Whenever I do a close reading lesson with teacher observers, there is always a block of time after the lesson when teachers debrief with me. They share what they saw, what affected them, how they think the strategies would look in their classrooms with their own students. In these debriefs, teachers at all grade levels …
"If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution," Einstein said, "I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes." Questions and their solutions are the basis of all learning. A good question generates energy and invites exploration. It elevates a commonplace lesson to one that's holy, creating a moment a student remembers years later as an epiphany that cracked open the universe.
The challenge to teachers is to be alert to the presence of Tier 2 words (academic vocabulary), determine which ones need to be taught, and which words deserve more time and effort in order to help students develop richer understanding. The Academic Word Finder pulls the most useful academic vocabulary words from a given text.
Tier 2 (academic vocabulary) words appear in many different contexts and are often subtle or precise ways to say relatively simple things, for example “relative” or “accumulate". Since these aren't words that will typically be used in a student's conversations and they aren't domain-specific, they should be given more focus than Tier 1 and Tier 3 vocabulary.
Mathematics lessons from typical textbooks often are not designed so that the thinking of the students is surfaced and open for teacher analysis in real time. Therefore, we developed a six-phase system to work through an engaging problem over two days. All of the Poster Problems are aligned with the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics.
Achieve is seeking submissions of CCSS-aligned units for the EQuIP Call to Action.
Achieve is looking for educators and curriculum developers to submit units that focus on the areas identified by experts and practitioners that are listed below. For information on English language art/literacy see page 4 and for information on mathematics see page 7. The EQuIP Peer Review Panel will conduct reviews of submitted units to provide all developers with criterion-based feedback using the EQuIP rubrics and quality review process. Developers of units identified as Exemplars will receive an award of $1,500, as well as wide dissemination and recognition of their efforts. The Exemplars will be posted on both Achieve’s website and Student Achievement Partner’s website, www.achievethecore.org. Achieve will strive to raise awareness, visibility, and use of units identified as Exemplars. Achieve will encourage our partners, states and districts to make them available in their repositories or other platforms.
I’m always on the look out for great resources to support reading. While leading a training in Alaska this weekend, a participant mentioned The Smithsonian Tween (& Teen) Tribune. This free resource is a great place to grab informational and nonfiction texts written at various Lexile levels to support a wide range of reading abilities
Let's face facts: social studies has an image problem. I can count at least half a dozen times I've attended PD where the old "Saturday Night Live" skit with Jerry Seinfeld playing the stereotypical history teacher is trotted out. Even though it's a parody of our work, it also resonates with mainstream perceptions. When I tell people what I do, they frequently respond by telling me how much they hated their history classes— memorizing all those names and dates and enduring lectures and questions from the end of the chapter.
Construct validity is the degree to which a test measures what it claims to measure. For example, to determine if someone can drive a car, a test should include driving, which is the best way for a person to demonstrate their ability. Driving is the main construct, but driving is made up of many smaller constructs such as turning a corner, maneuvering in heavy traffic, and obeying the rules of the road. A driving test that only requires driving on a straight road without any traffic or traffic signals would have low construct validity. A better test would require entering and exiting a major highway during rush hour and parallel parking, because it is made up of multiple skills needed to drive.
“Data-driven school reform” emphasizes the idea that if teachers analyze the kinds of questions students miss on standardized reading comprehension tests, and then give students lots of practice with such items, they will end up with higher test scores. This approach is likely to be popular with the new Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC; http://www.parcconline.org) and Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC; http://www.smarterbalanced.org) tests given their innovative item designs. However, research shows that reading comprehension tests do not measure these question-answering skills, but instead estimate how well students can read particular kinds of texts with understanding. PARCC and SBAC are pointedly avoiding making claims that their assessments will reveal whether students are meeting particular standards, but instead provide an overall estimate of reading comprehension. Various alternative approaches to improving achievement on these new tests are recommended.
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