Friday, August 31, 2012

Know The Power of Phone Calls Home

Title I teachers at Learning Exchange are expected to call parents at least once a month with good news.  We do often have some difficult topics to address but always begin with the positive.   Read this narrative story from a 10 year veteran teacher who has experienced the power of home phone calls. 
You might get some interesting ideas as you follow some of her scripts.  She advocates 15 minutes a day to make these calls and promises that they do pay off.
We know they do!  Any other tips you'd like to offer our fellow LEX teachers?  Please add your own 'tips & scripts' in the comments below.

The Power of the Positive Phone Call Home.  Elena Aguilar. 8.20.12. edutopia.

Please scroll down below the content links to find the article.

Teach English All Day in All Classes for ELLs

The Tracy school district (17,530) in California is largely Hispanic and students with poor language skills have consistently lagged behind their peers in academic subjects  The traditional approach had been only one language skills period per day which hadn't improved student achievement.  Starting last year, all teachers in all subjects were trained to infuse their classes with literacy lessons.  Other districts across the country are trying similar strategies, integrating language skills in all classes.  What do you think about this here in Milwaukee where we have large numbers of ELL students?
Be sure to read the many comments.

Making English Part of the Fabric - School Districts Try New Approaches in Teaching Foreign-Language Speakers ad Achievement Requirements Get Tougher.  Vauhini Vara. 8.24.12.  The Wall Street Journal - Education

Not Enough About Digital Literacy in CC

This premium article from Education Week is critical of Common Core Standards from the standpoint of digital literacy.  Writer, Paul Barnwell, states that current state standards and CC are fine for 1990 but not for 2012.  His quote from this article is worth remembering....
"Adult literacy in 2012 means being able to synthesize information from multiple online sources to write a blog post or substantive email. It means analyzing which online tools will best serve your communications purpose. It means making smart decisions about what information is useful online, and how to curate and filter the endless stream of data coming in. It means reviewing your digital footprint and learning how to take some control over what information you broadcast to the world, from your tweets, profile pictures, and recommended links. While the common core addresses some of the above skills, its guidance is far too vague, especially for those teachers who are uncomfortable with new technologies."
From my perspective, the perception that all schools, districts, and teachers have digital tools at their disposal and have the knowledge to use them mindfully in their respective curriculums is wishful thinking.  I don't doubt digital literacy is important, but not all places are there yet.  We are still early in the game.  Comments after the article are worth reading as well.
Your take on this?  Please comment.

The Common Core's Digital-Literacy Gap. Paul Barnwell. 8.22.12  Premium Article- Education Week Teacher

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Technology Does Not Motivate Students

Contrary to what you might think, kids are not motivated by technology.  Written by an ed-tech trainer for teachers, he was in for a surprise himself.  Initially motivated by new opportunities to interact digitally, the novelty of the tools quickly wears off for students unless.....  (Read to find out more....I won't tell you)
Do you agree with Bill Ferriter?  Now that you have had experience with lots of Mimio activities, what can you say now?  Comments please

Are kids really motivated by technology?  Bill Ferriter. 8.17.2012.  SmartBlog on Education

How Can I Improve My Questions With Students?

Ben Johnson references Robert Marzano's book,  Classroom Instruction that Works in this article. Johnson has shared 3 specific actions teachers can do to improve questioning. We need to get the students talking rather than the teacher talking. He recommends preparing questions when you make lesson plans and then scaffold the questions.  Very interesting article and I highly recommend it for all our Title I teachers. 
What interesting ways are you planning to engage more student discussion by thinking about questioning strategies?  What have you done in the past?  How are you planning to change my approach?  How do you know if it works?  Comments welcome.

Three Steps for ImprovingTeacher Questions. Ben Johnson. 6.26.12. edutopia.

What Are The Math Instructional Shifts All About?

The most important part of this article is the video by David Coleman, co-author of CCSS. This is one video not to be missed!  He explains the 6 shifts in more detail which are....   (video also appeared in another post)
  1. Focus: fewer topics covered in greater depth
  2. Coherence: connect learning within and across grades
  3. Fluency: perform mathematics with speed and accuracy
  4. Understanding: use mathematics in complex situations
  5. Application: know when and how applying math can solve a problem
  6. Dual Intensity: achieve fluency and conceptual understanding/application
As you listened to David Coleman, what struck you as important?  What struck you as being difficult to achieve in our Title I context, meeting with students 2 hours per week?  How can conferencing with classroom teachers help you to implement at least one of these shifts?
Please express your questions/concerns in your Comments below.  They will be taken seriously and will be part of the discussion of the math team this year.

Common Core State Standards:  Math Instructional Shifts.  David Ginsburg. 6.30.12.  Education Week Teacher

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

How High Is Hispanic Enrollment in Our Schools?

Here are interesting statistics on the growing number of Hispanic students in K-12 schools and in college.  Truly amazing!  This trend is continuing to grow. Data from the Pew Hispanic report.

Hispanics Set School, College Enrollement Records. Suzanne Gamboa 8.21.12 .AP Associated Press.

How Can Title I Students Handle Academic Rigor?

What is academic rigor?  How do you define it?  Interesting question and I'll bet you'll get varied answers if you ask your colleagues.This article aims at helping struggling learners with academic rigor all the while realizing they will have difficulty.  As teachers, we look for clues to help us - all kinds of clues.  This article will give you insight in understanding struggles many students face.  Be sure to read the Comments entry regarding the ultimate purpose of graphic organizers.

Support Struggling Students With Academic Rigor - A Conversation with Author and Educator Robyn Jackson. August 2012. Vol. 54. No 8.  Education Update. ASCD

Teamwork Isn't Easy So How Do We Help Our Students?

This is a great article to understand team work when we adults aren't very good at it ourselves.  Peter DeWitt describes typical roles that adults play when working on teams.  They aren't necessarily static, but people are different in the way they approach working together.
DeWitt names typical roles as the...
  • Consensus builder
  • Task master
  • The Thinker
  • Laidback
  • Focused Participant
As adults we realize working in coherent teams is not easy and we need to let our students know there is strength in working with people who are different.  There is more of a chance to learn when students challenge one another, bringing the team up to a higher level.
Lots to think about as we encourage teamwork in our Title I classes.  How have you managed teamwork in the past?  What worked?  What didn't?  How might you change the process this year?

How to Get Kids to Work as a Team If the Adults Around Them Can't.  Peter DeWitt. 8.18.12, Education Week - Finding Common Ground

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Different Ideas to Help ELLs

Written by Larry Ferlazzo, veteran blogger for Education Week.  The New York Times has published his work.There are a number of articles with many, many embedded links to related research and strategies for ELLs. 
Title I teachers of ELLs:  Highly recommended post!.  Spend some time checking out the links.  Comments please.

Ideas for English Language Learners - Recipes, Travel, Idioms and More.  Larry Ferlazzo. 8.16.12 The Learning Network - Teaching and Learning With the New York Times.

Older Students Really Need Our Help in Reading!

Scary statistic from ACT report in 2010 -  "only 31% of students are performing a a college-and career reading level with respect to successfully understanding complex text! 
To help solve this problem a cadre of St. Louis, MO  teachers met during 2010-2011 in supporting each other in strategies best coordinated with different texts and units of study.  Read this article that really supports what we do in our SRSS classes. The article also suggest new strategies that we could try.
What did you learn from this article?  Anything new you'd like to try this year?

Supporting Older Students's Reading. Gutchewsky and Curran.  June 2012 Educational Leadership'-Reading.aspx

Start The Year With Clever Math Activities

Starting off Title I math classes with interesting fun activities will motivate students. Mrs. Ratzel's activities are well suited to Mimio and adaptable to our situation, especially to the level of math abilities in a given group. Be sure to read the many comments from readers.  Some have used her basic ideas for other core subjects.
Any fun activities you'd like to share with our teachers?  Please comment.

First Week of School --anything but boring.  Mrs. Ratzel 8.5.12. Refections of a Techie - Reflecting on using 21st century technologies to amplify learning.

Concept Behind "Deeper Learning" Is Not New

An important paper funded by the William and Flora Hewlett, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur and Nellie Mae education foundations states that the term 'deeper learning' may be new, but its basic concepts are not.  "This type of education -- once available to only a few elite students --is now necessary for all."
The paper suggests 3 broad domains of competence:  Cognitive domain; Intrapersonal domain; Interpersonal domain.  These domains are compared with Conley's 4 categories: Think; Know; Act; and Go.
What is important to us as Title I teachers are strategies that move students to get to those places.  Here's a summary.....
Use multiple and varied representations of concepts and tasks
  • Encourage elaboration, questioning, and explanation
  • Engage learners in challenging tasks
  • Teach with examples and cases
  • Prime student motivation; and
  • Use "formative assessments

  • Will these help us?  We've talked about them in different contexts.  Comments please.

    NRC Report Highlights Importance of Deeper Learning.  Tom Vander Art 7.26.12. Education Week

    Engage Your Digital Native Students

    The key part of this article is the embedded video.  Truly worth while watching. 
    I do have some concerns as a result of reading other research being done in urban areas with families in poverty comparing them with students in more affluent communities.  If a student's school has computer access for students living in poverty, the advantages are tremendous....same with families with digital devices with internet access at home.  Unfortunately or fortunately , our Title I students come from varied backgrounds ---some with very limited access at school and some with access at home, others no access at all. 
    So, in viewing the video, let's keep in mind that the trend is moving toward digital learning, but at some of our sites we're not there yet.  We can introduce our Title I students to various ways to learn digitally even though they may not be in the "native" territory just yet.
    How do you see our Title I students learning digitally?  Is it happening at your school?  Share you thoughts.    How do you think the video fits yourTitle I situation?

    How to Engage With Active Learners in the Classroom.  Jeff Dunn. 8.9.12.  edudemic.

    Teachers Must Understand the Shifts in Teaching to CC

    This excellent article summarizes and explains changes and shifts that will be required in the classroom to meet the demands of Common Core Standards.  Here are 9 topic headings but please read the article for further expansion of the topics.
    In Math
    (1)  Greater Focus. (2) Coherence.  (3) Skills, Understanding & Application.  (4) Emphasis on Practices [eight criteria]
    In English Language Arts
    (5) More Non-Fiction.  (6) Focus on Evidence.  (7) "Staircase" of Text Complexity.  (8)  Speaking and Listening.  (9) Literacy in the Content Area
    Rothman states that even though states are moving to professional development and sample lessons, success will only occur if all teachers understand the Standards and how they differ from current practice!
    How are you planning on changing your practices in Title I reading or math classes?  Share your ideas here.

    Nine Ways the Common Core Will Change Classroom Practice. Robert Rothman. Volume 28, Number 4 July/August 2012.  Harvard Education Letter

    Monday, August 27, 2012

    Google Has 10 Free Lessons on Digital Citizenship

    Please check these 10 lessons.  They can be adapted to fit a variety of schedules and situations.  There are many links that we can preview.  Comes with Teacher's Guide and Slides.  Downloadable in PDF.

    How can use them  in Title I classes?  Especially our SRSS classes for middle and high school students?

    10 Interactive Lessons by Google on Digital Citizenship.  Jeff Dunn. 7.22.12  edudemic

    Visual Literacy is So Important!

    Hopefully, we can include media literacy in our SRSS classes for middle and high schoolers.  The extent to which we will be able to do so will depend on the availability of computers for T1 students.  Here is a wonderful quote that is included in the David Considine, 2002 which is certainly true today in 2012....same concept.
    "While young people have more access to the Internet and other media than any generation in history, they do not necessarily possess the ethics, the intellectual skills, or the predisposition to critically analyze and evaluate their relationship with these technologies or the information they encounter. Good hand/eye co-ordination and the ability to multitask are not substitutes for critical thinking" (David Considine, 2002, p.5).
    The author states that educators and students need to look in multiple on-line databases and look at arguments on both sides so they are informed.   Here are 4 suggestions from the Partnership of 21st Century Skills.  I would recommend implementing them in our SRSS classes.
  • Analyze Media
  • Understand both how and why media messages are constructed, and for what purposes
  • Examine how individuals interpret messages differently, how values and points of view are included or excluded, and how media can influence beliefs and behaviors.
  • Apply a fundamental understanding of the ethical/legal issues surrounding the access and use of media

  • Reading strategies no longer are limited to print media - visual literacy, the myriad of  digital resources that challenge critical thinking are paired with print - all of these are part of the overall job of teaching and learning in the 21st Century.

    What do you think?

    Instant Resources: The Importance of Media Literacy.  Peter DeWitt. 7.23.12.  Education Week

    Saturday, August 25, 2012

    ELL - All Content Teachers in Mass. Being Trained

    What's happening in Massachusetts could very well happen in all states - Wisconsin too! Extensive training for all academic content teachers will be required as a result of federal civil rights investigation that found current programs were inadequate.  More than 7% of Mass. students are ELL and the numbers are increasing every year, just like in Wisconsin.  Massachusetts has scrapped the current state standards for ELL proficiency and are adopting WIDA standards and assessments which we are very familiar with.  Coaching will be available to teachers as part of this effort in addition to coursework.
    Three training highlights...
    1. Getting teachers to understand and embrace their responsibility for teaching language to ELLs.
    2. Understanding how language is acquired.
    3. Instructional strategies and practices that make up sheltered English immersion.
    Roger Rice, a civil rights lawyer and critic of the Massachuetts' programs for ELLs said he thinks training for teachers must go beyond core-content teachers.

    What is your reaction to Massachutte's new training requirements for content area teachers?  Do you agree with Roger Rice?  Please comment...especially those of you who have had experience teaching ELLs. 

    Mass. Moves on ELL-Training for Regular Teachers.  Lesli Maxwell. 8.8.12.  Premium article -  Education Week.

    How to Teach Kids to Read the Media

    Teaching visual media is not included in most school curriculum.  It is not part of our skills development programs either, but it could be included in our Strategic Reading Studies Skills program.  We want our students to become discerning, thinking citizens.  Understanding how visuals are used to affect our thinking and feeling in politics, advertising, TV news, films, internet videos, etc. is essential for our young people to discern truth.  We are bombarded by visual images every day and students need learn how to read them.  The author suggests some interesting teaching projects and is eager to continue dialog on the subject.  Several embedded links are worth exploring.

    It's Not a Pipe:  Teaching Kids to Read the Media.  Mark Phillips. 8.9.12.  Edutopia- Teacher Leadership

    Friday, August 24, 2012

    How Will Students Remember You?

    All of us probably have had teachers from our past who we remember for qualities they have taught us.  One of them may even have given you the desire to pursue a teaching career.  We have learned much from our teachers, but of them most have been forgetable.  Will you be in that group?  Or will you be that one teacher who has ignited a passion in a particular kid?
    This article is most interesting as people describe the qualites they now have due to certain teachers in their past.  Very interesting.   How would you like to be remembered?

    Favorite teachers and what they taught us.  Matt Woods. 7.23.12.   Midland Daily News.

    Want to Learn More About Project Based Learning?

    This article is a must-read for our middle and high school SRSS teachers.  In the past, project-based learning has been used successfully and proved to be very engaging to the students.  This article is excellent and offers a model chart that emphasizes "sliding" components of effective PBLs.  The various dimensions of the process are explained so that the teacher can understood various purposes.  There are also excellent embedded links for you to research on your own.
    Please offer your comments to this article.

    PBL? Am I Doing it Right? Peter Skillen. 7.12.12.  Powerful Learning Practice - Professional Development for the 21st Century Educators

    Myths About CC Standard in Reading

    This article is important for all of our Title I reading teachers.  It should help clarify what is being asked in implementing close reading of complex text.  Four myths are thoroughly explained...
    • Myth 1.  Text complexity is a fixed number.
    • Myth 2.  All prereading activities are inappropriate.
    • Myth 3.  Answering text-dependent questions is what teaches students to be analytical readers.
    • Myth 4.  The common core abandons fiction.
    The article ends with interesting dialog to clarify our own understanding of what the standards mean and what that means in our instructional practices.  The overall purpose of CC is important to bear in mind --- to prepare all students for careers and college.

    Four Myths About the ELA Common-Core Standards.  Strasser and Dobbertin. 7.10.12.  Education Week Teacher.

    A Portrait of Today's College Freshman

    Not surprisingly new college freshman, born in 1994 grew up in cyberspace which increasingly is the means they approach the world.  This article points out various differences which will be used by police departmnets, military services and employers.  There is a huge disconnect between how today's freshman view the world than in generations past.  However, authors Levine and Dean who wrote Generation on a Tightrope:  A Protrait of Today's College Student conclude that the new college students are more electronically sophisticated than their parents or teachers but woefully unprepared for the real world.  Authors characterize them as coddled, entitled and dependent.   Personally, I tend to agree.  What's your take?  (Note that I'm a generation older than most of you!)What can we do in our Title I classes to develop interpersonal skills, highly valued in the workplace?

    A cheatsheet to what makes today's college freshmen click.  Mary Beth Marklein, USA Today. [article updated 8.21.12,]

    Thursday, August 23, 2012

    Don't Teach Vocabulary Like This

    Featured article in the June 2012 Educational Leadership, the monthly journal for ASCD.  All of us I'm sure have used these 5 traditional ways of teaching vocabulary.  Read this article to learn new approaches to familiar practices.  This is a important article for all our reading Title I teachers.

    The authors also recommend certain online resources for word games and puzzles.  The links are embedded for these websites: MindFun; Gamequarium;;' and MyVocabulary.  Check our these games and rate them in our game rubic on the intranet.  What other ideas have you gotten from reading this article?

    Vocabulary:  Five Common Misconceptions.  Padak, Bromley, Rasinski, Newton.  June 2012. Educational Leadership, ASCD

    Master Fractions & Division by 10 yrs old = Later Success

    A study, "early Preditors of High School Mathematics Achiement" was recently published in Psychological science.  Lead researcher was Robert Siegler from Carneigie Mellon University.  There has been disagreement among many who have studied low achievement of American students as to what might make a difference.  This study points to the importance of learning whole number division and fractions by the age of 10.  This knowledge was shown to be a better predictor of overall math achievement by the age of 16 than other factors, such as general intellectual ability and family income and education. 
    Another likely reason for U.S. students' weakness in fractions and division could be linked to teachers!  Several other studies show that many American teachers were unable to explain the reasons behind mathematical solutions, unlike most teachers in higher performing countries.
    Very interesting indeed.  We all know that elementary math curriculum has been disjointed across grade levels.  How have our teachers been trained in elementary math?  Are you comfortable yourself?  How do you respond to this research? 

    Formula written for math success. Learning fractions and division early will help America's students as they tackle tougher problems ahead, a research study finds. Mary Niederberger.  6.19.12. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    Wednesday, August 22, 2012

    The Time is NOW to Change Math Instruction

    This article explains the common-core math standards thoroughly and clearly.  Always there will be criticism, but background information in this article explains how the standards were developed and how they compare with the highest performing countries with three characteristics:  coherence, focus, and rigor.  An important quote from the author...
    The essential question is not whether the common core can improve mathematics learning in the United States, but whether we, as a nation, have the commitment to ensure that it does.
    Well worth your time to read and understand where we are headed in teaching mathematics.  Comments?

    Seizing the Moment for Mathematics. William Schmit. 7.17.12. Education Week

    Talk Math With Kids At Home

    Interesting research about "number talk" at home.  Conscientious parents read stories to their children but talking to kids about numbers, fractions, and decimals, not so much. If parents do talk numbers to their children, it's mostly to sons, not daughters.  Now, we understand that many of our Title I families do neither and our students tend to come to school with language deficits as well as deficits in number understandings.  The study by Susan Levine published in Developmental Science 9.11 is cited in the article.  She lists 4 areas of number talk that parents can use with their children at home.  Excellent ideas......let's expand this list and try again to get parents engaged.  What do you think?  What ideas do you have?

    Why It's Important to Talk Math With Kids.  Annie Murphy Paul. 3.2.12. Mindshift

    Reading Instruction Changing When Aligned to CC

    Read this article to help understand the criticism that is out there by teachers who have been used to a standard set of practices in teaching reading.  The process of "close" reading is criticized by traditional teachers.  David Coleman, one of the architects of CCSS ELA standards is  criticized because of his objections to commonly held practices held "dear" by traditional teachers.  He's also criticized because he never had classroom-level experience.  Reminds me of the phrase "highly qualifed."  Important changes in American education are coming from outside the school environmnent - think of businesses, foundations, universities, government and the variety of think-tanks that have educational improvement high on their needs list.

    Which brings us back to looking at our own LEX skills and strategies program.  We are celebrating masteries when examples of skill application are demonstrated by our students.  Skills and strategies are not ends in themselves but tools to increase knowledge.  Close reading, digging deep into text enriches our students' language and better prepares them for college and the world of work where detail becomes critically important.

    Please comment on this article.  What are your thoughts -- Title I reading and SRSS teachers as we  tip-toe our way into CC by asking you to adjust your teaching approach?

    How will reading instruction change when aligned to the Common Core? Kathleen Porter Magee/1.27.12.  Thomas Fordham Institute.-Common Core Watch

    Saturday, August 18, 2012

    College Completion -- Know How to Pay Attention!

    New study from Oregon State University finds that young children who pay attention and persist with a task have a 50% better chance of completing college.  Check out the embedded link to the study published 8.6.12 in Early Childhood Research Quarterly.  The researchers say that these abilities are more of an predictor of college completion than academic performance in reading and math!  However, they also stressed the good news that these behavioral skills can be taught.  Another good reason for our Title I teachers to model and teach these important behavioral skills.   Is this possible to reinforce in Title I?  Good question!  Ideas anyone?  Please comment.

    Ability to Pay Attention May Predict College Success, Study Says.  Julie Raskot. 8.7.12 Education Week - Early Years

    Part 2-"Procedural Fluency" in Math

    2nd article by David Ginsburg about procedual fluency.  Do you understand what "procedural fluency" really means?  This often misunderstood phrase from Common Core is clarified in this article.
    This post is very important to us as teachers.  Definition by National Research Council ---
    "Procedural fluency refers to knowledge of procedures, knowledge of when and how to use them appropriately, and skill in performing them flexible, accurately, and efficiently." 
    Now you know!  Can we do all this in T1?  What ideas can we use in our small group math classes?  How can we collaborate with our classroom teachers about procedural fluency?

    Procedural Fluency:  More Than Memorizing Math Facts.  David Ginsburg. 7.25.12 Education Week - Teaching Tips

    Save K-12 Education? - Paradigm shift needed!

    Here's a courageous article challenging the very nature of our school system.  Author, Nancy Self calls for a complete paradigm shift to save K-12 education.  Nancy Self  ends the article by saying, "Today, we are killing the spirit of learning in our students by trying to make them all fit one prescribed rate of learning." She has good ideas but to me they are in the "dream" category  How do you feel?  Are you ideas doable in today's environment?

    Total Paradigm Shift Needed to Save K-12 Education in the United States.  Nancy Self.  7.5.12 ASCD Express.

    American Schools - End of Average - Part II

    You've heard that American students aren't what they used to be.  You've heard the cry to improve.  But how seriously do we really believe this? Read Friedman's 2nd article on the subject for a big wake-up call!
     Friedman quotes author Adam Davidson in a not so funny joke…
    " The average mill has only two employees today - a man and a dog.  The man is there to feed the dog, and the dog is there to keep the man away from the machines." 
    Friedman's solution…passing some kind of a G.I. bill so that every American can access post-high school education.  What do you think?

    Average is Over, Part I.  Thomas Friedman. 1.23.12 New York Times

    American Schools - End of Average - Part 1

    Noted columnist Thomas Friedman talks about quantum advances in globalization and information technology which are replacing labor with machines or foreign workers.  Scary, but true!  What to do?  Friedman quotes author Adam Davidson in a not so funny joke…" The average mill has only two employees today - a man and a dog.  The man is there to feed the dog, and the dog is there to keep the man away from the machines."  Friedman's solution…passing some kind of a G.I. bill so that every American can access post-high school education.  What do you think?

    Average is Over, Part I.  Thomas Friedman. 1.23.12 New York Times

    Easy Ways to Get To Know Your Students

    Need ideas to develop positive relationships with your students?  This article is for you!  Kelly Clark describes easy, very effective ways to get to know your students.  This is where teaching becomes an "art form."  A very worthwhile read!  Do you have ideas to share with our other Title I teachers?  Please include them in your comments.

    Five Practices for Building Positive Relationships With Students. 8.7.12 Kelly Clark. (Premium Article) - Education Week Teacher

    Dialogic Reading Helps Pre-Schoolers

    What is dialogic reading?  How can we use this strategy with our T1 pre-readers?  "Read Alouds" are an important part of Title I reading groups of all ages & abilities.  Dialogic reading, as the name implies, is a 2-way participation in oral reading.  Read the author's 5 prompts that the teacher or parent can use in the dialogic process.  Wonderful!

    Dialogic Reading: An Effective Way to Read to Preschooler. Grover Whitehurst. Archived article - Reading Rockets

    ELLs - Teacher-Led Focus Project on CC

    Follow these Albuquerque N.M teachers on Colorin Colorado website who have received a hefty grant to develop ELL lessons.  Wouldn't it have been nice to have received this grant ourselves? Anyway read this article to learn about a model  8th grade reading lesson.  Read more about this project.

    ELLs AreFocus In Teacher-Led Project on Common Core.  Leslie Maxwell 6.26.12 Education Week - Learning the Language

    Text Complexity - New Research to Help

    Teachers grapple with finding complex text that matches students abilities.  The article includes a supplement to Appendix A of Common Core Standards that will teachers understand the various formulas that identify reading levels using quantitive measures and qualitative measures.

    Pat's viewpoint.  For our purposes as Title I support teachers, this formality doesn't seem to be that essential to do our work.   It is the job of the school to identify levels for materials used in classrroms.  We have our own testing processes that also identifies reading levels for our students.  Our reading materials are leveled and Ed Helper has used formulas to assess reading levels for  selections posted on their website.  At some point we need to trust the work of others.  In day to day work with students, we already adjust levels of difficulty.  It is far more important for us as teachers to guide our students in the close reading process so that reading "complex" text becomes deeper as we frame text-dependent questions to guide them in the process.
    What is your thinking?  Do you agree"

    New Research Expands Thinking on Text Complexity.  Catherine Gewertz.8.15.12. Education Week - Curriculm Matters

    Friday, August 17, 2012

    Part 1 - Procedural Fluency in Math

    David Ginsburg discusses procedual fluency in the first of 2 articles on the subject.The National Research Council defines procedural fluency as....
    "Procedural fluency refers to knowledge of procedure, knowledge of when and how to use them appropriately, and skill in performing them flexibly, accurately, and efficiently,."
    Ginsburg phases it this way....
    "Yes, it does mean learning memorizing math facts, but it involves thinking.  Students must know when, as opposed to just how, to use a procedure.  And they must not only be able to perform procedures accurately, but also flexibly and efficinetly-- think stamina."
    Read more and check out the embedded links.  This will probably be a challenge in Title I.  We need to go slowly and deeply for the students to think through the "when" and then the "how."
    How do you think this will happen with our students?

    Procedural Fluency - More Than Math Facts.  David Ginsburg. 7.15.12  Education Week Teacher

    Thursday, August 16, 2012

    Help Kids Find Their Passion

    Read what renowned educational advisor, Sir Ken Robinson and author Marc Prensky have to say about teachers' role in helping kids find their passion.  Focus of the article is the content of Sir Ken Robinson's speech at the International Society for Technolgoy in Education, held in June 2012. Also speaker, Marc Prensky, author of the book BRAIN GAIN-- Technology and the Quest for Digital Wisdom.  Read about the 4 ways teachers can help students find their passion.  What might work in our Title I setting?  Other ideas?

    Beyond Technology, How to Spark Kids' Passions. 7.28.12 Tina Barseghian  Mind/Shift

    Larry Ferlazzo's Highlights on Parent Engagement

    Veteran blogger Larry Ferlazzo rates his parent engagement posts based on reader response. His posts are always very interesting because he gets a variety of expert opinions on focused subjects.
    Be sure to read all 3 posts by following the embedded links.  Also check out his list on parent resources (see link).   Please take the time to read, think, and reflect.
    As you know, parent involvement in our Title I schools is our biggest challenge.  What ideas do you have that might help?  PLEASE share your thoughts. 

    First Year Highlights: Parent Engagement in Schools. Larry Ferlazzo. J.16.2012 Education Week - Classroom

    What is the Teacher's Role in Personalized Learning?

    Good teachers, especially special education teachers, have used to the concept of personalized learning long before technology was part of the picture. Services and instructional delivery are designed from the needs of the learner.  Teachers must identify with these needs and student interests;  technology them becomes the tool & teachers need to manage student learning.  Do you agree?
    What about the advantage we have as Title I teachers to manage personalized learning in our small groups?  How is the different than the differentiated learning concept?  Is technology the only difference?

    Personalized Learning Requires Effective Teaching First, Technology Second.  Patrick Ledesma 7.15.12. Education Week Teacher

    What Is Missing in Personalized Learning in School?

    In Part 2 on the topic of personalized learning author, Justin Reich continues his views on  using tech tools.  He feels that collaboration, working in groups, motivating students to work with each other - those communal responsibilities cannot be addressed in personalized computer programs. He does say that personalization optimizes observable characteristics.  He explains that the ethics of communal responsibility, those unmeasurable parts of our journey are so valuable but cannot be measured by computers.  How do you feel about this?

    What We Lose With Personalization (Part 2). Justin Reich. 7.12.12 Education Week - Ed Tech Researcher

    Is Personalized Learning the Answer?

    In Part I on the topic of personalized learning author, Justen Reich states that there are 3 purposes to education....
    1. to prepare people for gainful employment,
    2.  to prepare people to contribute to our democracy,
    3.  to enrich the human experience. 
    Reich argues that personalized learning satisfies standardized curriculum assessments and narrow assessments  but is incompatible with most school purposes.  What do you think?  Has there been enough experience to draw meaningful conclusions?

    What We Lose With Personalization (Part I). Justin Reich. 7.7.12 Education Week - Ed Tech Researcher

    Need to Inspire Your High Schoolers?

    Here are 10  graduation speeches that are sure to draw attention.  Variety of graduation speeches.  Please preview them first.  Some have mishaps during commencement; others inspire.  Winston Churchill is voice only, but worth listening to.

    Video Playlist:  Graduation Speeches. Edutopia-- Five-Minute Film Festival --  Graduation Time

    Primary-source Documents Enliven History

    How can we use primary-source documents to enliven history and supplement social studies classes? In our search for complex text to supplement social studies, this is a great idea.
    History will come alive when students engage in close reading of primary documents.   See Reading Like an Historian embedded link 
    Have you ever used primary-source documents in the past?  What could you try this year in Title I?

    History Lessons Blend Content Knowledge, Literacy. Catherine Gewertz 7.30.12  Education Week

    Important! Attention Math Teachers....A must read

    Embedded links in this important article will help math teachers understand the "why" kids feel the way they do about math.  Very helpful ways to help are offered.   Six major areas are discussed.  And don't forget to learn more by checking out the embedded links.
    Understanding students' feeling about math will help us when we work with them.  After reading this article, what strategy might you try?  If you have already tried one, tell us how successful it was.

    Important Facts to Know About Learning Math.  Tina Barseghian. 8.1.12 Mindshift

    Does Texting Effect Student Reading and Writing?

    I have asked this question myself but have not had the opportunity to observe students in school.  When we ask our T1 middle & high school kids to write in our Title I classes, it is in relation to a skill we are teaching in reading.  When you see kids write in text , what do you do?  (Be sure to read the comments at the end of the article.)   Interesting.  Let's share observations.

    Duz Txting Hurt Yr Kidz Gramr?  Absolutely, a New Study Says. Sarah Sparks. 7.27. Education Week - Inside School Research

    What Rewards Are Effective? Not Effective?

    Researchers (from 4 noted institutions) conducted 6 experiments in 3 low-performing Chicago area districts.  Incentives to do well on low-stakes diagnostic tests were measured, not the long-term effect of learning the material.  LEX doesn't use this approach.  Is there any value in this research to our current reward system?  Other question...When is a reward a bribe?  How are we effectively rewarding our students for achievement and effort?  Share one of your stories.

    Study Finds Timing of Student Rewards Key to Effectiveness.  Sarah Sparks. 8.1.12  Education Week

    Timed Tests for Math? Good Idea?

    Have you wondered about timed tests for math?  Games to increase speed?  This researcher claims they encourage math anxiety.  Timed tests seem to be a matter of disagreement among many teachers.  Please read the comments after the article for legitimate disagreements.
    What do you think?  Have you used timed tests?  Did they increase fluency which certainly is part of the Common Core expectation in math.  What have you done to decrease anxiety levels in some of your students?
    This is a Pay to View article from Education Week but not fully assessible on that website.
    You can get the whole article by using the URL below.  Then Click on the VIEW button.

    Timed Tests and the Development of Math Anxiety. Jo Boaler. 7.3.12 Education Week

    Find Complex Texts like a Librarian

    We all know that close reading of complex text is a large part of Common Core Standards in reading.  How to implement close reading is a different matter.  This article is written by librarians to help teachers find examples of complex text as a base to teach close reading.  It is not an article about close reading strategies.  Tips are quite useful when using the internet to search for an appropriate text for a lesson.  Let us know how they worked for you.

    A Librarian's Trick for Finding Those "Complex Texts' Cited in the Common Core.  Christopher Harris. 7.19.12 School Library Journal - The Digital Shift

    Simple Ways to Build Relationships With Students

    We know what works to build community in our classes, but sometimes we don't bother with it….so much to do….so little time.  Please read this article to remind ourselves that little things do make a difference in student achievement.  Remember our focus this year is the 3Rs (Relationships, Rigor, Relevance)
    Share ideas you have used that might help other LEX teachers.

    How to build a stronger sense of community in the classroom. Cammy Harbison. VOXXI (Voice of Hispanic 21st Century)

    What do 21st Century Skills Really Mean?

    This important report from the National Research Council of the National Academies of Science in Washington has identified 3 categories of 21st Century Skills..... 
    • Cognitive Skills,
    • Interpersonal Skills,
    • Intrapersonal Skills. 
    The questions we need to ask revolve around how schooling (including T1) can develop them. Conversely, how do we discourage them? How can we as teachers help our students develop these important skills, especially the last two?  How do we unintentionally discourage this development?
    This article is very insightful partly because it takes the skills into real world application.  Important for all of us to consider.  Ideas anyone?

    Study: '21st-Century Learning' Demands Mix of Abilities. Sarah D. Sparks. 7.10.12 Education Week-Inside School Research

    How Can We Help Students Develop Good Habits?

    Veteran blogger, Larry Ferlazzo consulted expert, Charles Duhigg, author of 'The power of Habit-- Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business.'  Article is in Q and A form aimed at teachers in the classroom.  Exellent!  How do you teach your students good habits?  Share your thoughts.

    Response- Several Ways We Can Help Students Develop Good Habits. Larry Ferlazzo. 6.4.12  Education Week Teacher

    Auditory or Visual Learners --Really??

    Neuroscience debunks earlier research, such as auditory or visual learners.  Learning is not "hard wired."  Our brains are flexible and respond to experience.  Learn about the amazing plasticity of the brain, a surprise to most people.  
    Now all of us educators need to rethink what we were taught in earlier years and appreciate how our brains work and adapt to many stimuli in the learning process.  This was really a WOW article for me.  Was it a surprise to you too?  What observations have you noticed with your students interacting with visual and auditory stimuli?  Any changes?

    Scientists Find Learning Is Not "Hard-Wired." Sarah Sparks. 6.6.12  Education Week

    Follow-up on Australia's research on effect of digital media on children

    We will hear more conversations as researchers contintue to investigate the impact of digital media on children's learning. This article follows the research in Australia which says these devices can become all consuming.  What symptoms have you noticed that may be problematic?  In adults?  In children?  Some research has been done on this but the jury is still out on long term effects.  I'll keep you posted as time goes by.

    More Focus on Psychological Impact of Digital Media?  Tam Quillen. 6.1.12 Digital Education - Education Week

    Ask Questions During "Read Alouds"

    Researchers are moving away from listening to oral reading rather than engaging in the text through questioning.  Better literacy outcomes result.
    Turn listening into active participation in the reading process.  Most good teachers, especially in the lower grades already do this.  It is effective also for older, more mature readers. 
    What tips can you provide for other LEX teachers?  Lower grades?  Higher grades?

    Asking questions while reading out loud improves literacy, new study reveals. Ryan Arciero. 6.2.12 Examiner

    Need To Inspire Your High Schoolers?

    Here are 10  graduation speeches that are sure to draw attention.  Variety of graduation speeches.  Please preview them first!  Some have mishaps during commencement; others inspire.  Winston Churchill is voice only, but worth listening to.

    Video Playlist:  Graduation Speeches. Edutopia: Five-Minute Film Festival:  Graduation Time

    Affluent vs. Low-income Schools--How Different Learning With Technology

    Author/speaker, Justin Reich, recommends 2 sets of educators & learners on the internet: one set in affluent schools and one set in low-income schools.  Watch the 15 min video to learn more.  What are your comments?

    How Free and Open Technologies Benefit the Affluent.  Justin Reich 6.1.12 Ed Tech Researcher - Education Week

    What Does Tech Saavy Really Mean?

    What tech tools detract and what tools promote really learning?  A must read for teachers.  Author/speaker recommends 2 sets of educators & learners on the internet: one set in affluent schools and one set in low-income schools.  Watch the 15 min video to learn more.  Barnwell comments on Poll Everywhere, Prezi, Wordle, Tumblr and Xtranormal  as gimmicky, attention getting, but limiting & distracting. Students should use technology to think creatively, synthesize ideas, media forms, & think critically.  As you become familiar with more tech tools, please share your comments with us.  We all can learn from your experience.

    Why Twitter and Facebook Are Not Good Instructional Tools. Paul Barnwell 5.30.12 Education Week Teacher

    Ninth Grade Important For ELLs!

    Surprising findings in Chicago that compared various ethnic subgroups, new ELLS, older ELLS and measured them against their peers with identifical course work except for one ESL course.  Research conducted at Consortium on Chicago School Research and National High School Center.  9th grade attendance & grade point average - better predictor of graduation prospects than proficiency level.  Interesting.....probably too early to tell for St. Anthony students.

    Grades Found to Give 'Early Warning' on ELL Dropouts.  Lesli A. Maxwell. 5.30.12 Education Week

    Help LD Students Read Using Mobile Screens

    Interesting to know that dyslexics have a broader visual span than non-dylexics.  Small screens help them focus and comprehend text.  Study from the Laboratory for Visual Learning at Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.  To date we do not have mobile technology for our students and some of them are LD.  Do you know someone who prefers to read from a tablet rather than a book?  What are your observations!

     Using Mobile Screens To Make Reading Easier for Dyslexics.  Schneps. 7.24.12 Co.EXIST

    Digitial medial - What Effect on Children?

    Andrew Campbell, a child & adolescent psychologist says that we just don't know the answer to "The million dollar question ….Are there risks in the transfer of real time to online time?  Read the views of a number of experts and the effect they have on children, both here in the US and Australia where this article originated.  What do you think?

    The screens that are stealing childhood. 5/29/12. The Syndey Morning News

    High School Students Are More Serious Today

    Surprise? Today's high schoolers are working harder than ever before!  The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reports  that high school students are taking school more seriously and have better attendance.  Population is poorer & more diverse with little opportunity for student employment.  Do you agree with this?  Post your comment.

    Report: U.S. Students Get Serious About High School - Indicators include fewer absences and less employment. 6.6.12 Education Week