Friday, March 29, 2013

Selecting Videos That Help Students Dig In and Learn

We all are quite aware of the popularity of video. Imagine YouTube's popularity is one billion monthly!  The mindful teacher certainly can use video as part of lessons, but the key is what, when, how and why.  There is help out there for you.  Please check out and download Teachers'Guide to Videos to help answer these questions and more.  There are video links to all kinds of subjects and ideas on how to inspire students to dig in, ask questions, and learn. 
I urge all our Title I teachers to download this pdf file and keep it handy for lesson planning.

Teachers' Ultimate Guide to Using Videos.  Tina Barseghian. 3.26.13. Mind/Shift

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Are You a Time-Wise Teacher?

We all waste precious instructional time doing mundane things.  Read this article to find out what we do needlessly and how we can improve personal habits so that all our students are learning productively in our brief time with our students.  (Although this article was written for classrom teachers, it certainly applies to our Title I teachers who have so little time with our students.)

Tips for Beating the Clock in the Classroom . Ben Johnson/ 3.25.13.  edutopia

Math Computer Games May Fall Short

In this article, the author Holly Korbey uses technology in many subjects but finds most math games fall short.  Application of math procedures and real world problems were difficult for students to rationalize.  Games may be good for home practice but in class hands-on activities are far more successful than digital tools.  One game that hold promise to achieving complex goals is SimCityEDU.  Other articles about SimCityEDU can be found at
In short, what we need to understand that most math games are great as far as procedual accuracy is concerned, but fall short in understanding the concept, other application, and real world problems.
So choose carefully and for the right reasons.

Teachers, Students, DFigital Games:  What's the Right Mix?  Holly Korbey. 3.22.13 Mindshift

CC Math for Struggling Learners - Ways to Help

This article was written with us in mind, I'm sure.  We struggle to implement the more demanding challenges of Common Core expectations in math to students who are already struggling.  How to do this?  Most math teachers claim to be unprepared to help struggling math learners.  Read how some teachers are helping them with close-reading skills, drawing out concepts of word problems, discussions of possible solutions to problems.  We've discussed some of these strategies in our own classes and also in helping Ell students.  What is concerning so many teachers are the new assessments currently being written.  There is a lot of uncertainty around.  You are not alone.

Math Teachers Strive to Bring Core to At-Risk Students.  3.13.13 Anthony Rebora.  Education Week Teacher - Premium Article.

Monday, March 25, 2013

How to Teach Students to Learn

This excellent article explains how inquiry learning is the key to 21st Century Learning.  The author presents 5 tools to guide inquiry learning in the classroom.  We as Title I teachers can support the classroom teacher and guide students along in the process by using some of these tools.
Excellent article - not to be missed.

5 Tools to Help Students Learn How to Learn.  Katrina Schwartz. 3.20.13.  Mind Shift - How we will learn.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

What Laryngitis Taught This Middle School Teacher

We teachers often come to school feeling lousy with a cold which we probably should have stayed home.  This teacher's cold turned to laryngitis - a nightmare, so she thought.  Instead, wonderful things happened.  Read this article to find out what happened.  Though this teacher wouldn't wish laryngitis on anyone, what can happen proves what a great teacher she has been.  We can all learn from this, laryngitis or not.

Anything like this happen to you?  Share you story with us below.

The Class Whisperer:  How I Learned (the Hard Way) to Shut Up and Listen.  Jessica Cuthbertson. 3.20.13,  Education Week Teacher - Premium Article.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Learn How Reading "Nonverbal" Text Supports Complex Text

This article takes a totally different view on reading complex text and it certainly is in tune with the many media supports students have available to understand what they are reading more completely.  Extremely interesting and woth paying attention to since media does need teacher direction when accompanied with difficult text.
How have you used visual media to help students understand meanings in print?  Please comment below.

Teaching Students to Analyze Complex Nonverbal Texts. 3.20.13. Todd Finley. edutopia

How Do You Model?

Author Karen Lea, a teacher of teachers, shows us several examples of modeling --teaching students how to learn.  At first, teachers do most of thre work, but students learn by being shown and then by practicing.  Talking "about it" is simply not enough.  Exellent examples.  Check out the embedded links to "Timeline Maker" and "Interactive Timeline."

We'd like to hear some examples of what you have done to model reading and math concepts for your Title I students.  Please share in the Comments sections below.

Modeling: Essential for Learning. Karen Lea. 3.20.13. edutopia.

8 Skills - CC Standards for Mathematical Practice

This article explains very clearly the 8 skills that math teachers need to incorporate in their teaching so that Common Core standards are integrated across the curriculum.  The article clearly defines the K-5 math standards and middle school math standards that help prepare students for higher-level math in high school.  High school math focuses on mathematical modeling and using math to analyze situations, understand them and inform decision making. The six shifts in math are listed and explained.  This is an important article and not to be missed.

Since this article requires username & password to finish reading the article, you may want to establish your own free one or use mine:  Username: Torphy - Password:  research2

How the Common Core is redifining math instuction.  3.22.12 eSchool News Staff. eClassroom News

Sunday, March 17, 2013

CC Test Developers Give Estimated Times - O'Boy!

And you thought Common Core testing might be easier to administer?  Guess again! 
PARRC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) is one of two big groups that are building tests in mathematics and English/language arts.  The other group, Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortion serves 24 states estimates 7 to 8.5 hours to take the tests.   PARRC has these time estimates...
  • Grade 3: 8 hours
  • Grades 4-5: 9 hours, 20 minutes
  • Grades 6-8: 9 hours, 25 minutes
  • Grades 9-10: 9 hours, 45 minutes
  • Grades 11-12: 9 hours, 55 minutes
However there will be 9 testing sessions; performance-based tests and end-of-year assessments.  Testing window for performance based tests is 20 days and 20 days for the end of year component.
PARCC did indicate that major changes are not anticipated in the wake of research and field-testig.

Common-Core Tests to Take Up to 10 Hours.  Catherine Gewertz. 3.13..13. Education Week - Premium article.

What's your take on this?  How do you think CC tests will impact instruction?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Q & A Summary of Common Core Shifts

This article is for those of you who want a brief summary of the shifts required under Common Core RLA and Math. We in LEX already have implemented them in the context of Title I classes with heightened communication with classroom teachers.
This article is written in California and is a good Q & A summary of what teachers should be doing and what their new tests will look like.
Of course, for a more complete understanding of CC you need to read the document itself which you can find in LE intranet.

Revamping the "Core" of education.  Maureen Magee. 2.25.13. UT San Diego

Friday, March 8, 2013

Math Anxiety Starts Earlier Than We Thought

Researchers have found that math anxiety is evident in children as young as 7 years old.  Why?  Obvious reasons:  teachers and parents give negative vibs.  Research also tells that humans are hardwired to think mathematically and are born with basic building blocks to do math.  This article describes visible signs of math anxiety and relaxation techniques to help the children. .  It also recommends promoting daily habits for young children such as playing cards, board games and other everyday examples at school and at home. 
Excellent article and one we as teachers need to recognize especially if we ourselves have doubts about our own math abilities.
How do you feel about math yourself?  What excitment have you generated in your students?  Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

Anxiety Attact:  Conquering the Fear of Math.  Dr. Rose Mukovic & Rachel Harari.  3.7.13.,  School Book - WNYC (News, Data, and Conversation about schools in New York City.)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Practical Middle School Math - Finance lessons

Here's a real life lesson that middle schoolers should learn before they are old enough to work.  This Oregon class uses a mock paycheck to teach a variety of concepts including deductions.  The students also learn about checking accounts, credit cards, budgeting for everyday expenses.  On a reduced scale, our Title I math teachers could do something similar and as a result students will learn life-long lessons.  Have you done similar things with your students?  Share your ideas.

Fassett stidemts get lesson in life - Mock paycheck aims to teach budget skills.  2/12/13. Carl Ryon.  The Blade

Algebraic Thinking in Kdg - You're Kidding!

Not kidding at all!  Janece Jones has an amazing Arizona kindgergarten class. Her students have been able to do some pretty heavy stuff.  I found her lessons very interesting with the manipulatives she has the kids use to  count, add, and subtract and solve story problems.  Using familiar examples she has kids draw 2 "sets"  that equal a given number. They also learn important math words while doing these tasks.  Students in her class are very fortunate.  Please note the side bar list of Common Core math expectations for kindergarten students.  The New K-12 standards for Arizona is worth looking at too - sidbar link.
What do you think of these activities for Title I kids? Share your thoughts.

Kindergartners get a head start on algebra.  Cathryn Creno.  3/5/13.  The Republic -

Friday, March 1, 2013

Ideas to Improve Your T1's Group's Motivation

Adapted from popular bloggist, Larry Ferlazzo's new book Self-Driven Learning:  Teaching Strategies for Student Motivation, this article focuses  on postivity and constructive criticism to get the classroom environment we all want to sustain.  [Note:  Our LEX Leadership Team will be participating in a webinar with Ferlazzo and will also be purchasing a copy of his book.]
As Title I teachers in small group instruction, we are very aware of how negativity of one member can affect the motivation of not only that person, but of all group members.  Interesting research point:  Research has shown that criticism is remembered far more than praise.  So here's a tip to teachers:   Begin with criticism and end with praise. 
Read this article and I'm sure you'll gain insight.  Your supervisors will probably also offer some useful strategies after the webinar on March 5th.  Feel free to ask them questions in your next 1:1 meeting.

Cultivating a Positive Environment for Students.  Larry Ferlazzo. 2.26.13.  Education Week Teacher