staff.
I mentioned earlier in the forum that I was not a fan of the term “teacher leader” as I believe that in order to teach one must lead. I don’t know that I would go to battle over that terminology but contemplating it has opened up a new trail of thoughts for me.
One of the advantages of the term "linchpins" instead of "teacher leader" is that becoming an educational linchpin is not dependent upon the assessment or vote of anyone else. Rather, it is meritocratic. We either hold sway and influence among our peers or we are not linchpins.
Which leads me to the outline of an answer to a much more complicated question:
"How do we cultivate and support teacher leaders”
Build it so that they will come…
Create an Elementary Point of Impact Cadre (EPIC): a group of linchpin teachers that will provide voice from the classroom on a set of issues. Then ask for teachers to volunteer and personally suggest that others do.
Build a small group classroom experts from different schools and assign them a task that plays to their areas of expertise. Choose one of the many issues, dilemmas, decisions, or demographics that this district is confronted with or challenged by and ask the EPIC teachers to or explore it.
It will be important to give them both title and power to do the work.
Give them time out of the school day, send some of them to a conference, or to visit another district, or have them meet with an expert.
· Respect them and they will come back
Master teachers are lifelong learners, and just like our students we all want to be honored with genuine and specific praise and we want to know when we are falling short. So once an EPIC group is created they will have to be listened to. They will have to be able to measure the impact and value of their work,
So have them meet with the Superintendent. Have them present their work to the school board or their peers.
When their work is rolled out give the individual members credit, not just the faceless group.
This is not a perfect solution, even as I type this out I see glitches that will have to be ironed out. But I think idea is a solid starting point.
· It offers great teachers a way to stay in the classrooms where they practice and perform their passion: the art and the science of teaching.
· It allows districts and schools to tap into the wealth of knowledge, sway, and devotion that these teachers carry with them.
This post is a part of the ASCD Forum conversation “how do cultivate and support teacher leaders?” To learn more about the ASCD Forum, go to www.ascd.org/ascdforum.
Find the Good.
When I first started teaching, I’d heard and read of the importance of finding something to like about each student, even the student whose positive qualities were hard to find. I was told, “It can be as simple as the color shirt they’re wearing. Maybe they’re wearing red and you like red.Use that to drive your interactions with that student.”
Thirteen years later, I realize what the messenger meant. I think they meant: “maybe the child has a nice sense of style. They dress well. The shirt is a cool one, and I wish I could get away with wearing that one now.”
I hear from time to time when meeting with parents: “I know you have your favorites. It’s natural, everyone does.” I agree with the premise, that some students are very personable: they come in with positive experiences about school and the world. Perhaps they have a great support system. They’re charming, social, or their wittiness is matched by great comedic timing. They’re easy to like. They’re easy to find the good in. You don’t even need to tell them, they know. Someone’s probably told them before you even met them.
However, we didn’t get into this field for the easy. We did for the intrinsic rewards: the ability to create positive change by finding the good in those who may not know the good they carry. To shine a light on what’s not readily evident. To search, find, and celebrate. We’re unique. That is good.
Sounds easy.It’s not.
Students, their parents, and we educators all come into our environment each day an unfinished product. We’ve got our warts, our schemas, and our issues. Sometimes they’re easily visible, and sometimes we just think they are. While we cannot change anything that has happened when we were wards of the education system, we can create a positive one for those who move forward through it now. That means we can embody the good, find the good in others, make sure we call attention to it so the student and their parent knows it, and use that knowledge to help the child and his/her support system trend positively from this point forward.
This repeated process enables us to find the good quicker in others, as the lens we look at people through has changed. It keeps us positive during the challenging days. And, it reminds us that all of us are capable of growth and learning. We just need to be willing to stay consistent to the process, because finding the good is a repetitive one. Find it enough, and it will find you, too.
ASCD has found the good in me. Members of the organization nominated me and three of my peers to attend Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teachers (#ECET2). This event is sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The 250 of us invited by the Foundation, will connect, collaborate, and leverage the goodness in each other. Prior to meeting everyone this coming Monday, we will host a Tweetup on Twitter Sunday night from 8 - 9 PM EST. All current and past ECET2’ers are welcome. Our goal is to find the goodness in each other, carry that with us to the convening, and turnkey it back home to our students.
Find the good.
Then, let it find you.
Leaving work at work is truly an art form—especially when you’re a teacher.
It gets easier with time and experience, but I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve spent restless nights and early mornings replaying the day’s events, recalling the conversations I had, the cringe-worthy lessons I gave, and all the things I didn’t say—but should’ve said— to my students.
If you haven’t experienced these feelings, I’d like to know your secret to success—but my gut tells me that most teachers, particularly those new to the profession, often feel like they’re hanging on by a thread. In times like this, I reach for one of my favorite resources: a book by Neila Connons called If You Don’t Feed the Teachers They Eat the Students. Below you’ll find 10 of her tips to help teachers keep the fire burning.
10 Ways for Teachers to Keep the Fire Burning
Make “me-time” part of the job
Your students are important, but they cannot—and should not—be your sole priority. Beating yourself up at night and working through the weekend are both counter-productive activities. Your students need you to be at your best…how can you possibly be your best if you are exhausted?
You-time is part of the job. You owe it to yourself to pursue healthy relationships, hobbies and life outside of work.
View problems as challenges
You can waste a lot of time and energy talking about what’s wrong, but healthy people spend 5 percent of their time discussing problems and 95 percent looking for solutions. They enforce this philosophy in every aspect of their lives.
Don’t be a finger-pointer
This is an extension of the point we made above: Blame has never accomplished anything. Instead of spending time trying to figure out who is at fault, use the time to make things better.
Analyze your stresses and frustrations
Know what sets you off and avoid it when you can.
Set personal goals that are not associated with vices
Too often we associate resolutions and goal-setting with vices. We know we should stop smoking, start exercising more, eat less red meat, and so on. While the aforementioned goals are certainly worthy of our pursuit, it is important to also set goals that relate to our passions. What have you always wanted to do? Making it happen may not occur overnight; it may take a lot of work, but you owe it to yourself to pursue your passions.
Do not vegetate, procrastinate or complain
Be active, organized and positive. Get involved and be a part of the accomplishment. Healthy people are doers.
Have positive role models and mentors
Teachers are surrounded by lots of brilliant and resourceful people. Swallow your pride and learn to depend on them.
Don’t sweat the small stuff
When challenges occur, ask yourself if this will make any difference tomorrow, next week or next month. Take your job seriously; take yourself lightly.
Be proud and confident
Even on the days you don’t feel your best, fake it ‘till you make it. A walk of confidence and pride definitely adds to the positive climate of a building.
Don’t ever stop playing and laughing
A day without laughter is also a day not fully lived. There is so much to smile about in our business; and we know that we don’t stop playing because we grow old—we grow old because we stop playing.
This post is a part of the ASCD Forum conversation “how do cultivate and support teacher leaders?” To learn more about the ASCD Forum, go to www.ascd.org/ascdforum.
One of my favorite movies during my high school years was ‘Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.’ The movie focused on two lovable, sweet, but nowhere near valedictorian high school seniors who need to pass a history report in order to graduate. With the help of a time machine, and some luck, they pass their class, meet the girls of their dreams, and are able to start their own rock band.
At one point in the movie, Bill and Ted are transported to the very distant future, where they meet three people, aptly named ‘The Three Most Important People in the World.’ These three people recognize Bill and Ted, and seem to revere them. The men are speechless, waiting to see what Bill and Ted will do:
Ted: Bill, I think they want us to say something.
Bill: What should I say?
Ted: (shrugs) Make something up.
Bill: Be excellent to each other.
After BIll’s comment, the three men nod appreciatively, as if this is the wisest thing the two transported teens could say. And, when thinking about teacher leadership, I don’t think Bill or Ted is that far off when they say we should be excellent to each other.
Being excellent to one another is really what’s at the core of teacher leadership, for me. Excellence begins in the way we interact with each other, as professionals. We greet the secretaries in the main office. Even if their heads are down, it’s important to acknowledge them, and validate the important role they play as the first line of communication (or defense) in our buildings.
Interacting with excellence includes saying hello to each other in the hallway, even if we’ve just seen each other, or don’t know one another. We respect each other’s role in the school, and each one of us helps make our school community function positively. That quick greeting we gave may be the one that perks someone up. Or, it may be the first positive interaction that person has had all day. We’re not always cognizant of our role and effect on others, and we should be, because we’re in-tune with how others affect us.
Our students see the interactions we have with our peers and co-workers. Students see if we greet each other with a smile. They also hear our sarcasm, and see us if we use negative non-verbal communication, like turning our backs, ignoring comments from peers, or averting eye contact. Students then internalize our mannerisms. After all, we are their teacher. Aren’t students supposed to do what their teacher says to do? Don’t actions speak louder than words?
At some point, students will replicate us: either in how they talk to the peers or co-workers we spoke to (or one of similar status), or in how they speak to their own classmates. We have an opportunity to model excellence in leadership without ever leaving our classroom by ‘being excellent to each other.’ Perhaps the ‘Three Most Important People in the World’ understood that. And, perhaps Bill and Ted had a little more social intelligence than we gave them credit for in that movie. Because, creating an excellent environment depends on the consistency in which we carry our excellence with us.
Now, go be excellent to each other. See how that feels. Chances are, you’ll enjoy it.
Then, take that feeling and party on, dude. (couldn’t resist).
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:
· Untapped Resource? Engaging Parents in the Learning Process (this article has some great ideas and links in the comment section)
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.
I recently submitted a short piece of writing to ASCD Express based on a call they had for educator submissions on building positive morale in a school. While the piece is brief (they asked for 600-100 words), I thought that the points I submitted were high leverage items that most any principal could begin to implement in his or her school to improve or strengthen morale. The following is the piece I submitted:
In times of great change and during stressful situations, it is easy for the morale of any organization to “take a dip”. This can be caused by multiple factors and influences, including those internally and externally. My experiences as a school leader have taught me that there are some simple things that any administrator can do to build a positive morale within their school and school community. While not an exhaustive list, here are some things that I feel are “high leverage” items in keeping morale positive:
Lastly, and most importantly in helping to promote a healthy and positive morale within a school, the focus must always be on children and what is best for them. Parents do not keep the best and brightest at home, educators do not get into edcucation because they don't want to make a difference, and no child wants to be unsuccessful. Our focus must always be on meeting the needs of children. This means that no matter what we do, no matter what the mandates we are given, we always work with what we have been given to make a positive impact on the lives of students. That should be everyone's goal, everyone's livelihoot, and the very best way we can maintain high levels of morale in ALL of our schools.
I’m curious, when did you learn how to write?
It wasn’t until my first year in English 101 at Hillsdale College that I began to realize that my teachers throughout my K-12 education failed teaching me the craft of writing. You wouldn’t believe the sea of red marks all over my English essays. It didn’t help that the semester before, my professor was teaching graduate English majors at Harvard. I never really knew the background story of why Dr. Adcock came from Harvard to teach at a small, private, and very conservative college in Michigan. Needless to say, having no formal writing education, I was not Dr. Adcock’s favorite student. In fact, I had to procure an English major tutor after receiving several D minuses on my essays. Yes, he probably had unrealistic expectations for his English 101 students, but how can we blame him for thinking that his college freshman students would come from K-12 having been taught at least what the 6 traits of quality writing are, how to use them, analyze and write for different text types, practice the art of editing and revising to make writing better, all while receiving specific and helpful feedback for writing improvement.
I recently was interviewed by John Rumery, Editor of Rapid Growth, who complained about the writing of his community college students, “…I can tell you those students still need help with writing!” I’m sure this is nothing you haven’t heard or experienced before; we are all concerned that students’ writing proficiency across America is at a dismal low.
This reminded me of an opinion article I read in the Washington Post titled, “If Students Can’t Write, How Can They Learn?” written by Natalie Wexler, the editor of Greater Greater Education blog. In her piece, Natalie mentions a startling discovery while she was tutoring writing at a high-poverty public high school in Washington D.C.
Natalie said, “I was shocked by what I found. Even though I’ve generally worked with the school’s higher-performing students, I’ve encountered students who aren’t familiar with terms such as “subject” and “verb.” A number don’t know why, “Although I read the book” isn’t a complete sentence.”
Natalie mentions helping students with writing by implementing programs at the high school level. I believe this is WAY too late in the process! I’m not saying that hope is lost at this point, but students need a strong writing foundation early in life in order to prepare them for success later in life. Why wait until secondary education to solve this problem? That’s like waiting to buy candles after you have no electricity. If we provide students with strong writing foundations in elementary school, there won’t be a need to implement remedial writing programs in high school.
I believe our children’s poor writing skills originate from a lack of confidence they develop at a young age. This can be attributed to our teachers’ lack of confidence due to their lack of knowledge on how to teach writing. If students don’t have the writing confidence after elementary school, it impacts their ability to do well in high school, and beyond. Elementary teachers are the essential key needed to prepare students for college and career readiness.
As educators, we have to speak up and increase our volume on this subject matter. We NEED better teacher education. There should be absolutely no reason why high school students shouldn’t be able to understand the difference between a subject and a verb, write well constructed sentences using correct grammar, and be able to express themselves in a clear and concise manner while using the 6 traits of quality writing.
Did you have a history of writing education before high school? I have to ask myself, would I have gotten D minuses on my freshman essays if I’d had a strong writing foundation in my formative years: elementary school? There would be a lot of happier Dr. Adcocks in the world, if my elementary teachers would’ve had a better education on how to teach us the craft of writing.
I hope Dr. Adcock would be proud of me now as I continue my life’s work to provide teachers with WriteSteps.
Dedicated to writing success,
Founder & CEO of WriteSteps
History is one of those subjects that lend themselves pretty easily to the use of Essential Questions and Understandings. The best history classes are those that are focused around powerful questions and ideas that engage and motivate students in learning. They enable students to think about important issues in the past and apply them to current issues, situations and events.
In order to stimulate thinking about powerful Essential Questions and their potential for teaching history, I have developed a set of ten questions below that might be used for developing inquiry units in American History or even as core questions for examining American history over time. My hope is that these questions will stimulate American history teachers at all levels (and perhaps even World history teachers!) to consider using or adapting these or other powerful questions to focus American history instruction, readings, and the collection of resources and materials, and also suggest interesting and engaging summative performance tasks and essay questions that can be used instead of or in addition to the multiple choice-short answer tests. I also hope that they will stimulate educators to develop and share additional questions as key focal points for American history courses, and help teachers move away from courses that “cover” huge amounts of information without providing much meaning to students.
Here are the ten questions:
1. What leads people to explore? (Sample unit questions: Were the explorers of America crazy? What led people to explore and settle in the west? Are space explorers crazy?)
2. Is violence ever justified? When and Why? (Sample unit built around this question: Was the American Revolution necessary?)
3. What is the “American Dream”? Does it still exist? (Theme throughout the course after the Constitution was developed)
4. Who was the greatest American president and why? (Sample unit: Was FDR the greatest American president? Why or why not?)
5. Who was the greatest American hero (or heroes) and why? (Determine who was an American hero or heroes throughout each course unit)
6. What is the greatest American invention? (Primarily for units in the latter part of American history)
7. Is the Constitution still a “living” document that works? Should it be changed? (This question especially useful for the study of the development of the Constitution. I have worked with schools that have simulated the Constitutional Convention and had students represent the different states to come up with their own Constitution – and then compare it to the authentic document. The question also lends itself to the development of an “end of course” performance task – in light of the issues and problems of America today, should be change the Constitution?).
8. Is capitalism really the best economic system? What are its greatest strengths? Its greatest weaknesses? (This questions allows for the study of the capitalist system development, issues, strengths throughout American history).
9. What is America’s greatest success? America’s greatest blunder? (Provide students with a look at each period in history to determine the greatest successes and the greatest blunders, and an end of course question or performance task).
10. What are the greatest issues facing America today and in the future? (Begin the course with an exploration of this question and the many issues facing America today, and work backwards in American history to trace how these issues developed over time. End the course with a performance task to select one issue, explain how it happened over time, and come up with one or more alternative solutions).
One caution: The point of this exercise is to illustrate some simple, powerful questions. The danger is in trying to use too many of these types of questions throughout an American history course. The idea is to focus a course on one question, or a very few questions, and stick with it or them throughout the course. This approach will lead teachers and students to an exploration of many issues, teach many skills, and provide a thoughtful and authentic context to the teaching of American history that will engage students and make the learning of history an extremely worthy endeavor.
(NOTE: Write a comment to add to or adapt these essential questions, and explain how they might be or are being used).
Elliott Seif is a long time educator, teacher, college professor, curriculum director, author and Understanding by Design trainer. Additional and related teaching and learning resources and ideas designed to help prepare students to live in a 21st century world can be found in his other blogs at ASCD Edge, or on his website: www.era3learning.org