Results 1 - 20 of 77

77 Search Results for "priorities"

  • What I Learned Lately (WILL 14 What I Learned Lately (WILL 14/15 #1)

    • From: Joshua_Garcia
    • Description:

      What I Learned Lately (WILL 14/15 #1)




      “Way Too Much Time to Think About Data, Part 1.”


      For the past few years, I have been hearing the hype of the SBAC and PARCC assessments.  I have been drowned by the controversy of the Common Core.  Unfortunately, the conversation has turned from what is good for kids to what are your politics.  First and foremost, I believe in teaching clear and rigorous standards.  I believe in assessments that match the depth of knowledge of these standards.  I also believe in alignment that will create patterns for all students.  I believe that it is our jobs to facilitate these pieces relentlessly on behalf of our students.  However, more than ever I believe that we must take back our profession and create the systems that will measure student learning.  I know this will be extremely difficult and challenge us at a new level.  The new math problem for us is: (A) x (E) x (Q) = (SS), Access x Equity x Quality = Student Success.  We must relentless provide access to the standards, we must provide equitable supports to students in order to meet these standards and we must ensure there is quality instruction and assessments every day for every child.


      Imagine a time when people speak matter-of-factly about our schools success and how dropout rates and the achievement gaps are at all-time low.  This day is fast approaching.  Our teachers are taking their students to new heights locally, national graduation rates are at an all-time high (http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/06/high-school-graduation-rate-hits-40-year-peak-in-the-us/276604/).  In Tacoma, we will see another year of graduation increases.  However, in order to continue our recent successes and maintain continuous improvement, schools in Tacoma and across the nation, must create assessments that support data systems that can be disaggregated and used to systematically measure student growth from year to year.  A systemic approach to conducting data analysis for this purpose requires collaboration and purposeful conversations among teachers.  A data system is a system that all teachers actively participate in and identifying data elements that measure students’ yearly progress in a building.

      Often the most difficult part of grasping how to use a data system to drive instruction is the lack of understanding of the very terms used to define it.  We often assume that we share definitions to many of terms that are used daily basis.  For example, do we have common definitions for formative and summative?    When we measure growth, are we measuring the same standards or different standards?  It is lack of clarity about a common language that can lead to confusion, false positive results, and besieged attempts to find simple solutions for student learning.  Although data systems at the building level can seem overwhelming, they are crucial to provide data that reports student achievement precisely and accurately. To accomplish this goal, our schools will need to foster a culture of professional collaboration, one that provides opportunities for teachers and school leaders to make meaning of key data points and to clear up misconceptions or misinterpretations.  When our entire staffs are committed to examine data and use it to drive instruction, our schools will eliminate waste in the system by setting priorities and dedicating sufficient time and resources that “add value” to instruction and learning.  I believe our efforts to create sustainable change in student achievement can be facilitated through a series of guiding principles:

      • How can an assessment system support sustainable changes in instruction and learning?
      • How do we create a data system that is comprehensive?
      • How do we create a data system that is efficient?

      How do we create data that is constant?


      Creating sustainable systemic change requires us to have a clear vision of how the data from our instruction and assessments are not only connected, but more importantly, can’t be separated.  Schools in our district and across the nation at minimum, and hopefully districts, must begin to design systems that are comprehensive (assess all students in a tiered model), efficient (minimizes the loss of instructional time) and constant (developing an assessment cycle that promotes professional conversations).  The vision of the data system must be clear for all employees and students and address local, state and federal mandates. For example, does that data produced in alignment with School Board Policies and benchmarks?  Does it align to state requirements for reporting?  Does that data that is produced align with the reporting requirements of entering college?  In addition, vision statements must address building the capacity (expertise to deliver and analyze the data) of those in the school system (see figure 1).  For example, our schools will need to create capacity by providing time and professional development to staff that allows them to make meaning of the types of assessment that are currently being used and the data that these assessments produce. Without this clarity, the assessment system will cause confusion, frustration, and ultimately a sense of failure.


      Figure 1




      At the school level, aligning data with assessments is necessary to ensure that every student’s academic growth is measured in an effective and efficient manner.  Today, we face the daunting challenge of gathering data that proves mastery of mandated academic standards. However, is there such a thing as too much data?  At what point do you examine the number and the quality of assessments that we administer each year at each grade level?  For the past few years I have been talking to educators across the world regarding the use of data.  In an effort to gather data and monitor progress, some educators are administering mini-summative assessments and calling them formative assessments. For example, a classroom teacher may give a common unit exam at the end of the month.  This data maybe recorded and put into a grade, however it is not formative data unless the teacher uses it adjust their upcoming instruction or reteach specific concepts based on the student data that was collected.  Additionally, many will not use this data to drive interventions.  Instead interventions are still based on a subject area, “math” versus specific math standards.  For a classroom teacher it is critical to know the purpose of each assessment and to determine if it appropriate for an assessment to be considered summative.  Questioning how this data is used to drive instruction can help us decide which assessments can be eliminated and which need to be added. 


      Collecting data throughout the year to measure progress is essential to developing a comprehensive data system.  Similar to a Response to Intervention model (http://www.rti4success.org/), assessing students using a tiered approach allows educators to determine which students are meeting the standards, for which students more diagnostic information is needed, and how to monitor student learning progress.  An assessment given 3-4 times a year for the purpose of progress monitoring is considered a Tier I assessment.  The Nation Center for Response to Intervention (http://www.rti4success.org/screeningTools) provides numerous examples of Tiered I assessments and gives details on the strengths of each detail.  For those students who are not making sufficient progress as indicated in the Tier I assessment, they should be administered a diagnostic assessment, or a Tier II assessment.  A diagnostic assessment will provide more specific information on specific skill development (http://www.ststesting.com/dra.html).  Finally, based on results from the Tier II assessments, brief assessments that measure specific standards, sub-skills, or learning targets should be administered. Assessments at this level would be considered Tier III assessments. 

      How do we create a data system that is efficient?  Often in our desire to create data and monitor progress, we lose sight of the functionality of the system.  As leaders, examining the balance between effective and efficient is a valuable endeavor that should occur regularly.  Our must continue to examine the added value of any data and eliminate any waste.  What is waste?  Waste in today’s school systems is all those things that don’t provide information critical to improving student achievement.  For every dollar spent on waste is a dollar that is not adding value.  An “Assessment Matrix” needs to be defined at each of our schools and communicated to our staff, students and families.  We must begin by eliminating any assessment that is redundant and that cannot be used to inform instruction.  Start with a simple matrix to begin your analysis.


      Assessment Name:

      Content or subject area

      Grade Level/s administered:

      Standards Being Assessed:

      Formative or Summative:


      Purpose: Diagnose or monitor Progress:

      Will the assessment be used for grading:



      Grades 3

      Common Core Standards - several


      3 times a year




























      If assessments are not useful to inform instruction, then they are a waste of instructional time and serve as a potential loss of added value.

      How do we create a data system that is constant?  The need to examine data from year to year is critical to determining student growth.  For years, researchers have examined longitudinal data with mixed results.  In fact, longitudinal data often has weak correlations due to the variations in what is being assessed from year to year.  Within a school there is an opportunity to create consistent data that is gathered constantly.  Many of the Common Core Reading Standards are based on a learning progression, or skill levels and expectations that increase in sophistication from grade to grade.

      The key for classroom teachers and building leaders is to not make assessment decisions in isolation.  Create a data system with input from everyone on the staff, so that for comparison sake, students are using the same assessment. When determining student growth, use fewer tools that are as consistent as possible.  For example, if there is a reading assessment that measures skills from K - 3rd grade (Dibbles), and another one that measures from K - 8th grade, such as a Diagnostic Assessment of Reading (DAR), select the tool that is not only the best quality but also provides accurate and precise data from student achievement from grade level to grade level.  These assessments are especially helpful when students move from level to level (i.e. from elementary to middle and middle to high school).  This type of constant data can give teachers an accurate picture of student skills in the beginning of each school year as well as identify abnormalities in a student’s data history.  This can be done in our regional meetings as well as level meetings.

      Fill in the Blank exercise:


      In order to create a learning and instruction data system at ______ School, Principal ______ focused on making sure teachers were having effective conversations about ways to measure student academic growth and effectiveness of instructional strategies.  ________ was often heard saying “teachers and administrators need to start by telling a story of “student growth”.    ________ School implemented the following framework for collecting data and having conversations about student growth.


      Prior to school starting each fall, ______would determine each staff members’ percentages of students who have met each respective standard for the upcoming school year, based on the previous year’s end scores.  For example, using state testing data, _____ had ____% of her students met the previous year’s end of the year Main Idea Standard.  At the end of the year, ______ had____% of her students meet the end of the year Main Idea Standard, for a growth of ____%.  This data was needed to determine the baseline and helped measure student growth throughout the year.  Like many schools, ______ School had previously started each year by giving the current year end of the course examination as a pre-assessment.  With this data, decisions about which students were behind were made.  However, these students had not had access to this curriculum, and therefore, in theory should not have been successful on these exams.  The staff at _______ started having honest conversations about the number of students that arrive in their classrooms behind academically, which ones are on target for the grade level standards, and which students had already reached beyond their current grade level standards.  As part of the transformation process, the______ Staff identified the following factors:


      • Are the standards from grade level to grade level aligned?  Are the standards part of a learning progression or are new skills being introduced?
      • How many students are coming into the year having met the previous year’s standards?
      • How many students have no data at all?
      • ___________


      Grade level teams then determined specific and measureable instructional goals for the first 6 weeks of school for each classroom.  _____ and ________ met with each staff member to review data, set classroom goals, and determine student interventions and enrichment activities.  In week 7 of school, the administrative team members met with each staff to evaluate progress and to determine effectiveness (Effectiveness was measured by meeting 80% or more of the standards). During this time, teams revisited student interventions and established new goals based on the current data.  In week 8, ________ met with district leaders to discuss trends in student growth, support needed, and areas of concern.  The following questions and factors were considered:


      1)      Identify classroom, grade level, and school learning target themes.

      2)      Describe the trends for each of the respective classrooms, grade level teams, and the entire school.

      3)      Compare and Contrast these trends to last year’s trends.

      4)      Analyze what themes they saw

      5)      What instructional strategies can we expect teachers, grade level teams or the school to apply in an effort to address the learning target/s

      6)      Speculate what our data will look like at the end of the year

      7)      Predict our summative scores?

      8)      _____________________________

      The cycle above was repeated every nine weeksSchool ________met with each classroom teacher to identify what support was needed and to examine the agreed upon data.  Together the team collected, guided, and monitored data in a systematic fashion. 

      Next, teachers at ________ began sorting and examining each class through a four-group flexible and fluid lens.  The groups were based on those students who are working above standard, those students who have met standard, those students who “nearly missed” the standard, and those students who had “far misses”.  For each group, teachers evaluated data on specific learning targets; identified supports and enrichment opportunities within the classroom and school; and developed (instructional) strategies to employ for each of the different groups. Then teachers would employ ongoing (daily) formative assessments (addressed more deeply in future modules) to address each group’s instructional/learning needs.  In addition, teachers administered and examined mini-summative data to determine student growth (students meeting standard with 80% or more of the standards measured) and adjusted groupings.  Finally teachers met with support teams (principal, ______, interventionist, counselor and ________) to discuss results and refine plans at a minimum of every 7 weeks. The following next steps were considered by the team:

      1)      Identify individual class strand themes.

      2)      Describe the trends for different leveled groups.

      3)      Compare and Contrast these trends to last year’s trends.

      4)      Analyze what themes you see.

      5)      What instructional strategies will you use for each group to address the strand data?

      6)      Speculate what your data will look like at the end of the year.  Predict your summative scores.

      7)      ___________________________________

      Finally, ______ clearly articulated, which resources would be dedicated for staff.  Instructional Coaches, Curriculum Leads, Counselors, Specialists and Principals, all understood their role in providing support to staff.  Some examples of the supports that were considered include:

      1)      Collecting and organizing summative data (end of the course/year exams), and unit exams (teacher created and explicitly based on standards)

      2)      Help in the design and evaluation of daily formative assessments – stems and questions that are directly linked to a standard and match the cognitive demand

      3)      Extended learning opportunities for students – building based

      4)      Targeted and differentiated professional development workshops

      5)      Professional development learning communities

      6)      Coordination and alignment of district service

      7)      ______________________

      The foundation for an effective assessment system is one that is comprehensive, efficient and constant.  By establishing this framework, educators are able to develop a high-functioning data system in which all stakeholders have faith.  When done well, this framework serves as a lever for continuous student growth.   I know we have a long ways to go and many of you have been screaming for this for a while.  I also know that there will be others that just want to wait for the new assessments to address the challenge.  It is not the tools we use which make us good or bad, but rather how will we use the tools.  For me the summer has been filled with numbers and data, more to come…

      Finally From Robert William, “The Call of the Wild”,

      Have you gazed on naked grandeur where there's nothing else to gaze on,

       Set pieces and drop-curtain scenes galore,

      Big mountains heaved to heaven, which the blinding sunsets blazon,

       Black canyons where the rapids rip and roar?

      Have you swept the visioned valley with the green stream streaking through it,

       Searched the Vastness for a something you have lost?

      Have you strung your soul to silence? Then for God's sake go and do it;

       Hear the challenge, learn the lesson, pay the cost.








      Scholastic Testing Services.  7/23/13. http://www.ststesting.com/dra.html

      The Atlantic.  First published on 6/6/2013.  http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/06/high-school-graduation-rate-hits-40-year-peak-in-the-us/276604/

      The National Center for Response to Intervention (7/23/13).  http://www.rti4success.org/screeningTools

      The Northwest Evaluation Association.  http://www.nwea.org/blog/2012/formative-assessment-vs-summative-assessment-results-timing-matters/


    • Blog post
    • 1 day ago
    • Views: 80
  • 14 ways to think about good te 14 ways to think about good teaching: A useful PD exercise

    • From: Elliott_Seif
    • Description:

      Much of my educational career has been spent in teaching or observing teachers. I also had the incredible opportunity of attending many wonderful professional development sessions with outstanding presenters, and working with some amazing educators over many years.


      As a result, I have compiled a synthesis of some of the most important things that I have learned about effective teaching along the way. Here are fourteen ways of thinking about teaching that, when part of true self-reflection, can change much of what is being done in the classroom for the better.


      These fourteen ways of thinking can be explored with individuals or groups of teachers to raise issues about teaching and learning, focus professional development around some important issues and challenges, and help provide a framework for professional growth over time. They may also be useful as a framework for thinking about teacher evaluation.


      Read the descriptions below of my fourteen “ways of thinking” about teaching and learning. Get familiar with them. When you are done, consider doing the exercises at the end of this commentary, or sharing them in PD sessions, in order to better apply them to teaching and learning.


      1.     Get to know your students, especially how they learn and think.

      Teaching is about relationships. Getting to know students helps with planning, motivation, interest, discipline, and effective communication. It is about knowing how students learn, how they think, what blocks their learning, what’s on their minds.


      As much as possible, get to know students as individuals, with all their variety of thoughts, passions, ideas, backgrounds, humor, unique qualities. This is especially hard for middle and high school teachers, who have so many students to teach. But it is important that all teachers, whatever their level of teaching, whatever their situation,  take some time during the school year to do activities that build relationships and help to learn about students. There are many ways to both formally and informally do this, such as get-to know-me activities, written self-reflections, observing how students go about solving problems, observing groupwork discussions, making sure students know to ask for help when they are having problems, meeting with students informally after school, or talking with other teachers about specific students (not always problem students).


      2.     Plan goals for both the long term and the short term.

      Long term planning should be the force behind short term planning. In other words, plan for what you want your students to accomplish in the long run, and then plan each day so that your students can get closer to your goal. For example, a long-term goal might be to help students become better writers, while the short-term goal is to improve their grammar and vocabulary. A long- term goal might be a unit goal, and each daily lesson plan contributes to the goals of the unit. A long-term goal might be a yearly understanding-based goal, and a unit goal might contribute to the year-long goal.


      As most teachers know, this is not easy. There are many obstacles, changes, and detours along the way, depending on what happens each day. The variables are tremendous. But it is always important to consider what you want your students to accomplish over a long period of time (the big goals), and figure out how each day helps them get there.


      3.     Include social-emotional learning goals as well as academic goals.

      With the emphasis today on standardized test score success, learning academic content and skills become the most important focus for achievement and success. But much recent research suggests that “social-emotional” learning qualities are critical for long term success. Students who don’t see a connection between their effort and learning, are unable to be persistent, lack curiosity and resilience in the face of challenges, cannot work well with others, lack self-responsibility, are unorganized or unable to plan their time well, or lack the ability and willingness to ask for help and support when needed will have a great deal of trouble both in learning and in life. So it is important for teachers to assess these “soft” skills as well as academic and cognitive learning to help students achieve long-term success.


      4.     Translate learning goals into meaningful, interesting questions and challenges.

      According to several sources, Richard Feynman, a world-renowned physicist, was “heavily influenced by his father, who encouraged him to ask questions to challenge orthodox thinking”… “[His father] never taught facts so much as questions. He encouraged young Richard to identify not what he knew, but rather what he did not know… What's most important for knowledge is the well asked question”.


      Today, in my view, too many teachers have lost the art of helping students focus their learning around meaningful questions. My observations indicate that teachers still most often focus learning around imparting specific subject matter or stating goals in terms of “behavioral” objectives. But what if we thought about our teaching in terms of exploring open-ended questions that are interesting and meaningful to our students? What if we put “essential” questions on the board at the beginning of units and lessons, discussed with our students why they are important and meaningful, and then referred to them throughout the unit? Designed core questions that extended throughout the year? Created meaningful open-ended challenges as starting points for learning? Asked our students to develop essential questions?


      One of my favorite questions, used by Kathy Davis, a first grade teacher, is the following:

      What writing is worth reading? Imagine studying different kinds of writing over a long period of time with that question in mind? Another set of questions, worth studying in an American History course, is the following: “What is the American Dream? Where did it come from? Does it still exist?


      So here’s something to think about: How can you translate your learning goals and objectives into important, interesting, meaningful questions? How can you use these questions as starting points for learning? For skill development? For making content relevant? How can these questions repeat and recur over time? Become the focus for many learning activities over time?


      Much, if not most, important learning and growth starts with curiosity around questions, or perplexities around challenges. Teachers need to reinforce that type of learning, and begin student learning with questions and challenges that stimulate curiosity and interest, and motivate students to learn.


      5.     Teach reading (and other forms of literacy) as inquiry, exploration, and research.

      Textbook activities often are treated solely as reading assignments (e.g. Read chapter seven and answer the questions at the end of the chapter). But what if teachers thought of textbooks and other reading materials, especially non-fiction reading, as sources of information designed to help answer questions, build understanding, explore interesting topics, and help find answers to challenges. What if the reading of literature was built around some interesting, significant questions, conflicts and issues? What if students had a chance to choose some of the literature they are asked to read based on their own curiosity? Treating textbooks, literature and other reading resources as a form of inquiry, exploration, curiosity, or research to answer questions helps put reading in an important context, not as a chore.


      One simple textbook-non-fiction reading strategy that helps support this approach is the simple SQ3R strategy and its variations. First, students survey the material to be read, looking at headings, key words, difficult passages, pictures and other ancillary materials, and the like.  Next, students turn headings into questions or bring into play previously developed questions to begin to find answers in the materials. Finally, they read and highlight key points, recite learning from the text that answers key questions, and then review and summarize the information that relates to the answers to each question.


      6.     Frequently use writing as a key instructional tool.

      Asking students of all ages to continually write in many formats helps them formulate their ideas, organize their thoughts, think clearly and cogently, draw conclusions, self-reflect, and learn how to write position papers, among other things.


      Most teachers don’t provide students with enough opportunities to write and reflect on their learning. Opportunities include writing at the beginning of a unit to determine what students know and how they think, daily short written reflections summarizing what they have learned at the end of a class, position papers around an issue discussed in class, research and project reports, analyses and interpretations from reading, frequent self-reflections, and end of unit essays in place of or complementary to traditional tests. Not all writing has to be graded, but carefully choosing writing to provide feedback provides students with significant opportunities for improvement.


      7.     Develop “deeper learning”.

      I have always felt that many teachers try to teach much too much content and therefore do not have enough time for getting deeper into subject matter and skill development. Teachers need to think about priorities so that content is most likely to be limited and remembered. For example, the period of history in which the Constitution was developed is a very good time to concentrate on a few key points about the Constitution: the Bill of Rights, the Organization of Government, and the Constitutional “compromise” on slavery. While there are many other issues and facts that might be learned, these are key.


      “Deeper learning” also results from analysis, interpretation, or doing something with (applying) the information learned. What if students ended this American history unit by developing their own Constitution for their classroom or school? Or created a new and better Constitution for America? Or simulated the Constitutional Convention and developed a Constitution based on the interests of each of the thirteen states?


      8.     Involve and engage ALL students in learning.

      It is surprising how often teachers, especially in middle and secondary teachers, spend little time thinking about how to engage and involve every student on a daily basis. All too frequently, I have observed teachers who ask questions and involve very few students in giving answers; allow students to put their heads down on their desks during a lesson; stand in front of the class instead of walking around to engage students. Many students learn that it is OK to “tune out” of the lesson, and that they will be rewarded just for coming to school that day. Beginning teachers are especially likely to make the mistake of letting students “tune out” of their lessons. Here are some ways to avoid student passivity:


      Don’t just stand in front of a group of students. Walk around the room. Catch the eye of students. Watch what they are doing. Gently shake a student who has his or her head on the desk. Call on students who you think are not paying attention.


      Begin each class or new learning experience with an engaging “To Do” Activity that students must respond to as they enter your classroom. For example, a “To Do” Activity might begin with writing a short summary of what they were asked to read the night before or finding the answer to a math problem based on the work they did the previous day.


      Use “think-pair-share” strategies to involve everyone in exploring significant questions. Here’s how it works. Ask an open-ended question. Then ask each student to write down an answer. Then students pair up with another student to discuss their answer. Finally, teachers call on individual students to share their answer and hopefully begin a discussion.


      9.     Bring the outside world into the school and classroom, and the school and classroom into the outside world, and help students apply learning.

      Here’s how I think about schools and the surrounding world: The school world is for learning - the outside world is for living. People don’t live in a school. They go to school to learn. They live in their homes, in their offices, in the environment around them, in the world outside of school. Too often, school becomes an isolated entity unto itself, with little or no connection to the way people live in the outside world. As teachers, we need to remember this and, as often as we can, bring the outside world into the school and the school into the outside world.


      How do we do this?


      I remember watching Ms Tolliver, an excellent elementary math teacher who made some wonderful professional development tapes, take her fifth grade urban students on a walk through the school neighborhood looking for mathematics concepts and creating mathematics problems (Math Trail). They developed problems and found mathematics around park benches, playgrounds, subway trains, parking meters, building blocks and shapes, maps of the neighborhood, and seven step staircases in Central Park. The math that they were learning in school became real and relevant. Another example: in a local comprehensive urban high school I recently visited, a counselor organized talks in the school by local community members to help students see the variety of careers and lives led by those with similar ethnic backgrounds. Finally, new technologies provide new tools for bring the outside community into the school and the school to the outside community. There are currently many examples on the Internet and on websites of how teachers use Skype and other Internet options to bring in the outside community and world into the school and classroom.


      10.  Know when to maintain a strong structure for students and when to “let go”.

      Good teachers know when to provide students with significant learning structure and when to give students greater freedom and self-direction. For example, when students are first learning how to do research, they need more structure – a step-by-step process, good explanations of how to conduct research and use research skills, models of good research products, and guided practice opportunities. Once they have learned and practiced the basic components of research, then they can be given more freedom to work on their own independently. In other words, sometimes students need strong structures, especially when they are first learning how to do something. But, eventually, we need to “let go” and give them freedom to work on their own and make their own mistakes in order to keep getting better at what they are doing. One of the most difficult decisions about teaching is knowing when students need significant structure and when to let go and give them more self-direction.


      “Letting go” may also mean giving students greater choice and more options. Giving students the right to select their own books to read should be an important part of a good comprehensive reading program. Allowing students to select their own research question, sometimes within the parameters of a subject area, also gives students greater interest in and responsibility for their research.


      11.  Help students to improve, make progress, and get better.

      What does it mean for students to get better at doing something? Understand in a deeper way? What are the most critical changes you would like to see in your students over time? What does it look like when they improve? How will you know when your students have a better understanding of core content? How can you build a student culture of “craftsmanship and understanding” that supports and encourages gradual improvement over time?


      Unfortunately, traditional tests and quizzes don’t easily lend themselves to demonstrating improvement and progress in understanding and skill development. Seeking gradual progress and improvement is more likely to occur when students frequently do tasks related to what needs improvement, such as writing, making presentations, conducting research, performing experiments, and organizing learning for understanding. Specific feedback that provides students with specific guidance on what they need to do better is important. Showing models of good work to strive for is very helpful. An approach to teaching and learning that savors and supports gradual progress and improvement can lead to the development of a culture and way of thinking that promotes craftsmanship, deeper understanding, and improvement over time.


      12.  Check for understanding - often.

      When I taught many years ago, I was unaware that I needed to frequently check for understanding. This was not good for student learning. This way of thinking has been getting much more play lately, and rightly so. Teachers need to check in frequently with students to see if they are “getting it” – really understanding what they are learning. Many strategies are available for this purpose, such as application oriented math problems, end of lesson summary strategies, such as 3-2-1 (three things I learned from this lesson, two things that were the most interesting, one question I still have); and 10-2 lectures (10 minutes of lecture, 2 minutes of reflection and questions).


      13.  Create strong culminating experiences and assessments.

      Unfortunately, end of unit culminating experiences are often multiple choice-short answer tests. What could be less interesting for a student? What could be less relevant? Should the traditional test be the culminating experience of student work and learning?


      Consider developing alternatives to traditional tests, even for just some units. How about a field trip to an art museum at the end of a unit so that students can analyze and write about a specific artistic period in greater depth? Perhaps students should write a position paper about a controversial topic in American History or design an experiment as the culmination of a science unit? How about giving students two or three (or more) essay questions several days in advance of a test time to give students time to prepare outlines of answers, from which one or two are selected to be written during a two hour class period? How about giving students interesting open-book (or even open-research) essay questions? Or what about completing an authentic performance task that demonstrates the ability of students to apply their learning to a new situation? These are much more interesting, relevant, and meaningful culminating assessments.


      14.  Appropriately use technology as a learning tool.

      There is a tendency to talk about using technology today as if it were something to be automatically incorporated into the learning process. The reality is that technology is often hard to use or apply easily to teaching situations. Technology usage often requires a good deal of staff development, and is costly to implement and maintain.


      However, technology, when used appropriately, can be an extremely valuable tool that enables teachers and students to learn more efficiently and effectively. For example, simple technologies, such as Microsoft word and powerpoint are useful for encouraging and editing writing and making presentations. The Internet is a wonderful tool to support research, but students have to learn how to use it carefully, skillfully, and wisely for this purpose. Some of the more complex technologies are useful to promote “gaming” and simulations. “Flipping” uses technology to help students learn basic information outside of school so that teachers can focus on “deeper learning” when students are in class. Some technologies that promote individualized learning through highly structured, engaging learning situations are very helpful to students.


      Any of these technology tools, and others, should be used when appropriate to the teacher’s goals and to the learning situation. Technology tools should be used for specific goals when they make learning more efficient, but not when they might deter students from using their minds, thinking through a problem, or reading texts carefully.


      Teaching is very complex, much more complex than it is made out to be in the press, in government initiatives, and even in State Departments of Educational directives.  Good teaching is a moving target – goals, children, cultures, teachers,  and conditions vary from state to state, school to school, and even classroom to classroom.


      These fourteen ways of thinking about teaching suggest both the complexity of good teaching and the potential common core components that measure good teaching and help teachers improve on what they do. Learning about students, creating a positive learning environment, focusing on both academic and social-emotional goals, building curiosity by focusing on questions, focusing on less content and deeper learning, figuring out ways to engage and involve students, planning both long and short term goals – all of these and more are important elements of an effective teaching-learning process. I hope that an exploration of these components will help teachers and school leaders understand what they must do to improve schools and suggest a way to build a framework for evaluating teaching and improving teaching and learning in the classroom.


      An Exercise to Share and Learn from These Fourteen Ways of Thinking


      Now that you have read and learned about the fourteen ways of thinking, here is an exercise you can do to help you examine these in greater detail and apply them to your own teaching situation.


      Here are the fourteen ways of thinking listed without commentary:


      1.     Get to know your students, especially how they learn and think.


      2.     Plan goals for both the long-term and the short term.


      3.     Include social-emotional learning goals as well as academic goals.


      4.     Translate learning goals into meaningful, interesting questions and challenges.


      5.     Teach reading (and other forms of literacy) as inquiry, exploration, and research.


      6.     Frequently use writing as a key instructional tool.


      7.     Develop “deeper learning”.


      8.     Involve and engage ALL students in learning.


      9.     Bring the outside world into the school and classroom, and the school and classroom into the outside world, and help students apply learning.


      10.  Know when to maintain a strong structure for students and when to “let go”.


      11.  Help students to improve, make progress and get better.


      12.  Check for understanding - often.


      13.  Create strong culminating experiences and assessments.


      14.  Appropriately use technology as a learning tool.


      Some questions to consider: 

      • Do these all make sense to you? What would you add or subtract and why? How would you change the wording to increase clarity and meaning? 
      • Which to you are most important for effective teaching? Least important? 
      • Consider how you apply these to your own teaching situation? Which areas are your strengths? Which are challenges?  
      • If you could pick one or two areas that you currently do really well, what would they be? Which one or two do you need to work on the most? 
      • Can you share what you do well? What do you specifically do that makes one or more of these “ways of thinking” work well for you? 
      • Can you take some time to think about which areas do you most need to work on? Find out what other teachers do who are strong in those areas? Do some research on effectiveness in these areas? Consider one or two changes to your routines that might improve them?



    • Blog post
    • 3 weeks ago
    • Views: 6407
  • Who Needs Money? Who Needs Money?

    • From: David_Hall
    • Description:

      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!

    • Blog post
    • 5 months ago
    • Views: 178
    • Not yet rated
  • Six Planes, Six Plans. Six Planes, Six Plans.

    • From: Suzy_Brooks
    • Description:

      This post is a part of the ASCD Forum conversation “how do we cultivate and support teacher leaders?” To learn more about the ASCD Forum, go to www.ascd.org/ascdforum.

      My February vacation was unlike any other I’ve experienced.  With two trips planned - I had it set in my mind that one would be about Education, and the other would be about Family. I would spend 3 nights in Snowbird Utah, as a guest of the Gates Foundation. Their Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teachers and Teaching Convening (#ECET2) was a chance for teacher leaders from all over the country to talk about the challenges we are facing in education.  I was expecting to be immersed in all-things Education for those 3 days - and I was.  For the next 3 nights, I would be with my family in the midwest, where we would be visiting my daughter’s #1 college choice: The University of Minnesota.  There would be lots of laughs, meals shared, and stories to bring home. I was expecting to be immersed in all-things Family for those 3 days - and I was.

What I wasn’t expecting? Was the amount of overlap between Family and Education during my 6 day, 6 flight adventure. This week has had a profound effect on me as an educator, and as a individual.  I couldn't help but re-think some of my goals, priorities and beliefs by the time I arrived back to Cape Cod.

      BOS - SLC: Am I a leader?

      In a recent post on ASCD’s Edge, I reflected on this question… Flying to Salt Lake City, I thought long and hard about it. I believe all teachers are leaders in their own way - some just take it beyond the classroom.  My leadership extends beyond my classroom by way of the Internet. It is online where i am able to shine as a leader. Online, I offer an opinion without fear. I have time to formulate my thoughts before typing. I share what I’m doing in my classroom without shyness. I connect with others I wouldn’t have the courage to offline.  It is the “face-to-face” leader I am reluctant to become.  ECET2 brought me out of my shell through cooperative opportunities designed for meaningful interaction. I worked closely with teacher leaders from all over the US, and in the process, I began to see my skills mirrored in theirs. There were soft-spoken, shy, thoughtful teachers. They are working hard to bring teaching and learning to the next level. I saw them as leaders, and in doing so, I started to believe in myself as well.

      PLAN: Connect with teacher leaders, and recognize my role as such.

      SLC - BOS: Where’s the balance?

      Flying home from Snowbird, my thoughts were consumed with the concept of Balance.  Every conversation I heard touched upon the struggles teachers face when it comes to finding balance in their lives…  How do we balance our role as teacher with that of teacher leader?  How do we find time for our family? How do we find time for ourselves?  Unfortunately, I came away with far more questions than answers. I am always amazed at the number of teachers who face the challenges of anxiety and depression. The more I tell people about my diagnosed, unmedicated anxiety, the more stories I hear.  Too many teachers I connect with are having to rely on medication, exercise, diet and counseling to help them cope with anxiety and depression.   In a profession where working at home is necessary, what strategies do teachers use to make everything fit? And, when it doesn’t fit, what is the price we pay? Do we leave the profession? Do we leave our family? What is conventionally billed as an excellent fit for families, a career in teaching doesn’t quite deliver. Balance is one of the biggest struggles I face in life. I have yet to figure out how to teach, lead and connect in effective, consistent ways.  Because of this, I live a distracted life - trying to juggle everything well, knowing I’m dropping balls left and right. Though I was surrounded by passionate overachievers at #ECET2, I left wondering where my answers would come from.

      PLAN: - Define boundaries where my attention is not drawn away from what is important.

      BOS - STL: Can my students Achieve the Core?

      My family and I took off from Boston 6 hours after I landed from Utah. As we prepared to visit my daughter’s #1 choice for college, we talked about the university’s requirements for entering freshman.  Common Core students should start arriving on the doorsteps of colleges nation-wide, well-prepared to think critically, work cooperatively and demonstrate understanding in multiple ways. Teachers all over the country are given the responsibility of delivering curriculum to fit these national standards, and we are essentially still at the ground level.  Understanding the shifts of the Common Core takes extensive reading and reflection, and it cannot be done alone. Teachers must work together to better define what teaching and learning will look like in the classroom at all levels.  With careful, thoughtful implementation, our students will be set up for success.  Isn’t that what they deserve?

      PLAN: Build capacity in my own Common Core understanding while continuing to offer PD for teachers.

      STL - MSP: Who put me in a cage?

      Before landing in the Twin Cities, I thought about the sessions I attended at #ECET2. After attending one particular session called the Cage Busting Teacher, facilitated by Rick Hess (@rickhess99), and Maddie Fennell (@maddief) I was empowered to think of myself as a leader who can have difficult conversations.  My anxiety often gets in the way of my actions - but Rick and Maddie offered entry points to engage education stakeholders. While the premise of the workshop was based on the idea that teachers are stuck in cages created by our education system, I saw it a little differently. What holds me back, is myself. I am in a professional and personal cage because I allow myself to be there.  I censor my responses, suppress my opinion, let others speak up because my fear gets in the way.  Typing this paragraph is a challenge for me, because I know deep down it is a commitment for me to break free of what holds me back.

      PLAN: Find inroads to necessary conversations as they relate to what is important to me.

      MSP - MKE: How does the fate of our individual journey figure in?

      After spending a few days on a college campus with my family, I couldn’t help but think about fate.  How do our individual choices culminate in an life-long journey?  Each of us have a story to tell - what makes us special; what life lessons we have learned.  Each choice leads us in a particular direction - and when we multiply out dozens and dozens of decisions, we end up at a certain destination. My daughter is at a time in her life where her decisions are starting to shape her journey. I was emotional several times during our visit, as my Big Picture thinking made me realize how our journeys shape us as individuals. To have it to do all over again would result in a different path, a different destination. I’m not sure I’d be wiling to risk losing the good and the bad of where I am now, for that unknown.  The teachers I met this week shared touching, inspiring stories as unique and special as they were.  Honoring our decisions (good and bad) as part of who we are, is so very important.

      PLAN: Recognize the importance of future decisions as being catalysts towards my ultimate fate.

      MKE - BOS: This I do for me.

      As I was in my final leg, and almost home, I took a break from reading a book and started thinking again… I am very thankful for where I am and what I am able to do.  I am honored and grateful for the recognitions I have received, and I love going to school and coming home each day.  I am very aware of the fact that my happiness comes from helping others.  In that quest, I often forget about the happiness that comes from helping myself.  Small messages came through to me throughout my trip…  Slow down, Suzy.  Pay attention, Suzy.  Exercise, Suzy. Relax more, Suzy. Be brave, Suzy. Essentially, the more I do for Suzy, the more I am fueled to do more for others.  So, as I wrap up this blog post, I am committed to a new plan.  I want what is best for my family, students, friends and colleagues. I am more than any of the individual roles I define. I am more than a mother, a wife, a teacher, a leader. Yet, it is the sum of those parts that make me unique. 

      PLAN:  Take better care of myself so I can better meet the needs of others.

      It is with sincere gratitude that I thank ASCD for my nomination, the Gates Foundation for the invitation, my amazing #ECET2 peeps for their inspiration, my family for our conversation, and my students for the motivation.  I’m a lucky girl.

Dream Big.

    • Blog post
    • 5 months ago
    • Views: 738
  • Leader to Leader News: Februar Leader to Leader News: February 2014

    • From: Meg_Cohen
    • Description:

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


      Action Items for ASCD Leaders

      • Join the ASCD Forum conversationFrom now through April 11, ASCD invites educators worldwide to join a conversation on the topic, “How do wecultivate and support teacher leaders?” Learn more at www.ascd.org/ascdforum.
      • ASCD Emerging Leader Program applications are openNominate a colleague; we are accepting applications until April 1.
      • Presenting at ASCD Annual Conference?Send your session number to constituentservices@ascd.org by March 3 for inclusion in a special ASCD Annual Conference L2L newsletter. We’ll highlight your session so that your fellow ASCD leaders know to come out and support you!



      ASCD Nominations Committee Selects Candidates for ASCD Board of Directors

      In January 2014, the 2014 ASCD Nominations Committee selected five candidates to run for two open positions on the Board of Directors in the next General Membership Election. Those five individuals are Tony Frontier (Wisc.), Josh Garcia (Wash.), Patrick Miller (N.C.), Lorraine Ringrose (Alberta, Canada), and Anne Roloff (Ill.). The election process will open on April 1 and will run through May 15.


      ASCD Releases 2014 Legislative Agenda

      The key priority for ASCD in 2014 is to promote multimetric accountability so that standardized test scores are not the sole measure of student achievement, educator effectiveness, or school quality. Multimetric accountability systems must

      • Promote continuous support and improvement.
      • Be public and transparent.
      • Include a range of subjects beyond English language arts and mathematics.
      • Incorporate important nonacademic factors such as measures of school climate, safety, and parental engagement.

      The 2014 Legislative Agenda (PDF) contains four policy recommendations:

      • A Well-Rounded Education: All students deserve comprehensive and engaging opportunities that prepare them for college and careers and to be active, productive citizens.
      • Conditions for Learning: Students need a strong foundation of support—including in-school social and emotional learning and meaningful parental and community engagement—to attain their full potential.
      • Multimetric Accountability: Standardized tests should never be the primary measure of student or educator proficiency; instead, accountability systems must include a range of subjects and promote continuous support for growth.
      • Developing Educator Effectiveness: Continuous educator preparation and professional development must provide personalized support that recognizes educators’ strengths and enhances their growth.


      ASCD Educators Connect the Classroom to the Capitol

      Educators throughout the United States recently convened in Washington, D.C., to attend ASCD’s legislative conference, the Leadership Institute for Legislative Advocacy (LILA). Attendees had the opportunity to meaningfully network with colleagues, build knowledge to expand their personal influence, and hear from top education thought leaders including U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan who urged attendees to “seize the day.” Duncan also commended ASCD and its members for “walking the walk when it comes to professional development,” helping classroom teachers and schools leaders commit to a “rich, well-rounded, rigorous education.”

      If you were unable to attend this year, see LILA’s storify collection—which brings together your colleagues’ pictures, tweets, and reflections. ASCD Emerging Leader alum Hannah Gbenro also shared her reflections in an ASCD EDge® post Educational Advocacy: Why and How.

      Other conference highlights:

      • Rick Hess of the American Enterprise Institute delivered a provocative keynote address during which he encouraged advocacy and offered attendees advice to improve their meetings with policymakers, from beginning meetings with a positive attitude and presuming the reasonableness of elected leaders to offering workable solutions and compromises instead of only raising issues and complaints.
      • With bipartisan panels of congressional staffers and policy experts, attendees learned about the pessimistic outlook for Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization.
      • In interactive skill-building sessions, attendees walked through the steps to developing a personalized advocacy message using ASCD’s 2014 Legislative Agenda (PDF) along with their own examples and data. Attendees then took their messages to Capitol Hill, where they met with their federal policymakers to share policy recommendations for improving education.

      Access follow-up resources from the conference, including more detailed policy recommendations and an overview of the legislative agenda.


      ASCD Emerging Leader is Facilitator of New Professional Interest Community

      Congratulations to ASCD Emerging Leader Jill Thompson, facilitator of ASCD’s newest Professional Interest Community on the topic of personalized learning. Please join the Personalized Learning group on the ASCD EDge platform to stay connected on this important topic.




      Join the ASCD Forum Conversation on Teacher Leadership

      The ASCD Forum is the chance for educators to make their voices heard on a topic of worldwide importance. From January 15 to April 11, ASCD invites all educators to explore the question through online and face-to-face discourse, “How do we cultivate and support teacher leaders?”

      To learn more about the ASCD Forum:

      To join the conversation:

      Join the ASCD EDge® group and respond to the comments from other educators.

      Read and comment on these blog posts:

      Follow the conversation on Twitter at #ASCDForum.


      Write your own blog post on the topic of teacher leadership. Here’s how.


      Join us at ASCD Annual Conference in Los Angeles at session #2124 hosted by ASCD President Becky Berg on Sunday, March 16, 8:00–9:30 a.m. pacific time.


      As the most active leaders in the association, you are integral to the success of this conversation. Your leadership helps set an example for others to make their voices heard. Please join the discussion on teacher leadership!


      ASCD Leader Voices


      Association News

      ASCD Releases 2014 PD Online® Course Catalog for K–12 Educators—ASCD announced the release of the 2014 PD Online course catalog. The new catalog offers more than 100 user-friendly courses developed by ASCD authors and experts available anytime, anywhere to educators, including 21 new PD Online courses. PD Online courses are developed to help educators increase their knowledge and discover best practice methods. Read the full press release.

      ASCD Announces Expanded On-Site and Blended Professional Learning Services Offerings—ASCD announced the new ASCD Professional Learning Services, enabling more school districts nationwide to receive greater customized professional development from the association. The ASCD Professional Learning Services offerings are customizable based on the needs of a district or school and are available in on-site or blended solutions. Read the full press release. Read the full press release.

      2014 ASCD Annual Conference and Exhibit Show Set to Host Sessions Focused on Technology, Leadership, Common Core Implementation, and More—ASCD announced the full schedule of events for the upcoming 69th ASCD Annual Conference and Exhibit Show. The upcoming conference will be held March 15–17 at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles, Calif. Attendees will learn ideas and best-practice strategies that drive student achievement while unlocking ways to boost teacher and leadership effectiveness. Read the full press release.

      ASCD Releases Four New Professional Development Publications to Transform Learning—ASCD announced the release of four new professional development titles for educators. As educators face new standards and classroom challenges, they will find solutions for prioritizing school improvement efforts, working with difficult students, bringing joy into teaching and learning, and teaching vocabulary effectively in these new professional development publications. Read the full press release.

      ASCD Brings Spring and Summer Common Core Professional Development Institutes to New Cities in 2014—ASCD announced the lineup of one- and two-day Professional Development Institutes for the spring and summer. Expanding to eight new cities, ASCD’s institutes are designed to provide greater support to educators nationwide as they continue to implement the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), while meeting educators where they are. Read the full press release.

      ASCD Releases 2014 Legislative Agenda, Calls for Increased Multimetric Accountability—ASCD released its 2014 Legislative Agenda on Monday, January 27th, at the association’s Leadership Institute for Legislative Advocacy in Washington, D.C. Developed by the association’s Legislative Committee—a diverse cross section of ASCD members representing the entire spectrum of K–12 education—the 2014 ASCD Legislative Agenda outlines the association’s federal policy priorities for the year. Read the full press release.




    • Blog post
    • 5 months ago
    • Views: 441
    • Not yet rated
  • Student Leadership and the 7 H Student Leadership and the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

    • From: Ryan_Thomas1
    • Description:

      student leadershipWe recently came across an article featuring Muriel Summers, an elementary principal who is perhaps best known for the Leadership Model Program she used to transform A.B Combs Elementary from a struggling school into the number one magnet school in the country.

      You can read more about the Leadership Model she used by clicking here, but we’d like to share seven of the basic tenants of the program below. We have a feeling that both students and teachers could benefit from reading them.

      Student Leadership and the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

      Habit 1: Be proactive
      I am a responsible person. I take initiative. I choose my actions, attitudes and moods. I do not blame others for my wrong actions. I do the right thing without being asked, even when no one is looking.

      Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind
      I plan ahead and set goals. I do things that have meaning and make a difference. I am an important part of my classroom and contribute to my school’s mission and vision.

      Habit 3: Put First Things First
      I spend my time on things that are most important. This means I say no to things I know I should not do. I set priorities, make a schedule, and achieve my goals. I am disciplined and organized.

      Habit 4:
      I balance courage for getting what I want with consideration for what others want. I make deposits in others’ Emotional Bank Accounts. When conflicts arise, I look for third alternatives. I look for ways to be a good citizen.

      Habit 5: Seek First to Understand
      I listen to other people’s ideas and feelings. I try to see things from their viewpoints. I listen to others without interrupting. I am confident in voicing my ideas. I look people in the eyes when talking.

      Habit 6: Synergize
      I value other people’s strengths and learn from them. I work well in groups, even with people who are different than me. I seek out other people’s ideas to solve problems because I know that by teaming with others we can create better solutions than can anyone of us alone. I am humble.

      Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw
      I take care of my body by eating right, exercising, and getting sleep. I spend time with family and friends. I learn in lots of ways and lots of places, not just at school. I take time to find meaningful ways to help others.

      If some of Summers’ tenants sound familiar, it may be because they are based off of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, a professional development series made popular by best-selling author, Stephen Covey. 


                                                          service learning guide

    • Blog post
    • 6 months ago
    • Views: 1374
  • The Film Canon Project The Film Canon Project

    • From: Michael_Fisher
    • Description:

      I am so excited to finally be able to share the Film Canon Project from my colleagues Heidi Hayes Jacobs and Frank Baker. (Click the Hyperlink to visit)

      This website and the accompanying resources are the culmination of several years of work collecting and curating films that are valued for their timelessness and impact on culture, education, and thinking.

      The website release is coinciding with the release of the new book series Contemporary Perspectives on Literacy which includes a book devoted solely to Media Literacy. In the book, Jacobs and Baker explore the role that media, specifically film, plays in the preparation of our children to be ready for college or their chosen career. Their chapter is specifically on designing a film curriculum and analyzing the impact that film has on multi-mediating content, engaging students, and being a new platform for deep analysis, discussion, and research.

      On the website, you can explore films by grade level, type, and release date. The films include basic information and links to resources through the Internet Movie Database. In some cases, the trailers are linked as well. Visitors to the website can also submit films to the database.

      The solid gold piece of this website is in the resources section, where visitors can explore scripts from Oscar-nominated films, gain access to Frank Baker’s considerable resources in his media clearinghouse, and access multiple resources related to film in different eras and in different countries.

      One of the reasons I’m so excited about this is because it supports work I’m already doing with teachers, particularly around the Common Core Standards. In the reading standards for literary and informational text, specifically standards for the Integration of Knowledge and Ideas, students are asked to consider multiple types of media to comprehend what they are reading and researching. As students get older, the standards shift from considering multiple types of media to evaluating specific mediums for impact and which are the best to emphasize the story or text. Eventually, students will speculate, with evidence from multiple sources, why a specific representation in a particular media is more effective than other representations.

      Additionally, our colleague Allison Zmuda uploaded a blog post about the values that the Netflix company seeks in its employees. The timing of her blog post is awesome, considering that access to film has never been easier thanks to services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. The philosophy that the Netflix company strives for are pretty good philosophies for our students to strive for as well in the classroom.

      I encourage you to visit the Film Canon Project and see the types of films that they have curated there and perhaps submit your own suggestions for films to include. As multiple types of media are increasingly available thanks to technology, websites like this one will become more and more important as we seek structure and priorities in the mountain of resources available.

    • Blog post
    • 6 months ago
    • Views: 837
  • What time is it? What time is it?

    • From: Spike_Cook
    • Description:

      What time is it?

      If I asked that question at home, my children would probably yell, “Adventure Time!” At work, I ask myself that question all the time (no pun intended).

      source: czarto.com

      source: czarto.com


      There are a lot of old adages and cliche’s about time and I love everyone of them… I’m sure you have heard them too:
      “Time swiftly passes”
      “Time is of the essence”
      “Time flies when your having fun”
      “Time is an illusion”


      With the increasing demands on school leaders, I think that this post is timely (pun again). How do we spend our time?


      I struggle with time. I am not a morning person, but I know it is important to be at work early (although no one seems to care how late I stay). Throughout the day I am constantly juggling the responsibilities of observing, walking through classrooms, connecting with other educators, talking to students and parents. My time is precious. …. I can’t be everywhere all the time (pun number ?)


      How do I manage my time? I have become reliant on my Outlook calendar. I have my calendar on my laptop, iPhone, iPad and anywhere else I need it. Someone asks me to do something or be somewhere, I usually whip out my iPhone to check my availability. I know I only have so much time (pun number ?).

       I have to make time to learn new time management tools

      source: www.chicagonow.com

      source: www.chicagonow.com

      My PrincipalCast co-hosts and I just did a podcast on Time Management. Although the session was not recorded (due to technical glitches) we had an amazing discussion on technological breakthroughs that can assist educators with time management.


      In preparing for the show, I read a wonderful post byTony Sinanis who ended up stopping by to chat. InPut What Matters First, Tony discusses how he “prioritizes” rather than “manages time.”He is student-centered and remains steadfast that students are first on his list of priorities!


      Jessica Johnson shared how she prioritizes her time. She uses the Four Quadrants of Time Management, a matrix popularized by Stephen Covey in his book 7 Habits of Highly Successful People. She also uses BILT (Before I leave today) to ensure she accomplishes her tasks before heading home.


      I shared one of my favorite books, Eat That Frog, by Brian Tracy. In the book, readers are provided with 21 time saving tips to make sure that priorities do not get out of control. 

      Other resources that were shared on the podcast:

      Paperless Principal by Jethro Jones

      Want to lose the 3 ring binder? Try Livebinders 

      Want to connect with people without email? Printing? Try Google Docs 

      Quickly becoming the best place to explore, share, and contribute educational content… Educlipper


    • Blog post
    • 8 months ago
    • Views: 390
  • Making Time to Lead and to Lea Making Time to Lead and to Learn: Action Steps for Today's Busy Principals

    • From: William_Sterrett
    • Description:


      As an educational leader, you have a vision of where your school needs to be. You have invested in your staff, students, and stakeholders, and you expect success.  And you hold yourself to a high standard knowing that your attitude—and your action—sets the overall tone for the school.  So why is it that some leaders seem to be able to “get it done” while others seem overwhelmed?  For many, it’s all about time.  All of us, if we are honest, have plans or goals that are unrealized, in part, due to how we have chosen to use our time.


      In Short on Time: How Do I Make Time to Lead and Learn as a Principal?, we tackle some of these important issues, one step at a time.  We hear insights and see examples from successful leaders in the field.   In my work as a teacher, principal, professor, and learner, I’ve compiled a growing list of ideas related to school leadership.  From this list of 100 Action Steps (yes, it’s a big, round number), there are a few you might consider:

      1. Calendar- Build in your priorities (consider the “DISC” acronym: District, Instruction, School, and Community) in a way that helps you lead, not simply react.  This road map to how you spend your time is your foundation for your work and your success.  Adjust settings to allow you to show up early to a meeting and greet stakeholders rather than arriving in a rush, and paste the agenda into your calendar ‘notes’ so that you are prepared to contribute.  Carve out time to collaborate, read, reflect, and contribute to the field.
      2. Take Pulse- Surprise the school community by riding a dismissal bus route. As you disembark with students at each stop, greet parents and community members before you board.  As principal, those end-of-the-day minutes I spent with students and bus drivers helped me become better acquainted with the school community.
      3. Data- Use real-time data to revitalize your school schedule and maximize instructional time.  Take time to observe hallway transitions, lunch lines, and in-class rotations from one activity to another.  Intentional data gathering can broaden your otherwise routine perspective in a new way. 
      4. Meetings- Focus on the ‘ABCs’ of faculty meetings to energize faculty and affirm staff (learn more in this excerpt from the book) so that your colleagues actually look forward to spending time working together (rather than simply having another ‘sit and get’ meeting).
      5. Student engagement- Provide teachers with feedback from walkthrough observations by focusing on what the students were doing—and saying—about the learning experience and objectives rather than what is written on a whiteboard or in a lesson plan.  Taking a few minutes to listen to students as they are learning can improve our perspective of what is truly being learned in the classroom.
      6. Professional growth- Work with a principal peer in another school to experience new teaching strategies, discuss trends and challenges, and perhaps even co-author a publication to improve the profession.  Spending an hour a month with a colleague in a targeted collaborative manner enabled me to see beyond my immediate challenges and consider other ideas or approaches.   
      7. Highlights- In your school office or foyer area, showcase an up-to-date slideshow or Twitter feed on a panel screen that highlights successes, recent field trips, outdoors initiatives, and innovations. 
      8. Conference or PD ‘Take-aways’- Find ways to send staff to conferences and professional gatherings—on one condition—that they strive to share one ‘take-away’ with their colleagues when they return.  Encourage faculty to apply new strategies and approaches, and support healthy risk-taking and collaboration. 


      Consider leaders who have successfully navigated some of these challenges and realized success in their schools.   Some of their action steps may be a great fit for you and your school, and you will likely add a host of others to your own list.  Ask yourself, “How can I make time to lead in order to realize this goal?”  Success often comes one action step at a time.  Let’s take the first one.   It’s time


      The ASCD Arias book Short on Time: How do I Make Time to Lead and Learn as a Principal? is written by William Sterrett, who is also the author of Insights into Action: Successful School Leaders Share What Works (ASCD, 2011). Learn more about ASCD at www.ascd.org.

      For more information about the book or to purchase copies, go to http://www.ascd.org/Publications/Books/Overview/Short-on-Time.aspx You can follow on Twitter @billsterrett

    • Blog post
    • 9 months ago
    • Views: 4069
  • Leader to Leader News: October Leader to Leader News: October 2013

    • From: Meg_Cohen
    • Description:

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

      Action Items for ASCD Leaders

      • Apply for an ASCD Board of Directors positionASCD’s Nominations Committee is seeking individuals to apply to run for a position on the Board of Directors in 2014. Go to www.ascd.org/nominations to access the application form and information on qualifications for office and the time commitment involved (Board members serve a four-year term). The deadline for receipt of the completed application is November 30. Contact Becky DeRigge at bderigge@ascd.orgwith any questions.
      • View proposed changes to the ASCD Constitution now, then vote in NovemberGo to www.ascd.org/governanceto view proposed changes to the ASCD Constitution. ASCD members will be asked to vote on the proposed changes November 1 to December 15.
      • Register now for ASCD’s 2014 Leadership Institute for Legislative Advocacy (LILA)Learn how to become a persuasive leader and advocate for the education profession at the 2014 LILA, to be held in Washington, D.C., January 26─28, 2014.

        You will hear the latest updates on key education issues, including teacher support and evaluation, education funding, and the Common Core State Standards. Insiders from Capitol Hill and the U.S. Department of Education will share their insights about national policymakers’ education priorities for 2014. Interactive skill-building sessions will provide strategies for developing and maintaining relationships and refining messaging and communications to help you garner support for schools, students, and educators. The conference culminates with Capitol Hill meetings where you will share your expertise with your federal lawmakers and provide input on important education decisions. Learn more and register for this premier legislative conference today at www.ascd.org/lila. 



      Shutdown 101 for Educators

      The first federal government shutdown in 17 years did not lead to immediate consequences for most schools and districts, but as each day goes by it becomes more problematic for the nation’s educators and students. See the ASCD policy team’s key takeaways and behind-the-scenes details on what the shutdown means for schools by reading our special edition of Capitol Connection and our ASCD Inservice blog post. They cover everything from how health and nutrition services for children and families are being affected to the long-term repercussions of the shutdown. And, for ongoing coverage, read your weekly issues of Capitol Connection!


      ASCD to Host 23 Common Core Implementation Institutes November 2013 to February 2014

      Starting in November, ASCD is holding institutes across the United States to help guide educators in implementing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The one- and two-day institutes will be held in nine U.S. cities and are focused on Mathematics; English Language Arts and Literacy; Formative Assessment; Leading the Change to CCSS; and Common Core and the Understanding by Design Framework. View the full institute schedule on ascd.org.


      New Whole Child Publication

      The Korean Educational Development Institute’s KEDI Journal of Educational Policy publishes scholarly articles and reports on research that makes significantcontributions to the understanding and practice of educational policy on an international level. This month's special issue, Promoting Students’ Social-Emotional and Character Development and Prevent Bullying, includes an article written by ASCD’s Sean Slade, director of whole child programs, and David Griffith, director of public policy. The article, titled “A Whole Child Approach to Student Success” (pp. 21–35), describes the whole child approach to education and its global education policy recommendations.


      Integrating Health and Social Programs Within Education Systems

      In August 2013, ASCD and the International School Health Network began work on a new draft statement, titled “Integrating Health and Social Programs Within Education Systems,” at a global school health symposium held in Pattaya, Thailand. The two organizations would like to encourage readers to review and comment on the draft, which was developed to explain how health and social programs can be integrated more effectively within education systems.


      Leaders in Action:News from the ASCD Leader Community

      ASCD Welcomes the Competency-Based Education Professional Interest Community

      ASCD invites you to join our newest Professional Interest Community, facilitated by ASCD Emerging Leader Jason Ellingson. The Competency-Based Education group is a place to share your ideas and connect with one another.


      2012 Emerging Leaders Will Use Pilot Grant Funds to Benefit Students through 2013–14 School Year

      This year for the first time, ASCD accepted grant applications from 2012 emerging leaders. The grant program, now in its pilot phase, is designed to give emerging leaders the opportunity explore new and innovative ways to support the success of each learner.

      This year’s grant fund recipients are Jessica Bohn, Krista Rundell, Fred Ende, and Amy Murphy. Jessica and Krista are working independently; Fred and Amy are working as a team.

       ASCD would like to thank all the emerging leaders who participated in the grant application process as we continue to learn and improve the program over time.


      ASCD Leader Voices


      • ASCD Emerging Leader Natasha Patterson is now the school director with UNO Rogers Park Charter School in Chicago, Ill.
      • ASCD Emerging Leader Nicole Zuerblis is presenting at the 2014 National Reading Recovery and K–6 Classroom Literacy Conference in Columbus, Ohio next February on the topic Teaching for Transfer: What’s Missing?

      • Professional Interest Community Facilitator Christina Yuknis recently received the 2013 Judith Ruchkin Research Award from Maryland ASCD.



      Common Core Myths & Facts

      Forty-five states have adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and are preparing to fully implement them—including administering tests based on the standards—in the 2014–15 school year. But rumors and myths about the standards have run rampant, causing confusion among educators, policymakers, and the public. The latest ASCD Policy Points (PDF)clarifies what the CCSS are and are not and tackles these myths head-on.

      Read the issue for straightforward facts and explanations that help combat common misperceptions about the federal government’s involvement in the standards, the cost of their implementation, the role of local schools and districts, concerns about student privacy, and more. We hope this Policy Points provides you with useful information about the CCSS that you can share with your local communities to help dispel confusion, counter opposition, and establish yourself as a trusted resource on the standards. If you have any questions, contact the ASCD policy team at policy@ascd.org.


      Throughout October at wholechildeducation.org: Early Childhood Education

      What does “education” mean for our youngest learners? The first years of school are as important for an educated population as any other period, perhaps more. Research shows that implementation of high-quality preschool programs can be beneficial for the lifelong development of children in low-income families and that an upfront commitment to early education provides returns to society that are many times more valuable than the original investment.

      With the current focus on standards and academic achievement, is learning and testing coming too early? Curriculum and assessment should be based on the best knowledge of theory and research about how children develop and learn with attention given to individual children’s needs and interests in a group in relation to program goals. Young children have different social, cognitive, and emotional needs than older children and early childhood is where they begin to build skills and behaviors such as persistence, empathy, collaboration, and problem solving.

      Download the Whole Child Podcast for a discussion on the importance of early childhood education with ASCD’s Walter McKenzie, authors Thomas Armstrong and Wendy Ostroff, the New America Foundation’s Laura Bornfreund, and ASCD Emerging Leader Jennifer Orr. Throughout the month, read the Whole Child Blogand tell us what has worked in your school and with your students. E-mail us and share resources, research, and examples.


      Something to Talk About

      Association News

      • ASCD Promotes Katie Test to Lead Communications Unit—ASCD has appointed Katie Test as the association’s new communications manager. In her new role, Test will develop and direct ASCD’s organizational and strategic communications and public relations functions. Read the full press release.

      • ASCD Offers Professional Development Institutes for the Common Core State Standards—ASCD announces 23 face-to-face learning opportunities focused on helping educators align instruction to the new Common Core State Standards. The one- and two-day institutes will be held in nine U.S. cities between November 2013 and February 2014 on five Common Core topics. Read the full press release.

      • ASCD Appoints Meaghan Duff as New Managing Director of Professional Learning—ASCD has appointed Meaghan Duff as the association’s managing director of professional learning. In her new role, Duff will direct and oversee the association's capacity-building programs and field services, digital curriculum and online courses, and institutes for educators. Read the full press release.




    • Blog post
    • 9 months ago
    • Views: 454
    • Not yet rated
  • Patience for the Unconnected Patience for the Unconnected

    • From: Tom_Whitby
    • Description:

      Connected educators may be the worst advocates for getting other educators to connect. Too often they are so enthusiastic at how, as well as how much they are learning through being connected, that they tend to overwhelm the uninitiated, inexperienced, and unconnected educator with a deluge of information that both intimidates and literally scares them to death.  The connected, collaborative culture is so different from what these educators have learned and how they have practiced teaching for years. It is disruptive to say the least, and it requires a change in both attitude and practice, as well as a shift in priorities of time to be spent. None of this is easily accepted, unless there is to be a big pay-off. For some the pay-off will not be worth their change and sacrifice.

      Routine is the enemy of innovation. Some people are comfortable with routine. They depend on routine to make life easier. It is far less work to continue doing the same old, same old, than to do something new. If it ain’t broke, don’t try and fix it! Too often these routines are part of education. Too often these routines become a problem in education.

      Some educators strive to make rules for conformity and compliance. Lessons are developed to control the learning in the classroom. Seats are arranged in rows to control the students. Student compliance becomes an unstated goal for the educator. Failure to comply may result in negative grades for students. This has been a routine established for many educators for many years. For too many, this is how they were taught, so this is how they will teach. This is in great part what makes them comfortable.

      We would like to think that this does not represent the majority of educators, but any educator reading this post can probably envision several colleagues described here. Much of this is counter to what is advocated by many connected educators. Because of that, connected educators threaten the comfort levels, or status quo of many unconnected educators. The idea of getting those comfortable educators to connect becomes a hard sell.

      Being a connected educator for a majority is an endorsement of personal learning. Connected educators participate and guide their personal learning to get from it that which they need, both personally, and professionally. Once an educator buys into that way of learning, and reaps the benefits in very profound ways, it changes his or her perspective on learning. Many become advocates for Personal Learning Networks and self-directed learning, not only for educators, but also for all learners. They open up to a more collaborative perspective in learning.

      The problem with this is that many connected educators were early adopters with short memories. They forget that, for many, when they entered the realm of connected educators, their education philosophies were not as they are now. Many were transformed over time. This arises as a problem when they advocate to the non-connected. Their expectation is that this transformation, that took time for them, will happen more quickly for the new adopters. This may become an unspoken promise to the unconnected that is often broken. It takes time to understand the connected culture. It takes time to understand the concepts of connecting. One cannot expect to connect and within a week or two to be transformed. Many newly connected educators are discouraged when that implied promise and expectation is not met. They drop off and drop out of collaboration.

      I think that if we, as educators, are to benefit through collaboration, especially the unprecedented collaboration afforded us through technology, then we have an obligation to mentor our fellow collaborators through their various stages of experience with the process. We need to encourage and instruct continuously, as we also learn and reap sources. The better our colleagues can understand and navigate the process, the more sources we will have to draw upon. As they become stronger, we become stronger. To be better-connected learners, we need to be better-connected educators. We need to have patience, but continue to persevere to connect our colleagues. We need to understand that the tens of thousands of individuals involved in this relatively new process are in varying stages of experience, and many need coaching. Some may even be overly experienced and jaded to the point of being unresponsive, or even intolerant of the needs the recently joined. They to may need reminders from time to time. The idea of collaborative learning is that we are all in this together, and together we are better and smarter than we are individually. 

    • Blog post
    • 9 months ago
    • Views: 217
  • L2L News: September 2013 L2L News: September 2013

    • From: Meg_Cohen
    • Description:

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

      Action Items for ASCD Leaders

      1. American Educators: Ask your senators to support effective professional development todayThe Effective Teaching and Leading Act (S. 1063) would provide both teachers and school leaders with meaningful support and professional development over the course of their careers. If you haven’t yet asked your senators to cosponsor this bill, please take five minutes and use ASCD’s e-mail template to send them a customizable message today. Then, encourage your friends and colleagues to do the same. And if you’re on Twitter or Facebook, check out our social media guide (PDF) for tips and sample messages about the bill. Thank you for supporting S. 1063 and your profession.
      2. Apply for an  ASCD Board of Directors positionASCD’s Nominations Committee is seeking individuals to apply to run for a position on the Board of Directors in 2014. Go to www.ascd.org/nominations to access the application form and information on qualifications for office and the time commitment involved (Board members serve a four-year term). The deadline for receipt of the completed application is November 30. Contact Governance Director Becky DeRigge at bderigge@ascd.orgwith any questions.
      3. View proposed changes to ASCD Constitution now, then vote in NovemberGo to www.ascd.org/governanceto view proposed changes to the ASCD Constitution. ASCD members will be asked to vote on the proposed changes November 1 to December 15.
      4. Register now for ASCD’s 2014 Legislative ConferenceLearn how to become a persuasive leader and advocate for the education profession at ASCD’s 2014 Leadership Institute for Legislative Advocacy (LILA), to be held in Washington, D.C., January 26─28, 2014.

        You will hear the latest updates on key education issues, including teacher support and evaluation, education funding, and the Common Core State Standards. Capitol Hill and U.S. Department of Education insiders will share their insights about national policymakers’ education priorities for 2014. Interactive skill-building sessions will provide strategies for developing and maintaining relationships and refining messaging and communications to help you garner support for schools, students, and educators. The conference culminates with Capitol Hill meetings where you will share your expertise with your federal lawmakers and provide input on important education decisions.   

        Learn more and register for this premier legislative conference today at www.ascd.org/lila. 


      Improving Schools

      School Improvement is tough and requires putting a lot of pieces into place to ensure that all schools meet the needs of kids. The whole child “Improving Schools”blog entry, written by ASCD Whole Child Programs Director Sean Slade, takes a look at the various factors required for successful student outcomes by tackling the issues kids and schools face today. During his more than two decades in education, Slade has written extensively on topics related to the whole child and health and well-being (PDF) and has been at the forefront of promoting and using school climate, connectedness, resilience, and youth development data for school improvement.In the latest “Improving Schools” column, Slade discusses the importance of preparing students for the futureby teaching them the skills they need for tomorrow. Read Sean’s entire “Improving Schools”column.


      Throughout September at wholechildeducation.org: Resilience

      Resilience—the ability of “each of us to bounce back stronger, wiser, and more personally powerful” (Nan Henderson); “not only survive, but also learn to thrive” (Bonnie Benard); or even to “bungee jump through the pitfalls of life” (Andrew Fuller)—is more than a trait; it’s a process that can and should be taught, learned, and required. Being resilient helps youth navigate the world around them, and schools and classrooms are becoming more attuned to providing the cognitive, emotional, and developmental  supports needed for resilience to prosper and grow in each of us.

      “If children are given the chance to believe they’re worth something—if they truly believe that—they will insist upon it” (Maya Angelou). What benefits do schools, classrooms, and students gain through increased attention to resilience teaching and development? How is resilience best developed: taught as a curriculum, integrated across all content areas, or organically developed by each student?

      Download the Whole Child Podcast for a discussion on resilience with host Sean Slade, director of Whole Child Programs at ASCD, and experts Sara Truebridge and Andrew Fuller. Throughout the month, read the Whole Child Blog and tell us what has worked in your school and with your students. E-mail us and share resources, research, and examples.


      ASCD Leaders on Reflection

      A defining trait of leadership is a passion for success and continuous improvement. With progress comes new vistas and new goals, as well as new challenges to overcome in our never-ending quest for knowledge and excellence. Leaders envision a future, and great leaders shape that future. With that in mind, the Whole Child Blog asked ASCD leaders to share their thoughts on what reflection means to them as learners, teachers, and leaders. Here’s what they said:

      Mary Beth Luttrell

      Sue Kessler

      Verneth Patterson

      Matthew Mingle

      Patrick Miller

      Christina Yuknis



      ASCD Leader Voices




      • 2005 Emerging Leader Angela Chapman recently became the Director of Curriculum with Massillon City Schools in Ohio.
      • 2011 Emerging Leader Matt Nelson is now Coordinator of Gifted Services for Metro Nashville Public Schools.



      Reflecting on How We Learn, Teach, and Lead

      Educating the whole child and planning for comprehensive, sustainable school improvement requires us to be whole educators who take the time to recharge, reflect, and reinvigorate. How did you reflect on your practice this summer and what goals have you set for the new school year? Read more at the Whole Child Blog.

      Over the summer months, we looked at educators’ need to reflect on the past school year, refresh their passion for teaching, recharge their batteries, and look ahead. Listen to the Whole Child Podcast hosted by Kevin Scott—a former history teacher and current director of constituent services at ASCD—and featuring guests Peter Badalament, principal of Concord-Carlisle High School in Massachusetts, and Jason Flom, director of learning platforms at whole child partner Q.E.D. Foundation.

      Have you signed up to receive the Whole Child Newsletter? Read the latest newsletter and visit the archive for more strategies, resources, and tools you can use to help ensure that each child is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged.



      Something to Talk About

      Most recent blog posts on ASCD EDge®

      Mostclicked stories from ASCD SmartBrief


      Association News

      Keynote Speakers Announced for ASCD's 2014 Annual Conference and Exhibit Show—ASCD has released the keynote speakers for the 69th ASCD Annual Conference and Exhibit Show, held in Los Angeles, Calif., March 15–17, 2014. The conference will showcase ideas and best-practice strategies that are driving student achievement and will unlock ways to boost teacher and leadership effectiveness. Attendees will choose from more than 350 sessions that will enable them to prepare our world's learners to be creative, critically minded, and compassionate citizens. Read the full press release.

      ASCD Kicks Off Yearlong “Membership Means More” Campaign, Announces Insurance Benefits—ASCD announced today new benefits available to current and future members as part of a yearlong rollout of new member perks and benefits during the association's “membership means more” campaign. Read the full press release.

      ASCD Publishes Eric Jensen’s Book about Engagement Strategies to Help Students in Poverty Succeed—ASCD announces the release of Engaging Students with Poverty in Mind: Practical Strategies for Raising Achievement, a new book by seasoned educator, prolific author, and brain expert Eric Jensen. Read the full press release.

      CEO and Executive Director Dr. Gene R. Carter received the Best Health Promotion Practice Award at the 21st IUHPE World Conference in Thailand for his service promoting a whole child approach to education and fostering greater alignment between the health and education sectors. Dr. Carter was selected by the Global Scientific Committee of the International Union for Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE) as one of the three award winners for best health promotion practice. Dr. Carter urges educators to promote and view health as fundamental; not only for the individual, but also for the success of education itself. Read the entire press release.

      Baruti K. Kafele’s New ASCD Book Shows How to Close the Attitude Gap to Improve Student Learning—ASCD has released Closing the Attitude Gap: How to Fire Up Your Students to Strive for Success by award-winning educator and best-selling education author Baruti K. Kafele. Read the full press release.

      New ASCD and McREL Book Presents Simple Approach to Maintaining Focus in the Classroom—ASCD has released The 12 Touchstones of Good Teaching: A Checklist for Staying Focused Every Day by McREL experts Bryan Goodwin and Elizabeth Ross Hubbell. Read the full press release.

      ASCD Welcomes New Teachers to Profession, Offers Resources—ASCD is pleased to welcome new teachers to the education profession and offer professional development resources to ensure their success during the coming school year. Read the full press release.

      ASCD Launches New Educational Leadership Subscription Offering—ASCD now offers subscriptions to its flagship magazine, Educational Leadership (EL).Read the full press release.

      ASCD Releases New Professional Development Offerings for Educators Heading Back to School—As students head back to school for the start of the 2013–14 school year, ASCD offers a new selection of professional development opportunities to enable educators at every level to support the success of each learner. Read the full press release.



      Dr. Carter Receives International Award for Best Health Promotion Practice

    • Blog post
    • 10 months ago
    • Views: 503
    • Not yet rated
  • Complexity: Capacity Building Complexity: Capacity Building

    • From: Kevin_Goddard
    • Description:

      Capacity building is one of the buzz phrases in education due to the complex nature of how society defines student success: “academic achievement; engagement in educationally purposeful activities; satisfaction; acquisition of desired knowledge, skills, and competencies; persistence; and attainment of educational objectives” (Kuh et al., 2007, p. 10). Capacity building within schools could not focus on only one aspect of development within the school because a single group within the school community could not possess all of the capacity necessary to fuel student success. Research indicates that capacity building increases student achievement (Cooter, 2003). All educators in effective schools take responsibility for improvement and professional capacity (Eaker, DuFour & DuFour, 2002; Chu Clewell & Campbell, 2007). Capacity builds as schools focus on learning and getting resources into classrooms to directly benefit students (Machtinger, 2007; U.S. Department of Education, 1998).

      Many authors have tried to articulate a definition of capacity. Ervin, Schaughency, Goodman, McGlinchy, and Matthews (2006) simply define capacity as skills, know-how, and available resources. Gewertz (2007) describes capacity as “building the school’s and community partners’ skills to improve, securing the resources to do it” (no page #). Fullan (2006) focuses on marginalized students when he articulates that

      capacity building involves any policy, strategy, or other action undertaken that enhances the gap of student learning for all students. Usually it consists of the development of three components in concert: new knowledge and competencies, new and enhanced resources, and new and deeper motivation and commitment to improve things…all played out collectively (p. 28).

      Knowledgeable education leaders understand that capacity building relies on the mission and vision of the local context which probably does not include academic achievement as primary to the futures of marginalized students (Schutz, 2006). Low performing schools do not have the capacity to turn themselves around in academic achievement when principals and communities are simply trying to survive concentrated poverty, low expectations, weak courses, burnt out teachers, run down facilities, overcrowding, and poor student behavior (U.S. Department of Education, 1998).

      Narrowly focusing expectations of schools in the form of AYP for all students as measured by one unattainable and not always relevant standard, when schools were on the brink of realizing the importance of participation by marginalized populations and opening up the possibility of class mobility of these populations, deflected attention away from what should be the true purposes of education (Noddings, 2006). By focusing attention on education’s inability to teach 100% of children to read and calculate on grade level in grade three through eight and the resulting distrust and dissatisfaction of the school community, schools have an even harder time building the capacity necessary to reach a critical mass in affecting true educational reform to create a truly powerful school-community coalition that could realize greater economic support for low SES schools, more democratic decision-making within low SES communities, and ultimately, better informed and equipped citizens of the future from all classes that might disrupt the status quo of the dominant class (Noguera, 2004). Low SES schools that were led by forward thinking and steadfast administrators continued this course of building the capacity of the school community to ensure truly unlimited opportunity for their student populations where the resources were available to students to be successful academically, socially, and culturally (Nesbit, 2006).

      The problem for meaningful and sustainable school reform is not attributable to a lack of energy, ideas, or a willingness to change in education. Fads, competing priorities, and unreasonable mandates deluge leaders immobilizing efforts to sustain and expand promising initiatives (Henig et al., 1999). As funding resources shrink, efficiency and capacity building become more and more important (Kezar, 2006). Teaching specific practices to families over making the effort to build capacity may result in advantages in certain times and places, but a “right way” approach causes action to lose its distinctive character providing the advantage (Lareau, 2000). “We need to reframe our entire reform strategy so that it focuses relentlessly and deeply on capacity building and accountability—a difficult but…doable high-yield strategy” (Fullan, 2006, p. 28).

      Capacity building is closely related to organizational learning. Knowledge and understanding moves from tacit to explicit back to tacit. “Teacher change, like most human change, must emanate from within” (Bonner, 2006, p. 41). Education becomes more than parents deferring to teacher professional judgment and only being involved to the extent that teachers value (Henig et al., 1999). By understanding capacity, the “lonely teacher… reaches out to and joins the community and family [as] school is a network with permeable boundaries connecting it to the other institutions comprising society” (Musial, 1999, p. 120), instead of “erect[ing] barriers with one hand while reaching out with the other” (Schutz, 2006, p. 726). Often, in unsuccessful schools, agents simply “do not know how to improve it, or they do not believe it can be improved” (Fullan, 2006, p. 60) when collective efficacy holds the potential for a better future (DuFour & Eaker, 1998). Authoritative leadership is not sustainable; but collective, collaborative, distributed leadership can build capacity and commitment to changing school culture in marginalized communities successfully through cooperating and competition, boundary conversations, dialogue, and productive conflict (Barr & Parrett, 2007; Copland, 2003; Patterson & Rolheiser, 2004; Stacey, 1996).

      As part of capacity building, principals actively build leadership capacity in others by “broad-based, skillful participation; a shared vision; established norms of inquiry and collaboration; reflective practice; and improving student achievement” (Lambert, 2003, Chapter 1, p. 1; Copland, 2003) and by developing learning communities where staff growth expands their capacity to provide for students (Eaker, et al., 2002). School reform rooted in the efforts of individuals and dependent on individual academic success cannot be sustained and will fail; working class learning is determined by the cultural context in systems dependent on sociocultural capital as opposed to individual capacity (Livingstone & Sawchuk, 2005; Musial, 1999). If capacity relies only on relationships or only on structure, capacity will be too soft or too rigid. Capacity is essential. “Because social systems are uncertain by their very nature, schools are fragile places (Lambert, 2003, Chapter 10, p. 1).

                  Many factors interact to determine educational capacity (O’Day et al., 1995). Yet, education experts agree, capacity building “must become a core feature of all improvement strategies” (Fullan, 2006, p. 104). Education has progressed to the point where discussion about capacity involves lists whose discussion centers around lines of responsibility versus lines of authority. These discussions describe capacity as built through clear accountability, relevant data available for analysis and application, and high expectations for staff with support of professional development (Walk, 1998). O’Day and colleagues (1995) feel “interdependence of organization and individual capacity” contributes to an understanding of instructional capacity (no page #). These authors list the five dimensions of organizational capacity as vision and leadership, collective commitment and cultural norms, knowledge or access to knowledge, organizational structures and management, and resources.

                  McREL (Dean et al., 2005, p. 5) defines capacity in three ways:

      • Leadership capacity: knowledge and skills to fulfill or support leadership responsibilities associated with high levels of student achievement, manage implications of change, establish and maintain a purposeful community, and determine a focus for improvement efforts
      • School capacity: collective ability to address the school-level, teacher-level, and student-level factors that are associated with high levels of student achievement and the ability to maintain a purposeful community
      • Teacher capacity: individual teacher’s ability to help all students succeed, contribute to school-level efforts, and address the teacher-level and student-level factors that are associated with high levels of student achievement

      Complex descriptions alluding to practices evident in High-Performing High-Poverty Schools (HP2S) get past the tendency to create lists and begin to open the door to envisioning improving instructional capacity in schools as an interaction of multiple elements to “produce worthwhile and substantial learning” (Cohen & Ball, 1999). Capacity building efforts result in “adoption, sustainability, and evolution of innovation” to allow HP2S to emerge (Schaughency & Ervin, 2006, p. 162).


    • Blog post
    • 1 year ago
    • Views: 765
  • Whac-A-Mole Leadership Whac-A-Mole Leadership

    • From: Steven_Weber
    • Description:

      One of my favorite arcade games is Whac-A-Mole.  When you drop your token in the machine, you have a limited amount of time to ‘whac’ as many moles as you can.  In the beginning of the game, one or two moles pop their heads up and it is fairly easy to hit each one.  About twenty seconds into the game, the moles start popping up three at a time and when you smash a mole with the mallet it may pop up again.


      Whac-A-Mole is similar to the daily routine of a principal.  From the time you arrive at school in the morning until late in the evening, moles pop up.  Your job is to address each mole and to prioritize which one is most important.  In this article, I am going to describe the ‘Six Moles’ a principal must address in order to be a good leader.


      Six Moles A Principal Must Address


      Family Concerns

      Principals receive phone calls, emails, and face-to-face messages from families.  If you work in the car rider line at an elementary school, a parent or grandparent may share a concern with you as they drop their child off at school.  When you check your email, you may have an email from multiple families with a concern about something that happened the day before.  There are times when a family member has a concern about something that is a district level concern, but it is the principal’s job to advocate for families and contact the central office or assist the family in navigating communication with the central office.  Families are not ‘moles’, but concerns pop up frequently and the principal cannot ignore family concerns.  It is not wise to ‘whac’ a family member, but the concern must be addressed.


      Instructional Rounds

      A principal wears several hats and the instructional leadership hat is critical to the success of the school.  If a principal is focused on email, returning phone calls, developing professional development, and attending meetings, he or she will not be able to focus on the main thing.  When a principal visits classrooms for formal or informal observations, it helps him or her get a pulse for student achievement and curriculum implementation.  A principal should be a coach, cheerleader, critical friend, and more!  If a principal does not visit classrooms on a regular basis, then the school will not continue to grow.  Instructional rounds cannot be something that a principal does when the ‘mole’ pops up.  This important leadership role must be part of the principal’s regular schedule.


      Student Discipline

      Student Discipline pops up unexpectedly.  There may be a student issue on the bus ride to school.  Students may have a dispute on the playground.  A student may break a school rule on the way to the next class.  Handling student discipline is one of the main roles of principal leadership.  Teachers and staff assist with student discipline, but when this ‘mole’ pops its head up, the principal cannot ignore it and move to the next three moles that pop up.  Some of you reading this article may be thinking, “If student discipline is a mole, then ‘whac’ it.”  You cannot use a hammer to hit every problem.  When you use the Whac-A-Mole approach to student discipline it means you handle the problems as they arise, rather than waiting for more problems to pop up.



      One of the most challenging ‘moles’ for a principal is email.  If you sit at your desk from 8:00 am – Noon, you will see multiple moles pop up on your screen.  More building principals are carrying a personal or school assigned smart phone on their hip.  At one point, it was easy to avoid email because you could walk away from the computer.  Principals have the ability to check email in the hallway, in meetings, while they are off campus, at home, and any time day or night.  If principals focus on each email as it pops up then they will get distracted and miss out on other important leadership duties.  Email is a great analogy to the game Whac-A-Mole.  When you reply to email it continues to pop up.  Time management is important and Whac-A-Mole Leadership involves more than whacking each email, hoping to bop all of the ‘email moles.’


      Professional Development

      Leading professional development is important.  When a school staff stops learning, they stop growing.  It is easy for principals to spend several hours developing a video, presentation, or hands-on learning activity.  Quality professional development requires planning, learning goals, and materials.  Principals are wise to develop a teacher leadership team who can assist with professional development.  This will allow the principal to have a role in leading professional development, without having to plan the entire session. This year, our school has conducted professional development on the Six Instructional Shifts (Common Core State Standards), Technology Integration, Literacy, and School Safety.  If the principal ignores professional development, then it may not happen.  However, a building principal cannot sit in the office and develop every PD, while ignoring other ‘moles’ throughout the school.



      Communication is an important responsibility and it cannot be ignored.  Principals need to communicate through the school website, email, newsletters, video, blogs, face-to-face meetings, PTA meetings, Coffee Hour, phone calls, and informal meetings in the parking lot.  Principals need to be intentional about communication.  Principals need to communicate with classroom teachers through classroom observations, email, blog, faculty meetings, notes, and informal meetings.  A principal could spend his or her entire day developing communication documents or preparing a speech for the next meeting.  It is important to see communication as a mole that you ‘whac’, but also as something you plan for.  If you are not communicating and marketing the great things about your school, then who is marketing your school?  You cannot afford to let the ‘communication mole’ pop its head up too many times.



      Whac-A-Mole Leadership is a humorous way to describe the day of a principal.  We can all laugh and relate to the moles that pop up throughout the day.  You can probably describe several more moles that principals must address if you reflect on your past week.  “Leaders are usually distinguished by their ability to think big. But when their focus shifts, they suddenly start thinking small. They micro manage, they get caught up in details better left to others, and they become consumed with the trivial and unimportant. And to make matters worse, this tendency can be exacerbated by an inclination toward perfectionism” (Sanborn, M.).  If the goal of leadership becomes whacking the next mole, we may miss the most important things.  Stephen Covey shared the Leadership Matrix (as shared by Michael Hyatt, Intentional Leadership).  Principals must ask, “Is this mole important and urgent?” or “Is this mole urgent, but not important?”  As the moles pop up at your school, I wish you the best.  Keep whacking moles, but make certain you are focused on the right mole.

    • Blog post
    • 1 year ago
    • Views: 2060
  • Student Engagement: Deep invol Student Engagement: Deep involvement in work that produces measurable outcomes aligned to goals.

    • From: Kathleen_Sauline
    • Description:

      The Edge on Engagement
      Kathleen O’Connell Sauline, Urban Community School (Cleveland, Ohio), Academic Coach

      Student engagement is one of those trendy phrases that we hear tossed around often in the education world today. I think the biggest challenge with student engagement is that when we are asked to describe what engagement looks like we may mistake busyness for engagement. If I walk into a classroom as an academic coach I may see many students busily creating charts, posters or rol

    • 1 year ago
    • Views: 6439
    • Forum: 21st Centur...
  • L2L News: February 2013 L2L News: February 2013

    • From: Meg_Cohen
    • Description:

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

      Your To-Do List: Action Items for ASCD Leaders

      • üWe are seeking blog post writers for the ASCD Forum. How do you think teacher and principal effectiveness should be defined and measured? Constituent Services is seeking ASCD leaders who are interested in writing blog posts aligned with a series of themes on the topic of educator effectiveness. To learn more, e-mail Meg Simpson at constituentservices@ascd.org.
      • üRegister now for ASCD’s Annual Conference.ASCD President Debra Hill invites you to the 2013 Annual Conference & Exhibit Show in her hometown of Chicago, Ill., March 16–18.
      • üSubmit a proposal for ASCD’s 2014 Annual Conference. ASCD is now accepting proposals for 2014 Annual Conference presentations until May 15.
      • üNominate a colleague for the ASCD Emerging Leaders program. ASCD is accepting nominations and applications for the Emerging Leaders program until April 1. For more information, go to www.ascd.org/emergingleaders.


      The ASCD Forum Has Begun

      For the first time, ASCD is hosting a forum to focus on a topic of importance to educators across the globe. Nations, states, and provinces all around the world are grappling with the issue of educator effectiveness. ASCD invites all educators to make their voices heard in an ongoing discussion of the question, “How do we define and measure teacher and principal effectiveness?” The current discussion theme is:

              Educator Preparation (February 3–16): What is the role and responsibility of educator preparation programs to foster and sustain effectiveness?

      Upcoming themes include:

      •  Educator Evaluation Purpose (February 17 – March 2): What is the purpose of educator evaluation systems?
      • Educator Evaluation Systems (March 3 – 16):  What research and evidence support the validity of existing evaluation systems?
      • Multiple Measures (March 17 – 30): What measures do we use and how do we weight them to measure educator effectiveness?
      • Conclusion:How do we define and measure teacher effectiveness? (March 31 – April 6)
      • Conclusion: How do we define and measure principal effectiveness? (April 7 – 12)

            The ASCD Forum concludes April 12. To join the conversation, educators are invited to blog on ASCD EDge®social network, comment on other blog posts, take a survey, and attend a live session at ASCD Annual Conference. Results from the ASCD Forum conversations will inform the ASCD Board of Directors’ position development process. To learn more about the ASCD Forum, join the ASCD Forum group on ASCD EDge or contact constituentservices@ascd.org.


      ASCD Releases 2013 Legislative Agenda

      ASCD’s 2013 Legislative Agenda (PDF) urges Congress to immediately reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and replace it with a comprehensive rewrite that fixes the current law’s flaws; aligns with and supports current state and local initiatives; and guides revisions to other federal programs, such as special education and career and technical education.

      The legislative agenda, developed by ASCD members and recently released at ASCD’s Leadership Institute for Legislative Advocacy (LILA) in Washington, D.C., offers three key policy recommendations to Congress as part of any ESEA reauthorization. Together, the recommendations advance the goal of educating students who are healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged, and who graduate ready for the demands of college, careers, and citizenship.

      • Support meaningful accountability systems that determine student proficiency, school quality, and educator effectiveness by tracking student growth, differentiating among performance levels, and using multiple evaluation measures beyond standardized test scores. 
      • Promote comprehensive improvement strategies that engage all stakeholders and are grounded in a whole child approach to education. Interventions for those who do not meet expectations need to be commensurate with their level of performance. Meanwhile, districts and schools that consistently perform well or demonstrate growth should receive rewards and incentives, including the flexible use of federal funds.
      • Help educators support students through adequate and effective preparation and ongoing professional development. In addition, teacher and administrator evaluations must drive high-quality professional development opportunities that build district and school capacity; enhance classroom management, planning, and preparation; and address effective instructional practices and subject-area content consistent with standards that prepare students for college and careers.

      As part of LILA, ASCD educator advocates from across the country discussed these recommendations with their federal lawmakers on Capitol Hill. We ask you to build on their work by sharing the 2013 Legislative Agenda (PDF) with your colleagues and elected officials.


      Alabama Featured in ASCD Inservice Blog Series

      ASCD asked some of our affiliate leaders to tell us how the implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) has been going in their home states.  In the fourth post of the series, Alabama ASCD Executive Director Jane Cobia writes about the challenges and successes that Alabama has had with CCSS implementation.

      Previous Posts:


      ASCD Leaders to Ignite ASCD Annual Conference

      With the tagline “Enlighten us, but make it quick,” Ignite presentations are a fast-paced, breathtaking, and inspiring way to share stories. Each presentation is 20 slides long, and each slide automatically advances every 15 seconds; this format keeps the presentations moving quickly. The following ASCD leaders will present their Whole Child stories in Ignite session format at ASCD Conference on Saturday, March 16:

      • 2011 Emerging Leader Kimberly White Glenn
      • 2010 Emerging Leader and Maryland ASCD President-Elect David Stovenour
      • Western Kentucky University Student Chapter Leaders Rachel Glass and Kateiri Kintz with Student Chapter Faculty Advisor Rebecca Stobaugh
      • 2011 Emerging Leader Doug Paulson
      • 2012 Emerging Leader Jessica Bohn
      • Assessment for Learning Professional Interest Community Facilitator Michael Rulon
      • ASCD Board of Directors Member Gabriel Rshaid
      • OYEA Honoree and 2010 Emerging Leader Dallas Dance
      • 2012 Emerging Leader Ember Conley
      • 2010 Emerging Leader and Florida ASCD Board Member Jason Flom

            Please join us for an exciting Saturday afternoon session from 1:00–2:30 p.m.!


      Join the ASCD Forum Conversation

      The ASCD Forum has begun, and you’re invited to be a part of it! Check out these ASCD EDge posts on teacher and principal effectiveness:

      Conversation is also taking place in the ASCD Forum group on ASCD EDge, and the #ASCDForum hashtag on Twitter. Join us! For more information, go to www.ascd.org/ascdforum.


      Throughout February at wholechildeducation.org: Safe Schools

      Safety is and always will be a fundamental concern for schools. Students who aren’t or don’t feel safe at school cannot learn, and schools must ensure that their environments are both secure and supportive. The current debate on school safety brings with it a renewed interest in addressing safety, school climate, and mental health concerns at schools and promises to improve school policy and practice.

      Yet while the current debate has engaged the nation in community-wide discussions, it also has the potential to overlook the voice of educators. Join us throughout February as we look at what educators (teachers, administrators, and counselors) believe is crucial to making our schools safe—not just physically safe, but safe places to teach and learn. What can educators do to implement and reinforce the conditions for learning where students are physically and emotionally safe; learn to manage their emotions and relationships positively; and are connected to the school, community, and caring adults?

      Download the Whole Child Podcast, check out the Whole Child Blog, and tell us what has worked in your school and with your students. E-mail us to share resources, research, and examples.


      Opportunity to Learn, Teach, and Lead

      What does it mean to be a teacher, a learner, and a leader in today’s schools and classrooms? What do we need to be effective? How will the current standards movement affect us, as professionals, and our students? How do we find the answers to these questions? Read more on the Whole Child Blog.

      In December and January, we looked at what we can do to implement the Common Core standards within a whole child approach. Listen to the Whole Child Podcast with guests Arnold Fege, president of Public Advocacy for Kids; Craig Mertler, professor and dean of the Ross College of Education at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla.; and David Griffith, director of public policy at ASCD, who leads the development and implementation of ASCD’s legislative agenda (PDF) as well as ASCD’s efforts to influence education decision making at the local, state, and federal levels.

      Have you signed up to receive the Whole Child Newsletter? Read January’s newsletter and visit the archive for more strategies, resources, and tools you can use to help ensure that each child is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged.


      The Time Is Now: Make the Case for Educating the Whole Child

      Whether you are a parent, educator, or community member, you can help turn political rhetoric about “investing in the future of our children” into reality. Updated with crucial research and real-world examples of education policies and practices that ensure students are healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged, Making the Case for Educating the Whole Child (PDF) is a free advocacy tool that you can use as you work with policymakers, the media, and other groups. You can also add your local statistics and success stories so that decision makers in your community understand the difference a whole child education can make. Learn more.


      Something to Talk About

      ·         Most recent blog posts on ASCD EDge®

      ·         Most-clicked stories from ASCD SmartBrief


      Association News

      ·         Results-Only Learning the Subject of Pioneering Educator Mark Barnes’s New ASCD Book—ASCD is pleased to announce the release of Role Reversal: Achieving Uncommonly Excellent Results in the Student-Centered Classroom by Mark Barnes, 20-year classroom teacher and creator of the Results Only Learning Environment (ROLE). In this groundbreaking book, Barnes walks middle and high school teachers through the fundamentals of a ROLE. Results-only learning eliminates traditional practices—homework, worksheets, tests, and even grades—and replaces them with student-driven, yearlong projects that enable students to sharpen and expand their skills. Read the full press release.

      ·         Pinellas County Schools and ASCD Partner to Support Common Core Implementation—The award-winning Pinellas County Schools (PCS) has chosen ASCD as its newest professional development partner. The seventh largest school system in Florida, PCS serves 104,000 preK–12th grade students in more than 145 schools. Read the full press release.

      ·         ASCD Releases 2013 Legislative Agenda—ASCD released its 2013 legislative agenda (PDF). Developed by the association’s Legislative Committee, which is a diverse cross-section of ASCD members representing the entire spectrum of K–12 education, the 2013 ASCD Legislative Agenda outlines the association’s federal public policy priorities for the year. The key priority for ASCD and its members in 2013 is the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Read the full press release.

      ·         ASCD Introduces the New PD QuickKit—ASCD introduces the new PD QuickKit® digital packs. PD QuickKits are a cost-effective, powerful new professional development option that combines engaging multimedia resources focused on the most important issues in education today. Read the full press release.


    • Blog post
    • 1 year ago
    • Views: 710
    • Not yet rated
  • A Dozen Reasons Why We Need Hi A Dozen Reasons Why We Need High Quality Science Teaching and Learning in a 21st Century World

    • From: Elliott_Seif
    • Description:

      Because of the requirements of No Child Left Behind and the current emphasis on implementing the Common Core standards, reading and math are given priority time and attention in many, if not most public schools and Districts. Due to these circumstances, there is relatively little priority given to teaching and learning science. We frequently read in the media about the importance of science in today’s 21st century world, yet there is little emphasis on creating comprehensive, high quality science programs at all levels, pre-school through high school. It is rare to find coherent, active learning, inquiry based science programs at the pre-school and primary grade levels. Many teachers at the elementary level indicate that they have limited time to include science activities in the curriculum. High quality science programs emphasize active learning through inquiry strategies, investigation, hypothesis testing, experimentation, and science projects, but in too many middle and high school science classes, the key science program ingredients are the use of textbooks as the primary science resource, coverage driven teaching and learning, and traditional multiple-choice, short essay tests. Other priorities, time limitations, lack of attention, fragmentation, a traditional coverage based focus – all conspire to reduce the effectiveness and excellence of science programs in most schools and Districts.

       Here are one dozen reasons why we must counter these trends and find ways to implement high quality science teaching and learning for all our children at all educational levels:

        1.     Science is interesting, important, meaningful, and motivating.

      Science questions provoke interest in the mysteries and wonders of the natural world. Students learn to think about important questions, such as: What is the nature of the universe? How does life exist? Why do things grow? Learning science provides students with an understanding of its massive contributions to everyday living and the comforts of life. Science programs provide an important avenue for helping students to develop a passion for inquiry and a better understanding of the world around us.

       2.     Science career opportunities will be important in the future.

      High quality science education experiences develop scientific talents and interests. Good science programs interest, motivate and encourage students to prepare to work in the growing science-related professions, as scientists, health care professionals, technicians, and other science-related fields.

       3.     Science promotes democratic thinking and values.

      Science teaches children to be open to new ideas and new ways of thinking in order to resolve problems.  Conflicts in science are resolved peacefully through discussion, argument, further investigation and the collection of evidence. Scientists learn to “disagree without being disagreeable”. Thoughtful criticism is the norm, not the exception. The expectation is that, as Einstein once said, “critical comments should be taken in a friendly spirit”.

       4.     Science builds positive lifelong learning habits, behaviors and attitudes.

      Good science programs emphasize the value of inquiry, encourage curiosity, and reward persistence and patience.  Students learn to focus on science as a series of mysteries. They learn how to develop and explore interesting questions. They learn to solve problems and answer questions by taking small steps, being persistent, having patience, and overcoming adversity. They learn that finding “truth” is often messy and inconclusive. Students learn that successful achievement and learning often require trial and error, making mistakes, even failure. In other words, science teaches habits, behaviors and attitudes that support self-directed, autonomous, lifelong learning.

       5.     Science enhances creativity and imagination, tolerance for and adaptation to change

      High quality science programs encourage students to ask “what if…?”. Students learn to explore open-ended questions, to consider alternatives that are “outside the box”, to invent and test creative solutions, and to try to solve problems in different and unusual ways. Science teaches students that change and adaptation is part of the nature of learning and growing by testing new ideas and adapting to changing circumstances.

       6.     Science teaches that knowledge is “tentative” and that knowledge, theory and explanation are all part of the learning process.

      Too many students come away from school thinking that that knowledge is fixed and immutable (especially if it comes from a textbook) – that there is always a right answer. A study of Galileo’s or Einstein’s discoveries help students to see that what once was thought to be “correct” turned out to be wrong, that scientific knowledge needs to be tested, studies need replication, and theory is only an empty idea until there is data to support and explain it. Good science programs teach students that knowledge is frequently tentative and changing.

       7.     Science develops critical intellectual skills.

      Science fosters the development of critical thinking skills that carry over to learning other subjects and daily living. Through science, children learn to carefully observe (What do you see happening to this plant as it grows?) interpret and hypothesize (Why do you think this is happening?) conduct experiments (How can we prove it?), see different perspectives and points of view (What are different points of view about why this happened?) analyze (What are its component parts?) synthesize (How does this all fit together into a pattern? What are the connections and relationships?) and draw conclusions (What are our results? Conclusions? Why?) Students learn how to create an argument with supporting evidence to justify a point of view, to question opinions that have little backing to support them.

       8.     Science builds reading and “learning to learn” skills.

      Good science programs build strong reading skills! As students investigate physical forces, chemical reactions, biological growth, or the solar system, they also learn how to read a variety of science resources, understand new concepts, build vocabulary and background knowledge, and learn the language of science and science inquiry. The investigation skills they learn – defining problems and challenges, searching for and processing information, thinking critically and creatively, drawing conclusions and applying learning, and communicating with others and explaining results - are a significant part of the “learning to learn” skills they will need for college and future careers.

       9.     Science helps students to learn and apply mathematical thinking.

      Math is the language of science. As students learn science, they learn that mathematics is an important tool to help solve real problems and questions.  Measurement, number manipulation, and proportional thinking are critical tools of science. As students “do” science, they learn how to collect and analyze data, form patterns, develop spatial and geometric relationships, and apply many of the higher level and complex math systems to scientific problem solving.

       10.   Science enriches learning in other subjects.

      All subject areas benefit when a student understands science concepts and ideas. For example, science concepts are helpful for understanding historical forces, technological and social changes over time, and current issues and concerns such as global warming. Science problems can be used to help students understand and apply statistical analysis.  The arts are integrated into science through graphic designs and drawings that complement learning about scientific and technological principles and innovations and provide visual demonstrations of learning. Science concepts are intertwined with understanding healthy living habits and good nutrition.

       11.  Science develops teamwork skills.

      Through science, children learn how to work together to investigate, test hypotheses, interpret data, and draw conclusions. As they work together, they learn to understand and tolerate difference and diversity. They learn how teamwork contributes to significant learning. Science can also contribute to making schools safer and more peaceful by teaching students how to work together and resolve conflicts.

       12.  Scientific understanding is critical for good citizenship in a 21st century world.

      An understanding of science, science concepts, how science arrives at results, and science research is critical if students are to become intelligent citizens in a democratic society.  An understanding of today’s complex issues, concerns, challenges and problems require an understanding of scientific principles, concepts and ideas. Global warming is the most obvious, but others include what to do about atomic waste, how to get clean water, agriculture and food issues, health and illness, hurricane damage prevention, energy issues, automation and robotics.




      High quality, inquiry based science programs motivate children and provide them with intellectual skills and positive attitudes and values that help them to succeed in school and in life. Science learning raises and examines critical questions and promotes understanding about the natural and physical world, and provides students with inquiry and investigation skills that will encourage a lifetime of learning. They increase interest in a subject that is of considerable importance to the development of highly educated citizens who understand critical issues for the future and to student preparation for well-paying science-related careers.  Good science programs help students learn to work together and to learn methods that help them resolve conflicts peacefully.

      Teachers, Boards of Education, superintendents, principals, the community at large, and governments at all levels – all need to make a commitment to support and develop high quality science programs at all levels, including pre-school. There are many ways to do this – for example, to widely share and discuss these dozen reasons on why it is critical to develop strong science programs, to adopt high quality science curricula at all levels[i], to develop teachers’ science knowledge and skills, to train teachers on how to incorporate high quality science experiences into their classrooms, to involve local science organizations in promoting and fostering high quality programs, to apply for funds to implement and support high quality science programs at all levels, and, ultimately, to develop competent science educators in every school and at all levels.

       Every child should have the opportunity to participate in a strong, coherent science program. It should be priority for a 21st century world education. Science education can have a powerful impact on children and learning, and it can make a significant difference in the lives of children. What it takes is understanding, commitment, dedication, passion, persistence, and hard work over time.


      [i] Curricular programs that meet the high quality test include active, kit based elementary science programs such as FOSS (http://lhsfoss.org), secondary programs such as Active Physics (http://its-about-time.com/htmls/ap.html), and the adoption of teaching methods that promote active learning and support science understanding, such as those created by Eric Mazur at Harvard University (http://mazur.harvard.edu/education/educationmenu.php).



      Elliott Seif is a long time educator, Understanding by Design trainer, author, consultant, former Professor of Education at Temple University, and former Director, Curriculum/Instruction Services for the Bucks County Intermediate Unit. If you are interested in examining additional ways to improve teaching,  learning, and curriculum in order to help to prepare students to live in a 21st century world, go to his website at:  www.era3learning.org



    • Blog post
    • 1 year ago
    • Views: 971
  • Technology Integration: Teachi Technology Integration: Teaching for Understanding

    • From: Steven_Weber
    • Description:


      "Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?" 

      - President George W. Bush,
      Florence, South Carolina, January 11, 2000


      Does technology integration improve student achievement? If your child is entering kindergarten in 2013, you may see a SmartBoard instead of a chalkboard. Your child may come home with a blog, rather than an essay. Animoto, Doodle Buddy, Glogster, Story Buddy, Symbaloo, Tagxedo, and VoiceThread may require parents and guardians to purchase a dictionary just to understand the teacher’s assignments.  It is an exciting time in education and students are entering classrooms with opportunities that their parents did not have. As teachers continue to use technology as a tool to teach students key skills and concepts, it is important to focus on the learning targets rather than the technology or online tools.


      In 1949, Ralph Tyler wrote Basic Principles of Curriculum and Instruction.  In the introduction to the book, Tyler outlined four fundamental questions which should be answered in developing any curriculum and plan of instruction.


      Tyler’s Four Fundamental Questions:


      1.  What educational purposes should the school seek to attain?


      2.  What educational learning experiences can be provided that are likely to attain these purposes?


      3.  How can these educational experiences be effectively organized?


      4.  How can we determine whether these purposes are being attained?


      These questions are just as important in 2013 as they were in 1949. Tyler never had the opportunity to Skype or create a VoiceThread, but he had a clear understanding of curriculum design.  It is easy for teachers to get wrapped up in the activity and teaching students how to use the online tool. “In the absence of a learning plan with clear goals, how likely is it that students will develop shared understandings on which future lessons might build” (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005, p. 21)? If teachers desire for students to have an Alphabet Soup vocabulary of Web 2.0 tools, then they should focus on teaching every tool that looks fun and kid-friendly.  However, if teachers want students to understand key skills and concepts outlined by standards, then Tyler’s four questions will support curriculum planning.  Prior to mobile labs, 1:1 initiatives, SmartBoards, and Web 2.0 tools, teachers designed lessons which led to student understanding.  While the tools available to teachers and students will continue to multiply, the basic goals of teaching for understanding remain consistent.  President Bush may have been right.  Parents and teachers need to ask, “Is our children learning?" 


      Recommended Resources Which Support Technology Integration and Teaching for Understanding:


      Ferriter, W.M. (2013). Digital immigrants unite. The Tempered Radical.


      Ferriter, W.M., & Garry, A. (2010). Teaching the igeneration: 5 easy ways to introduce
                  essential skills with web 2.0 tools
      . Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree.


      Fisher, M., & Hale, J. (Coming in Feb. 2013) Upgrade your curriculum: Practical ways to
                  transform units and engage students
      . Alexandria, VA: ASCD.


      Tyler, R. W. (1949). Basic principles of curriculum and instruction. Chicago: University
                  of Chicago Press.


      Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by design: Expanded 2nd edition.
                  Alexandria, VA: ASCD. 

    • Blog post
    • 1 year ago
    • Views: 1125
    • Not yet rated
  • 3D School Leadership 3D School Leadership

    • From: Steven_Weber
    • Description:

      As we enter 2013, teachers and administrators will reflect on the school’s existing strengths and weaknesses. High performing schools ask questions such as, “Which students are struggling? What will we do to support them in 2013?” New Year’s Day is a time when people around the world establish new personal and team goals. Among the most common personal goals are weight loss, financial goals, spending time with those you love, and volunteerism. How can school leaders capitalize on this transition from 2012 to 2013? How can goals drive the work of teachers and schools?


      New Year’s goals and resolutions are shattered annually. In some cases, creating a goal on New Year’s Day is a ritual and follow-through is an afterthought. If school leaders want to move their students and staff to the next level, then they need to adopt a 3D School Leadership mindset. 3D School Leadership includes Direction, Differentiation, and Dedication.


      A precursor to improvement is a clear understanding of the goal. Educators often enter a new year and don’t pause to reflect on the current reality (i.e., Where are we? Where are we going? How will we get there?). Blanchard (2007) contends, “Goal setting is the single most powerful motivational tool in a leader’s toolkit” (p. 150). A school without clearly defined goals is like a ship without a rudder; it lacks direction and a slight wind could easily blow it off course (Wiles, 2009).


      School leaders often boast that they have a mission and vision statement framed in the front office. While there is a time and a place for mission and vision, 3D Leadership defines the ‘What’ and the ‘How’. What are we going to commit to as a school staff between January and June 2013? How will the direction of the school impact our grade level/course? Based on my teaching assignment or administrator role, how can I help the team stay on course in 2013? DuFour, DuFour, & Eaker (2008) wrote, “One of the most pressing questions a school must consider as it attempts to build the collaborative culture of a PLC is not, ‘Do we collaborate?’ but rather, ‘What do we collaborate about?’” (p. 28). A lack of clarity on intended results is a barrier to growth and continuous improvement in most schools. When teachers and staff return in 2013, revisit the school’s direction.


      If you have been in a faculty meeting, participated in a webinar, or served on a School Improvement Team, it is likely that someone has offered differentiation as a strategy for supporting student achievement. 3D School Leadership emphasizes differentiation for students, families and staff. A one-size fits all approach to education is not going to work any better in 2013 than it did in 2012. Differentiated instruction, assignments, and assessments will increase student engagement and achievement. Tomlinson, Brimijoin, and Narvaez (2008) highlighted the non-negotiables of differentiation: “respecting individuals, owning student success, building community, providing high-quality curriculum, assessing to inform instruction, implementing flexible classroom routines, creating varied avenues to learning, and sharing responsibility for teaching and learning” (p. 3).


      How can a school leader differentiate for families? In 2013, a 3D School Leader can provide communication to families through Facebook, Twitter, Email, Phone Messages, Blog, and the traditional newsletter. If you are not reaching all of your families through existing communication strategies, you may benefit from a differentiated communication plan. Another way to involve families in school events is online through surveys, responses to social media posts, and a Twitter Chat with a unique hashtag. You may find that families are more involved in the school when they have a voice in determining the events at Open House, PTA meetings, and school events. Utilize a differentiated approach in 2013 and see if you are able to reach more families.


      One final focus of the 3D School Leader will be differentiation with staff. Flipping the Faculty meeting, meeting individually with grade level teams, creating a school discussion thread or corkboard.me, and encouraging teachers to lead professional development are a few strategies for differentiation with school staff. You may be surprised with the results!


      It is difficult to find classroom teachers who aren’t dedicated to their students. I am amazed by the time, creativity, and teacher leadership that I see on a daily basis. 3D School Leadership requires the entire staff to dedicate their time, talent, and efforts to the school’s goals. Classroom goals should be aligned to the school’s goals. In education, it is easy to focus on my class and my students. 3D School Leadership will embrace the abilities of each staff member and use their strengths to support school goals. One strategy for increasing dedication is for each grade level team, or course (at the high school level), to develop S.M.A.R.T. Goals. A template for developing S.M.A.R.T. goals is available at All Things PLC.



      School Goal(s): 
      Increase the number of students who graduate College and Career Ready
      Increase the number of students who are reading on grade level
      Support my co-workers in implementing the Common Core State Standards


      The S.M.A.R.T. goal template will help your team become dedicated to the goal, rather than having an awareness of the goal. Use your collective skills and abilities to make a difference in 2013.




      3D School Leadership is more than establishing goals or identifying existing weaknesses. Once teachers and administrators embrace 3D School Leadership, they will begin to move in the right direction. Too often, schools approach goal setting like many individuals approach New Year’s Resolutions. Purchasing a gym membership, buying an alarm clock, reading a motivational author, and using a day planner or Google Calendar are all great ways to start the new year. It’s not where you start in January, but where you are as a school team in June.


      Determine to make 2013 different than the rest. Identify the school’s direction. Use differentiation with students, families, and staff in an effort to meet your school goals. Remember that dedication to a goal is much more important than having a goal. Margaret Mead reminds us, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens [educators] can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."



      Steven Weber is the principal at Hillsborough Elementary School located in Hillsborough, NC. He blogs at ASCD EDge. Recently, his blog titled A Bucket List for K-12 Students made the Top 10 Blogs of 2012 on ASCD Edge. Connect with Weber on Twitter @curriculumblog.

    • Blog post
    • 1 year ago
    • Views: 3237
    • Not yet rated
  • 5 Secrets For Smarter Educatio 5 Secrets For Smarter Education Technology Integration

    • From: Terrell_Heick
    • Description:


      by Terry Heick, TeachThought.com

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

      A Means and an End

      Technology is as much an end as a means.

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

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

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


      Technology Workflow

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

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

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

      Workflow can make or break technology use.

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

      student_ipad_school - 111

      1. Think Function First

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

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

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

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

      2. Let Students Lead

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

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

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

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

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

      3. Start With What You Know

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

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

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

      4. Experiment Constantly

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

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


      5. Be Mindful Of Your Own Biases

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

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

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

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

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

    • Blog post
    • 2 years ago
    • Views: 1410
Results 1 - 20 of 77

Terms of Service