An empowering guide for charting a future for your child!
After years of battling with a school system that did not understand his dyslexia and the shame that accompanied it, renowned activist and entrepreneur Ben Foss is not only open about his dyslexia, he is proud of it. In this webinar based off of his book "The Dyslexia Empowerment Plan," he shares his powerful framework and revolutionary perspective, as well as his personal triumphs and failures, so that you can learn from his experiences and have a plan for success:Discard myths and dream bigIdentify your child's profileHelp your child help themselvesCreate community
Ben will provide an empowering guide for charting a future for your child that is bright with hope and unlimited potential.
Reading is one of the major foundations of any student's studies. In any subject - including math - understanding how to read and being able to comprehend words on a page is a make or break in academics and in life more generally.
Lou Salza's insight:
There’s a cool Info-graphic accompanying the article—check it out and share with parents!-Lou
Help Your Students Love ReadingMake a comfortable place for students to read.During and after reading a book, take the time to talk about the story.If the student has a favorite book or author, allow them to read it over and over, but also encourage them to explore other authors and genres.Ensure that the students see reading regularly – in all its forms!Encourage young readers to use their library card and take out 5 books at a time.Try graphic novels – the illustrations and edgy dialogue will reel in reluctant readers.Using an e-reader provides insight into a reader’s speed and progress.Audio books are a great way to help children appreciate storytelling even if they aren’t ready to read whole books by themselves.Make sure their eyes have been tested – reading is more enjoyable when you can see what you’re reading clearly!Make reading a treat – associate a reward with it.After they’ve read a book, allow them to watch the movie and discuss the differences..."
"Well—it’s worth saying again: All technology is assistive technology.
Lou Salza's insight:
I found this article provocative. Hendren's perspective of technology is one we ought to promote more widely in the learning differences sector. Hendren suggests designers and artists lre-think ability and disability: 1. Question invisibility as the assumed goal. 2. Rethink the default bodily experience. 3. Consider fine gradations of qualitative change. 4. Uncouple medical technologies from their diagnostic contexts. 5. Design for one. 6. Let the tools you make ask questions, not just solve problems.
"Honestly—what technology are you using that’s not assistive? Your smartphone? Your eyeglasses? Headphones? And those three examples alone are assisting you in multiple registers: They’re enabling or augmenting a sensory experience, say, or providing navigational information. But they’re also allowing you to decide whether to be available for approach in public, or not; to check out or in on a conversation or meeting in a bunch of subtle ways; to identify, by your choice of brand or look, with one culture group and not another.
Making a persistent, overt distinction about “assistive tech” embodies the second-tier do-gooderism and banality that still dominate design work targeted toward “special needs.” “Assistive technology” implies a separate species of tools designed exclusively for those people with a rather narrow set of diagnostic “impairments”—impairments, in other words, that have been culturally designated as needing special attention, as being particularly, grossly abnormal. But are you sure your phone isn’t a crutch, as it were, for a whole lot of unexamined needs? If the metrics were expansive enough, I think the lines around what’s designated as assistive would start to get blurry pretty quickly.
Undoing the distinctions between design for disability and design in general yields a couple of goods: It brings new attention to technologies that are profound in their use and impact on physical and political accessibility. The advanced replacement limbs, all-terrain wheelchairs, and exoskeletons you can find now are evidence of this new attention.
It also brings a productive uncertainty and a powerful friction to the task of designing technologies of all kinds. Whether you’re designing for an established need or seeking an application for a technical novelty, you might take more time before confidently assigning it to a user, or to over-determining its modes of deployment—it might be for practical ends, or for play, or for something else you’ve not yet imagined...."
Ann Klotz (left), the head of Laurel School, is pictured with psychologist and author Carol Gilligan (center) and Lisa Damour, who is the director of the Center for Research on Girls at Laurel School. Gilligan was the keynote speaker during the CRG's biennial symposium.
The Center for Research on Girls at Laurel School's biennial symposium features results of groundbreaking research, including a relationship between children's creativity levels and math test scores and more.
Lou Salza's insight:
Kudos to Ann Klotz, Lisa Damour, and to Carol Gilligan for their excellent work on behalf of our daughters, sisters and mothers! More reasons I love living in Shaker Hts!-Lou
SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio -- "A relationship between creativity and math proficiency in children is just one of the groundbreaking findings presented during the Center for Research on Girls at Laurel School’s biennial symposium.
Researchers, educators and advocates for girls from around the globe came together for the four-day event that wrapped up Sunday. This year’s symposium focused on resilience.
“We can’t fix stress, but what we can do is take a hard look at the components of resilience. Those are purpose, self-care, creativity, growth mindset and relationships,” said Ann Klotz, the head of Laurel School.
Perhaps once of the most significant findings presented during the symposium came from Sandra Russ, a professor of psychology at Case Western Reserve University. Russ and her student, Claire Wallace, found that students who exhibited higher levels of creativity while playing also scored higher on math tests...."
Increasingly, educators are looking to research about how kids learn to influence teaching practices and tools.
Lou Salza's insight:
In case you missed this--Lou
Many educators are using researchers’ insights into how children best learn to inform their teaching practices. Stanford professor Carol Dweck’s research on encouraging children to develop a growth-mindset continues to grow in popularity, as educators try to praise effort, not outcomes. Dweck writes that if children believe their abilities are fixed — that either that they’re smart or they’re not — they approach the world in different ways and aren’t as able to face adversity. When they believe skills and abilities can grow throughout one’s lifetime, they’re better able to rise to challenges…..
Games have long been used to engage students. But as game-based learning becomes more prevalent in schools, researchers are interested in how game structure mirrors the learning process. In many games, students explore ideas and try out solutions. When they learn the skills required at one level, they move up. Failure to complete tasks is reframed as part of the path towards learning how to conquer a level.
Universities like Harvard, MIT and the University of Wisconsin’s Game and Learning Society are studying how game-playing helps student engagement and achievement, and well-known researchers in the field like James Paul Gee and University of Wisconsin professor Kurt Squireshow are using their own studies to show that games help students learn…..
POWER OF PERSEVERANCE
Paul Tough’s book, How Children Succeed, popularized the ideas of grit and perseverance. Now those ideas have made their way into a U.S. Department of Education’s Technology office reportas well as the Common Core State Standards, which many states are already implementing. The idea that failure is an opportunity to learn and improve, not a roadblock to achievement, is often referenced as one of the most important life skills a student can take with him beyond the classroom.
Angela Duckworth’s research on grit has shown that often students, who scored lower on intelligence tests, end up doing better in class. They were compensating for their lack of innate intelligence with hard work and that paid off in their GPAs. Duckworth has even developed a “Grit Scale” that allows students to self-report their “grittiness.”
The growing movement against homework in the U.S. challenges the notion that the amount of homework a student is asked to do at home is an indication of rigor, and homework opponents argue that the increasing amount of “busy work” is unnecessarily taking up students’ out-of-school-time. They argue that downtime, free play, and family time are just as important to a child’s social and emotional development as what happens in school……
Increasingly business leaders and educators are realizing that creativity is a uniquely human quality that will set future graduates apart from the ever smarter computers that are playing increasingly important roles in society. There’s been a focus on stimulating curiosity and creativity through Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) courses, including computer coding, as well as integrating art and design into courses. The design thinking movement is a good example of schools working to develop students’ ability to think for themselves, brainstorm ideas and execute them…..”
"These superb offerings about caring and kindness make fitting choices for sharing with youngsters as we enter the holiday season.Perceptive but never preachy, these picture books also present children with enlightening instances of empathy, generosity, and compassion, demonstrating a standard of positive behavior that will go far in preventing bullying."
Lou Salza's insight:
Several great suggestions from Joy Fleishhacker; librarian, former SLJ staffer, and freelance editor and writer who lives in southern Colorado.
Teacher merit pay. It’s one of those perennially popular policy ideas that, historically, hasn’t worked very well. A few years ago, New York City offered teachers in select schools $3,000 if the entire school’s test scores went up.
Lou Salza's insight:
Interesting article, but it is about a lot more than merit pay. Research over many years points to the reality that pay ranks below several other factors that motivate teachers: relationships with administrators, the quality of the teaching and learning environment, opportunities for professional development--to name a few. ---Lou
"The good news is that the Talent Transfer Initiative shows a significant pay raise can move good veteran teachers to struggling schools and keep them there. The bad news is that less than a quarter of the 1,500 effective teachers asked to participate in this experiment chose to apply.
Why? There is a lot of research on teacher preferences, and what we know is that pay ranks pretty far down the list. A McKinsey study found that a respected principal was a more attractive draw for teachers than larger salaries. Yet the persistently failing schools targeted by this experiment and others often have constant administrative churn; at one South L.A. high school I’ve reported on, Crenshaw, there were five principals and 24 assistant principals in seven years. When veteran teachers consider where to work, they are aware of the reality of low-income schools with chaotic work environments.
That suggests teacher bonuses paired with efforts to keep respected, committed principals in low-income schools could truly improve instruction. In recent years, our school reform debate has focused almost obsessively on the individual teacher within the classroom. In reality, a school’s working climate—the complex interplay between a principal and teams of teachers—matters just as much."
Our team at the National Center for Learning Disabilities visited Madison Square Park in New York City to separate fact from fiction when it comes to LD.
Lou Salza's insight:
Nice idea--I would have liked questions that actually complicated people's thinking instead of defaulting to the old presumptions. I think it was Margaret Rawson who said that the issue for dyslexics was not ignorance--but presumed knowledge. Perhaps it is both!--Lou
Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life (public library) is among my10 favorite books on writing – a treasure trove of insight both practical and profound, timelessly revisitable and yielding deeper resonance each time. Lamott adds to the collected wisdom of great writers with equal parts candor and conviction, teaching us as much about writing as she does about creativity at large and, even beyond that, about being human and living a full life – because, after all, as Lamott notes in the beginning, writing is nothing more nor less than a sensemaking mechanism for life:
Lou Salza's insight:
Wonderful piece about the importance of observing then writing about the world. In the process Maria Popova shines a light on the importance of belonging and the dangers of perfectionism--both areas of vulnerability for the students we serve. How can we use writing--particularly modern forms of scripting -(video, podcasts, soundtracts) to introduce students with print and language learning challenges to ways of communicating to themselves and reaching out to others, about their journey?-Lou
Just subscribed to this newsletter after hearing about it from our Lower School/ Associate Head Vanessa Diffenbacher. THe graphs illustrate the importance of thoughtful selection and analysis of texts to support reading development. Check it out!--Lou
"....Archaic Language—The vocabulary, usage, syntax and context for cultural reference of texts over 50 or 100 years old are vastly different and typically more complex than texts written today. Students need to be exposed to and develop proficiency with antiquated forms of expression to be able to hope to read James Madison, Frederick Douglas and Edmund Spenser when they get to college.
Here for example are the first lines of Great Expectations: My father’s family name being Pirrip, and my Christian name Philip, my infant tongue could make of both names nothing longer or more explicit than Pip. So, I called myself Pip, and came to be called Pip.”
The sentences are short and simple, the words simple. On a Lexile scale this passage would score low, but the stylistic differences in a text of this vintage make it daunting to most students to say the least. And they must learn not to be intimidated by older discourse.
Non-Linear Time Sequences: In passages written exclusively for students—or more specifically for student assessments—time tends to unfold with consistency. A story is narrated in a given style with a given cadence and that cadence endures and remains consistent, but in the best books, books where every aspect of the narration is nuanced to create an exact image, time moves in fits and start. It doubles back. To Kill a Mockingbird, for example, is written from Scout’s perspective as she looks back at events from her childhood that happened when she was about 9. But some of her memories are of memories that happened earlier or later. Or that happened repeatedly during her childhood. The narrative shifts seamlessly from “One day Atticus was,” to “Atticus often did” without calling this shift to the reader’s attention. To understand the book you have to catch these subtle shifts. The only way to master such books is to have read them time and again and to be carefully introduced to them by a thoughtful teacher or parent.
Misleading/Narratively Complex—Books are sometimes narrated by an unreliable narrator- Scout, for example, who doesn’t understand and misperceives some of what happened to her. Or the narrator in Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart” who is a madman out of touch with reality. Other books have multiple narrators such as Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying. Others have non-human narrators such as the horse that tells the story in Black Beauty. Some books have multiple intertwined and apparently (for a time) unrelated plot lines. These are far harder to read than books with a single plot line and students need to experience these as well. They define rigor at least as much as Lexiles though Lexiles clearly don’t contemplate them.
So too Figurative/Symbolic Text which, like Animal Farm or The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe or Kurt Vonnegut’s story “Harrison Bergeron” happen on an allegorical or symbolic level. Not reflected in Lexiles; critical forms of text complexity that students must experience.
Finally there are Resistant Texts—texts written to deliberately resist easy meaning-making by readers. Perhaps half of the poems ever written fall into this category. You have to assemble meaning around nuances, hints, uncertainties and clues. So too a book like Garcia Marquez’ One Hundred Years of Solitude.
Anyway, we’ve taken to using these “Five Plagues” as markers of text complexity and to explicitly ask our teachers to expose students to books that feature them to ensure the rigor of their reading and their preparedness for college. In my next post I’ll provide more explicit --examples from To Kill a Mockingbird that show how subtle pervasive and important the factors can be....." By Doug Lemov
"Efforts to encourage students to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics degrees may be starting to sink into students' minds, according to new data released by the National Student Clearinghouse.The number of STEM degrees earned in the last 5 years grew exceptionally." By Allie Bidwell, US News and World Report
Lou Salza's insight:
Because STEM programs focus on projects, fabrications, creativity and collaboration, they are suited to many of our students who struggle with text and traditional educational models. This article regarding data from the National Student Clearinghouse indicates there are growing opportunities in our ecomony for people with these skills and training.--Lou
"The science and engineering disciplines included in the NSC's reports include Earth, atmospheric and ocean sciences, physical sciences, mathematics and computer science, engineering, and biological and agricultural sciences. The NSC also included social sciences and psychology because those two disciplines fall under the National Science Foundation's classification of science.
Research has suggested that by the year 2020, the majority of all new job openings will require some type of postsecondary education, and that STEM occupations will increase by about 25 percent. But others have expressed concern that there are not enough students pursuing such degrees and that these positions could go unfilled.
In fact, National Science Foundation data that has tracked year-to-year growth in science and engineering degree completions since 1966 show the recent surge in these types of degrees is exceptional..."
Children special education rights & law - In order to make sure that your child with learning disabilities gets the help the need, you should familiarize yourself with the rights you have as your child's advocate.
Lou Salza's insight:
Excellent review of the law from the folks at NCLD--Lou
"Your child has the right to a free and appropriate public school education. Getting involved in his or her education is among the most important things you can do as your child’s advocate. As you’ll see below, you have a right to be a part of every decision regarding your child’s education, including the process of finding out if your child needs special services. You know your child best, and your input should be considered at every opportunity.
In order to make sure that your child with learning disabilities gets the help he or she needs throughout his or her school career, you should familiarize yourself with the rights you have as your child’s advocate. These rights are federally mandated by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
Your Child’s Rights Determining Eligibility for Special Education and Related ServicesYou have the right to request in writing that your child be evaluated to determine if he or she is eligible for special education and related services. This evaluation is more than just a single test. The school must gather information from you, your child's teacher and others who would be helpful. An assessment of your child must then be conducted in all the areas that may be affected by the suspected disability.If the public school agrees that your child may have a learning disability and may need special help, the school must evaluate your child at no cost to you.Teachers or other professionals can recommend that your child be evaluated, but the school must get your explicit written consent before any part of the evaluation is started.If the public school system refuses to give your child an evaluation, they must explain in writing the reasons for refusal, and must also provide information about how you can challenge their decision.All tests and interviews must be conducted in your child’s native language. The evaluation process cannot discriminate against your child because he or she is not a native English speaker, has a disability or is from a different racial or cultural background.Your child cannot be determined eligible for special education services only because of limited English proficiency or because of lack of instruction in reading or math.You have the right to be a part of the evaluation team that decides what information is needed to determine whether your child is eligible.You have the right to a copy of all evaluation reports and paperwork related to your child.You have the right to obtain an Independent Education Evaluation from a qualified professional and challenge the findings of the school evaluation team.You have the right for your child’s evaluation to be completed within a specific timeframe. Some states have set a limit. For states who had no limit, as of July 1, 2005, the evaluation must be completed within 60 days of your written consent...."
The Australian Financial Review Researchers given funding to put MOOCs under microscope The Australian Financial Review A report by the university released in September acknowledged a low pass rate, but noted the results should be “considered in...
Lou Salza's insight:
And I quote" there is very little discussion of education, learning and learners" in our excitement over Massive online, open curriculum. 'Bout time!--Lou
Selwyn is one of a band of researchers globally who’ve been awarded Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grants to probe the much touted but little evidenced potential of MOOCs to, well, change the world.
“The New York Times was spot-on when proclaiming 2012 as the year of the MOOC and things haven’t slowed down for 2013,” Professor Selwyn says. “The general gold-rush frenzy has certainly died down, especially as the realities of student dropout and the quality of these courses is becoming apparent. But people are now clamouring for some ‘real’ evidence.
“Ironically, for what is being touted as the biggest educational revolution of the past hundred years, there is very little discussion of education, learning and learners.”..."
The demand is on for educators to provide more digital content that allows for the integration of technology, but where does the professional start? A great place to start would be a website aligned to Bloom’s Digital
Why Are Glasses Perceived Differently Than Hearing Aids? The Atlantic
Rebecca J. Rosen is a senior associate editor at The Atlantic interviews
Sara Hendren, a leading thinker and writer on adaptive technologies and prosthetics. Her wonderful site, Abler, was recently syndicated by Gizmodo. I talked to her about why crutches don't look cool, where the idea of "normal" comes from, and whether the 21st century might bring greater understanding of human diversity.
Lou Salza's insight:
According to Wayne Dyer: "When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change"--Lou
...But it’s not enough to make “better technologies”—I’m also interested in linking together design and art works that investigate the very notion of normal and abnormal function. It’s one thing to make a prosthetic limb that’s beautifully painted; they’re gorgeous! It’s another, though, to seek out designs that raise and suspend questions about human capacities, about the functionality of technologies, about all the ways humans engage with machines for all kinds of needs. I’m interested in productive uncertainty, in so many ways. I want technology designers to ask more questions—both of their intended users and inside their own assumptions—when figuring out who needs which device for what....
How do you know if your child with LD's Individualized Education Program, or IEP, is working? Here are four important signs that your child's IEP is on the right track.
Lou Salza's insight:
Thank you NCLD!--LouExcerpt:"Here Are Four Important Signs That Your Child’s IEP Is WorkingYour child’s IEP has been reviewed by all teachers and related service providers.
All school personnel involved with your child’s education should be aware of and have access to your child’s IEP. This includes general education teachers, special education teachers, and any providers of related services such as speech/language.
Everyone should be knowledgeable about your child’s learning disability and its impact on all aspects of learning and behavior. Everyone should be clear regarding any instructional support, accommodations, or other services that must be provided your child and the role each must play in making certain they are provided consistently.
Your child is receiving behavorial supports, if needed.
Every IEP must consider the student’s need for behavioral interventions if behavior impedes the student’s learning or that of others. If your child requires such support, the IEP should clearly spell out what interventions are required. All those involved in your child’s education should be aware of behavior challenges and how they are to be addressed.
Your child has access to assistive technology and accessible instructional materials.
Confirm that your child is being provided with any assistive technology (AT) and/or accessible instructional materials (AIM)listed in the IEP. This includes any training your child needs in order to use the AT or AIM, and any training you might need to assist your child. Simply asking your child about use of AT and AIM is a good way to determine if what’s been promised in the IEP is actually happening.
You are receiving regular progress reports from the school.
IDEA requires that parents be provided with regular reports of progress toward each of the annual goals in their child’s IEP. These progress reports must be provided as frequently as reports are provided for all students.
Reports should involve objective measures—such as results gathered by curriculum-based measurement and standardized tests—and should not rely on any one single measure. A combination of measures will best document your child’s progress and show if the special services are meeting your child's needs. Teacher observation and teacher-given grades alone are not appropriate measures of student progress. .."
Mindfulness has the potential to be a very useful component because of its effectiveness in reducing emotional distress and promoting emotional balance, improving attention, and contributing to motivated learning.
Lou Salza's insight:
And I quote: (report from the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child)
"In terms of basic brain functioning, emotions support executive functions when they are well regulated, but interfere with attention and decision making when they are poorly controlled."
Moral? Lead with the heart. Get your head due north –then and only then, Teach! --Lou
Excerpt: "...Neuroscience, too, has offered evidence to support a holistic message about cognitive, social, and emotional development. Recent scientific advances have led to rejection of a cognitive versus affective framework to describe human cognition. Evidence shows that the prefrontal cortex, considered the center of higher-level cognition in the brain, also plays a dramatically important role in emotion processing and regulation. Thus, the operation of the brain is more like an orchestra than a number of soloists. This paradigm-shifting evidence has forced us to rethink the relationship between reason and emotion. Not only does academic learning depend on social and emotional skills, but also it is virtually impossible to disentangle the two. A report from the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child put it this way:
When feelings are not well managed, thinking can be impaired. Recent scientific advances have shown how the interrelated development of emotion and cognition relies on the emergence, maturation, and interconnection of complex neural circuits in multiple areas of the brain, including the prefrontal cortex, limbic cortex, basal forebrain, amygdala, hypothalamus, and brain stem. The circuits that are involved in the regulation of emotion are highly interactive with those that are associated with “executive functions” (such as planning, judgment, and decision making), which are intimately involved in the development of problem-solving skills during the preschool years. In terms of basic brain functioning, emotions support executive functions when they are well regulated, but interfere with attention and decision making when they are poorly controlled...."
This is particularly important for students with language learning differences--Lou
"...“There’s something about writing that is a link to your brain,” said Marissa Moss, author of the popular children’s book series Amelia’s Notebook. In the books, Moss takes on the persona of a little girl expressing her ideas about the world and people around her. The books are a combination of words and drawings and look free form – as though Amelia sketched them herself.
Taking a cue from Moss, teachers from Oak Knoll Elementary School in Menlo Park, Calif., decided to have their students keep notebooks in a similar style. The notebooks aren’t graded; rather, they’re a place of private, free expression. Karen Clancy and Andrea Boatright presented the project at the Innovative Learning Conference hosted by the Nueva School recently.
“They’re not used to being given permission to write about whatever they want,” Clancy said. But once her students realized that they really weren’t being graded and that they had freedom of expression, they eventually came to demand time to write.
Moss says writing without fear of consequences is key to developing a writer’s voice. “If you’re perfect you are guaranteed to not write a thing,” Moss said. “It’s like driving with one foot on the gas and one foot on the break.” She has developed some guides to help teachers coax students into using art and writing in their journals at the same time, as a way of flexing their visual thinking along with literacy...."
Consumer advocate Erin Brockovich joined me on Mondays with Marlo to share some of her insight on bullying and learning disabilities.
Lou Salza's insight:
A message of gratitude to all those teachers out there who take the time to notice, understand and support their students!--Lou
Excerpt:"Erin's psychology teacher was a hero because she noticed that although Erin was outgoing and knowledgeable in class verbally, she would struggle with tests and any written work. One day, she pulled Erin aside and confronted her about this discrepancy. When her teacher orally asked Erin the same questions from a written test Erin had failed, Erin recited all the answers perfectly.
"Just because you're different doesn't mean you're inferior," said Erin. She thinks that conformity in education is a dangerous game, and that teachers should pay close attention to how individual student minds operate..."
Research in the science of learning shows that hands-on building projects help young people conceptualize ideas and understand issues in greater depth.
Lou Salza's insight:
Annie Murphy Paul points out that the focus on STEM programs requires that we create materials, space and time for tinkering and fabrication. --Lou
"...Research in the science of learning shows that hands-on building projects help young people conceptualize ideas and understand issues in greater depth. In anexperiment described in the International Journal of Engineering Education in 2009, for example, one group of eighth-graders was taught about water resources in the traditional way: classroom lectures, handouts and worksheets. Meanwhile, a group of their classmates explored the same subject by designing and constructing a water purification device. The students in the second group learned the material better: they knew more about the importance of clean drinking water and how it is produced, and they engaged in deeper and more complex thinking in response to open-ended questions on water resources and water quality.
If we want more young people to choose a profession in one of the group of crucial fields known as STEM—science, technology, engineering and math—we ought to start cultivating these interests and skills early. But the way to do so may not be the kind of highly structured and directed instruction that we usually associate with these subjects. Instead, some educators have begun taking seriously an activity often dismissed as a waste of time: tinkering. Tinkering is the polar opposite of the test-driven, results-oriented approach of No Child Left Behind: it involves a loose process of trying things out, seeing what happens, reflecting and evaluating, and trying again.
“Tinkering is the way that real science happens, in all its messy glory,” says Sylvia Martinez, co-author of the new book Invent To Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom. Martinez is one of the leaders of the “makers’ movement,” a nationwide effort to help kids discover the value of getting their hands dirty and their minds engaged. The next generation of scientists—and artists, and inventors, and entrepreneurs—may depend on it..."
/PRNewswire/ -- The International Dyslexia Association (IDA) is pleased to announce that Baltimore-based dyslexia expert Ben Shifrin has been named vice president of the organization's Board of Directors.
Lou Salza's insight:
Congratulations to Jemicy School Head Ben Shifrin for being named IDA Board VP--Lou
"The International Dyslexia Association (IDA) is pleased to announce that Baltimore-based dyslexia expert Ben Shifrin has been named vice president of the organization's Board of Directors. Shifrin, head of Jemicy School in Owings Mills, Md., has been a member of IDA's Board of Directors since 1992 and has served as the organization's treasurer since 2006.
"We are thrilled that Ben Shifrin will continue to serve IDA as our new vice president. He has an unparalleled understanding and passion to help those who struggle with dyslexia and other learning differences," said IDA President Eric Tridas. "We are looking forward to working with Ben to continue our mission to support and advocate for individuals with dyslexia, their families, and professionals in the field."
Shifrin, a dyslexic himself, grew up with many of the same academic challenges that his students face today, and he has made a life's work of finding ways for bright students with language-based learning differences to succeed in academics and in life...."
British author Sally Gardner, whose recent novel explores dyslexia, says children with spelling disabilities face uniform problems across the world.
"Narrated against the backdrop of a ruthless regime determined to beat its enemies in the race to the moon,MAGGOT MOON is the stunning new novel from award-winning author Sally Gardner.
When his best friend Hector is suddenly taken away, dyslexic hero Standish Treadwell realises that it is up to him, his grandfather and a small band of rebels to confront and defeat the ever-present oppressive forces of the Motherland.
Utterly original and stunning, it is impossible not to be moved byMAGGOT MOON’s powerful story and the unforgettable heroism of Standish"
Lou Salza's insight:
Add another book to your youth literature book self featuring a dyslexic protagonist! The book is available in an iPad interactive version as well.---Lou
"British author Sally Gardner, whose recent novel explores dyslexia, says children with spelling disabilities face uniform problems across the world.
Sally, who was here to attend Bookaroo, a literature festival for children, was diagnosed dyslexic at the age of 11 and had not learnt to read till she was nearly 14 years old.
"I wanted to put the viewpoint of a kid who has a difficult experience in school. He is dyslexic and I know for a fact how difficult that can be. The situation is the same all over the world," the author said.
The author, now in her 50s, has to her credit over a dozen bestselling books for children, including four novels for teenagers.
Her book "Maggot Moon" is dedicated to "the dreamers who are overlooked at school, never won prizes". .."
A text complexity rubric is used to determine the rigor of the text. Lexile level is only one component of this rubric. Educators must not just consider the quantitative measure, but the qualitative measure of each text.
Lou Salza's insight:
Fascinating. For an intelligent student struggling to develop decoding fluency a book with lower lexile scores and high thematic complexity is exactly what we should select. This article suggests that thematic complexity, idiosyncratic language, curriculum context and the interests and developmental level of the students all must be considered before a text is ruled "in" or "out." I will post Lemov's Five Plagues of the developing reader next.--Lou
".. Lemov said that measuring books by vocabulary and sentence length doesn’t account for all the ways that texts can be challenging for students, and suggested a more holistic look at how educators and leaders choose and assign books under the new standards – what he calls The Five Plagues of the Developing Reader. His list of textual qualities to consider goes above and beyond vocabulary and sentences, and includes archaic language, non-linear time sequences, unreliable or complex narrators, figurative or symbolic text, and resistant text, which makes the reader work to uncover its meaning.
To give an example of the gap between a Lexile score and the Five Plagues approach, Lemov took a few of his favorite middle school books to teach, and plotted them on a graph alongside the target Lexile range according to the Common Core exemplar books for middle school. “The circles represent the Common Core sweet spot,” for each grade, he said.
“It’s not just that some of our favorite books don’t measure up on the Lexile scale,” Lemov wrote in an accompanying blog post, “but that often those very same books are the ones we think are eminently rigorous. And they sometimes scored lower than ones we think of as less rigorous.”
For example, two favorites, Lord of the Flies (770L) and The Outsiders (750L), are textual cousins according to Lexile, and both come in lower than the target complexity for grades seven and eight. But Lemov said anyone who has read Lord of the Flies knows that’s not true. “Lord of the Flies is hard, and significantly harder [than The Outsiders], significantly more complex,” said Lemov. “Anyone who has read that book knows how hard it is. It has archaic language, it’s full of allusions to different worlds, they use British English.”
Lemov appears to view the Lexile scores for student texts as a small part of a much larger conversation teachers need to be having about the books they teach and why. And he and his team of teacher-researchers encourage educators and school leaders to intentionally manage text selection to ensure they’re maximizing the different kinds of complexity, making sure kids get exposed to all the different ways books can be challenging.
“It’s too important to let it happen by accident,” he said. “Our argument is, you have to systematically expose kids [to different kinds of text]. If you’ve never read archaic text, or language that’s 150 years old, when you get to college, and someone hands you The Faerie Queene, you’re dead.”
Excerpt from Ben Foss’ Dyslexia Empowerment Plan: “Whether your child is on the cusp on being identified or you’ve known about his dyslexia…I say welcome to the club!”
Lou Salza's insight:
Invaluable perspectives from an irrepressible dyslexic, who says to all of us living with dyslexia--Welcome to the nation!
"In the Nation of Dyslexia, nobody spells well. There’s no good handwriting. But we’re great listeners and often good public speakers. I like to think we are fun at parties. We work harder than many of our mainstream peers. Yet my emigration into mainstream culture does not mean I have to divorce myself from my dyslexic attributes. If you’re from another country and immigrate to the United States, you will likely want to adopt some American customs. But you won’t completely leave your homeland culture—the food, the dance, the work ethic, the holidays—behind. Everyone in Dyslexia carries a passport that allows easy entry into a number of bordering countries, including the nations of Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia, and ADHD, to name some of the major ones. In my view, we are all “in the club”—my catchphrase for the broad family of people who experience the non-obvious disabilities generally housed under the umbrella term of “specific learning disabilities.” Your child may hold dual citizenship with one of these. For example, 40 percent of people from ADHD are also from Dyslexia, though the opposite is not the case, as there are more dyslexic people than ADHD folks. All of us share a common bond, a common his-tory. When I hang out with ADHD people I get them, I understand their profile, and I may even have some of their characteristics. I have used the term dyslexia throughout this book, but the lessons are for people from all these nations and I consider them all kindred spirits based on our overlapping experiences.."
“Four score and seven years ago...” Most Americans would immediately recognize these lines as the famed opening of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, delivered 150 years ago on Nov. 19.
Lou Salza's insight:
Kudos to Ethan Pond, Greenwood School in VT and Ken Burns! --Lou
" ....“The Greenwood students are escaping the specific gravity of whatever learning difference they have,” Burns said. “It becomes not only an exercise and a lesson, but a hugely symbolic thing where they literally transcend their challenge and have a new birth of freedom as a person.”
In connection with the speech’s 150th anniversary Tuesday, Burns is challenging Americans to take up the Greenwood project, memorize the Gettysburg Address, and post a video of their recitation on his site, learntheaddress.com. All the living presidents, along with comedians, TV personalities, and hundreds of ordinary citizens, have contributed so far.
Even though Pond mastered Lincoln’s speech in his first year at Greenwood — a rare feat at the school — the sophomore has years of academic and social work to complete between now and his graduation. During that time, he also hopes to help other students meet the Gettysburg challenge..."