Sunday, April 7, 2013

Interesting Take on the Value of Quizzes

Tranfer this article to your Title I class although the audience is more for adult classes and online courses.  The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that interspersing videotaped lessons with quizzes improved students' ability to stay focused, take relevant notes and learn material.
As a former classroom teacher and student, I used quizzes with my studnets frequently to see if they understood the material.  Results often revealed what needed reteaching, a different approach, etc.
How do you feel about quizzes?  Sometimes beginning a session with a quiz from the previous session's topic can tell you a lot.

Science in Mind - One way to curtail a wandering mind during class:  more testing.  Carolyn Y. Johnson, 4.2.13.  Boston Globe.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Gestures Improve Math Learning!

We know our ELL teachers use gestures all the time to help convey meanings to students, but would you believe hand gestures also help students understand math?  Read to find out how.

Give Math a Thumbs-Up! Gestures Boost Learning, Study Finds.  Sarah D. Sparks. 4.1.13.  Education Week - Inside School Research.

Try it and let us know how it worked for you.  Please share in the Comments box below.

Websites for Developing Academic Language & Vocabulary

These websites recommended by Larry Ferlazzo are intended for ELLs, and mainstream students who need assistance in academic English.  I'll list them here, but please read the article for the links.
  • The Best Sites Where ELL's can Learn Vocabulary
  • Acadmic Vocabulary Games
  • Using English for Academic Purposes
  • Free Online Academic Reading and Writing Exercises
  • Glossary of Commonly Used English Academic Vocabulary - English/Spanish/Hmong
  • WordSift
  • Word Generation
  • Twelve Myths of Word Learning
Please understand that this is one post on Larry Ferlazzo's own blog, separate from his frequent posts on Education Week.  Each of the above links have further links with more explanation.  This is a post all of us in Title I should spend some time investigating.  Our students really need assistance in developing levels of vocabulary to be successful in school and in careers.
Well worth the time spent.

The Best Websites For Debveloping Academic English Skills & Vocabulary. 4/6/2008.  Larry Ferlazzo. Larry Ferlazzo's English Website

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

New Standards for Financial Lteracy Coming Soon

Neglected for so long in our math curriculums is financial literacy. The Council for Economic Education has developed a set of new standards at the request of educators at all levels.  There will be clear benchmarks of what students should know by the end of grades 4, 8, and 12.  There are 8 topics....
  1. Earning income
  2. Buying goods and services
  3. Saving
  4. Using Credit
  5. Investing
  6. Protecting andf insuring
To me, all are wonderful and important.  We can easily weave these topics into our standard math program with relevant everyday examples all of us face.  We can also weave the concepts into our reading program with targeted selections and close reading.  Please check out the many embedded links. 

Coming Soon:  New Standards for Teaching Kids about Money.  Dan Kadlec. 3.12.13.  Time - Business & Money.

Do You Have Negative Thinkers in Your T1 Groups?

Many of our Title I students have negative attitudes about themselves, their environments, their school, and even their attitude towards learning.  I almost didn't post this article, but I know you realize that positive attitudes builds positive attitudes in learning and increased achievement in all areas of school life.  In this article, author Renee Jain, explains "thought holes" that we get ourselves in.  She identifies common "thought holes" and presents ideas to change them.  [Good for us too, if we find ourselves in one of these holes]

Filling in Thought Holes:  An Invaluable Social and Emotional Learning Lesson.  Renee Jain. 3.8.13. edutopia

What We Can Do to Reduce Math Anxiety

We've had articles about math anxiety before and now realize that reseach has discovered that math anxiety appears earlier than we thought.  This article describes math anxiety and symptoms that we can observe.  Interestingly, it is socially acceptable to say, "I'm not a math person."  Can you imagine a person saying, " I have poor literacy skills!"  Teacher behavior plays into math anxiety too and we need to provide better supports for our teachers so that math is integrated into daily routines. 
             Don't miss the video as this patient teacher works with a 7 year old who then writes an "equation" showing what she did.  Note that the teacher uses the word, "equation." and is implementing algebraic thinking with a 7 year old girl. 

Please share with your colleagues what you have done in your classes to reduce math anxiety.  Use the comments section below.

Anxiety Attack: Conquering the Fear of Math.  Dr. Rose Vukovic and Rachel Harari. 3.7.13. SchoolBook- [news, data and conversations about schools in New York City]

Do Students See You as Organized or Disorganized?

If students view you as disorganized, they probably feel your class isn't important, whereas the opposite is true.  Organized teachers convey what they teach is important to students.  And what does organization mean in Title I?  Do students know the goal for the class session?  Are materials ready? Has student work from the previous session been evaluated and communicated to the student?  Is the session unified?  ( A goal we have this year)  Is what they are learning relevant to their lives and their world?  (Another goal for this year)
All these thoughts came from a teacher listening to 2 adolescent boys on a train going home after school. 
This thinking has been part of LEX plan in 2013.  The question, however, is how do your students perceive their time with you?  Let's hope they view their time with you as important.  If not, then it may be that our own organization skills need improvment. 

[Readers of this blog also realize that other factors play into student appraisal, given the varied set of negative issues so many of our students face.  Let not our own organizational skills contribute to their appraisal of Title I as a unimportant.]

Is your class important? Conversation overhear on train... Ariel Sacks. 3.4.13. transformED.

How to Foster Creativity in Our Too Busy Lives

Busy, Busy, Busy!  That's the life these days for adults as well as children. We as teachers are under pressure to perform, get students prepared for tests, etc.  How to foster creativity?  One answer, the author suggests is providing a literacy-rich environment.  In our Title I classes, we can offer reading selections , both fiction and non-fiction, that show imagation and stimulate creative thinking.  Reading can be an important part of disconnecting from the world, to build in wonder and take time to relax.  (Important for us as adults too.)
"Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited.  Imagination encircles the world."  Albert Einstein

Are We Too Busy to Imagine...Per DeWitt. 3.28.13. Education Week - Finding Common Ground.