Your new post is loading...
A MiddleWeb Blog By Kevin Hodgson Note: This post is adapted from a vignette I shared during the National Council of Teachers of English Annual Meeting...
Lynnette Van Dyke's insight:
Teacher describes how one unit hooked a reluctant writer
This guide is organized into four sections:
Lynnette Van Dyke's insight:
This guide walks you through the process of technology integration in education. It starts with the whys behind technology integration and then provides a general definition of what this concept is all about then proceeds to demonstrate how to integrate technology in teaching. In the last two sections, you will be provided with activities and more resources on integrating technology in education.
The Making of Common Core Creation Stories: Myth or Fact?By Anthony Cody on December 11, 2013 Perhaps because Common Core standards originated in a secretive process, and were adopted with little public discussion, their origins have become a subject of great interest among educators. As with ancient mythology, we care about where things come from, because the method of creation can reveal the nature of the creator, and the intentions at work. Critics of Common Core have complained about the way the standards were created - in secret, without significant teacher involvement. Many proponents of Common Core have, for this reason, felt compelled to offer some version or other of "Myths Vs. Facts about the Common Core," attempting to resolve the complaints. The trouble is that, as we learn the true origins of Common Core, we find that most of these "Myths vs. Facts" documents offer up more myths than facts. Here are some examples:
From the Common Core website:
Myth: No teachers were involved in writing the Standards.
Fact: The common core state standards drafting process relied on teachers and standards experts from across the country. In addition, there were many state experts that came together to create the most thoughtful and transparent process of standard setting. This was only made possible by many states working together.
From the ASCD, which is an endorser of Common Core and a recipient of more than $3 million in Gates Foundation grants to support implementation, comes a Policy Points memo in October, also entitled Common Core Myths & Facts. Here is their creation story:
States developed the standards. The nation's governors and state education commissioners spear- headed Common Core development to provide clear and consistent understanding of the reading and math knowledge and skills that students need to be ready for lifelong learning and career success. Working through their representative organizations--the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO)--state leaders collaborated with educators, subject matter experts, and researchers to write and review the standards. The federal government was not involved with the standards' development.
The Illinois State Board of Education tells us:
Common Core Standards are benchmarks developed by teachers, administrators and other education experts through a national consortium.
...the standards were developed by teachers, principals, parents and education experts with lots of feedback along the way from the general public, not politicians in Washington.
The Wisconsin Education Association states: Common myths, such as "No teachers were involved in writing the CCSS" and "Common core reduces the reading of fiction and literature" are simply incorrect. More than a dozen teachers were on the writing team for the Common Core State Standards, coordinated by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. In Wisconsin, standards leadership teams, made up entirely of Wisconsin educators and content experts in mathematics and English-language arts, provided feedback to multiple drafts of the Common Core State Standards before they were released.
From the American Federation of Teachers, which has also accepted grants from the Gates Foundation for Common Core implementation:
In all of these stories about the origins of Common Core there are some common threads, but most of them are false or misleading. Greater detail about the process has been uncovered by Mercedes Schneider, who has done what no other reporter has done - she has gone to the source documents to figure out the process.
Let's look at the central elements of the Common Core creation story, as told by its proponents:
We are told that teachers were involved from the start in drafting the standards. As I discovered when I heard about the Common Core process back in 2009, there were zero teachers actually writing the draft standards. The AFT calls the review process "the first step in the development process of the CCSS." How can a review be the first step in a development process?
There are different perspectives from teachers who participated in that review - but one participating teacher, Mike Archer, was among them. He told me in this interview:
We are told the process was "thoughtful and transparent." In fact, the operation of the Work Groups writing the standards was described as "confidential throughout the process" - which means secret. Not transparent at all. That is one reason so much controversy has emerged on this subject.
Mercedes Schneider's latest report takes us into the details of the process, and she discovers that the Common Core standards were derived from a project called Achieve, led by a mix of corporations and governors. Schneider notes that all six corporations were also members of ALEC. Achieve sponsored something called the American Diploma Project, the goal of which was "to identify the 'must-have' knowledge and skills most demanded by higher education and employers." This resulted in a 2004 report entitled Ready or Not, Creating a High School Diploma that Counts. Reading this report is an uncanny preview of all that has come with the Common Core.
Schneider provides more specifics about the process, but this is her overall conclusion:
CCSS is not a set of standards that were negotiated by stakeholders. CCSS is the modular home of standards; its frame was prefabricated in 2004 by Achieve. The resulting "work groups" add two testing companies to the mix in order to "develop" standards based upon the ADP frame. Thus, CCSS development was chiefly a corporate enterprise. No wonder the reluctance to publicize work group membership.
Obviously the first question educators will ask when hearing about new standards is "who wrote them?" The reason for this is that previous efforts to "reform" education have come from people with little expertise in the field. It is hugely important that standards represent what educators understand about how children learn, and how to set realistic, age-appropriate expectations. We are finding out that the Common Core standards are, in many cases, inappropriate and unrealistic, as the failure of 70% of students in New York on Common Core tests should tell us.
Origins are of great importance because they tell us so much about the soul, the essence of a project. The essence of the Common Core was developed by a handful of corporations and corporate-funded think tanks who wanted schools to meet certain benchmarks to better prepare the employees of the future. Common Core defenders cannot change that reality by pretending that the first step in a development process is a review, or by repeatedly calling it a "fact" that teachers were involved in writing the standards. We humans are intensely curious about creation stories, and, as always, the truth will come out. Those promoting myths in the name of debunking them are quickly losing credibility.
What do you think? Do the origins of the Common Core standards matter? Why is there so much confusion around this?
These fact sheets on states implementing the Common Core document the current state of student achievement, demonstrate the imperative on why higher standards are important, and offer a side-by-side comparison on how the Common Core State Standards will raise student achievement..."
National fact sheet: What is the Common Core?
Across the country, too many of today’s high school graduates are not ready for college or the workforce. That’s why educators nationwide teamed up with the National Governors Association to develop the Common Core State Standards in an effort to better prepare our students in the math and reading skills they need for future success in both college and careers. Since 2010, 45 states and the District of Columbia have adopted these achievement standards to help raise the bar for student achievement nationwide.
In recent weeks, a contentious debate has erupted in many states over the role of these Common Core standards and their ongoing implementation. While this discussion has received significant public attention, many of the arguments offered by critics are misleading, off-base, or simply inaccurate.
To help better frame this conversation, the Center for American Progress has compiled a series of 14 fact sheets on states implementing the Common Core. The series documents the current state of student achievement, demonstrates the imperative on why higher standards are important, and offers a side-by-side comparison on how the Common Core State Standards will raise student achievement.
Go to the article to dowload fact sheets by state (California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Tennessee)
Many people realize well after their school days are behind them that learning can actually be fun. Doing practical math or remembering French words, for example, may suddenly seem easy. Perhaps these folks had bad teachers in those subjects, but it's more likely that newfound learning appreciation has more to do with the fact that there's no longer any pressure.
An overview of the Edutopia professional development guide for understanding the many ways to assess student learning in the classroom.By Edutopia Staff An overview of the Edutopia professional development guide for understanding the many ways to assess student learning in the classroom.
This guide is organized into six sections:IntroductionWhy Is Assessment Important?(1)Types of Assessment(2)How Do Rubrics Help?(3)Workshop Activities(4)Resources for Assessment(5)
The assessment professional development guide is meant for use either after completion of the project-based learning professional development guide(6) or with participants who are familiar with project-based learning. The module is designed for a two to three hour class or session, divided into two parts.
Part one is a guided process, designed to give participants a brief introduction to comprehensive assessment. It answers the questions "Why Is Assessment Important?"(7), "What are Some Types of Assessment"?(8), and "How Do Rubrics Help?"(9)
Part two assigns readings and activities for experiential, project-based learning about assessment. Ideally, the tasks will be accomplished using group collaboration and with the use of technology. These activities are outlined in the Workshop Activities(10) section. You will also find links to examples, from the Edutopia.org video library, of comprehensive assessment at the elementary, middle, and high school levels.
In Eeva Reeder's class, students must develop a site plan and a written proposal. They must then make an oral presentation to local school architects who judge the projects.The Resources for Assessment(11) page includes a PowerPointpresentation (including presenter notes), which can be shown directly from the website or downloaded for use as a stand-alone slide show, and sample session schedules. You will also find recommended websites, books, and additional videos to learn more about PBL in this section.
This guide was designed to address many of the National Educational Technology Standards(12) (NETS), established by the International Society for Technology in Education(13) (ISTE).To find the specific standards for your state, visit this page(14) at Education Worldthat lists standards by academic subject and by state.
Continue to the next section of the guide, Why Is Assessment Important?(15)Acknowledgments: This module was written by technology integration specialist Marian Shaffner. The George Lucas Educational Foundation extends our thanks to the following people who reviewed this module for content and usability: Dr. Peggy Benton, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, PT3 Grant Director and Advisor, Department of Instructional Technologies, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, California; Patsy Lanclos, Apple Distinguished Educator, Smithsonian Laureate, Palm Education Training Coordinator/Provider, Houston, Texas; Mimi Bisson, PT3 Grant Technology Trainer, Department of Instructional Technologies, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, California.
This guide is organized into six sections:
Lynnette Van Dyke's insight:
This guide is divided into three parts: the first part is an introduction to project based learning in which the authors argue for the importance of PBL in learning together with some explanation on how it works. In the second part, readers are introduced to a wide variety of activities and tasks involving the use of PBL with the help of technology. The activities are designed in such a way to promote and foster collaborative and team work. The third and last part is a resource section that outlines some interesting resources on PBL including PowerPoint presentations, recommended websites, books, and videos.
Streamed live on Jul 31, 2013
This live Hangout on Air was hosted by author Suzie Boss as part two of a conversation about innovation. Boss talks with some of the NWP teachers whose insights informed her new book, Bringing Innovation to School. Paula White and Chad Sansing join us from Albemarle County Public Schools in Virginia, a district that offers "seed funding" for innovative classroom ideas. Antero Garcia shares what happened when he introduced the Black Cloud environmental game to high school students in Los Angeles. These teachers exemplify the innovator educator spirit that Boss describes. They are networked learners who aren't afraid to take risks and think differently about teaching and learning.
Posted on December 5, 2013 by OII Staff
In mid-September, as most of the Department’s staff was focused on closing out the federal fiscal year, a group of more than 10 employees from a number of department offices, including Teaching Ambassador Fellows, took a hiatus from “end-of-the-fiscal-year mode” to learn about innovative and effective ways of teaching writing that are being used throughout the nation’s classrooms.
Margarita Meléndez with the June 2013 edition of Language Magazine, in which her article about Digital Is appeared. (Photo by Judy Buchanan, courtesy of NWP)Staff from the National Writing Project (NWP) presented a two-part seminar that highlighted the organization’s cutting-edge work in the fields of digital writing and digital writing instruction, as well as information on successful initiatives that integrate writing across the curriculum at all levels of instruction. The seminar was organized by the Office of Innovation and Improvement’s Teacher Quality Programs Office.
As most readers of this blog are familiar, the goal of the NWP is to improve student achievement by improving the teaching and uses of writing in the nation’s schools. Headquartered at the University of California – Berkeley, the NWP serves teachers nationwide through a network of more than 200 local sites hosted by colleges and universities. The Department has supported the NWP for many years, most recently as a recipient of the Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) program. The NWP received SEED grants in Fiscal Years 2012 and 2013.
Universal authorship, not just literacy
The recent seminar was divided into two parts, and the first presentation was on the NWP’s Digital Is project. The presentation was led by Elyse Eidman-Aadahl, Ph.D., NWP’s director of national programs and site development, and a former teacher and teacher educator. Launched in 2010, Digital Is serves as a forum for teachers to share and engage with other educators in the field of digital writing. After an interesting history lesson on the development of writing technologies during the last 50 years, Eidman-Aadahl led a discussion on the changing perception of “authorship” and what it means to be an author and have a voice in the year 2013. She shared a graph that demonstrated visually the dramatic changes affecting the field of writing and the inescapable interconnectedness between writing and emerging technologies.
“Nearly universal literacy is a defining characteristic of today’s modern civilization; nearly universal authorship will shape tomorrow’s.” (SEED Magazine: A Writing Revolution, Oct. 20, 2009)
As the participants explored the many manifestations of this new reality, Eidman-Aadahl shared an interesting quote that strengthens, I believe, an understanding of how the notion and forms of writing have changed — and will continue to change — in our classrooms and in society at large: “Nearly universal literacy is a defining characteristic of today’s modern civilization. Nearly universal authorship will shape tomorrow’s [civilization].” With this reality imprinted on our minds, the need for flexibility and “real-time” relevance in the classroom relative to writing and other forms of learning become critically important.
In addition to the lesson plans, blogs, and other resources available through Digital Is, Eidman-Aadahl also shared with the group other ways in which the NWP engages its constituencies and the public using different media, such as through its NWP Radio; its Twitter feeds, Facebook, and Flickr pages; and Educator Innovator video clips on YouTube. Additionally, as part of its first SEED grant, NWP created 12 on-line learning modules covering topics as varied as “Global Conversations,” “Professional Development to Support Argument Writing,” “The Unfamiliar Genre Project,” and “Content Area Literacy Practices and the CCSS.”
Writing across the academic content areas
The second presentation addressed NWP’s writing across the curriculum efforts. In this portion of the seminar, Tanya Baker, Ph.D., NWP’s director of national programs, focused on the intersection of writing and history and used as examples projects that were developed in collaboration with classrooms that had received Teaching American History (TAH) grants. This presentation was especially meaningful to me as I have served as a program officer for the TAH program for more than eight years. Specifically, it allowed me an opportunity to appreciate the interdisciplinary skills and approaches essential to effectively teaching history content while simultaneously providing instruction in content-area writing.
One approach to interdisciplinary learning centered on the development of the vocabulary of historical thinking. In a history lesson on the abolitionist, John Brown, students were asked to examine the differences between content vocabulary, conceptual vocabulary, and disciplinary vocabulary. For instance, while analyzing the causes and aftermath of John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry, students considered the issues of slavery and abolition, the effects of the Compromise of 1850, and the impact of Brown’s raid on the timing of the Civil War, all while organizing these subject content data into manageable learning pieces to be used in reflection, discussion, analysis, and reporting.
As the seminar drew to a close, several participants commented that the session was particularly helpful to them as former teachers who still held to the “old idea” of literacy being the domain of English teachers. They said it was very helpful to have a new framework to think about literacy in the content areas and the specific skills, dispositions, and knowledge needed for different subject areas.
Margarita Meléndez is an education program specialist in the Teacher Quality Programs division of the Office of Innovation and Improvement.
The Inquiry Brief Litmus Test Developed by: Nancy Fichtman Dana University of Florida
Lynnette Van Dyke's insight:
INQUIRY: Intentional study about a burning questions related to teaching practices can be the catalyst for change and continuous improvement.