Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Surprising Finding re: Homeless Students in Minneapolis

Interesting article describing the realities of homeless students.  First study of homelessness and test scores by Cutili examines not only  lower scores but the reasons behind them.  Interesting comments by students who somehow find time to do homework.  There is a subset of homeless students (45%) who scored average or better than average.  Researchers say more studies are required to find out what is being done to support these students in schools.
Our Title I teachers may be teaching homeless students, although they may not be so informed.  School administrators can keep this information confidential.  If you have taught homeless students before, how have you helped them succeed?
Note:  Try using the audio feature on this website.  Really neat!

Study: Homeless students in Minneapolis score lower in math reading tests.  10.30.12 Tim Post, Minnesota Public Radio, MPR News.

Wisconsin : Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge

The Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge is a recent addition to the overarching Race to The Top Initiative.  Awards will be announced by the end of the year.  Wisconsin was not awarded the grant on the first round.
I've tried to find what the 2nd submission looks like but could not find it on the DPI website.  If someone finds it, please let me know. Please post a comment with the link for other readers of this post.
( I'll post the results of the competitive grant at the end of the year when the winners are announced.)

5 States Pursue Second Round of Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge.  David Nagel. 10/30/12. (Transforming Education Through Technology)

Governor's Veto Powers Over DPI - Struck Down

Wisconsin has been in the news recently in matters pertaining to the governor's power over supervision of the state schools.  A ruling from a Dane country judge ruled that authority over the state department of public instruction is the responsibiltiy of the state superintendent of schools.  This part of Act 21 was ruled unconstitutional.  The matter is being appealed.

Please keep any comment you may have non-political which is a policy I would like to retain in my blog.

Wis. Judge Overturns Gov.'s Education Powers.  10.30.12 Associated Press.  Madion, WI .Education Week  Note:  Unless you are a "registered guest," Education Week will not allow the full article to be shown. 
Because of this restriction, I looked in JS Online and found another article about the same decision
Judge strikes down law giving Walker new powers in setting DPI rules.  10.30.12 Jason Stein. JSOnline

Old Topic, New Interest (?) in Timed Tests

This excellent article from became a premium article in Education Week Teacher.  Now with a larger audience, perhaps this important topic an be addressed seriously.  In our current system, only students IEPs or 504 programs are allowed extra time in taking standardized tests.  Why should students have to go through M-team evaluations before being allowed more time in testing.  Educators know that time is a false metric so why do we allow this to continue to happen?
Maybe, maybe this topic will get the headlines it deserves and in the current environment of new test creation, the matter can be dealt with fairly.  Amen!
        As you can tell, I am convinced that timed tests do not offer a reliable way to assess student understanding of a topic.  I do agree, however, that some skills do need timed tests to achieve examples: basic math facts or basic sight words.  What are your feelings about this topic?  More importantly, if you agree, how do you think timed testing could be permanently dropped in student assesments? 
Please share your thoughts.

Off the Clock:  Giving Students More Time to Demonstrate Learning.  Kyle Redford. Education Week Teacher - premium article courtesy of

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Working With and Within Connected Classrooms

Like it or not we are teachers in a digital world and it behoves us to learn two important things:
     (1)  Fostering technology tools that engage students and enhance learning
     (2)  Learning and sharing among ourselves as we plunge into infamiliar territory.
The author recommends different strategies to engage students in a world wired for distraction. Educators themselves could turn to Personal Learning Networks to improve their own use of digital tools.  There are several suggestions for steps to take and chats that may help teachers.  We can all learn from each other and use our LE Intranet to pose questions and share thoughts, strategies, and lessons.

Q-and-A:  Tips for Navigating the connected classroom.Melissa Greenwood. 9.13.12.  SmartBlog on Education.

Important Ideas About Giving Feedback to Students

Author, Jan Chappuis  carefully explains how to give feedback to students.  The question, "How Am I Doing?" is a natural and important one.  Our administrators ask the same thing.  How are my 3rd graders doing?  4th graders? and so on.  Chappuis quoted a 2001 study that found that only one-third of 131 studies examined did feedbak improve learning.  So what's wrong?  Chappius states that the giving of feedback isn't the cause, it's the acting on feedback that determines how much students learn. 
This is an important lesson for us as we hold our 1:1 data chats about and our conversations with kids about their MAP RIT scores.  What have you learned after reading this article?  How might your conversations change?  Please share your remarks with your colleagues.  They will help others.

"How Am I Doing?"  Jan Chappuis.  Featured article in Educational Leadership September 2012. Vol 70, Number 1, pp. 36-41.

Green Bay School District Changes Curriculum to CC

I thought you'd like to read this article from the Green Bay Gazette about the school district revamping the curriculum to meet Common Core State Standards.  I was interested in the feedback from the teachers. The article illustrates math more than reading.  To my knowledge we don't have a similar comparison here in Wisconsin.

(Note: later featured article in Accomplished Teacher by SmartBrief - 10.28.12)

Curriculum changes emplasize critical thinking.  10.20.12

Friday, October 26, 2012

What is a Teacher's Role Using Tech Tools?

Salman Khan of the  free and popular Khan Academy website has often stated that his videos and other tech tools do not replace classroom teachers.  Instead they make teachers even more important.  One reason is that they give teachers real time data to diagnose weak points and design appropriate interventions. 
I've recommended Khan Academy before as a wonderful website to help our T1 students in math especially.

Have any of you used these videos?  How have they worked or not worked for your students?
Did you redefined your role as a teacher? Share your comments with others below.

What Does the 'Khanification' of Education Mean for Teachers?  Anthony Rebora. 10.23.12. Education Week Teacher - Teaching Now;postID=8280457481016555168

Are You Hesitant Using Technology Tools?

All of us at one time or another question have questioned our ability to use technology in productive ways. We may hesitate to use a certain tool when our traditional way seems just as good and less of a hassle.  This article addresses our doubts and offers useful ideas when learning and using different tech tools.  All of us can apply one of more of these tips.  I'll list them here but please read the article for further explanation.
  • Give Yourself the Time to Learn
  • Put On Some Blinders
  • Put Away Your Preconceptions
  • Evaluate Potential Usefulness
  • Practice What You Preach
Do any of these speak to you?  What have you done to feel more confident?  What have you tried that is new?  Please comment below.

Tips for Tech-Cautious Teachers.  Brianna Croley. 10.24.12 Education Week Teacher - Premium Article

Coping With the "Bad Stuff in Life"

As you are well aware, many of our students have some pretty serious situations going on in their lives outside of school.  Counseling is an Title I option that has been exercised in only one of our schools.  Some of our T1 students are "coping" with serious issues in self-distructive ways.  This article is sensitively written and examines various circumstances that we as adults may have gone through or are going through and translating our experiences to help the students we teach.  The embedded link to the Brain Works Project is extremely valuable to us as teachers in our professional and private lives.  Please check that out.  Here is the link...

Anything you'd like to share?  (Please don't identify certain individuals.)

After You Crash and Burn: Coping Skills for Students.  Peter DeWitt. 10.25.12.  Education Week - Finding Common Ground

How Can WIDA Help us Teach our T1 ELL Students?

Rather than the typical teaching of English in bits and pieces (language functions, i.e., suggestions or complimenting, vocabulary or grammar) ELL teachers will have to move to teaching in an activity and giving students the supports they need to participate in an academic activity using language.  WIDA is cited in this article as a resource to help teachers make these adjustment. Efforts to ramp up ELL teaching in various school districts are described.  Excellent article for our T1 teachers.
What issues do you see are positive steps forward?  What seems to be the most probematic for you?
Note:  Since this was a article featured in a recent Spotlight, it was written last April.  Check the WIDA website for the final version of the English language development standards.

Language Demands to Grow for ELLs Under New Standards.  Leslie Maxwell 4.25.12 Featured article, Students required to go well beyond grammar, vocabulary  in Education Week Spotlight

Thursday, October 25, 2012

How to Reach the Unreachable

Popular author and blogger for Education Week, this article by Larry Ferlazzo in ASCD's Educational Leadershiip  is well researched and offers excellent thoughts and strategies to engage students who are unmotivated.  We all have at least a few disengaged students, I'm sure, in our Title I classses.  Ferlazzo approaches the topic in the same way school reformers approach school improvements with their initial question,  "What do effective schools look like?"
Here we experience the issue from a skilled teacher's point of view.  How do they think?  What do they say?  What do they do?
In your comments, please share what you think, say, and do to engage your disengaged students.

Eight Things Skilled Teachers Think, Say, and Do.  Larry Ferlazzo. Educational Leadership. October 2012 Volume 70 Number 2
ASCD.  Students Who Challenge Us,-Say,-and-Do.aspx

New Recalibrated WKCE Scores Dive DEEP!

We all have been aware that the Wisconsin DPI was going to recalibrate the current WKCE scores to align with national standards.  We all have been prepared that MPS and Milwaukee's choice schools for a lower profiency levels.  Well, the results are in.  Are you mentally prepared?  I wasn't.
Personally, I had not forecast the dive would be as deep as it is.  Read article for specific data.

Proficiency plummets at voucher schools, MPS with new test scoring.  Erin Richards. 10.24.12 JSOnline

The Challenge of Offering ELLs the 'Right to Rigor'

This is a WOW article and hopefully all of you teachers of ELLs read and comment on this post.  Guest blogger, Cathering Gewertz discusses David Coleman's remarks about the ELL's right to rigor in the annual meeting of the College Board.  Coleman is the new president of the College Board and his remarks are indeed refreshingly different.  Meeting participant, Lily Wong Fillmore assures us that ELLs can handle complex text if teachers are given the training to teach complex texts to English learners...."no more watered down text"  stating that there is no way out for them. They become trapped in lower levels of learning and can't catch up to their English speaking peers.   He also stated what is rather remarkable..." You should hold us accountable for making assessments worthy of you and your best work."  The college board would be hostile to tests that fall short of assessing authentic learning. 
This calls to mind our own attempts to teach ELLs.  After reading this article I would like to learn more about the kind of teacher training Coleman wants to see.  - All of us in LE could benefit from this knowledge.
Please express your thoughts about Coleman's discussion with the College Board members.
{I am interested in reading the Comments to the article, but I've posted it just a few minutes after it was published so there are none at this time.}

College Board Puts Spotlight on Needs of ELLs, New Kinds of Tests.  Guest blogger, Catherine Gewertz. 10.24.12 Education Week - Learning the Language

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

What is the "Real" Role of Technology in Learning?

Justin Reich, in this reflective article recommends two books on teaching that addresses the incredible power of compelling questions and how to build learning experiences that derive from those questions.  Reich works with educators and districts to leverage new technologies to improve student learning. 
The two books he recommends my be familiar to you:  Understanding by Design by Wiggens and McTighe and What the Best College Teachers Do by Ken Bain.
What roles does technology play in your Title I class? 

Before Technology, The Power of Asking Questions. Justin Reich. 10.11.12. Education Week EdTech Research.

Friday, October 19, 2012

What Does it Mean to be Career Ready"

This article brings clarity to "college and career ready," the phrase we hear repeated over and over again.  There are several embedded links that are quite informative as well.  I'll list the author's 4 broad skills, but please read the article carefully for further specifics.
1.  Adaptability
2.  Communications
3.  Technology
4.  Workplace Experience

Teachers of middle and high schoolers should find this a high priority read.  Our 21st Century Skills and HOTS focus in our Title I classes should give the students some progress in advancing these skills.  Specific areas could make for a beneficial discussion with your students.
Have you had some of these discussions already?  What have you learned?  Have your students learned?

What It Means to Be Career Ready.  Anthony Jackson. 10.19.12. Education Week. - Global Learning

Why Students in Urban Schools Are a Challenge

Guest blogger, Michael Albertson writes about specific challenges that are major contributors to poor student outcomes in urban schools.  He explains 4 aspects of these struggles that often go unmentioned in public discourse.  I'll list them here, but please read the article for further explaination and documentated examples.
1.  Disconnect between life at school and life at home
2.  Language
3.  Hesitancy to Trust Adults
4.  They Know and See What Society Thinks of Them on a Daily Basis

My experience and yours too probably see the same challenges.  The important questions is what can "we" do in our contacts with our Title I kids.  What are some ways, we can broadcast our successes to a larger audience?

Overlooked:  Students in Urban Schools.  Peter DeWitt.  10.19.12.  Education Week - Finding Common Ground

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

How to Engage Your Students in Math

Jose Vilson has followed recent discussions about the teaching of math, math anxiety, and whether all math curriculum topics are really necessary for most jobs.  So many students feel such a failure. 
To counteract negative student responses, Vilson has 5 principles for assuring that all students can enter into the math, and also for creating the conditions for math success.
I'll list the 5 principles but you'll need to read the article for further descriptions.
  1. Allow More Mistakes
  2. Support Their Struggle
  3. Let the Kids Teach, Too
  4. Answer a Question with More Questions
  5. Personalize the Questions
Have you used any of these strategies yourself?  How effective were they?  What else might you try?

Engaging Students in Math.  Jose Vilson. 10.15.12.  Edutopia

Teaching Math Outside the Box

This article is so excellent and an wonderful story of a math teacher engaging students in real world problems that affect household management and the business  world.  Combining her prior experience in the corporate world and further teacher education she has inspired her students in learning.
You may have a bit of trouble reading the article.  The publication is by subscription, but you can read a limited number of articles of the next 30 days.  I had no trouble and the article was featured in SmartBrief.  In case you have difficulty accessing the article, contact me because I copied it in Word.

Teaching outside the box: Kathi Christy gets creative to make Northwest Middle students think.  Donna Isbell Walker. 10.17.12

The Big Picture To Encourage Deeper Learning

This is an interesting article from a larger perspective - that of systems, leadership, intellectual missions, the use of technology, state policies, new school models, better tests, and habits of mind, among others.  If you are looking for specific strategies that encourage deeper learning in your Title I classes, you will be disappointed because that is not the focus of this article.  However, if you are interested in a different paradigm that will facilitate deeper learning to improve our education offerings, then it's a good read.
Note:  I almost didn't post this article because of its generality and probable non-interest to our LE staff.  I could very well be wrong so I am offering it here for you to make that judgment.
Any Comments?

10 Strategies to Promote Deeper Learning. Tom Vander Art. 10.17.12. Education Week

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Changing Definition of "Best Practices"

Honest article about what makes or does not make a good teacher.  Contradictory pedagogy is often forced upon teachers to get the best results.  What to believe?  What to discard?  The last paragraph summarizes  the arguments for a definition of what constitutes a "best practice."....    it is important to remember that in this ever-changing and subjective field, there never has been—and most likely never will be—a universal definition. As we work toward a better understanding of the dynamics of student learning, good teachers will continue to reflect on their own practices and build their own optimal pedagogy. 
The question we as Title I teachers should ask.....What best...(or effective)....practices work with our kids?

When 'Best Practices' Conflict. Shara Peters & Jody Passanisi. 10.9.12. Education Week Teacher - Premium Article.

How Do We Solve the Online Testing Dilemma?

School districts in many states are uncertain of their technological capacity to give Common Core State Standards assessments in 2 years.  Issues range from the type of device, to the bandwidth needed,  funding available, & trained staff.  There is a wide range of school preparedness, from "ready" to "haven't really thought about it".  I like the ending quote from Raj Manhas of Washington State who says that, "somestimes when national policies are made, the corresponding resources are not planned for.
We cannot assume that all schools nor students are digitally prepared to take online tests. Can the situation be solved in time?  Question is, How do we interpret the results we do get in 2015?

Are You Tech-Ready for the Common Core?  Michelle Davis. 10.17.12.  Education Week - Digital Directions

NCLB Waivers: Different Goals for Different Folks

It's interesting to see what different states did when revising their academic goals under NCLB.  Most states received federal waivers set different expectations for different subgroups of students. The waivers issued by the Dept. of Ed. let states abandon the goal of 100% proficiency in reading and math but instead hold schools accountable for passing rates that varied by subgroup - as long as those schools make significant gains in closing the gaps in achievement.  Only 8 states set the same targets for all students; 34 states have new accountablility plans.  Wisconsin is a bit different.  Read to find out why.
What do you think about the different types of waivers?  Which makes sense to you?  Is Wisconisin fair?

States Punch Reset Button With NCLB Waivers.  Michele McNeil.  10.17.12 Education Week - Premium Article.

Monday, October 15, 2012

IRA Guidelines to Help Struggling Learners with CC-RLA

This is a must read article for all of us making the shift in our teaching to close reading of complex text, an important challenge of Common Core.  Here a committee from the International Reading Association (IRA) gives teachers guidelines to help students master reading skill levels more difficult than the students are used to reading.  The committee suggests that CC states the challenge is more for students who are about to leave school ready to work and learn.  In the meantime, we have all kind of other children - in our case - struggling learners and dual-language learners.  This is important stuff for all of us in LEX.  They suggest more skillful instructional scaffolding, i.e., rereading, explanation, encouragement and other supports within lessons.  Good to hear!

Reading Group Issues Guidance for Common Core. Catherine Gewertz.  10.9.12 Education Week - Curriculum Matters.

Ideas To Use Videos for ELLs & Non-ELLS

This thoughtful article is useful when we plan video supplements to enhance our reading lessons.  All suggestions connect to the Common Core Standards for ELA Grades 6-12.  Well worth your time to read and consider how these ideas could fit into your plans for ELLs. Also consider how they might work for your non-ELLs
The 8 ideas are listed here, but the titles won't mean much unless you read the article to see how the thoughts fit for ELL students.  Excellent examples given.
1.  Critical Pedagogy
2.  Back to the Screen
3.  Language Experience Approach
4.  Dubbing
5.  Novelty
6.  Video Clips and Questions
7.  V ideo and Reading Strategies
8.  Inductive Learning

What are ways you use videos to encourage deeper learning in your Title I classes? 

Eight Ways to Use Video With English Language Learners. Larry Ferlazzo and Katie H. Sypnieski.  10.10.12. Edutopia

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Very Cool Annotating Tool!

Various tips come from a Stenhouse newsletter to my mailbox.  You might want to get it too.  www.//

Anyway, I thought you might be interested in this annotating tool.  I have not tried it yet but I think we could use this ourselves as well as introducing it to students, especially the Strategic Reading Study Skill students with access to computers.  It would make a wonderful 21st Century application to our Close Reading process where we usually annotate text with paper and pencil.

Show students how to annotate as they read Web text.  Markup lets you draw on any web page  Drag the drawing tools to your book marks bar and you're set. No cost.  Nothing to download and install. On the Markup webpage, all you have to  do to get Markup on your computer is click on the icon and add to your favorites.  When you make notes on a webpage, click the bookbarlet to load the Markup toolbar. 

For those of you who are interested in trying it, please share your thoughts with others.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A Dream School - Not Anytime Soon

This article is an excerpt from Will Richardson's new book, Why School: How Education Must Change When Learning and Information Are Everywhere.  As you read his excerpt, I'm sure you'll see that his ideas about relevancy to real world application are very exciting.  However, this adventureous approach will never go over in our overly regulated educational buraracy and impossible to evaluate teachers and student achievement.  A dream it is and a dream it will stay, I'm afraid.
Your thoughts?  What would your dream school look like?

Should We Connect School Life to Real Life?  Will Richardson. 10.5.12. MindShift

Taking Ownership for "Our" or "Their" Goals

Taking responsibility for one's own learning is a key part of 21st Century Skills, but the key word in the article title is "OUR."  As we discuss MAP test scores and other classroom goals with our Title I students we need to make sure those goals are also the student's goals.  If not, then taking responsibilty for them will not be taken seriously.  Sometimes we adults -  teachers and parents - determine the goals and wonder why the kids aren't taking responsibility for them.  Read this article and see what can be done to remedy these situations.  If you are a parent, you'll find this useful too.
Share you parents.

The Responsibility Myth:  Asking Kids to "Own" Our Choices.  Bob Sullo. 10.3.12. The Whole Child Blog - ASCD

2 History Reading Strategies - Which Way is Better?

The author's purpose in this article, I don't believe, is strategic reading, but choosing from an array of possibilities, the one most suited to long term understanding.  When you read this article, analyze the differences between the two history teachers' lessons.  Both are using reading strategies, and one is widely used by content area teachers applying strategic reading to their lessons. LEX uses this often.  The contrasting lesson with the other teacher is entirely different.  Why?  Does does the subject content make a difference?  After I read this article, I realized how important it is for Title I teachers to maintain contact with the classroom teacher to be apprised of what he/she is already doing.  The question is, "How can Title I support the lesson?", the same way or offer a different approach.  Share your thoughts.

Getting Students to Think Like Historians. Jeffery Nokes. 10.2.12.  Education Week Teacher- Premium article

Monday, October 8, 2012

Do You Agree or Disagree with these Tech Myths?

I'm sure our LE readers will agree with some remarks and also disagree with Andrew Marcinek's research.  It's always good to be aware of contradictory views.  Here is the list of myths but you'll have to click on the article to read his explanation.
  • Myth 1:  The Digital Generation Needs Technology
  • Myth 2:  The iPad is Simply a Tool
  • Myth 3:  It's Not a Distraction
  • Myth 4:  Creating or Purchasing Textbooks for the iPad is a Grand Innovation
  • Myth 5:  Going 1:1 with iPads Teaches One Product

Check out the many inbedded links

Please comment on your views.

Dispelling the Myths About 1:1 Environments. Andrew Marcinek. 10.5.12 Edutopia - Technology Integration

Classroom Tested Activities to Teach under CC

I particularly liked this summary article because the selected RLA activites have been tested in the classroom as teachers moved to incorporate Common Core standards.  This is the same approach our LE team did when we tested out ideas for ELL lessons. We got rid of those that didn't work and refined those that did to become better.
Even though two activities were tested in New York we could do parallel activities in Milwaukee.  Another two excellent ideas for Informative Writing and  Argumentive Writing,.  These activities involve writing, but the reading counterpart is right on.
As we compile and try our own activities this year it will be important to evaluate how they work with our Title I students.  Keep track of them and we can share them with your supervisor and present them at our staff meetings.

Common Core Practice / Floating Buddlas, MacArthur 'Geniuses' and Fracking.  Sarah Gross, Jonathan Olsen and The Learning Network.  New York Times.

Some New Ideas to Improve Parent Conferences

We know that engaging parents is one of the toughest aspects of our job.  We try, try, and try again and then responses are so limited, always less than we had expected or "hoped."  Your supervisors have gone through important parts of good conferencing with you. 
         Here is an article that includes those points but a few different ones as well.  The writer appears to be an upper middle class parent and she and her husband experienced horrible conferences.  She lists 7 ideas that would improve the conference including a different one....figuring out a comfortable seating arrangement with no barriers.  Sitting across a desk or table reinforces herarchies.
Interesting read.  What do you think?  What have you tried that has been successful? Please share with your supervisor.

Seven Ideas for Meaningful Parent-Teacher Conferences. Nancy Flanagan. 10.5.12. Education Week Teacher

Sunday, October 7, 2012

US Students Compared with Peers in Other Countries

Decision 2012: Education Policy. 10.6.12.  JSOnline - Crossroads.
Here is the latest comparison of U.S. K-12 students with their peers in in other parts of the world.  As you might have guessed we continue to lag behind other countries. True also, as you might have expected, white students outperform minority students continues to be a problem.  The charts show the top 10 countries and the bottom 10 performing countries in both reading and math.  As you also might have predicted, our US students perform better in math than reading.
[My opinion on these broad-based studies is that the U.S. is a very diverse country, not only in race, but in culture, family values, religious orientation, economic classes, regional differences, language and others to name a few.  Comparing our U.S. K-12 students to countries without this diversity can be very misleading and somewhat  skewed.  However, as other countries become more diverse, as we are seeing happen now, results may look different in time.  Regardless of my opinion, it is important and revealing to us that we certainly have work to do on many levels:  curriculum, teacher training, student preparedness to learn, parent engagement, good leadership and collaboration among stakeholders.]
How do you feel about this study?  Are we on the right track with Common Core? 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Using Interactive White Boards - Good and Not Good

In his popular blog on Education Week, Larry Ferlazzo organizes many of his articles by asking the readership for questions.  He poses key questions and gets multiple responses.  His question, “What Are the Best Ways to Use Interactive White Boards?” brought many responses from a variety of readers.  I thought you might like to read this article that answers this question from a variety of readers.  As a result of reader responses, he developed a ‘list of online resources for IWB use’ ….see embedded link.  Many readers responded with other website ideas….see embedded links.
You will find that many teachers seemed clueless and had minimal training.,
You might want to investigate some of the recommended links and test them with your students. Share you findings with your supervisor.

Response:  The Best Ways to Use Interactive White Boards.  Larry Ferlazzo 10.1.12. Education Week – Q & A Classroom

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Personalize Context for Algebra Students

Excellent article that highlights recent research showing the value of personalizing context to help students struggling with algebra.  This study from Carnegie Mellon University, "Using Adaptive Learning Technologies to Personalize Instruction: The Impact of Interest-Based Scenarios on Performance in Algebra" is downloadable pdf in an embedded link.  There are several ideas explained that could help our Title I math teachers.
Several other studies have shown that math personalization results in increased achievement.  "Changing context" could be difficult or as simple as learning students' interests  to formulate relevant questions. 
What has worked for you, not just in algebra but in other math concepts?

Studies Find Payoff in 'Paersonalizing' Algebra. Sarah D. Sparks 9.26.12 Education Week - Premium article

Here's Some Relevant Algebra Examples

As you probably already know our Title I students flounder in algebra.  Looking for common examples of how algebra can be used makes so sense.
Honner lists these examples but you'll have to read the article to learn more.  [Be sure to check out the many comments to this article....more examples there too.]
  1. Mathematically Modeling Morgages
  2. Evaluating Colleges
  3. Calculating Car Costs
  4. Algebra of the Election
  5. Do the Metro Card Math (you'll need to change this to Milwaukee County Transit System
  6. Olympic Algebra
  7. Redo Those Recipes
  8. Solve for Stocks
  9. Population Growth, Footbal, the Economy and More
  10. Is Algebra Necessary?
Are there other relevant examples you have used in your algebra class?  Your colleagues would be most interested.

N Ways to Apply Algebra With The New York Times. Patrick Honner. 9.26.12 The Learning Network - New York Times

Salman Khan Talks About the Value of His Website

In case you have never visited Khan Academy, please do so.  I recommended the website last year as a valuable supplementary resource for our Title I classes, especially in math.  In this article Khan explains how his videos are not intended to replace teachers but provide interactive opportunities for students to practice math at their own pace.  It is a free website available to all and is continually upgraded and new topics added.  For those of you who have used the website, please share how you used these resources in small groups.  How did the videos help?

The Rise of the Tech-Powered Teacher. Salman Khan.  10.3.12. Education Week - Premium Article

How Can We Help ELL Families with Common Core?

Some school districts with a large number of Spanish-speacking families have offered  information about Common Core (as well as the new assessments that will follow) for these families. The National PTA currently offers a handbook in English and Spanish with plans to publish them in other widely spoken languages.  That is good to hear because our schools' population includes ELL families with other home languages.
This effort is a monumental task considering that the standards present a big shift in curriculum, instruction, and assessment.  The challenge is also difficult for teachers and English-speaking parents.
Do any of your schools offer Common Core information to parents of English-speakers?  Spanish speakers?  If so, please describe the parent outreach.  Is there a way Title I can be of help?  I probably think "Not yet" in most instances but I may be wrong.

Educating ELL Families on Common-Core Standards. Lesli Maxwell. 9.19.12.  Education Week - Learning the Language

How Can Checklists Help You And Your Students?

If you are a lover of checklists (and I know some of you are), then this article is your perfect resource for any kind of checklist you, your parents, and your students can think of.  If you are making your own, there is even a  link to ""do's and don'ts."
There are three categories of checklists and direct links to see them
  1. Students - 12 different types for various purposes
  2. Parents - only links:  Supply list and Parent-Teacher Conferences
  3. Teachers - 16 general checklists
The author's favorite online list manager, Remember the Milk, integrates with Google Calendar, iPad, iPhone, and Android.
For you list lovers in LE, what works for you?

A Definite Guide to Teacher Checklists.  Todd Finley. 9/27/12. Edutopia;postID=7227453885306896286