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Why 32 Ed Leaders Are Excited About 2 major shifts: #commoncore, personalized digital learning

Why 32 Ed Leaders Are Excited About 2 major shifts: #commoncore, personalized digital learning | Leading Schools | Scoop.it

"With two historic shifts under way simultaneously—the adoption of common college- and career-ready standards, and the shift to personalized digital learning—we asked 32 education leaders what they were excited about."

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Formative Assessment Works

by Mel Riddile


Formative assessment or assessment for learning is a proven strategy to improve student achievement.

Mel Riddile's insight:

“Formative assessment is a planned process in which teachers or students use assessment-based evidence to adjust what they're currently doing.

• Formative assessment is a planned process in which assessment-elicited evidence of students' status is used by teachers to adjust their ongoing instructional procedures or by students to adjust their current learning tactics.

• Because formative assessment has been shown to improve students' in-class learning, many educators have adopted it in the hope that it will also raise their students' performances on accountability tests.

• The expanded use of formative assessment is supported not only by instructional logic but also by the conclusions of a well-conceived and skillfully implemented meta-analysis by Paul Black and Dylan Wiliam.” (Popham, 2008)After synthesizing over 250 publications, Black and Wiliam, concluded that formative assessment is perhaps the most effective educational practice when it comes to improving academic achievement. In addition, formative assessment has a disproportionately beneficial impact on low‐achieving students. http://www.hanoverresearch.com/media/The-Impact-of-Formative-Assessment-and-Learning-Intentions-on-Student-Achievement.pdfIn 

 

In 2009, John Hattie published a meta-meta-analysis of education research called Visible Learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. In that study, Hattie found that formative assessment, when done correctly, had the highest effect size on student learning compared with other classroom strategies.

 

In recent years, neuroscientists have reported that retrieval practice—recalling and applying previously learning—had a huge impact (as much as 50%) on student retention of learned content. Combining retrieval practice and formative assessment can significantly reduce forgetting and increase retention of lesson content.

 

Each school’s instructional framework provides teachers with numerous opportunities to use formative assessments in the beginning and ending of a lesson as well as when engaging students and during student practice in the body of the lesson. Teachers use formative assessment to see if the students have mastered the content of the lesson—did they get it?

 

Note that mastery means that the students can demonstrate both that they ‘know’ the content and that they can apply what they learned to future or past learning.

 

Formative Assessment in the Beginning and Ending of the Lesson

 

• Purposeful Learning – The expectation that all activities be purposeful means that teachers always have something to check on or assess for understanding.

• Focusing (Beginning) – Ask students to demonstrate mastery of the previous lesson through bell ringer, do now, or warm up.

• Knowing the Lesson’s Purpose (Beginning) – Ask students to repeat the learning target or essential question in their own words

• Ask students to predict (“prediction effect”) the “why” of the learning target/essential question (Beginning).

• Use a closure activity or ‘exit ticket’ that asks more than comprehension level, regurgitation questions. Ask students to both recall (retrieval practice) and apply what they learned to future or past learning (Ending).

• Purposeful reading, writing, and discussion - Reflection of some kind that addresses learning using evidence from the lesson that connects the learning to something else (Ending).

 

Formative Assessment in the Body of the Lesson (Practicing and Engagement)

 

• Connection activities that ask students to link new learning to older learning• Visualization activities where students draw some concept that has been learned

• Question design - ask kids to write their own questions with different levels of Bloom's involved

• Game play where appropriate can be a great tool as well• Blog writing as a reflective or questioning tool

• Mentor activities that ask the student to create something original using the learning as a model

• Problem solving activities where students apply skills to arrive at a solutionIf students can complete any or all of the above, then we know they have demonstrated proficiency on some level. As we seek to move kids to mastery, we need to be acutely aware of their progress.


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LET Team's curator insight, March 19, 2016 6:44 PM

“Formative assessment is a planned process in which teachers or students use assessment-based evidence to adjust what they're currently doing.


• Formative assessment is a planned process in which assessment-elicited evidence of students' status is used by teachers to adjust their ongoing instructional procedures or by students to adjust their current learning tactics.


• Because formative assessment has been shown to improve students' in-class learning, many educators have adopted it in the hope that it will also raise their students' performances on accountability tests.


• The expanded use of formative assessment is supported not only by instructional logic but also by the conclusions of a well-conceived and skillfully implemented meta-analysis by Paul Black and Dylan Wiliam.” (Popham, 2008)After synthesizing over 250 publications, Black and Wiliam, concluded that formative assessment is perhaps the most effective educational practice when it comes to improving academic achievement. In addition, formative assessment has a disproportionately beneficial impact on low‐achieving students. http://www.hanoverresearch.com/media/The-Impact-of-Formative-Assessment-and-Learning-Intentions-on-Student-Achievement.pdfIn 


 


In 2009, John Hattie published a meta-meta-analysis of education research called Visible Learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. In that study, Hattie found that formative assessment, when done correctly, had the highest effect size on student learning compared with other classroom strategies.


 


In recent years, neuroscientists have reported that retrieval practice—recalling and applying previously learning—had a huge impact (as much as 50%) on student retention of learned content. Combining retrieval practice and formative assessment can significantly reduce forgetting and increase retention of lesson content.


 


Each school’s instructional framework provides teachers with numerous opportunities to use formative assessments in the beginning and ending of a lesson as well as when engaging students and during student practice in the body of the lesson. Teachers use formative assessment to see if the students have mastered the content of the lesson—did they get it?


 


Note that mastery means that the students can demonstrate both that they ‘know’ the content and that they can apply what they learned to future or past learning.


 


Formative Assessment in the Beginning and Ending of the Lesson


 


• Purposeful Learning – The expectation that all activities be purposeful means that teachers always have something to check on or assess for understanding.


• Focusing (Beginning) – Ask students to demonstrate mastery of the previous lesson through bell ringer, do now, or warm up.


• Knowing the Lesson’s Purpose (Beginning) – Ask students to repeat the learning target or essential question in their own words


• Ask students to predict (“prediction effect”) the “why” of the learning target/essential question (Beginning).


• Use a closure activity or ‘exit ticket’ that asks more than comprehension level, regurgitation questions. Ask students to both recall (retrieval practice) and apply what they learned to future or past learning (Ending).


• Purposeful reading, writing, and discussion - Reflection of some kind that addresses learning using evidence from the lesson that connects the learning to something else (Ending).


 


Formative Assessment in the Body of the Lesson (Practicing and Engagement)


 


• Connection activities that ask students to link new learning to older learning• Visualization activities where students draw some concept that has been learned


• Question design - ask kids to write their own questions with different levels of Bloom's involved


• Game play where appropriate can be a great tool as well• Blog writing as a reflective or questioning tool


• Mentor activities that ask the student to create something original using the learning as a model


• Problem solving activities where students apply skills to arrive at a solutionIf students can complete any or all of the above, then we know they have demonstrated proficiency on some level. As we seek to move kids to mastery, we need to be acutely aware of their progress.


Andy Fetchik's curator insight, March 21, 2016 11:34 AM

“Formative assessment is a planned process in which teachers or students use assessment-based evidence to adjust what they're currently doing.

• Formative assessment is a planned process in which assessment-elicited evidence of students' status is used by teachers to adjust their ongoing instructional procedures or by students to adjust their current learning tactics.

• Because formative assessment has been shown to improve students' in-class learning, many educators have adopted it in the hope that it will also raise their students' performances on accountability tests.

• The expanded use of formative assessment is supported not only by instructional logic but also by the conclusions of a well-conceived and skillfully implemented meta-analysis by Paul Black and Dylan Wiliam.” (Popham, 2008)After synthesizing over 250 publications, Black and Wiliam, concluded that formative assessment is perhaps the most effective educational practice when it comes to improving academic achievement. In addition, formative assessment has a disproportionately beneficial impact on low‐achieving students. http://www.hanoverresearch.com/media/The-Impact-of-Formative-Assessment-and-Learning-Intentions-on-Student-Achievement.pdfIn ;


In 2009, John Hattie published a meta-meta-analysis of education research called Visible Learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. In that study, Hattie found that formative assessment, when done correctly, had the highest effect size on student learning compared with other classroom strategies.


In recent years, neuroscientists have reported that retrieval practice—recalling and applying previously learning—had a huge impact (as much as 50%) on student retention of learned content. Combining retrieval practice and formative assessment can significantly reduce forgetting and increase retention of lesson content.


Each school’s instructional framework provides teachers with numerous opportunities to use formative assessments in the beginning and ending of a lesson as well as when engaging students and during student practice in the body of the lesson. Teachers use formative assessment to see if the students have mastered the content of the lesson—did they get it?


Note that mastery means that the students can demonstrate both that they ‘know’ the content and that they can apply what they learned to future or past learning.


Formative Assessment in the Beginning and Ending of the Lesson


• Purposeful Learning – The expectation that all activities be purposeful means that teachers always have something to check on or assess for understanding.

• Focusing (Beginning) – Ask students to demonstrate mastery of the previous lesson through bell ringer, do now, or warm up.

• Knowing the Lesson’s Purpose (Beginning) – Ask students to repeat the learning target or essential question in their own words

• Ask students to predict (“prediction effect”) the “why” of the learning target/essential question (Beginning).

• Use a closure activity or ‘exit ticket’ that asks more than comprehension level, regurgitation questions. Ask students to both recall (retrieval practice) and apply what they learned to future or past learning (Ending).

• Purposeful reading, writing, and discussion - Reflection of some kind that addresses learning using evidence from the lesson that connects the learning to something else (Ending).


Formative Assessment in the Body of the Lesson (Practicing and Engagement)


• Connection activities that ask students to link new learning to older learning• Visualization activities where students draw some concept that has been learned

• Question design - ask kids to write their own questions with different levels of Bloom's involved

• Game play where appropriate can be a great tool as well• Blog writing as a reflective or questioning tool

• Mentor activities that ask the student to create something original using the learning as a model

• Problem solving activities where students apply skills to arrive at a solutionIf students can complete any or all of the above, then we know they have demonstrated proficiency on some level. As we seek to move kids to mastery, we need to be acutely aware of their progress.


Dorothy R. Cook 's curator insight, April 24, 2017 6:20 AM

Lord God bless these words and their messengers allow it to be understood by man in the manner that is benefitual and for the good purpose of those that read it and bless them even the more that has is or will share it. Lord God have mercy reveal all those things that need be in Jesus name. Amen


 

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High-Paying Trade Jobs Sit Empty, While High School Grads Line Up For University

High-Paying Trade Jobs Sit Empty, While High School Grads Line Up For University | Leading Schools | Scoop.it
While a shortage of workers is pushing wages higher in the skilled trades, the financial return from a bachelor's degree is softening, even as the price — and the average debt into which it plunges students — keeps going up.

But high school graduates have been so effectively encouraged to get a bachelor's that high-paid jobs requiring shorter and less expensive training are going unfilled. This affects those students and also poses a real threat to the economy.

"Parents want success for their kids," said Mike Clifton, who teaches machining at a technical college near Seattle called the Lake Washington Institute of Technology. "They get stuck on [four-year bachelor's degrees], and they're not seeing the shortage there is in tradespeople until they hire a plumber and have to write a check."
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The One or Two Big Mistakes People Make About The Common Core: NOT a Curriculum + NOT a Test

The One or Two Big Mistakes People Make About The Common Core: NOT a Curriculum + NOT a Test | Leading Schools | Scoop.it

Many people make the mistake of believing that the Common Core State Standards constitute a curriculum. That’s understandable. After all, the official website says that the standards “outline what a student should know and be able to do at the end of each grade” in math and English language arts. Sounds like a curriculum, right?

But there’s a fundamental difference between math and literacy. In math, it’s impossible to distinguish between what students should “know” and what they should be able to “do.” For example, the Common Core math standards say fifth-graders should be able to add and subtract fractions with unlike denominators. There may be different ways to teach that, but there’s no separate “content.”

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Multi-Tasking With Mobile Phones: Bad for Learning

Multi-Tasking With Mobile Phones: Bad for Learning | Leading Schools | Scoop.it
Multitasking with a mobile phone negatively impacts students' lecture recall, reading comprehension, and reading speed, according to a new analysis presented here today at the annual conference of the American Educational Research Association.

The worst effects come from using social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, according to a paper presented by doctoral student Quan Chen and associate professor Zheng Yan of the University at Albany, State University of New York.

Their study, titled "A Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Off-Task Multitasking with Mobile Phones on Learning," used statistical techniques to aggregate the results of 29 prior studies on the topic, published between 2003 and 2016. All told, 1,925 participants took part in those studies, each of which examined the ways students (often in college) engage in multitasking behaviors such as talking, texting, social networking, surfing the internet, and instant messaging.
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The Truth About Strategy and Execution

The Truth About Strategy and Execution | Leading Schools | Scoop.it
Reducing the execution gap
It is true that in a company's daily business bridging between strategy and execution is the most daunting challenge. Bold visions and meticulous plans can get lost in translation, and frustration is lurking at every single moment of conversion.
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Leaders: What is stressing out your team?

Leaders: What is stressing out your team? | Leading Schools | Scoop.it
What workers are stressed about on the job

There are more sources of stress than “unclear goals,” although it was also found to be the most popular factor among both men (44%) and women (37%) and was the most popular response across every gender, department and age group.

Overall respondents selected both “bad manager” and “commute” as their second source of stress, (each at 16%), “difficult co-worker” at 14% and “too long hours” at 13%. Within the 18-25 age group, “unclear goals” came in first place at 41%, then “commute” (18%), followed by “too long hours” (14%), “bad manager” (14%) and “difficult co-worker” (13%).

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Hattie on Dweck: Sometimes pupils need 'fixed mindsets'

Hattie on Dweck: Sometimes pupils need 'fixed mindsets' | Leading Schools | Scoop.it
Educators, pundits, and researchers have over promoted growth mindsets with no evidence of impact, and she noted how so many critics never bothered to read her academic work. 

“Instead they often recited secondary sources, believed Twitter and blogs were peer-reviewed rigorous studies and misappropriated her searching for ideas as if it was all resolved.”

Professor Hattie says the most appropriate situation for thinking in a growth manner is “when we do not know an answer, when we make an error, when we experience failure [and] when we are anxious”.

However, he argues that there are other situations where it is inappropriate, and can even impede learning.

“Having a growth mindset…may not be needed for easy tasks, or on performance on tasks that are ‘novel and ill-defined and that therefore require both creativity and the willingness to abandon unsuccessful strategies,’" he says.

“It may not help if it leads to more practice on a task using already failed strategies, and seeking experts to provide alternative strategies may be more effective than believing that ‘I can’ and other growth notions.”
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Do Teachers in Tennessee Improve Over Time?

Do Teachers in Tennessee Improve Over Time? | Leading Schools | Scoop.it
What The Research Is Finding

In the brief, released today, Papay and Laski find four key results about teacher improvement in Tennessee:

Teachers in Tennessee are improving over the course of their careers on average. This holds true across tested subjects and across measures of teacher effectiveness.

Teacher improvement varies substantially by district and school. In other words, in some places, teachers are improving (on average) at much greater rates than in others.

Teachers in Tennessee appear to improve at about the same rates in higher-poverty schools as in lower-poverty schools.

Teacher improvement appears to be steeper in more recent years.

These findings are particularly important because, while past research has consistently found (as this brief finds in Tennessee) that teachers improve substantially in the first three to five years of their careers, there remain questions as to how much teachers improve in later years. Papay and Laski find that in Tennessee, while the majority (about 56%) of a teacher's improvement occurs in the first three years, roughly 20 to 30% of a teacher's overall improvement occurs between years 5 and 25. Perhaps more importantly, teacher improvement differs systematically across schools and districts — in other words, in some schools, teachers improve much more rapidly than in others.
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Teachers and Principals: Reflect on the WHY- Refine Your Purpose

Teachers and Principals: Reflect on the WHY- Refine Your Purpose | Leading Schools | Scoop.it
When I started as a classroom teacher 18 years ago, my purpose was to help students see the value in being a lifelong learner and to help guide the students toward their full potential. I modeled how to be passionate about learning and how to explore new concepts.  With strong student relationships and structuring the day so the students were “doing”  (believing that students should be empowered to do more than the teacher),   I concentrated my teaching practices on my grade level team’s cohesive beliefs, utilized the published curriculum and three-day district training with fidelity. I relied on the publishers and the minimal teacher PD for my How? and What? My pedagogy was crafted by smashing, tweaking, borrowing and retrofitting for my students.

As my pedagogy has evolved,  I knew it was time to take a step back to adjust my golden circle.  It is time to gather all my reflections and learning…hone in on why teachers and students need me in the educational system.  I don’t deserve a space because I have been claimed a professional due to my credential or my tenured contract.  I deserve a position in education because my purpose in education is reflective to all learners.
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Are Special Education Students Being Written Off?

Are Special Education Students Being Written Off? | Leading Schools | Scoop.it
There are some GenEd teachers who have an incredible ability to change their lessons to meet SpEd students where they are, while also maintaining the passion for truly reaching out to those students.

Others, however, know that SpEd students already have a network of support from their special education teachers so they don’t give them much time or attention. In fact, I’ve noticed that, often times, there’s not much of a purpose whatsoever for SpEd students to spend time in the GenEd setting, other than for interaction.
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Do We Really Need PD?

Do We Really Need PD? | Leading Schools | Scoop.it

So often we create professional development to train everyone and tell them what to do but miss the learning and more importantly the impact on the learners.


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3 Tips to Support a Reflective Teaching Practice

3 Tips to Support a Reflective Teaching Practice | Leading Schools | Scoop.it
In my work as a school principal one of my biggest responsibilities was to observe and evaluate the quality of my teacher’s lessons as they worked with their students. In the post-observation conferences I held with staff, I worked hard to consistently bring my teachers to a place of feeling comfortable reflecting on their practice. In talking with my teachers and urging them to give me feedback I found most teachers to be sensitive and protective of their teaching when asked to reflect on a lesson. Some even became a bit defensive. Walking my teachers through the reflection process became one of the most challenging aspects of my work.
In a teaching practice, reflecting can take many forms. Make no mistake…it’s an integral part of our work as educators and should be done daily or at least weekly. Something we do into, through and beyond our work with students. So to answer your question, the value of reflection is unquestionably important. Here are three tips I want to share that you might want to start implementing to make reflecting on your teaching a daily habit.
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“Being watched makes people (students) do better!

“Being watched makes people (students) do better! | Leading Schools | Scoop.it

“A new study has just come out finding that people performed better on a video game when being watched, and they extrapolate for other activities “An audience can serve as an extra bit of incentive”

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How much of your lesson should be teacher talk?

How much of your lesson should be teacher talk? | Leading Schools | Scoop.it
When the teacher does talk, it needs to incorporate all the essential skills of good presentation (which Mercer says anyone can learn to do well) and it needs to be considered and well-thought-through in its content.

When the teacher is not talking, pupils need activities to promote spoken language skills, and these are not, he stresses, just those skills that seem to be promoted through oracy interventions.

“There is tendency to think of oracy as speech-making or taking part in debates, but we actually mean the full range of spoken language skills, which would include working in a team, helping someone else learn something, listening sensitively to someone so you can help them, and so on,” he explains. “Children will differ in these skills.Some may be excellent making speeches but not skilled in a group situation – they may not listen to anyone else at all. While another student may be the opposite.”
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College Dropouts Now Exceed High School Dropouts. What Are We Going to Do About It?

College Dropouts Now Exceed High School Dropouts. What Are We Going to Do About It? | Leading Schools | Scoop.it
There are more American adults who have dropped out of college than who have dropped out of high school.
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How Colleges Are Ripping Off a Generation of Ill-Prepared Students

How Colleges Are Ripping Off a Generation of Ill-Prepared Students | Leading Schools | Scoop.it
If only 37 percent of white high school graduates test as college-ready, how come colleges are admitting 70 percent of them? And if roughly 17 percent of black high school graduates test as college-ready, how come colleges are admitting 58 percent of them?

>>> Nation’s ‘Report Card’ Shows Federal Intervention Has Not Helped Students

It’s inconceivable that college administrators are unaware that they are admitting students who are ill-prepared and cannot perform at the college level. Colleges cope with ill-prepared students in several ways. They provide remedial courses. One study suggests that more than two-thirds of community college students take at least one remedial course, as do 40 percent of four-year college students. College professors dumb down their courses so that ill-prepared students can get passing grades.

Colleges also set up majors with little analytical demands so as to accommodate students with analytical deficits. Such majors often include the term “studies,” such as ethnic studies, cultural studies, gender studies, and American studies. The major for the most ill-prepared students, sadly enough, is education. When students’ SAT scores are ranked by intended major, education majors place 26th on a list of 38.

The bottom line is that colleges are admitting youngsters who have not mastered what used to be considered a ninth-grade level of proficiency in reading, writing, and arithmetic. Very often, when they graduate from college, they still can’t master even a 12th-grade level of academic proficiency.
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A New Research Center for the Study of Failure

A New Research Center for the Study of Failure | Leading Schools | Scoop.it
Every kid has that moment when she realizes that the adults she admires aren’t perfect. Few children ever learn, however, that the same is true for the inventors and intellectual giants whose distinguished portraits permeate their history textbooks.   

As it turns out, recognizing that visionaries such as Albert Einstein experienced failure can actually help students perform better in school. In 2016, the cognitive-studies researcher Xiaodong Lin-Siegler of Columbia University’s Teachers College published a study that found that high-school students’ science grades improved after they learned about the personal and intellectual struggles of scientists including Einstein and Marie Curie. Students who only learned about the scientists’ achievements saw their grades decline.

On Monday, the Teachers College announced the creation of the interdisciplinary Education for Persistence and Innovation Center, which will be dedicated to studying failure’s educational purpose. Lin-Siegler, who’s overseeing the center, will expand on her own research into the failures of successful people, starting by interviewing Nobel laureates. The center will convene researchers from various academic fields and countries in its effort to better understand how failure can facilitate learning and success.
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Study: Stress in the Workplace

Study: Stress in the Workplace | Leading Schools | Scoop.it

The No. 1 source of stress is ‘unclear goals’

Clarity is key.


41% of workers say having unclear goals is their top source of stress. The next-most popular responses were “commute” and “bad manager” (tied at 16%), followed by “difficult co-worker” (14%) and “too long hours% (13%).

An across-the-board problem. “Unclear goals” was the most popular response across every gender, department and age group.

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The 12 Crucial Leadership Traits Of A #GrowthMindset

The 12 Crucial Leadership Traits Of A #GrowthMindset | Leading Schools | Scoop.it
Here are the 12 crucial leadership traits for creating a growth mindset:

1. Be open-minded

A growth mindset requires leaders to be more inclusive to the unique needs and perspectives of others. Growth requires more than sales and revenue; it requires a clear understanding of human capital assets. It involves learning how to serve the unique needs of the individual clients and/or consumers and the unique needs of employees.

2.  Get comfortable with ambiguity and uncertainty

Allow risk to be your new best friend. Companies operate in
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Integrate Writing Into Science Classes

Integrate Writing Into Science Classes | Leading Schools | Scoop.it
Whether or not a teacher is willing to adapt a national or state assessment rubric to fit their classroom science writing, purposeful collaboration with our ELA colleagues provides a common language that drives instruction in all subjects. Hopefully, we all agree that the basic tenet of good writing is to state a claim and support it with evidence. What could be more scientific than that?
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'The fact is, learning times tables does pupils a world of good'

'The fact is, learning times tables does pupils a world of good' | Leading Schools | Scoop.it
But, the fact remains that learning your times tables can do a pupil a world of good. These calculations will form the basis of much of what they learn in maths right up to (and even beyond) their GCSE courses, such as division, algebra and fractions. The skills also filter beyond maths – and can be particularly useful in other sciences, but most of all are useful in daily life. The ability to make these simple calculations is something that many of those who received a great education will take for granted, but it can be so helpful in modern life. Simple things, such as working out how much you owe on the restaurant bill, become much easier, without the need to pull a phone out and find the calculator app.
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5-Minute Writing Conferences

5-Minute Writing Conferences | Leading Schools | Scoop.it
Writing teachers know that students need to write a lot and get meaningful feedback in order to improve their writing. We also know what it feels like to be buried under a pile of student writing that needs to be read and commented on, and although there are many strategies that can help us deal with this paper load, it’s still a daunting part of our work with students.

When I initially considered conferencing with each and every student in my classes to reduce the need for written comments, I was apprehensive about the time commitment, but with the help of a colleague who had made it work in his classroom, I recently took the plunge and did writing conferences with my students—and it had a huge impact on my classroom and my students’ learning.
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Are We Asking Too Much Of Our Schools?

Are We Asking Too Much Of Our Schools? | Leading Schools | Scoop.it
Schools seem to be in a no-win situation. Despite all the good that they do when it comes to student learning and mental health issues that students suffer from, the negative rhetoric around school continues. It wasn't too many weeks ago when the Secretary of Education sent out a Tweet that attacked the public-school system (which really needs to stop). 

Here we are 17 years after NCLB (what has NCLB and mandates really helped?), and we still seem to have the same issues that we have always had. As hard as schools have been working to adapt to the sweeping changes in accountability and mandates or the constant stress of high stakes testing, they are still deemed unsatisfactory by politicians, policymakers and our various secretaries of education. 

Our school system seems to be based on a political cycle and not a pedagogical one. 

There is this constant need to ask or demand that schools change, which usually focuses on high stakes testing and international benchmarks like PISA. Unfortunately, when international comparisons on testing do not show expected improvement (PISA scores), schools are blamed for not being good enough. This cycle of negative rhetoric thrown at schools has undermined public education. And we need not look any further than teacher strikes in West Virginia, Oklahoma and Kentucky or student walk outs around the country to see that schools are at the center of a boiling point.  

Are asking too much of our schools?  
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Teaching grammar does not improve children's writing ability

Teaching grammar does not improve children's writing ability | Leading Schools | Scoop.it
evidence shows that teaching children technical grammatical terms such as “subjunctive” or “subordinate clause” does nothing at all to improve their writing ability.  However, the national curriculum places a strong emphasis on teaching traditional grammar.

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Reading Can Expand What Kids Think About Mathematics

Reading Can Expand What Kids Think About Mathematics | Leading Schools | Scoop.it
I love reading about math. Not dry textbooks, but texts that bring to life the people who do math as a profession. Or texts that introduce strange or unexpected ideas in ingenious ways and leave my heart pounding. Or texts that make me think about mathematics and mathematicians differently. In the past few years, I have started to use them with my students in small ways. I  didn’t want students to leave high school thinking mathematics is only what’s in their high school curriculum. It’s so much more. Math involves people… and big and tough ideas… and surprise and defeat and complex emotions. And different mathematical ideas exist in different times and places.

I’ve hosted regular formal book clubs with an entire class and also arranged informal book clubs with kids who were  interested in expanding their horizons. Occasionally, I’ll meet one-on-one with a student to do an independent study around a book, or simply  recommend a book for a student to read and then we can discuss.  There are so many interesting mathematical texts out there that teachers can use to draw in students. I’ve found all you have to do is “sell it” well. With that in mind, I’ll try to sell a handful of texts that  I’ve used with students or am hankering to try out. If you read anything about math and enjoy it,  take a moment to think if there’s a student or three (or even a whole class) who might enjoy reading and chatting about it. If so, bring iced tea and donuts to your book club, and forge a new type of relationship with some of your kids.

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What if? Every student could successfully complete two college-level MATH courses?

What if? Every student could successfully complete two college-level MATH courses? | Leading Schools | Scoop.it
What if your goal was to ensure that every student in your district successfully completed two college-level math courses prior to high school graduation?

This is exactly the kind of question that makes leaders in mathematics education cringe and makes other stakeholder roll their eyes. But, your attitude toward the question might be different if you consider the gains we have made in mathematics education over the past 25 years. Throughout my career as a member of Maryland’s mathematics education community, I have observed and participated in several distinct eras of mathematics reform. Each reform effort was purposeful in its design and offered, to the public, a “promise” that our graduates were ready for the world after high school.
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