At Forest Lake Elementary School, in Columbia, South Carolina, the student population grows more diverse by the day. Income levels, ethnicities, family structures, first languages, interests, and abilities now vary so much, that a traditional teaching approach, with a uniform lesson targeted to the average-level student, just doesn't cut it. (Sound familiar to you educators out there?)
To challenge and support each child at his or her own level, the Forest Lake teachers and staff are deploying a powerful array of widely available digital-technology tools. Each classroom is equipped with an interactive whiteboard and a Tech Zone of eight Internet-enabled computers. Plus, teachers have access to gadgets including digital cameras, Flip cameras, remote-response clickers, and PDAs.
More important than the gadgets themselves, of course, is how the teachers use them to create personalized lessons and a productive environment where each child is engaged. Here are Forest Lake teachers' top tips on how to do it.
The Common Core State Standards are a reality now for teachers in Maryland and DC, while Virginia is one of six states to omit the standards from their state education approach. YEP-DC asked local...
Susan Wegmann's insight:
Teacher's perspective on CCSS "When I implement a Common Core lesson, I am reminded that I am a key part of my students’ future, and that I am offering a bridge in times when they might otherwise feel left alone on an academic island."
Town Hall Common Core haters are 'misinformed,' says New York ed commissioner Daily Caller After hosting dozens of forums all over the state of New York on the subject of Common Core — and listening to the concerns of skeptical parents and teachers...
Tests English language document readability and gives suggestions how to improve it. Indication of the number of years of formal education that a person requires in order to easily understand the text on the first reading.
Susan Wegmann's insight:
Excellent tool for determining reading levels online. May need some modifications, but it has potential and can give a general range of grades. Tests for Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity
In the 1990's the "Accountability Movement" began in the US as states started being held to mandatory tests of student achievement, which were expected to demonstrate a common core of knowledge that all citizens should have to be successful. As part of this overarching education reform movement, the nation’s governors and corporate leaders founded Achieve, Inc. in 1996 as a bi-partisan organization to raise academic standards, graduation requirements, improve assessments, and strengthen accountability in all 50 states. The initial motivation for the development of the Common Core State Standards was part of the American Diploma Project (ADP).
A report titled, “Ready or Not: Creating a High School Diploma That Counts,” from 2004 found that both employers and colleges are demanding more of high school graduates than in the past. According to Achieve, Inc., “current high-school exit expectations fall well short of [employer and college] demands.” The report explains that the major problem currently facing the American school system is that high school graduates were not provided with the skills and knowledge they needed to succeed. "While students and their parents may still believe that the diploma reflects adequate preparation for the intellectual demands of adult life, in reality it falls far short of this common-sense goal." (page 1). The report continues that the diploma itself lost its value because graduates could not compete successfully beyond high school, and that the solution to this problem is a common set of rigorous standards.
With conservative commentator Glenn Beck renewing his fight against the Common Core State Standards, it's worth taking a bird's-eye view of the learning benchmarks. Where are they now being implemented, what challenges remain and what does the coming school year have in store?
Susan Wegmann's insight:
NPRs spin on the CCSS. We ALL have an opinion about it. Good overview "snapshot" of the issues.
When Texas refused to sign onto a nationwide effort five years ago to develop common academic standards in reading and math - putting $700 million in federal money at risk - the state found itself in lonely territory.
Interesting idea -- frameworks for creating literacy lessons quickly for CCSS compliance. I'm not sure I totally agree with the "fill-in-the-blank" method of planning, but it gives a solid tool for beginning teachers, maybe.
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