Let’s all take a deep breath and consider that new initiatives are like seeds in a garden. Tossing them in and expecting immediate growth is unreasonable. But giving them time, attention and nourishment will lead to plentiful harvests. And while it’s understandable that parents and teachers, community members, and other stakeholders are disappointed in the initial PARCC test scores, an all-out attack on the test itself is not the solution.
Instead, it’s the responsibility of us all, including our political decision-makers, to make mature, reasonable and fiscally responsible decisions about how to cultivate better schools.
Pandering to those who are reacting to scores may be a good way to get elected, but it’s not going to get us the results we know are possible.
For more than a decade, much of the focus of curriculum and instruction has been on teaching skills and strategies. In reading, for example, we have taught our students to predict, summarize, visualize, identify the main idea, connect the text with what they know, and so on.
The problem is that such skills and strategies operate at the surface level. Although surface-level learning is an essential first step (after all, learners need to grasp the literal meaning before they can make inferences, perform analyses, and develop meaningful understandings), it's not sufficient. Students need to deepen their knowledge as they transfer what they've learned to new situations. We believe that transfer is a key component for ensuring that students become lifelong learners.
Teacher question: Our school district is going wild over Lexiles because they are in the Common Core standards. I think they are overdoing it and don’t feel comfortable with some of the decisions that we are making. What are the weaknesses of Lexiles? First, Lexiles is only one of several readability measures included in the CCSS. They started with that one, but as studies were completed they added ATOS, SourceRater, and several others.
You are a congresswoman’s chief-of-staff and she needs your help coming up with a position on whether a nuclear power plant should be built in the district. These are the kinds of prompts students across the country are being presented with during the first round of Common Core testing this spring. In this example — …
Educators today are facing two major shifts in education–a move to the Common Core Standards and increasing pressure to teach students with the technology they’ll be expected to use in their lives beyond high school. Both seasoned educators and those new to the teaching profession must confront
BERKELEY, Calif. — On a sunny January afternoon, the heaviest things in six-year-old Miriam Foster’s backpack were her lunch box and her jacket, making it manageable for the kindergartener’s walk home. “She does it herself from here to home, and home to here,” said Miriam’s mom, Tawankon Foster, 31. Her light load was not unique. …
When The Common Core State Standards initiative was first announced there was a collective eye roll amongst veteran teachers. There have been so many shifts in pedagogical theory and practice over the years that nobody really thought these national learning goals would come to fruition. And then they did.
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.
Last week I dinged that video for claiming that close reading is a teaching technique (it's an approach to reading). I was critical of the idea that close reading helps students “conquer complex text,” if that includes language complexity as measured by Lexiles. I didn’t like the idea of reading the book to the kids; I’m a fan of reading texts to kids (see recent NewYork Times article on this), but not the texts the kids are supposed to be reading. Finally, I didn’t like how rereading was being approached. Here is the rest of my thinking about this lesson. Hope it’s useful to you.
Not all educational apps are created equal. Some are more fun than others. Some are more pedagogically sound than others. And some are better for certain age groups than others.
In the App Store, it is difficult to find out which apps are best for a particular age group, like, say, middle school students. Fortunately, technologists like South Carolina math and engineering teacher Chris Beyerle actively curate collections of apps. Here is his collection of math apps that are appropriate for middle school students. They all fit within the Common Core Standards of Mathematical Practices as well.
If you follow this blog, you know that I believe effective vocabulary instruction is just about the most important instructional activity for teachers to get right. For lots of reasons. Vocabulary influences fluency, comprehension, and student achievement. How’s that for starters?
In addition, a broad vocabulary is important for effective speaking, listening, reading and writing. Vocabulary is a foundational component of an effective K-12 comprehensive lite
I grab a lot of texts online to use with students. I often wonder, “How challenging is this text? Will my students have trouble reading this text?” In the past, I’d rely on Google’s Advanced Search option that allowed me to search by reading level. Unfortunately, Google dumped this feature, so I’ve been on the hunt for a new way to assess online texts.
Technology is in every room at P.S. 101 in Brooklyn — it’s even in the hallways. Scan the QR code with your phone outside of the fourth-grade classroom of co-teachers Vanessa Desiano and Jamie Coccia and a video will pop up of a student giving a history presentation on early explorers. Step inside, and fourth-grade students are working together to discover the themes of chapter 13 in their latest book, The Birchbark House, and typing what they find on iPads.
“People have this fear that if you put technology into a classroom, kids will just be staring at computers,” said Principal Gregg Korrol. “But this class is using technology to engage each other directly in learning.”
Educators often wonder how they are going to meet all the demands of Common Core. One important point is that the standards require more depth and less breadth. Meeting these standards can be done by doing less, not more. In this post, we’ll look at three effective ways to do this: integrating curriculum, combining test prep into daily learning, and cutting topics.
However, there are many ways to work within the constraints of the Common Core standards and still foster creativity in your classroom. The key can be summed up in one, Common Core-friendly term: synthesis, or combining ideas from multiple sources and creating a new theory or system of ideas. Let’s take a look at some ways that working with your students on synthesizing can promote creativity in your English class.
Game-based learning is a topic we have revisited numerous times on EmergingEdTech. The implications it has on student engagement and learning are powerful and cannot be overstated. If you have not already experimented with game-based learning with your class, make 2015 the year you do!
Deb Gardner's insight:
I haven't personally given this a test drive yet, but apparently several teachers and students like it!
But something remarkable happened last spring. The close-knit school located across from a potato field in Wyoming County was one of a dozen in the state to go from floundering on state tests in 2012 to scoring better than most on the more difficult exams administered in 2014. They did it, in part, by ignoring Albany and the dictates of the state education department.
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