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Nuts and Bolts of School Management
Articles of general interest to school leaders.
Curated by Nancy J. Herr
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5 Strategies For Better Teacher Professional Development

5 Strategies For Better Teacher Professional Development | Nuts and Bolts of School Management | Scoop.it

Today, professional development runs the gamut from one-shot workshops to more intensive job-embedded professional development, which has teachers learn in the day-to-day environment in which they work rather than getting pulled out to attend an outside training. However, the National School Boards Association’s Center for Public Education report, “Teaching the Teachers,” notes that most professional development today is ineffective because it neither changes teaching practices nor improves student learning.


Via Patti Kinney, Dean J. Fusto
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Ivon Prefontaine's curator insight, December 15, 10:29 PM

I wonder if teachers working together and cooperatively might not work. The best professional learning is in the classroom with both students and peers.

 

@ivon_ehd1

Andrew Hockley's curator insight, December 16, 7:49 AM

This is not from an ELT context, but there's a lot of valuable stuff in this article.  Recommended

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Don't Weigh the Elephant -- Feed the Elephant: Feedback Is Key in Assessment

Don't Weigh the Elephant -- Feed the Elephant: Feedback Is Key in Assessment | Nuts and Bolts of School Management | Scoop.it
Focus on giving kids what they need -- information about their own brains.

Via Deborah Welsh
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NASSP Center for New Principals's curator insight, December 14, 8:46 PM

This should be an easy reminder to remember!  

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Implementing RTI in a High School: A Case Study

Implementing RTI in a high school: A case study

Fisher and Frey


This case study chronicles the efforts of a high school over a two-year period as it examined two major questions: (a) As Response to Intervention (RTI) is implemented in one high school, what happens to student achievement? And (b) How are interventions organized and delivered in a high school that focuses on RTI as a school improvement process? Major themes of the systemic implementation of RTI included shared agreements and adoption of a schoolwide focus on core literacy practices, development of curriculum-based assessments that made the intervention meaningful, and the need for dedicated resources.

 

Read on.


Via Lynnette Van Dyke
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Reading Fluency Rubrics and Assessments for RtI Grades 9-12

Reading Fluency Rubrics and Assessments for RtI Grades 9-12 | Nuts and Bolts of School Management | Scoop.it
Reading Fluency Rubrics and Assessments for Response to Intervention (RtI) Grades 9-12 This pack includes the following documents that can be used to assess

Via Tracee Orman, EMG Learning
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Using RTI & Data-Driven Strategies in the Common-Core Era

Using RTI & Data-Driven Strategies in the Common-Core Era | Nuts and Bolts of School Management | Scoop.it

This event takes place on Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012, 4 to 5 p.m. ET.
This webinar will examine how response to intervention may be used in the context of a multi-tier system of supports to improve outcomes for all students. Dr. Stevan Kukic will provide information on evidence-based intervention, implementation, and assessment, as well as background on the science behind RTI, including goal setting, applied behavioral analysis, peer tutoring, and computer-assisted instructional decision making. Attendees will also learn how RTI and data-driven strategies can be used in the implementation of the common core.


This webinar is a must-attend for special education directors, assistant superintendents, superintendents, directors of curriculum, principals, and other educators and administrators seeking guidance on how to better use data and RTI to drive success in their schools.

Presenter:

Stevan Kukic, Ph.D., vice president, Cambium Learning, former director of At-Risk and Special Services for Utah Office of Education


Moderator:

Geoff Horsfall, product manager, Voyager Learning


Via Lynnette Van Dyke
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Key to successful intervention

Key to successful intervention | Nuts and Bolts of School Management | Scoop.it
To minimize the risk of having a student slip through the cracks, many schools and educators use the Response to Intervention approach with children who are struggling with mathematics. Incorporating Technology with ...

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Response to Intervention: A wealth of information.

http://www.rti4success.org

This site provides extensive RtI information including how best to implement in K-12 settings.

 


Via Jason Feig
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J. Mark Schwanz's curator insight, July 22, 11:29 PM

One of the essential RTI resource networks

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Response to Intervention | Intervention Central

Response to Intervention | Intervention Central | Nuts and Bolts of School Management | Scoop.it
Lots of cool ideas/resources Response to Intervention | Intervention Central http://t.co/4mxiKSc4 #edchat #engchat #ntchat...

 

--This is a terrific resource for admin. and teachers.


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What all teachers in regular classrooms can do for the gifted … # 1

What all teachers in regular classrooms can do for the gifted … # 1 | Nuts and Bolts of School Management | Scoop.it
Teachers often think they just haven't got time to differentiate the curriculum for gifted students.

Via Zoe Branigan-Pipe
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kathyvsr's curator insight, September 21, 2013 7:04 AM

Differentiation is an important challenge and this offers ways of differentiating that are not difficult to implement.

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Implementing the Common Core State Stan. : The Role of the Secondary School Leader

Implementing the Common Core State Stan. : The Role of the Secondary School Leader | Nuts and Bolts of School Management | Scoop.it
Implementing the Common Core State Standards: The Role of the Secondary School Leader @Achieve http://t.co/dyDo9Y6E #ccchat #commoncore

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Response: Close Reading Is A 'Life Skill'

Response: Close Reading Is A 'Life Skill' | Nuts and Bolts of School Management | Scoop.it
Part Two in my series on close reading includes responses from Sonja Cherry-Paul, Dana Johansen, Stephanie Harvey, Julie Goldman, Diana Sisson and Betsy Sisson.
Nancy J. Herr's insight:

We need to remember that close reading is what helps us decipher the world around us, personal and professional. Let's help kids learn the skills they need to function in a complex world. This article gives you some excellent tips. 

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Flipped Learning Toolkit: Flipping the Non-Flippable Classes

Flipped Learning Toolkit: Flipping the Non-Flippable Classes | Nuts and Bolts of School Management | Scoop.it
Discover how some teachers have creatively applied the flipped learning model to increase quality class time in PE, woodworking, dance education, and elementary classrooms.

Via EDTC@UTB
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Some more ideas for quality flipped learning

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Effective Instruction for Middle School Students with Reading Difficulties: Reading Teacher's Sourcebook

This is an awesome free download--a sourcebook for middle school teachers.  There are many good components-from planning for instruction to assessing reading.


Via Andrea Ball Ross, Connie Patterson
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SMARTER Balanced Assessment: Observations and Recommendations

SMARTER Balanced Assessment: Observations and Recommendations | Nuts and Bolts of School Management | Scoop.it

This week I was able to observe a 4th grade classroom pilot the English Language Arts (ELA) portion of the SMARTER Balanced Assessment that will be in place in 2014 for most of our nation’s public schools.Below are some observations that I witnessed first about the test.


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20 Simple Assessment Strategies You Can Use Every Day

20 Simple Assessment Strategies You Can Use Every Day | Nuts and Bolts of School Management | Scoop.it
20 Simple Assessment Strategies You Can Use Every Day

Via Deborah Welsh
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NASSP Center for New Principals's curator insight, December 14, 8:26 PM

Thanks to #apchat for this great resource!

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RTI Assessment Tools

RTI Assessment Tools | Nuts and Bolts of School Management | Scoop.it
Preview and download the podcast RTI Assessment Tools on iTunes. Read episode descriptions and customer reviews.

Via Staci Trekles
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Interventions That Work:The Why Behind RTI

Interventions That Work:The Why Behind RTI | Nuts and Bolts of School Management | Scoop.it

The Why Behind RTI

Austin Buffum, Mike Mattos and Chris Weber

Response to Intervention flourishes when educators implement the right practices for the right reasons.

We educators are directly responsible for crucial, life-saving work. Today, a student who graduates from school with a mastery of essential skills and knowledge has a good chance of successfully competing in the global market place, with numerous opportunities to lead a rewarding adult life. In stark contrast, students who fail in school are at greater risk of poverty, welfare dependency, incarceration, and early death. With such high stakes, educators today are like tightrope walkers without a safety net, responsible for meeting the needs of every student, with little room for error. Fortunately, compelling evidence shows that Response to Intervention (RTI) is our best hope for giving every student the additional time and support needed to learn at high levels (Burns, Appleton, & Stehouwer, 2005).

RTI's underlying premise is that schools should not wait until students fall far enough behind to qualify for special education to provide them with the help they need. Instead, schools should provide targeted and systematic interventions to all students as soon as they demonstrate the need. From one-room schoolhouses on the frozen tundra of Alaska to large urban secondary schools, hundreds of schools across the United States are validating the potential of these proven practices.

In light of this fact, why are so many schools and districts struggling to reap the benefits of RTI? Some schools mistakenly view RTI as merely a new way to qualify students for special education, focusing their efforts on trying a few token regular education interventions before referring struggling students for traditional special education testing and placement. Others are implementing RTI from a compliance perspective, doing just enough to meet mandates and stay legal. For still others, their RTI efforts are driven by a desire to raise test scores, which too often leads to practices that are counter productive to the guiding principles of RTI. Far too many schools find the cultural beliefs and essential practices of RTI such a radical departure from how schools have functioned for the past century that they are uncomfortable and unwilling to commit to the level of change necessary to succeed. Finally, some schools refuse to take responsibility for student learning, instead opting to blame kids, parents, lack of funding, or society in general for students' failures.

Although the specific obstacles vary, the underlying cause of the problem is the same: Too many schools have failed to develop the correct thinking about Response to Intervention. This has led them to implement some of the right practices for the wrong reasons.

The Wrong Questions

The questions an organization tries to answer guide and shape that organization's thinking. Unfortunately, far too many schools and districts are asking the wrong questions, like these.

How do we raise our test scores?

Although high-stakes testing is an undeniable reality in public education, this is a fatally flawed initial question that can lead to incorrect thinking. For example, many districts that focus first on raising test scores have concluded that they need strictly enforced pacing guides for each course to ensure that teachers are teaching all required state standards before the high-stakes state tests. Usually, these guides determine exactly how many days each teacher has to teach a specific standard. Such thinking makes total sense if the goal is to teach all the material before the state assessments, but it makes no sense if the goal is to have all students learn essential standards. This in itself is problematic because, as Marzano (2001) notes, "The sheer number of standards is the biggest impediment to implementing standards" (p. 15). Assigning arbitrary, pre-determined amounts of time to specific learning outcomes guarantees that students who need additional time to learn will be left in the wake as the teacher races to cover the material.

This faulty thinking also leads to misguided intervention decisions, such as focusing school resources primarily on the "bubble kids" who are slightly below proficient. Administrators who adopt this policy conclude that if these students can improve, the school's test scores will likely make a substantial short-term jump. Consequently, the students far below basic often receive less help. This is deemed acceptable, as the primary goal of the school is to make adequate yearly progress, and the lowest learners are so far behind that providing them intensive resources will likely not bring about immediate gains in the school's state assessment rankings.

How do we "implement" RTI?

Frequently, we have worked with schools that view RTI as a mandated program that they must "implement." Consequently, they create an abundance of implementation checklists and time lines. Like obedient soldiers, site educators take their RTI marching orders and begin to complete the items on their RTI to-do list, such as administering a universal screening assessment, regrouping students in tiered groups, or creating a tutorial period.

Such an approach is fraught with pitfalls. First, it tends to reduce RTI to single actions to accomplish, instead of ongoing processes to improve teaching and learning. In addition, this approach fails to understand that what we ask educators to "do" in RTI are not ends in themselves, but means to an end. In other words, a school's goal should not be to administer a universal screening assessment in reading but to ensure that all students are able to read proficiently. To achieve this goal, it would be essential to start by measuring each student's current reading level, thus providing vital information to identify at-risk students and differentiate initial instruction.

How do we stay legal?

Because RTI was part of the reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) in 2004, many schools view its implementation from the perspective of legal compliance. This concern is understandable, as special education is by far the most litigated element of public education, and the potential costs of being out of compliance or losing a fair hearing can cripple a district.

Unfortunately, a large number of schools and districts are making RTI unreasonably burdensome. We find many districts creating unnecessarily complicated, laborious documentation processes for every level of student intervention, in fear that the data may be needed someday if a specific student requires special education services.

Teachers tell us that they often decide against recommending students for interventions "because it's not worth the paperwork." Other teachers complain that they "hate" RTI because they spend more time filling out forms than working with at-risk students. We have also worked with districts that refuse to begin implementing RTI until there is a greater depth of legal interpretation and case precedent; all the while, their traditional special education services are achieving woefully insufficient results in student learning.

If there is one thing that traditional special education has taught us, it's that staying compliant does not necessarily lead to improved student learning—in fact, the opposite is more often the case. Since the creation of special education in 1975, we have spent billions of dollars and millions of hours on special education—making sure we meet time lines, fill out the correct forms, check the correct boxes, and secure the proper signatures. A vast majority of schools are compliant, but are students learning?

Consider these facts:

In the United States, the special education redesignation rate (the rate at which students have exited special education and returned to general education) is only 4 percent (U.S. Department of Education, 1996).According to the U.S. Department of Education, the graduation rate of students with special needs is 57 percent (National Center on Secondary Education and Transition [NCSET], 2006).It is estimated that up to 50 percent of the U.S. prison population were identified as students with special needs in school (NCSET, 2006).

 

There is little evidence to suggest that greater levels of legal compliance lead to greater levels of learning. If schools or districts would like to stay legal, they should start by focusing on student learning; parents rarely file for a fair hearing because their child is learning too much.

What's wrong with this kid?

At most schools, when a student struggles in the regular education program, the school's first systematic response is to refer the student for special education testing. Traditionally, schools have believed that "failure to succeed in a general education program meant the student must, therefore, have a disability" (Prasse, 2009). Rarely does special education testing assess the effectiveness and quality of the teaching that the student has received.

RTI is built on a polar opposite approach: When a student struggles, we assume that we are not teaching him or her correctly; as a result, we turn our attention to finding better ways to meet the student's specific learning needs. Unless schools are able to move beyond this flawed question, it is unlikely that they will ever see RTI as anything more than a new way to identify students for special education.

The Right Questions

Schools cannot succeed by doing the right things for the wrong reasons. So what are the right questions that should lead our work?

What is the fundamental purpose of our school?

Our schools were not built so educators would have a place to work each day, nor do they exist so that our government officials have locations to administer high-stakes standardized tests each spring. If we peel away the various layers of local, state, and federal mandates, the core mission of every school should be to provide every student with the skills and knowledge needed to be a self-sufficient, successful adult.

Ask parents what they want school to provide their child, and it is doubtful the answer would be, "I just want my child to score proficient on state assessments," or "I want my child to master standard 2.2.3 this year." Learning specific academic standards and passing state tests are meaningless if the student does not become an intelligent, responsible adult who possesses the knowledge and quality of character to live a happy, rewarding adult life.

What knowledge and skills will our children need to be successful adults?

Gone are the days when the only skills a child needed to become a successful adult were a desire to work and some "elbow grease." Today's economy is driven by technology, innovation, and service. Because technology and human knowledge are changing at faster and faster rates, the top 10 in-demand jobs today probably didn't exist five or six years ago (Gunderson, Jones, & Scanland, 2004). Our high school graduates will most likely change careers at least four times by the age of 40—not jobs or employers, but careers. Alvin Toffler has been said to have suggested that, because of this acceleration of human knowledge, the definition of illiterate in the 21st century will not be "Can a person read and write?" but rather "Can a person learn, unlearn, and relearn?"

How do we prepare students for jobs that don't exist? How do we teach our students knowledge that we've not yet discovered? Teaching them comprehension and computation skills will not be enough—they need to be able to analyze, synthesize, evaluate, compare and contrast, and manipulate and apply information. We will erode our children's and world's future by limiting our vision to teaching only the skills and knowledge presented in our state assessments.

What must we do to make learning a reality for every student?

If we took the research on effective teaching and learning and condensed it into a simple formula for learning, it would look like this:

Targeted Instruction + Time = Learning

 

Because learning styles and instructional needs vary from student to student, we must provide each student with targeted instruction—that is, teaching practices designed to meet his or her individual learning needs. We also know that students don't all learn at the same speed. Some will need more time to learn. That is the purpose of RTI—to systematically provide every student with the additional time and support needed to learn at high levels.

Transforming the Tiers

If a school has asked the right questions, then how would this new way of thinking affect a school's RTI efforts? Quite honestly, it would transform every tier.

Tier 1

In Tier 1, the school would start by ensuring that every student has access to rigorous, grade-level curriculum and highly effective initial teaching. The process of determining essential student learning outcomes would shift from trying to cover all required standards to a more narrow focus on standards that all students must master to be able to succeed in the future.

A collective response will be required to ensure that all students learn, so teacher teams would work collaboratively to define each essential standard; deconstruct the standard into discrete learning targets (determine what each student must be able to know and do to demonstrate proficiency); identify the prior skills needed to master the standard; consider how to assess students on each target; and create a scope and sequence for the learning targets that would govern their pacing. Schools may continue to use such resources as textbooks as primary Tier 1 resources, but only by selecting those sections that align to what the team of teachers has determined to be essential for all students to master.

The school would understand that differentiation for individual student needs cannot be optional at Tier 1. Whether in an elementary math lesson or a secondary social studies lesson, teachers must scaffold content, process, and product on the basis of student needs, setting aside time to meet with small groups of students to address gaps in learning.

The direct, explicit instruction model contains the structures through which differentiation can take place. This thinking contradicts the approach taken by many schools that have purchased a research-based core instructional program and dictated that this program constitutes the only instructional material that teachers can use. This quest for fidelity sometimes becomes so rigid that each teacher is required to teach the same lesson, on the same day, following the same script.

Although we agree that schools should implement scientifically research-based resources, we also know that not all students learn the same way. In addition, because not all students learn at the same speed, we would plan flexible time into our master schedule to allow for reteaching essential standards for students who require it as well as providing enrichment learning for students who have already demonstrated mastery. To achieve these collective Tier 1 outcomes, we firmly believe that the only way for an organization to successfully implement RTI practices is within the professional learning community (PLC) model (Buffum, Mattos, & Weber, 2009).

Tier 2

At Tier 2, the school would use ongoing formative assessment to identify students in need of additional support, as well as to target each student's specific learning needs. In addition, teachers would create common assessments to compare results and determine which instructional practices were most and least effective in Tier 1. Giving students more of what didn't work in Tier 1 is rarely the right intervention!

Most Tier 2 interventions would be delivered through small-group instruction using strategies that directly target a skill deficit. Research has shown that small-group instruction can be highly effective in helping students master essential learnings (D'Agostino & Murphy, 2004; Vaughn, Gersten, & Chard, 2000).

Intervention is most effective when the interventions are timely, structured, and mandatory; focused on the cause of a student's struggles rather than on a symptom (for example, a letter grade); administered by a trained professional; and part of a system that guarantees that these practices apply no matter which teacher a student is assigned to (Buffum, Mattos, & Weber, 2009). Finally, because the best intervention is prevention, the effective RTI school would use universal screening data to identify students lacking the prerequisite skills for an essential standard and then provide targeted Tier 2 or Tier 3 support before delivering core instruction on that standard.

Tier 3

At Tier 3, we would start by guaranteeing that all students in need of intensive support would receive this help in addition to core instruction—not in place of it. If our goal is to ensure that all students learn at high levels, then replacing core instruction with remedial assistance not only fails to achieve this outcome, but also tracks at-risk students into below-grade-level curriculum.

Because Tier 3 students often have multiple needs, intensive help must be individualized, based on a problem-solving approach. It is unlikely that a single program will meet the needs of a student in Tier 3, as many of these students are like knots, with multiple difficulties that tangle together to form a lump of failure. Because of this, a school focused on meeting the needs of every student would develop a problem-solving team, composed of a diverse group of education experts who can address the students' social, emotional, and learning needs. The purpose of this team would not be to determine what is wrong with the student but to identify the specific needs the student still experiences after Tier 2 intervention, quantify them, and determine how to meet them.

Schools need to deliver Tier 3 interventions with greater intensity than Tier 2 interventions. They can do this by increasing both the duration and frequency of the intervention and lowering the student–teacher ratio (Mellard, 2004). At Tier 3, it is also important to quantify the student's specific learning needs. It would not be enough to say that a student's problem is "reading." Instead, a school team might find that a 2nd grade student is reading grade-level passages at a rate of 20 words read correctly (WRC) per minute compared with the expectation of 45 WRC for 2nd grade students at that point in the school year.

If a school diligently applies these practices, a vast majority of students will never need to be referred for special education testing. When all students have guaranteed access to rigorous curriculum and effective initial teaching, targeted and timely supplemental support, and personalized intensive support from highly trained educators, few will experience failure (Sornson, Frost, & Burns, 2005). In the rare case that this level of support does not meet a specific students' needs, the student may indeed have a learning disability. In this case, special education identification would be fair and appropriate.

Although the purpose of RTI is not special education identification, a school will identify far fewer students for these services if they ask the right questions and take preventative steps. Schools that fail to do so will continue to blame students for failing, which will perpetuate the over-identification of minority, English language learning, and economically disadvantaged students into special education.

Doing the Right Work for the Right Reasons

The secret to capturing the right way of thinking about RTI comes down to answering this question: Why are we implementing Response to Intervention?

The answer lies in why we joined this profession in the first place...read more....http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/oct10/vol68/num02/The-Why-Behind-RTI.aspx


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Growth Mindset Reflective Questions for Teachers

Growth Mindset Reflective Questions for Teachers | Nuts and Bolts of School Management | Scoop.it

Via Educatorstechnology, Suvi Salo, Ivon Prefontaine
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Ivon Prefontaine's curator insight, December 10, 1:24 PM

I wonder if we framed the questions around how we experienced these experiences, if that would change the tone of the questions?

 

@ivon_ehd1

Rick Stevens's curator insight, December 14, 1:31 AM

http://www.businessinsider.com/how-a-growth-mindset-leads-to-success-2014-8 ; Great article on Carol Dweck’s research on Growth mindsets. If you have 26 minutes, then watch her lecture on growth mindset research. http://youtu.be/QGvR_0mNpWM ;

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RtI Just Won't Fit Into an Old Instructional Model - RTI Action Network

RtI Just Won't Fit Into an Old Instructional Model - RTI Action Network | Nuts and Bolts of School Management | Scoop.it
We all know that in the field of education, programs and change initiatives come and go. As we look at implementing RtI, we know that RtI is a process, not a program. It is a framework that encompasses a wide range of ...

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Jason Feig's curator insight, January 6, 2013 9:58 PM

Highlight.....not a 'program' but a process.....for all kids.

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How to Implement Response to Intervention at the Secondary Level | Edutopia

How to Implement Response to Intervention at the Secondary Level | Edutopia | Nuts and Bolts of School Management | Scoop.it
Principal PJ Caposey writes that successful RtI is in the details of implementation and offers some suggestions.

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Recognizing Interventions Supported by Research | RTI Action Network

Recognizing Interventions Supported by Research | RTI Action Network | Nuts and Bolts of School Management | Scoop.it
When evaluating a potential RTI intervention or educational practice, the first question should be Is it a scientific, research-based intervention?

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Differentiated Instruction Resources

NCTM serves math teachers, math educators, and administrators by providing math resources and professional development opportunities. Working for more and better math for all students.

Via Zoe Branigan-Pipe
Nancy J. Herr's insight:
Wow! So many great resources.
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Improving Adolescent Literacy: Effective Classroom &Intervention Practices - Teaching Models, Strategies & Ideas

Improving Adolescent Literacy: Effective Classroom &Intervention Practices - Teaching Models, Strategies & Ideas | Nuts and Bolts of School Management | Scoop.it
Improving Adolescent Literacy: Effective Classroom and Intervention Practices http://t.co/JAVPQDus

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Making School About Connection

Making School About Connection | Nuts and Bolts of School Management | Scoop.it
To create meaningful experiences and possibilities for students, let's begin by recognizing them as people and remaking schools and classrooms to value the human experience.
Nancy J. Herr's insight:

Relationships are becoming more important in schools and in the world. Here's some advice to help older students connect. 

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Ivon Prefontaine's curator insight, November 14, 7:26 PM

Here is an interesting way of understanding teaching: ``teaching is always about something". It is always about relationship with people. School is a building and an institution. We might want to make it into a community that connects broadly to other communities i.e. the community it resides within.

 

@ivon_ehd1

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4 ways to incorporate social media in the classroom

4 ways to incorporate social media in the classroom | Nuts and Bolts of School Management | Scoop.it
Efforts to police students' social media activity have made headlines recently, but how can these platforms be used to their benefit? 

Via EDTC@UTB
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Naír's curator insight, November 12, 2:45 AM

Incorporating social media in classrooms

Yann Descamps's curator insight, November 13, 5:15 AM

I've used Twitter to share articles to my students. Great way to interact and start debates on several issues.

So many ways to develop your projects as a teacher... All these tools have to be used carefully, but when they are, they represent great opportunities.