Check out this activity from The Common Core Writing Book by Gretchen Owocki. One of the activities she suggests is using a 3-2-1 strategy to help students summarize text. The student must choose three key words, find two phrases that are important and also one quote. They can then share this with a small group, and move to sharing in larger groups. The post suggests that this may used for the following (quoted from the post):
Individual accountability for reading
Strategy for comprehending complex and lengthy text
There are schools in the U.S. where poor children of color succeed academically. That shouldn't be controversial, but it is, especially for many educators who seem devoted to a deficit based narrative about children in poverty."
Mel Riddile's insight:
Do schools and teachers fall just short of success with under-resourced, under-served, low-income students because they are like "doubting Thomas"--I will believe it when I see it, and, since I have not seen it, I do not really believe it? Do we repeat the maxim that 'all students can learn', but when it really comes down to it, do we fall just short of doing whatever it takes to ensure that all students actually learn?
A new study from the University of Virginia outlines demographic shifts that are presenting challenges for suburban schools.
Traditionally Affluent Suburban School Systems Struggle With Rising Poverty.
The Washington Post (2/26, Brown, Shapiro) reports a University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service study found that inner suburbs’ poverty rates are rising even as cities “are becoming younger, more affluent and more educated.” As the number of low-income children rise “in traditionally affluent and high-performing school systems,” suburban school superintendents and school boards “are wrestling with how to adequately serve the rising number of poor children who come to class with far more needs than their more affluent peers.”
Mel Riddile's insight:
Experience has taught me that, in the case of serving traditionally under-served, low-income students, the 10,000-hour rule definitely applies. It takes years to understand the nuances of educating under-resourced students. The key is that poverty is not an excuse for low achievement, but poverty is the reason why we have to do things differently.
Educational author and former teacher, Dr. Michael Schmoker shares in his book, Results Now, a study that found of 1,500 classrooms visited, 85 percent of them had engaged less than 50 percent of the students. In other words, only 15 percent of the classrooms had more than half of the class at least paying attention to the lesson.
Louisiana Principals To Determine Teacher Success.
The Alexandria (LA) Town Talk (2/26, Leader) reports Louisiana Superintendent of Education John White on Wednesday recommended that principals be given “more latitude and flexibility for evaluating and determining teacher success.” White, the Town Talk notes, will present his recommendations “along with others from the Department of Education and the Act 240 subcommittee to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education next week for its approval.”
The Bayou Buzz (LA) (2/26) reports White “said Wednesday he is optimistic Louisiana’s top school board next week will approve” his recommendations. “We are empowering the principal to arrive at a judgment rather than relying on a computer in Baton Rouge,” White told reporters.
Vocational education is enjoying a renaissance in many U.S. schools. In Nashville, Tenn., all high-schoolers are encouraged to take three career-training classes, regardless of college plans.
Nashville High Schools Offering Career And Technical Education Classes.
On its website, NPR (2/24, Siner) reports on a plan by public schools in Nashville, TN to encourage “every high school student, regardless of college plans, to take three career-training classes before they graduate,” allowing them to gain career and technical education and certification straight out of high school. The article features comments from Nashville educators who tout the potential of the program as it allows training for both students who want to go to college and those who want to enter the workforce immediately.
Who isn’t rushing to the idea that just one more perk or break-room game table would boost employee engagement these days? The latest Gallup data suggest we have an emergency on our hands with just under 32 percent of U.S. employees feeling engaged. Worse still, nearly 1 in 5 state they are “actively disengaged”—pointing to the fact that something must be done.
Mel Riddile's insight:
1. Clearly describe 3 to 5 key results your organization must achieve.
2. Help your staff connect the dots between their own job descriptions and these key results.
3. Ask employees to take ownership for those results. Create a culture where everyone wants the same 3 to 5 things.
GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon school district is reviewing its tardiness punishments after a picture posted on Facebook of a 6-year-old sitting behind a cardboard screen in the lunchroom generated widespread outrage.
The Grants Pass School District issued a statement saying it “is taking the concerns raised very seriously,” and the punishment “was never intended to isolate or stigmatize students.”
Nicole Garloff says her son, Hunter, was upset when she dropped him off late at Lincoln Elementary School, so she checked on him at lunchtime. She found him sitting behind a cardboard screen. She took him home, and posted a photo on Facebook. So did the boy’s grandmother.
More than 115,000 people have shared the photo Laura Hoover posted on Facebook of her grandson.
In the case of the Vanderbilt Basketball Coach...
Coach Kevin Stallings "used offensive and inflammatory language directed toward a student-athlete" after the conclusion of an recent contest.
Mel Riddile's insight:
I have found this guiding principle to be of great value in dealing with both adults and students:
Reward publicly. Admonish privately.
While one could argue the details of each situation, had either the coach of the school leader followed that guiding principle, cool heads might have prevailed and controversy could have been avoided.
As union foes use courts to roll back tenure laws, unions try the same tactic to stop test-based teacher evaluations.
"New Mexico teachers sued state officials over an evaluation system that relies heavily on student test scores. Tennessee teachers also sued their state officials this month, arguing that most teachers’ evaluations are based on the test scores of students they don’t actually teach. Florida teachers brought a similar lawsuit last year; it is now in federal appeals court, while other complaints are pending in Texas and New York."
Blogger and English teacher Heather Wolpert-Gawron asked her eighth grade students what they find most engaging in the classroom.
1. Working with their peers
"Middle-school students are growing learners who require and want interaction with other people to fully attain their potential."
"Teens find it most interesting and exciting when there is a little bit of talking involved. Discussions help clear the tense atmosphere in a classroom and allow students to participate in their own learning."
This study examined teachers’ language use across the school year in 6th grade urban middle-school classrooms (n = 24) and investigated the influence of this classroom-based linguistic input on the reading comprehension skills of the students (n = 851; 599 language minority learners and 252 English-only) in the participating classrooms. Analysis of speech transcripts revealed substantial variability in teachers’ use of sophisticated vocabulary and total amount of talk and that individual teacher’s language use was consistent across the school year. Analyses using Hierarchical Linear Modeling showed that when controlling for students’ reading comprehension and vocabulary knowledge at the start of the year, teachers’ use of sophisticated vocabulary was significantly related to students’ reading comprehension outcomes, as was the time spent on vocabulary instruction. These findings suggest that the middle school classroom language environment plays a significant role in the reading comprehension of adolescent learners. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)
Mel Riddile's insight:
Metametrics has reported that teachers routinely speak below the level of students' ability to comprehend. Teachers must use higher levels of language in their classrooms to improve students reading comprehension.
Education Week (2/25) reports in a brief item that ED has approved Oklahoma’s request for “Oklahoma middle school students who are taking advanced-mathematics courses” to “no longer be required to take their grade-level math tests.” The piece notes that the move “reflects movement on an idea gaining steam among Washington policymakers, state schools chiefs, and even President Barack Obama: Students should take fewer tests.”
“In one world, effort is a bad thing. It, like failure, means you’re not smart or talented. If you were, you wouldn’t need effort. In the other world, effort is what makes you smart or talented.” –Carol Dweck
Vermont Legislature Considers School Discipline Oversight Bill.
The Rutland (VT) Herald (2/21) reports that the Vermont legislature is exploring solutions “to break the link between poverty and lack of education” by way of “a bill that would provide better oversight for school discipline practices.” The measure “would establish a school discipline advisory council to review practices in the state’s K-12 schools, with an overall goal of reducing the number of students suspended or expelled.” The article cites ED data pointing to several thousands of suspensions in the state in the 2011-12 school year.
Mel Riddile's insight:
Principals want to reduce discipline problems and suspensions, but districts are increasingly removing or significantly cutting resources needed to offer alternatives.
The underlying assumption here is that principals are acting irresponsibly by unduley punishing students, particularly minority students. The message to principals--we don't trust you.
This pattern is what we call the progress principle: of all the positive events that influence inner work life, the single most powerful is progress in meaningful work; of all the negative events, the single most powerful is the opposite of progress — setbacks in the work. We consider this to be a fundamental management principle: facilitating progress is the most effective way for managers to influence inner work life. Even when progress happens in small steps, a person's sense of steady forward movement toward an important goal can make all the difference between a great day and a terrible one. This pattern became increasingly obvious as the diaries came in from all the teams in our study. People's inner work lives seemed to lift or drag depending on whether or not their projects moved forward, even by small increments. Small wins often had a surprisingly strong positive effect, and small losses a surprisingly strong negative one. We tested our impressions more rigorously in two ways. Each confirmed the power of progress to dominate inner work life.
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