Thursday, February 28, 2013

The 21st Century Skills Framework - Visualize it!

To help all of us understand how and why 21st Century Skills are important in school environments, a close look at this graphic from Partnership For 21st Century Skills will put them into perspective.
Underneath the graphic are downloadable pdf files as well as links to specific skills and their corresponding student outcomes and support systerms.
In addition to this informational graphic, feel free to explore other tabs on the website to learn more.

Framework for 21st Century LearningPartnership for 21st Century Skills website. Current.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Amazing Site for Math Vocabulary Development!

This is a must-see and a must-use website from the Granite School District in Salt Lake City, Utah.  The opening screen focuses on math vocabulary both with cards alphabetically arranged by grade level.  Also terrific is the Template section and the Activities and Lessons.   Great website to explore what fits for your Title I students.  In the Language Arts tabs, look in "Resources" for great ideas.

Granite School District website - current.

Looking for Guidance in CC math?

We all looking for ways to implement the changed expectations of Common Core.  This website, Illustrative Mathematics is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as a resource to various stakeholders. 
      What we are interested in, of course, is what we as Title I math teachers, can do to help our struggling math students.  This is a perfect website for real world applications done in an illustrative way.  Especially good for our many ELL students.  There are many ideas here so spend a bit of time searching the site.  Organized by K-8 Standards, High School Standards, and Practice Standards (which is in draft form.)  Well worth your time.

Ilustrative Mathematics.  Current . Institiute for Mathenmatics & Education.

Vocabulary is Essential for Common Core Success

Catherine Gewertz responds to Sarah Sparks article, "Students Must Learn More Words, Say Studies" which I have posted on 2/7 /13.  She connects one of the six anchor standards for the language strand of the standards to success in Common Core.  Gewertz translates this to what teachers can do in early elementary school with specific examples teachers can use from K to grade 5.  Great examples!

What do you do in your Title I groups to improve academic vocabulary?  Share your comments.

Building Vocabulary Cruial to Common-Core Success, New Research Says.  Catherine Gewertz. 2.12.13.  Education Week - Curriculum Matters

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Try this Whiteboard Lesson Decomposing Fractions

Here's a great interactive whiteboard lesson for decomosing fractions using time or money.  I normally don't subscribe to Dreambox Learning because of it's commercial nature.  However, now since Dreambox has a blog, I am rethinking a subscription.  Each month they will be offering Free Teacher Tools.  This one looks like it would be very applicable to our Title I classes with fractions as a learning goal.  Understanding time and money is crucial & in the context of fractions - a huge winner!  Note that the lesson has a chart correlating the content to the Common Core Standard in Math for 3rd grade.  (Doesn't mean that we would use the lesson for 3rd graders with our low performing students.)

For you math T1 teachers, try this using Mimio and let us know what you think.

Teacher Tool of the Month:  Decomposing Fractions Using Time or Money.  Ramil. 2.15.13  The DreamBox Learning Blog

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Confused Yourself? Your Students? That's Great!

Recent research from brain scientists tell us that although confusion seems like an obstacle it really is a positive when it comes to learning.  So often we as teachers present problem solving situations with as little confusion as possible.  That could well be the wrong approach.  Although this article is written for adults, the basic themes and strategies can be transferred to students.  However, it's best to try them yourselves.  Then as you find out how they work, you can teach them to your students.
Very interesting!  Well worth reading and experimenting.  (Check out the embedded links.)

Why Confusion Can Be a Good Thing.  Annie Murphy Paul. 2.18.13.  Mind/Shift

Monday, February 18, 2013

How to Cultivate a Love of Reading in Students

Amidst all the multimedia options and Common Core's stress on close reading and increased non-fiction, how do we instill a love of reading?   Popular blogger, Elen Aguilar offers 10 ways that teachers, parents, and administrators can help.   She means old fashioned "paper" books.
Some of her strategies are approprate for Title I classes, others not since they need investment from other stakeholders.  I particularly like strategies 8, 9, and 10. 

What strategies do you use to encourage students to read for recreation?

Ten Ways to Cultimate a Love of Reading in Students. Elena Aguilar. 2.13.13. edutopia

Interactive Tools for Teaching and Learning

Want some neat tech tools to use in your classes?  Here are some excellent ones that can also be shared with your classroom teachers.  There are dozens of embedded links in this article.  I'm sure you'll find some that suit your purposes.  Great ideas!

Which ones appeal to you?  Try some and share with your colleagues.

Celebrating Interactive Scaffolds. Joyce Valenza  2.17.13.  School Library Journal.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Number Sense is the Main Predictor of Math Ability

Contrary to previous views, this study involving researchers at University of Missouri, Columbia, and Carneige-Mellon  tracked students who also participated in a longitudinal study of kindergarten through 9th grade.  Results showed that students who could identify and work with sets of numbers in 1st grade performed better on a test of functional numberacy given years later in 7th grade.
The reality is that math tests in early grades tend to focus on counting skills and simple arithmetic, rather than problems such as fractions which require students to think how number operate in sets.

A horrible statistic to ponder:  More than one in 5 American adults are considered "functionally innumerate," unable to solve 8th grade math problems!

All of this in interesting and appalling, but the question we have as Title I teachers is this, "What strategies can we incorporate in our classes?  One of our 6 shifts can help - Relevancy.  Creating problem situations that allow students to think of numbers in sets that have meaning in their lives.  And if possible involve parents at home to share in this thinking.  (Some, obviously won't be successful given the above statistic.)

What ideas to you have?  Please share.

Number Sense, Not Counting Skills, Predits Math Ability, Says Study. 2.4.13 Sarah D. Sparks.  Education Week - Inside School Research.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Envoy - a cool student management system!

Although "Envoy" is used in an entire school, I can see our Title I teachers employ similiar methods to manage students and settle them for learning.  I believe some of our teachers already do this and save teacher-voices for instruction. 
Quieter classroom, halls within Talahi. Danielle Clintron. 1.29.13.
Read more about the Envoy Program on this website. MGA Michael Grinder and Associates, Corporate and Edcuation Non-Verbal Communication Experts.

When kids are settled, they are ready to learn.  Share your thoughts.  What non-verbal communications have you used that were effective?  (My kids always told me my eyebrow told them the story!) 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Our Kids Need to Learn More Words - What can T1 do?

This must read article states difficulties, realities, and potential ways of changing the low vocabulary levels of our disadvantaged students who have limited vocabulary.  Not only does the article describe the dismal state of language in so many impoverished children, but the lack vocabulary instruction is evident even in kindergarten.  Informal teaching of vocabulary has led to major discrepancies in the number and difficulty of vocabulary words.  Haphazard teaching occurs at best.  Very discouraging
Noteworthy in this article is the 3 tier system developed by Isabel L. Beck
  • Tier 1: basic words that can be learned without instruction
  • Tier II:  academic words used over many subject areas
  • Tier III:  Difficult, content - specific words.
What do we as Title I teachers do?  Common Core is pushing teachers to do 2 things:  Don't neglect vocabulary in the text you are reading, but at the same time you, as the teacher, are responsible for expanding students' vocabulary.  We also need to collaborate with our classroom teachers about vocabulary that is being used in the classroom so that our work reinforces vocabulary and makes it more relevant to our students.  Above all we need to engage parents with greater success in helping their children develop vocabulary skills

Excellent article, yet quite discouraging.  What are your views?  What have you done that really helped your students?  What ideas do you have to engage parents?    Please share your ideas.

This article first appeared as a subscription only to read the whole post.  Because the content is so important, Education Week has now posted it as a Premier Article.  It also contains a correction made 2/12/13 and so the date and url have been changed in this blog post.

Students Must Learn More Words, Say Studies.  Sarah K. Sparks. 2.12.13. Education Week - Premium Article.

Surveying Your Students

This article is interesting from several aspects.  First, the teacher creates a survey to better know his/her students so that teaching methods can be tailored to fit student preferences.  In this article the survey was sent home for parents to transcribe their childrens' responses.  The side benefit here was that the parents gained new insight about their own children.  I, on the other hand, thought the same survey was too long, but I thought the idea was a good one in our efforts to build positive relationships with our students.
Listening to Students.  Elena Auilar. 9.27.12.  edutopia

What is your reaction to this type of survey?  Would parents follow up?  What are your thoughts?

Personalize Algebra for Your Students

I know some of you are providing concrete examples for algebra problems your students encounter.  In fact our teachers are beginning to offer similiar examples for basic arithmetic  calculations.  Doing this is a great leap forward toward understanding what often is a confusing problem for kids.  Give them a reason, an example that relates to their lives and then bingo, the light goes on.

Studies Find Payoff in "Personalizing Algebra.  Sarah D. Sparks.  9.25.,112 Education Week - Premium Article.

Please offer some examples for your colleagues.