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Gayle Cole

Digital History | Promises and Perils of Digital History - 0 views

  • Gertrude Himmelfarb offered what she called a “neo-Luddite” dissent about “the new technology’s impact on learning and scholarship.” “Like postmodernism,” she complained, “the Internet does not distinguish between the true and the false, the important and the trivial, the enduring and the ephemeral. . . . Every source appearing on the screen has the same weight and credibility as every other; no authority is ‘privileged’ over any other.”
  • “A dismal new era of higher education has dawned,” he wrote in a paper called “Digital Diploma Mills: The Automation of Higher Education.” “In future years we will look upon the wired remains of our once great democratic higher education system and wonder how we let it happen.”3
  • In the past two decades, new media and new technologies have challenged historians to rethink the ways that they research, write, present, and teach about the past. Almost every historian regards a computer as basic equipment; colleagues view those who write their books and articles without the assistance of word processing software as objects of curiosity.
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  • Just ten years ago, we would not have imagined the need for “a guide to gathering, preserving, and presenting the past on the web.” Indeed, few of us knew the web existed. Even the editors of Wired ignored it in their inaugural issue.4 Ten years ago, we would have been objects of curiosity, if not derision, if we had proposed such a project.
  • The first advantage of digital media for historians is storage capacity—digital media can condense unparalleled amounts of data into small spaces.
  • The most profound effect, however, may be on tomorrow’s historians. The rapidly dropping price of data storage has led computer scientists like Michael Lesk (a cyber-enthusiast to be sure) to claim that in the future, “there will be enough disk space and tape storage in the world to store everything people write, say, perform, or photograph.” In other words, why delete anything from the current historical record if it costs so little save it? How might our history writing be different if all historical evidence were available?
  • a second and even more important advantage—accessibility.
  • Our web server at the Center for History and New Media (CHNM) gets about three-quarters of a million hits a day, but on September 11, 2002 (when people looking to commemorate the attacks of the previous year descended in droves on the September 11 Digital Archive that we organized in collaboration with the American Social History Project), we handled eight million hits—a more than ten-fold increase with no additional costs
  • But the flexibility of digital data lies not just in the ability to encompass different media. It also resides in the ability of the same data to assume multiple guises instantaneously. Although language translation software is still primitive, we are moving toward a time when words in one tongue can be automatically translated into another—perhaps not perfectly but effectively enough.
  • Flexibility transforms the experience of consuming history, but digital media—because of their openness and diversity—also alters the conditions and circumstances of producing history. The computer networks that have come together in the World Wide Web are not only more open to a global audience of history readers than any other previous medium, they are also more open to history authors. A 2004 study found that almost half of the Internet users in the United States have created online content by building websites, creating blogs, and posting and sharing files.
  • quantitative advantages—we can do more, reach more people, store more data, give readers more varied sources; we can get more historical materials into classrooms, give students more access to formerly cloistered documents, hear from more perspectives.
  • amlet on the Holodeck, her book on the future of narrative in cyberspace
  • o consider these “expressive” qualities we need to think, for example, about the manipulability of digital media—the possibility of manipulating historical data with electronic tools as a way of finding things that were not previously evident. At the moment, the most powerful of those tools for historians is the simplest—the ability to search through vast quantities of text for particular strings of words. The word search capabilities of JSTOR, the online database of 460 scholarly periodicals, makes possible a kind of intellectual history that cannot be done as readily in print sources.
  • Digital media also differ from many other older media in their interactivity—a product of the web being, unlike broadcast television, a two-way medium, in which every point of consumption can also be a point of production. This interactivity enables multiple forms of historical dialogue—among professionals, between professionals and nonprofessionals, between teachers and students, among students, among people reminiscing about the past—that were possible before but which are not only simpler but potentially richer and more intensive in the digital medium. Many history websites offer opportunities for dialogue and feedback. The level of response has varied widely, but the experience so far suggests how we might transform historical practice—the web becomes a place for new forms of collaboration, new modes of debate, and new modes of collecting evidence about the past. At least potentially, digital media transform the traditional, one-way reader/writer, producer/consumer relationship. Public historians, in particular, have long sought for ways to “share authority” with their audiences; the web offers an ideal medium for that sharing and collaboration.16
  • inally, we note the hypertextuality, or nonlinearity, of digital media—the ease of moving through narratives or data in undirected and multiple ways.
  • the problems of quality and authenticity emerge
  • Moreover, in general, the web is more likely to be right than wrong.
  • Consider, for example, the famous “photograph” of Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby playing rock music together in a Dallas basement. Such fake photographs have a long history; Stalin’s photo retouchers, for example, spent considerable time airbrushing Trotsky out of the historical record. But the transformation of the original Bob Jackson photo of Ruby shooting Oswald into “In-A-Gadda-Da-Oswald” did not require a skilled craftsman. George Mahlberg created it with Photoshop in forty minutes and it quickly spread across the World Wide Web, popping up in multiple contexts that erase the credit of the “original” counterfeiter.20
  • Is there some way to police the boundaries of historical quality and authenticity on the web? Could we stop a thousand historical flowers—amateur, professional, commercial, crackpot—from blooming on the web? Would we want to? Of course, issues of quality, authenticity, and authority pre-date the Internet. But digital media undercut an existing structure of trust and authority and we, as historians and citizens, have yet to establish a new structure of historical legitimation and authority. When you move your history online, you are entering a less structured and controlled environment than the history monograph, the scholarly journal, the history museum, or the history classroom. That can have both positive and unsettling implications.
  • Digital enthusiasts assume that the online environment is intrinsically more “interactive” than one-way, passive media like television. But digital technology could, in fact, foster a new couch potatoÐlike passivity. Efforts to create nuanced interactive history projects sometimes become quixotic when the producers confront the fact that computers are good at yes and no and right and wrong, whereas historians prefer words like “maybe,” “perhaps,” and “it is more complicated than that.” Thus the most common form of historical interactivity on the web is the multiple-choice test. But the high-budget version is little better. Take, for example, the History Channel’s website Modern Marvel’s Boys’ Toys, which is a combination of watching the cable channel and playing a video game. The true interactivity here comes when you click on the “shop” button. As legal scholar Lawrence Lessig has written pessimistically: “There are two futures in front of us, the one we are taking and the one we could have. The one we are taking is easy to describe. Take the Net, mix it with the fanciest TV, add a simple way to buy things, and that’s pretty much it.” At the same time, some wonder whether we really want to foster “interactivity” at all, arguing that it fails to provide the critical experience of understanding, of getting inside the thoughts and experiences of others. The literary critic Harold Bloom, for example, argues that whereas linear fiction allows us to experience more by granting us access to the lives and thoughts of those different from ourselves, interactivity only permits us to experience more of ourselves.25
  • Another concern stems more from the production than the consumption side. Will amateur and academic historians be able to compete with well-funded commercial operators—like the History Channel—for attention on the Net?
Jill Bergeron

The Marshall Memo Admin - Issues - 0 views

  • professionals often make decisions that deviate significantly from those of their peers, from their own prior decisions, and from rules that they themselves claim to follow… Where there is judgment, there is noise – and usually more of it than you think.”
  • In a school, if a principal consistently gives harsher punishments to boys than girls for the same infractions, that is bias, but if she often gives harsher punishments to students just before lunchtime, that’s noise.]
  • A noise audit works best when respected team members create a scenario that is realistic, the people involved buy into the process, and everyone is willing to accept unpleasant results and act on them.
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  • The challenge, say the authors, is designing classroom observations that provide valid data on what’s happening day to day in classrooms, make meaningful distinctions among teachers, provide teachers with useful feedback, and support helpful, high-quality professional development.
  • To accomplish these important goals, several challenges need to be addressed: -   Quality assurance of supervisors’ observation and coaching skills; -   Achieving a reasonable degree of inter-rater reliability among supervisors; -   A rubric with research-based criteria for classroom instruction; -   The conceptual difficulty of capturing complex classroom dynamics in a rating instrument; -   Getting an accurate sampling of each teacher’s work; -   Giving fair evaluations to teachers working with different types of students
  • Addressing the tendency of principals to “go easy” on some teachers to keep the peace and/or avoid the hard work of following up on critical evaluations (are outside observers and/or multiple observers necessary to get truly objective data on teachers?).
  • I would suggest two more questions: First, are classroom visits announced or unannounced? If researchers don’t gather data on this, they are missing an important variable in the reliability of teacher assessment – teachers are likely to put on an especially good lesson when they know they’re being observed. Second, are teacher-evaluation rubrics used to score individual classroom visits, which is conceptually very difficult, or as end-of-year summations of multiple classroom visits with feedback conversations through the year?
  • Tomlinson and other proponents suggest that teachers differentiate by content (what is taught), process (how it’s taught), and product (how students are asked to demonstrate their learning).
  • students learn better, they said, when the work is at the right level of difficulty, personally relevant, and appropriately engaging.
  • trying to assess a teacher’s work asking, Is it differentiated? runs the risk of missing the forest for the trees. Better, says Marshall, to ask two broader questions (tip of the hat to Rick DuFour): -   What are students supposed to be learning? -   Are all students mastering it?
  • Good lesson plans build in multiple entry points, using the principles of Universal Design for Learning to make learning accessible to as many students as possible, and have clear goals; thoughtful task analysis; chunked learning; teaching methods appropriate to the content; links to students’ interests and experiences; checks for understanding; and accommodations for students with special needs.
  • a major factor in student success is a set of in-the-moment moves that effective teachers have always used, among them effective classroom management; knowing students well; being culturally sensitive; making the subject matter exciting; making it relevant; making it clear; taking advantage of visuals and props; involving students and getting them involved with each other; having a sense of humor; and nimbly using teachable moments.” But equally important is checking for understanding – dry-erase boards, clickers, probing questions, looking over students’ shoulders – and using students’ responses to continuously fine-tune teaching.
  • Timely follow-up with these students is crucial – pullout, small-group after-school help, tutoring, Saturday school, and other venues to help them catch up.
  • Among the most important life skills that students should take away from their K-12 years,” says Marshall, “is the ability to self-assess, know their strengths and weaknesses, deal with difficulty and failure, and build a growth mindset. Student self-efficacy and independence should be prime considerations in planning, lesson execution, and follow-up so that students move through the grades becoming increasingly motivated, confident, and autonomous learners prepared to succeed in the wider world.”
  • cold-calling actually increases students’ voluntary participation. “Cold-calling encourages students to prepare more and to participate more frequently,” said one researcher. “The more they prepare, and the more frequently they participate, the more comfortable they become when participating.”
  • If we don’t encourage students to come out of their shells for fear of putting them on the spot, we may be doing them a disservice… You’re curious about their views and their understanding of the issues being discussed. What they think is important – both to their own learning and to that of their peers.”
  • Drawing on two decades of data from the National Center for Educational Statistics, the authors found that between 1998 and 2010, the reading readiness gap closed by 16 percent and the math gap by 10 percent. The black-white and the Hispanic-white gaps also narrowed by about 15 percent.
  • the gaps closed because of rapid progress by low-income children, not declines in the readiness of high-income children, and the gains persisted at least through fourth grade.
  • What brought about the early reading and math gains? The authors believe several factors contributed: • The availability of high-quality, publicly funded preschool programs – the percent of U.S. 4-year-olds enrolled in state-funded preschools has increased from 14 to 29 percent from 2000. • The fact that more families are investing in books and other reading matter for children, as well as Internet access and computer games focused on reading and math skills. • More parents are spending quality time with children, taking them to local libraries, and engaging in learning activities at home.
    "In This Issue: 1. "Noise" in decision-making 2. Are classroom observations accurate measures of teachers' work? 3. A different way of thinking about differentiation 4. A professor changes his mind about cold-calling 5. Close reading of challenging texts in middle school 6. Good news about the rich-poor gap in kindergarten entry skills 7. On-the-spot assessment tools 8. Short items: The Kappan poll"
Jill Bergeron

Strengthening Student Engagement:A Framework for Culturally Responsive Teaching - 0 views

  • To be effective in multicultural classrooms, teachers must relate teaching content to the cultural backgrounds of their students.
  • Engagement is the visible outcome of motivation, the natural capacity to direct energy in the pursuit of a goal. Our emotions influence our motivation. In turn, our emotions are socialized through culture—the deeply learned confluence of language, beliefs, values, and behaviors that pervades every aspect of our lives.
  • What may elicit that frustration, joy, or determination may differ across cultures, because cultures differ in their definitions of novelty, hazard, opportunity, and gratification, and in their definitions of appropriate responses. Thus, the response a student has to a learning activity reflects his or her culture.
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  • motivationally effective teaching is culturally responsive teaching.
  • Because the importance of grades and grade point averages increases as a student advances in school, it is legitimate to question whether extrinsic motivation systems are effective for significant numbers of students across cultures. We can only conclude that, as long as the educational system continues to relate motivation to learn with external rewards and punishments, culturally different students will, in large part, be excluded from engagement and success in school.
  • It is part of human nature to be curious, to be active, to initiate thought and behavior, to make meaning from experience, and to be effective at what we value. These primary sources of motivation reside in all of us, across all cultures. When students can see that what they are learning makes sense and is important, their intrinsic motivation emerges.
  • We can begin to replace the carrot and stick metaphor with the words “understand” and “elicit”; to change the concept of motivation from reward and punishment to communication and respect. We can influence the motivation of students by coming to know their perspective, by drawing forth who they naturally and culturally are, and by seeing them as unique and active. Sharing our resources with theirs, working together, we can create greater energy for learning.
  • A growing number of educational models, including constructivism and multiple intelligences theory, are based on intrinsic motivation. They see student perspective as central to teaching.
  • Unfortunately, educators must often apply these theories within educational systems dominated by extrinsic reinforcement, where grades and class rank are emphasized. And, when extrinsic rewards continue to be the primary motivators, intrinsic motivation is dampened. Those students whose socialization accommodates the extrinsic approach surge ahead, while those students—often the culturally different—whose socialization does not, fall behind. A holistic, culturally responsive pedagogy based on intrinsic motivation is needed to correct this imbalance.
  • The framework names four motivational conditions that the teacher and students continuously create or enhance. They are: Establishing inclusion—creating a learning atmosphere in which students and teachers feel respected by and connected to one another. Developing attitude—creating a favorable disposition toward the learning experience through personal relevance and choice. Enhancing meaning—creating challenging, thoughtful learning experiences that include student perspectives and values. Engendering competence—creating an understanding that students are effective in learning something they value. These conditions are essential to developing intrinsic motivation. They are sensitive to cultural differences. They work in concert as they influence students and teachers, and they happen in a moment as well as over a period of time.
  • Figure 1. Four Conditions Necessary for Culturally Responsive Teaching
  • 1. Establish Inclusion Norms: Emphasize the human purpose of what is being learned and its relationship to the students' experience. Share the ownership of knowing with all students. Collaborate and cooperate. The class assumes a hopeful view of people and their capacity to change. Treat all students equitably. Invite them to point out behaviors or practices that discriminate. Procedures: Collaborative learning approaches; cooperative learning; writing groups; peer teaching; multi-dimensional sharing; focus groups; and reframing. Structures: Ground rules, learning communities; and cooperative base groups. 2. Develop Positive Attitude Norms: Relate teaching and learning activities to students' experience or previous knowledge. Encourage students to make choices in content and assessment methods based on their experiences, values, needs, and strengths. Procedures: Clear learning goals; problem solving goals; fair and clear criteria of evaluation; relevant learning models; learning contracts; approaches based on multiple intelligences theory, pedagogical flexibility based on style, and experiential learning. Structure: Culturally responsive teacher/student/parent conferences.
  • 3. Enhance Meaning Norms: Provide challenging learning experiences involving higher order thinking and critical inquiry. Address relevant, real-world issues in an action-oriented manner. Encourage discussion of relevant experiences. Incorporate student dialect into classroom dialogue. Procedures: Critical questioning; guided reciprocal peer questioning; posing problems; decision making; investigation of definitions; historical investigations; experimental inquiry; invention; art; simulations; and case study methods. Structures: Projects and the problem-posing model. 4. Engender Competence Norms: Connect the assessment process to the students' world, frames of reference, and values. Include multiple ways to represent knowledge and skills and allow for attainment of outcomes at different points in time. Encourage self-assessment. Procedures: Feedback; contextualized assessment; authentic assessment tasks; portfolios and process-folios; tests and testing formats critiqued for bias; and self-assessment. Structures: Narrative evaluations; credit/no credit systems; and contracts for grades. Based on Wlodkowski, R. J., and M. B. Ginsberg. (1995). Diversity and Motivation: Culturally Responsive Teaching. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
    This article offers up four conditions teachers can create in order to foster a culturally responsive classroom.
Jill Bergeron

Teaching Adolescents How to Evaluate the Quality of Online Information | Edutopia - 0 views

  • Middle school students are more concerned with content relevance than with credibility.
  • They rarely attend to source features such as author, venue or publication type to evaluate reliability and author perspective. When they do refer to source features in their explanations, their judgments are often vague, superficial and lack reasoned justification.
  • Dimensions of Critical Evaluation
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  • Relevance: the information's level of importance to a particular reading purpose or explicitly stated need for that information Accuracy: the extent to which information contains factual and updated details that can be verified by consulting alternative and/or primary sources Bias/Perspective: the position or slant toward which an author shapes information Reliability: the information's level of trustworthiness based on information about the author and the publishing body
  • Verify and refute online information Investigate author credentials Detect bias and stance Negotiate multiple perspectives
  • Cross-checking claims between multiple sources (see Figure 2) can help adolescents: Recognize ideas they might otherwise ignore Weigh the usefulness (and reliability) of these ideas against what they previously believed to be true Consider that new ideas may actually be more accurate than their original thinking
  • To that end, I will close with a list of strategies to use or adapt to fit your students’ needs as they refine their ability to think critically while conducting online research: Is this site relevant to my needs and purpose? What is the purpose of this site? Who created the information at this site, and what is this person's level of expertise? When was the information at this site updated? Where can I go to check the accuracy of this information? Why did this person or group put this information on the Internet? Does the website present only one side of the issue, or are multiple perspectives provided? How are information and/or images at this site shaped by the author's stance? Is there anyone who might be offended or hurt by the information at this site? How can I connect these ideas to my own questions and interpretations?
Jill Bergeron

The Marshall Memo Admin - Issues - 0 views

  • “While people usually gain power through traits and actions that advance the interests of others, such as empathy, collaboration, openness, fairness, and sharing, when they start to feel powerful or enjoy a position of privilege, those qualities begin to fade.”
  • Behaviors like these undermine leaders’ effectiveness by depressing the performance of those around them, and are ultimately self-defeating.
  • power puts us in something like a manic state, making us feel expansive, energized, omnipotent, hungry for rewards, and immune to risk – which opens us up to rash, rude, and unethical actions.” But it turns out that simply being aware of those feelings – “Hey, I’m feeling as if I should rule the world right now” – and monitoring impulses to behave inappropriately helps keep those behaviors in check.
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  • When Keltner works with up-and-coming executives, he counsels them to remember and repeat the virtuous behaviors that helped them rise in the first place and develop three essential practices: empathy, gratitude, and generosity.
  • To practice empathy: -   Ask a question or two in every interaction, showing genuine interest in the subject. -   Paraphrase important points made by others. -   Listen with gusto, orienting your body and eyes toward the person speaking and verbally showing interest and engagement. -   When someone comes to you with a problem, don’t jump right to judgment and advice but say something like, “That’s really tough” or “I’m sorry.” -   Before a meeting, take a moment to think about the person you’ll be with and what’s happening in his or her life.
  • The alternative mindset is that people can grow professionally and managers can change the way people perform through effective coaching, management, and intrinsic rewards like personal development and making a difference.
  • “From Silicon Valley to New York, and in offices across the world, firms are replacing annual reviews with frequent, informal check-ins between managers and employees.”
  • One observer called the traditional performance evaluation a “rite of corporate kabuki” that restricted creativity, generated mountains of paperwork, and served no real purpose. It was also an incentive to put off bad news until the end of the year, at which point both manager and employee may have forgotten what the problem was.
  • There’s one more reason: once-a-year reviews focus on past performance rather than encouraging current work and grooming talent for the future.
  • To practice gratitude: -   Make thoughtful thank-yous a part of how you communicate with others. -   Send colleagues specific and timely e-mails or notes of appreciation for a job well done. -   Publicly acknowledge the value that each person contributes to the team, including support staff. -   Use the right kind of touch – pats on the back, fist bumps, high-fives – to celebrate success. • To practice generosity: -   Seek opportunities to spend a little one-on-one time with people you lead. -   Delegate some important and high-profile responsibilities. -   Give praise generously. -   Share the limelight – give credit to all who contribute to the success of your team and your organization.
  • employees, especially recent college graduates, learn faster from frequent, detailed feedback from mentors and superiors. Second, companies realized they needed to be agile to survive and thrive in the competitive, ever-changing marketplace and real-time performance monitoring and feedback led to more rapid adaptations. And third, managers saw that teamwork was key to innovation and productivity and moving from forced annual ranking to frequent individual accountability was more conducive to teamwork and better results.
  • Studies of the workplace show that the time employees spend helping others is as important to their evaluations and chances of promotion as how they do their jobs. And Grant’s own research on “givers” (who enjoy helping others) and “takers” (who are focused on coming out ahead) shows that givers consistently achieve better results.
  • on the most difficult part of his exams – the multiple choice section – if a student was unsure of an question, he or she wrote down the name of another student who might know the answer – like asking for a lifeline on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.” If the classmate had it right, they both earned points; one person’s success also benefited a classmate. Grant reports that this made a big difference – more students joined study groups, the groups pooled their knowledge, and the class’s average score went up 2 percentage points compared to the previous year. Why? Because one of the best ways to learn something is to teach it to someone else, and that’s what was going on in the groups.
  • There was something else going on in the lifeline idea: transactive memory, or knowing who knows best and taking advantage of their knowledge. It’s easier to get help if you know where to look.
  • In this Chronicle of Higher Education article, Ellen Boucher (Amherst College) says the “pressure of perfection” is causing lots of stress for students in their teens and twenties, contributing to the rising suicide rate in this age bracket.
  • The burden of multiple obligations can seem insurmountable.”
  • Sociologists have shown that students from less-privileged backgrounds often have trouble understanding the unwritten rules of college life – the so-called hidden curriculum… [A]sking a professor for an extension doesn’t always come naturally. It might not even occur to them as an option.”
  • all students can elect to take a two-day grace period on any paper, with no questions asked.
  • “Since changing my policy, I’ve seen higher-quality work, less anxiety, and fewer cases of burnout.
  • Rebrand. A more inviting name for these perennial meetings is “progress conferences.” This is more positive and doesn’t seem to exclude foster parents and guardians.
  • Finesse the childcare issue. “To pay a babysitter to watch your three younger siblings so a parent can attend a conference is not going to happen,” says Ohio high-school teacher Allison Ricket. She invites parents to bring along other children and provides crayons and paper in an area at the back of her classroom where they can entertain themselves during conferences.
  • Accommodate. Some parents need an interpreter (children shouldn’t be asked to translate) and support with disabilities.
  • Change the dynamic. It makes a difference if a teacher sits side by side with family members and doesn’t hold a clipboard or pad of paper; open hands suggest an open mind.
  • Involve students. Progress conferences are much more helpful when students are at the table reporting on their progress, challenges, and goals. Advisory group meetings focus on preparing students to lead parent conferences and lobby their parents to attend.
  • • Listen. “Parents usually come in having an idea of what they want to talk about, so I like to be open and ready for whatever they need,” says Ricket. Although she has students’ grades and portfolios on hand, she lets parents go first and is careful to empathize with any concerns they have.
  • “mathematics is better taught when everyone shares in consistent language, symbols and notation, models and schema, and rules that support developing learners. The idea behind this comprehensive agreement is not unlike a schoolwide behavior management policy – whereby children hear the same phrases, share identical expectations, and experience practices that are common and consistent year after year across classrooms and throughout the school.”
  • Language – Moving from less conceptual language – borrowing, carrying, reducing fractions, the “Ring around the Rosie” property – to more mathematically appropriate language – regrouping, simplifying fractions to the lowest terms.
  • Symbols and notation – For example, writing fractions with a slanted bar 3/8 may confuse students who think the bar is the numeral 1 and think it’s 318.
  • Models and schema
  • Number lines or graphics should be consistent through the grades, for example, a graphic showing two parts next to one whole.
  • Rules
  • “This unified approach is particularly helpful for students who struggle,” conclude Karp, Bush, and Dougherty, “as it provides a recognizable component to new content. Additionally, all learners in a school can make connections among ideas in a unified and collaborative culture that promotes stronger learning in mathematics.”
    "Online Resources for Teaching About the Presidential Campaign             In this article in Education Week, Madeline Will shares five free classroom resources for teaching and discussing this year's election: -   Letters to the Next President 2.0 - Students' letters to the 45th president will be published by PBS member station KQED and the National Writing Project. -   Teaching Tolerance Election 2016 Resources - These include a civility contract, civic activities, and PD webinars. -   iCivics - Materials on the basics of democracy, with an interactive digital game in which students manage their own presidential campaign. -   C-Span Classroom - Primary sources with historical and contemporary video clips and related discussion questions, handouts, and activity ideas. -   Join the Debates - Curriculum materials for collaborative discussions on issues in the campaign and debates.   "Educators Grapple with Election 2016" by Madeline Will in Education Week, September 14, 2016 (Vol. 36, #4, p. 1, 12-13), "
Jill Bergeron

eduCanon - 0 views

    This software allows you to pull videos from a variety of sites and then embed questions that can take the form of multiple choice, free response or even audio files.
Jill Bergeron

The Marshall Memo Admin - Issues - 0 views

  • “The act of writing, even if the product consists of only a hundred and forty characters composed with one’s thumbs, forces a kind of real-time distillation of emotional chaos.” Researchers have confirmed the efficacy of writing as a therapeutic intervention.
  • She was trained to avoid jumping into problem-solving mode, instead using validation
  • Probes were important to get more information
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  • and she was trained to highlight strengths
  • Showing empathy was important
  • The trainer stressed the importance of avoiding teen patois and not making typos, which undermine authoritativeness.
  • Having all three factors present in a school can compensate for their absence in the family, community, or peer group. And a school with these factors can be resilient as an organization in the face of challenges and traumatic events it may face.
  • But in practical terms, text messaging affords a level of privacy that the human voice makes impossible. If you’re hiding from an abusive relative or you just don’t want your classmates to know how overwhelmed you feel about applying to college, a text message, even one sent in public, is safer than a phone call.
  • What’s more, tears go undetected by the person you’ve reached out to, and you don’t have to hear yourself say aloud your most shameful secrets.”
  • All people have the capacity for resilience, she says, and there are three factors that tap and nurture that potential: (a) caring relationships, (b) high expectations, and (c) meaningful opportunities for participation and contribution.
  • The three factors help develop children’s social competence, problem-solving ability, sense of self and internal locus of control, and sense of purpose and optimism about the future – all of which are key to dealing successfully with adversity.
  • The advantage of using texting for a crisis hotline is that teens who are willfully uncommunicative when speaking are often forthcoming to the point of garrulous when texting, quite willing to disclose sensitive information.
  • This is all about providing a sense of connectedness and belonging, “being there,” showing compassion and trust.
  • Teachers make appropriate expectations clear and recognize progress as well as performance. They also encourage mindfulness and self-awareness of moods, thinking, and actions. Principals orchestrate a curriculum that is challenging, comprehensive, thematic, experiential, and inclusive of multiple perspectives. They also provide training in resilience and youth development, and work to change deeply held adult beliefs about students’ capacities.
  • Teachers hold daily class meetings and empower students to create classroom norms and agreements. Principals establish peer-helping/tutoring and cross-age mentoring/tutoring programs and set up peer support networks to help new students and families acclimate to the school environment.
  • Resilience is a process, not a trait. It’s a struggle to define oneself as healthy amidst serious challenges.
  • Several personal strengths are associated with resilience – being strong cognitively, socially, emotionally, morally, and spiritually.
  • In classrooms, open channels of communication are essential. Nothing should inhibit, embarrass, or shame students from asking questions during a lesson.
  • a person who displays bad judgment is not ‘forever’ a bad person.”
  • To help others, educators need to take care of themselves. An analogy: on an airplane, people need to have their own oxygen masks in place before they can help others.
  • ome have pointed out that the report applies mostly to a small percent of students, and what colleges say they value may be a challenge to game the system.
  • “The admissions process can counteract a narrow focus on personal success and promote in young people a greater appreciation of others and the common good.
  • Julie Coiro (University of Rhode Island) takes note of a large international study by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development), which found that computers were having no significant impact on students’ proficiency in reading, math, and science.
  • In many countries, the study found, frequent use of computers actually made students’ performance worse. “Although these findings may relate to differences in professional development or implementation,” says Coiro, “it was clear that drill-and-practice software had a negative effect on student performance.”
  • Technology is not critical for learning to be personal; all that’s needed is space and time to actively reflect, collaborate, and engage with personally meaningful ideas.
  • “What students can learn,” says Stygles, “is how to manage their time, select books reasonably, and justify their reading choices. When students understand their capacity – what they can do successfully – they not only protect themselves from shameful failure, but also become stronger readers through repeated experiences of success and pleasure.”
  • when blended learning is implemented in a balanced way, “teachers and students use a range of human and digital resources to improve their ability to think, problem solve, collaborate, and communicate. A delicate balance of talk and technology use keeps us all grounded in conversations with other people about what really matters.” Coiro has four suggestions for striking this balance:             • Build a culture of personal inquiry. Students have regular opportunities to pursue topics relevant to them, using a range of texts, tools, and people (offline and online) to get emotionally engaged.             • Expect learners to talk. Students engage in literacy experiences involving face-to-face and online collaboration, conversations, arguments, negotiations, and presentations.             • Encourage digital creation. Students create original products that share new knowledge and connect insights from school, home, and the community.             • Make space for students to participate and matter. “Through participation, individuals assert their autonomy and ownership of learning,” says Coiro. “In turn, their inquiry becomes more personal and engaging.”
  • Once students are empowered to direct their own learning pathways, technology can open the door to a range of texts, tools, and people to explore and connect ideas
  • “Unlike participation in sports,” says Stygles, “the choice to abandon reading to pursue other talents is not an option. Kids really have no escape from the struggles they face during the learning-to-read process, especially in light of frequent assessment or graduation through levels.”
  • “Measurement must be replaced by early and frequent positive transactions between reading, teacher, and texts,”
  • We should share with students what intimidates us about reading, how we find time, and how we focus… If we show our readers realities of reading, maturing students will see reading as less burdensome.”
  • “Shamed readers do not believe they improve or can improve,” says Stygles
  • “A good exit ticket can tell whether students have a superficial or in-depth understanding of the material,” they write. “Teachers can then use this data for adapting instruction to meet students’ needs the very next day… Exit tickets allow teachers to see where the gaps in knowledge are, what they need to fix, what students have mastered, and what can be enriched in the classroom…
  • The key to differentiation is that you have high expectations for all students and a clear objective.
  • If you know what you want students to master, differentiation allows you to use different strategies to help all students get there.”
  • Each of these tools allows students to contribute individually to shared creations involving inquiry, peer feedback, and collaborative composition.
  • Google Docs
  • Padlet
  • Coggle
  • VoiceThread
Jill Bergeron

The Marshall Memo Admin - Issues - 0 views

  • 1. Growth mindset thinking makes its uncertain way into schools 2. A middle-school teacher tries to shift to student-centered math 3. Harnessing adolescent rebelliousness 4. “Firewalks” in a California high school 5. The potential of instructional rounds 6. Fidgeters of the world, unite! 7. Keys to a successful staff retreat 8. Teaching about the election
  • However, 85 percent of teachers said they wanted more professional development to use growth mindset insights most effectively. While the central ideas are intuitive to many educators, it takes time and collaboration for them to filter down to daily classroom practice.
  • Because training is so spotty, there are also some key growth-mindset practices that are not being emphasized enough in classrooms, including: -   Having students evaluate their own work; -   Using on-the-spot and interim assessments; -   Having students revise their work; -   Encouraging multiple strategies for learning; -   Peer-to-peer learning.
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  • Beaubien and her colleagues at the Stanford Project for Education Research That Scales (PERTS – are offering online growth mindset training modules for teachers and encouraging grassroots efforts to spread effective practices.
  • Limit initiatives to those that support the big goal. “As we try to change and grow our practice, whether self-driven or motivated by policy or district-level change,” she says, “we will encounter more ideas than we can possibly implement in a year or even our whole career. It pays to focus on a smaller set of objectives, and for a while, selectively choose initiatives that fit those goals.”
  • Collaboration is key.
  • Within her school, she co-taught, observed colleagues, discussed goals (big and small), monitored students’ progress, and (with some trepidation) invited other teachers to observe her teaching and give feedback.
  • she visited other Connected Math schools and watched lesson videos at and
  • “The brains of adolescents are notoriously more receptive to short-term rewards and peer approval,” says Amanda Ripley in this New York Times article, “which can lead to risky behavior.” But young people are also very attuned to autonomy and social justice. “There are two adolescent imperatives,” says Rob Riordan of High Tech High in California: “To resist authority and to contribute to community.” Might it be possible to take advantage of these characteristics to bend teenage rebelliousness toward wholesome ends?
  • “What’s really exciting about this study and other work like it is that if you can appeal to kids’ sense of wanting to not be duped, you empower them to take a stand,” says Ronald Dahl (University of California/Berkeley). “If they are motivated, you can change their behavior profoundly.”
  • A big unanswered question is whether the positive behavioral shifts in the experiments will last more than a few hours; after all, almost no obesity prevention programs for adolescents result in long-term weight loss and there is a powerful consumer culture pushing young people in the other direction.
  • Rounds are brief observations of a sampling of classrooms within a school by groups of teachers, administrators, or both. Ideally, rounds should foster: -   A common language about and understanding of high-quality teaching; -   A collaborative learning culture versus a culture of compliance; -   A more coherent approach to improving instruction.
  • What inspires you? Do you have any regrets from the first two years of high school? How have you shown leadership? What are your college plans? What career do you want to pursue? Where do you think you will be in five years? What’s your favorite class? At the end of the ritual, the audience says whether each student is ready to move on. Not every student gets the nod.
  • The purpose needs to be clear, observations need to be carried out in a climate of trust, and everyone involved needs to understand how the observations connect to other improvement efforts.”
  • In short, social networks are themselves a resource that administrators can use to support the development of social capital.
  • In this New York Times article, Gretchen Reynolds has advice for teachers who tell fidgeting students to just sit still: let them tap their toes and jiggle their legs. Why? Because fidgeting is good for their health.
  • he has some advice for those who organize retreats:             • A clear and legitimate rationale.
  • “Retreats go poorly,” says Kramer, “when the reason for the retreat does not match the organization’s true needs.”
  • A better approach would have been to work with key stakeholders to develop the agenda, get buy-in, and engage everyone in an open and task-oriented fashion.
  • No hidden agendas – If trust is an issue in an organization, it’s essential that the conveners are honest about how a retreat will be handled and everything is above board.
  • High-quality facilitation – An effective leader keeps the trains running on time and is efficient, practical, and easy to work with.
  • They work best when every participant has a vested interest in what is being discussed and understands how the outcomes of the session will affect them and their work.”
Jill Bergeron

The Marshall Memo Admin - Issues - 0 views

  • “Improvement [in writing] starts with volume. Volume suffers if I have to grade everything. Grading doesn’t make kids better. Volume, choice, and conferring makes kids better.”
  • “Give students daily opportunities to leave tracks of their thinking, use those tracks to notice patterns, and adjust instruction on the basis of what kids know and what they need. Repeat cycle.”
  • “Pre-assessment without associated action is like eating without digestion.”
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  • So far, says Sternberg, all the ways we’ve tried to measure raw intelligence haven’t worked.
  • No existing IQ or other test can separate past opportunities from test performance.
  • “If you understand the child’s knowledge and cognitive skills in a domain that is really meaningful to the child,” says Sternberg, “you will learn what the student is capable of doing in other domains, if only motivated to pursue those other domains.”
  • you cannot cleanly separate out measurement of intelligence from measurement of reading (obviously, a verbal skill). The same holds for other content domains.”
  • “The coach also needs to respect the teacher’s autonomy by offering feedback only on agreed-upon goals,” adds Finkelstein. “As tempting as it can be for coaches to identify areas for improvement, unsolicited suggestions can arouse defensiveness.”
  • Let the teacher “drive” the process.
  • the coach’s job in goal-setting is to search for points of agreement with the teacher and to direct her in ways likely to produce positive results.”
  • The coach’s role, she says, “is not to fix lessons or teachers but to support teachers’ abilities to meet students’ needs.
  • “Improvement starts with volume. Volume suffers if I have to grade everything. Grading doesn’t make kids better. Volume, choice, and conferring makes kids better.” This helped Tovani realize that she didn’t have to assess every piece of student writing, which allowed her to grade less and assess more: “I don’t have to always write the perfect comment or give a grade,” she says. “[W]hat’s most essential to improving the quality of students’ work is collecting feedback for ourselves from that work and noticing patterns in students’ skills (or lack thereof) that we can use to determine our next instructional moves.”
  • This view is critical to mitigating teacher resistance to feedback, which most teachers expect will be evaluative.” A smart strategy is to focus on what students have learned rather than the teacher’s skill executing lessons. “Collaboratively examining student performance can provide an effective third space for this kind of non-evaluative feedback,” she says.
  • “It is the coach’s responsibility to dispel any perception that her job is easier or more relaxed than the teacher’s.” This means writing lesson plans, citing standards, teaching lessons, collecting books and materials, helping with assessments, doing grading, and helping with other paperwork.
  • At the same time, the coach needs to think strategically about the teacher’s growth and development and ultimate independence.
  • “Coaches also walk the walk by using their access to authority in schools to advocate for teachers,”
  • Communicate clearly and transparently. Right from the start, coaches need to spell out key details of the partnership, including: -   The goals and time frame; -   When, why, and how the coach will observe in the classroom; -   What non-evaluative feedback will look and sound like; -   With whom the coach will (and will not) share feedback.
  • “Coaches must be particularly sensitive about writing down anything while visiting a classroom,”
  • share with the teacher any notes taken during observations.
  • Spend less time writing comments. -   Modify instruction based on what’s learned from students’ work. -   Build in time for students to revise their work based on feedback and self-assessment.
  • “Students compare my criteria of success with their performance,” she says, “and reflect on how my responses are alike or different from theirs.” If students do poorly on one of her quizzes, she’ll go over items in class, giving students a chance to add points by showing improvement.
  • There are plenty of reasons for resistance to being “helped” by an instructional coach, she says, often manifested in shallow acquiescence, avoidance, or overt hostility: -   Teachers believing (not without reason) that they’ve been singled out as deficient; -   Fear of being judged and exposed as ineffective with students; -   Fear that deficiencies unrelated to the presenting issue will be revealed; -   A belief that the instructional coach may report on them to the principal; -   Worries about being admonished by the principal; -   Discomfort examining their own practice; -   Anxiety about having to change.
  • Exit tickets – At the end of class, students jot one thing they figured out and one thing they’re wondering about. Tovani spreads these out on a table and draws conclusions about the next day’s lesson. “I don’t waste time writing comments,” she says. “I simply look for patterns, and when I’ve figured out a few, I throw the tickets away.”
  • Response journals – In individual composition notebooks, students reflect on their learning for the day. Tovani reads a third of these each day during her planning period, takes a third home, and reads the rest the next morning. “I limit my comments and challenge myself to identify patterns,” she says.
  • While commenting, she records her observations in four columns: students’ use of skills and strategies; confusing vocabulary; students’ questions related to the reading; and how skillfully students are dealing with a genre or text structure. She gives feedback or a quick correction to individual students or to the whole class.
  • “If pre-assessments simply demonstrate to students how little they know, this exercise may negatively affect their disposition toward the upcoming event,”
  • Teachers’ messaging needs to emphasize that a pre-assessment won’t count against students and the purpose is to help make lessons more effective and fun, highlight what’s going to be learned, and allow students to set goals.
  • To avoid giving pre-assessments that add little value, teachers should use them only when necessary, keep them short, using multiple-choice questions where possible, and limit questions to areas where the teacher genuinely doesn’t know how students will perform.
  • A thorough unit pre-assessment might well reveal four levels of student preparation in a single classroom: students who know the intended outcomes up front; students who have partial knowledge; students who have little or no knowledge; and students who have significant misconceptions. Trying to differentiate for all these students is a classroom management nightmare for even the most creative teacher. Guskey and McTighe suggest a compromise, with some highly engaging whole-class presentations and then significant decentralization and choice with frequent checks for understanding.
  • When possible, teachers should gather pre-assessment data with individual student dry-erase boards, clickers, or other methods that allow for rapid student input and teacher analysis and decision-making.
  • three guidelines to ensure that pre-assessments are practical, provide useful data, and enhance student learning:
  • Teachers should be clear about the purpose, both for themselves and their students. What new and helpful data will be gathered? Do students know why they are doing the pre-assessment?
  • Decide how the information will be used.
  • Possible follow-ups include reviewing essential knowledge and skills with the whole class, addressing misconceptions, providing targeted instruction, linking content to students’ interests, and differentiating for individuals or groups.
  • They’re not necessary for every new unit, say the authors – only when they can really add value and only if they’re short and can produce data that can be assessed quickly.
  • Taking three or more related courses in one career area boosted students’ chances of graduating from high school on time by 21 percent.
Jill Bergeron

The Marshall Memo Admin - Issues - 0 views

  • Every superintendent, or state commissioner, must be able to say, with confidence, ‘Everyone who teaches here is good. Here’s how we know. We have a system.
  • school-based administrators “don’t always have the skill to differentiate great teaching from that which is merely good, or perhaps even mediocre.” Another problem is the lack of consensus on how we should define “good teaching.”
    • Jill Bergeron
      We need consensus on how we define good teaching. We don't have metrics in place to determine good, mediocre and bad teaching.
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  • Only about six percent of teachers are ineffective, she continues. For the remaining 94 percent, the emphasis should shift from ratings to learning.
  • And what do we know about professional learning? That it requires: • Active intellectual engagement – That is, self-assessment, reflection on practice, and on-going conversations; • Trust – “Fear shuts people down,” says Danielson. “Learning, after all, entails vulnerability. The culture of the school and of the district must be one that encourages risk-taking.” • Challenge – “The culture must include an expectation that every teacher will engage in a career-long process of learning,” she says, “one that is never ‘finished.’ Teaching is simply too complex for anyone to believe that there is no more to learn.” • Teacher collaboration – PD and supervisory suggestions rarely drive classroom improvements, says Danielson. “Overwhelmingly, most teachers report that they learn more from their colleagues than from an ‘expert’ in a workshop… or being directed by a supervisor to read a certain book or take a particular course.” Most often, classroom improvement comes from working with colleagues analyzing student work and planning curriculum.
  • a new system should include: -   An emphasis on professional learning in a culture of trust and inquiry; -   A career ladder from probationary to continuing status after about three years; from that point on, the main emphasis becomes professional learning; -   Differentiation in the evaluation system, with novice teachers getting support from a mentor and being evaluated every year; -   Career teachers assessed periodically to ensure continuing quality; -   Teacher leadership positions (mentor, instructional coach, team leader) for which experienced teachers in good standing are eligible to apply; these come with training and support, extra compensation, or released time during the regular school day; -   The ability to identify seriously underperforming teachers, support their improvement, and if sufficient progress isn’t made, deny them tenure or continuing employment.
  • “Former service members tend to be committed to their students and tenacious in their efforts to improve,” say Parham and Gordon. Some early studies suggest that over time, veterans are stronger in classroom management, instructional practices, and student results.
  • Veterans who have had life-and-death combat experiences “tend to have low tolerance for petty politics in schools or for initiatives that seem unrelated to educating students. Former service members may sometimes seem overly assertive in discussions with colleagues.”
  • Veterans entering the classroom may feel like novices and have to adjust to their students not snapping to attention when given an order.
  • Veterans who are used to explicit operating procedures have to decode the unspoken expectations on how to relate to colleagues, handle student discipline, deal with parent concerns, get supplies, and get help.
  • “Discussions of shared experiences, shared values, and shared goals can help veterans and other teachers begin to build relationships.”
  • This might consist of a well-chosen mentor (similar to their “battle buddy” in the military), a support team (perhaps a grade-level or subject team that meets regularly), and a support network with other veterans in the school or district.
  • Veterans need an especially thorough briefing as they enter a new setting, including policies, procedures (copying machines, grading, and more), formal and informal rules, and a map of the school.
  • up to speed on teaching priorities, curriculum breadth versus depth, dealing with student differences, lesson planning, instructional materials, and, of course, discipline.
  • Support for this common challenge can come from peer coaching, observing expert teachers, workshops, articles and books, and seminars.
  • Effective teachers assign tasks that require explanation or require students to organize material in meaningful ways. Stories and mnemonics are also helpful in getting students to impose meaning on hard-to-remember content.
  • Effective teachers make content explicit through carefully paced explanation, modeling, and examples; present new information through multiple modalities; and make good use of worked problems.
  • Rather, the mastery of new concepts happens in fits and starts. “Content should not be kept from students because it is ‘developmentally inappropriate,’” says the report. “To answer the question ‘is the student ready?’ it’s best to consider ‘has the student mastered the prerequisites?’”
  • we shouldn’t push skeptical students to say, “Natural selection is one of the most important ways species came to be differentiated.” Better for them to say, “Most scientists think natural selection is one of the best explanations.”
  • Practice is essential to learning new facts, but not all practice is equally effective.
  • Frequent quizzes with low stakes, and students testing themselves, help establish long-term retention through the “retrieval effect.”
  • Each subject has basic facts that support higher-level learning by freeing working memory and illuminating applications.
  • Students learn new ideas by linking them to what they already know.
  • To transfer learning to a novel problem, students need to know the problem’s context and its underlying structure.
  • Explicitly comparing the examples helps students remember the underlying similarities. With multi-step procedures, students need to identify and label the sub-steps so they can apply them to similar problems. It’s also helpful to alternate concrete examples and abstract representations.
  • Motivation is improved if students believe that intelligence and ability can be improved through hard work, and if adults respond to successful work by praising effective effort rather than innate ability. It’s also helpful for teachers to set learning goals (e.g., mastering specific material) rather than performance goals (competing with others or vying for approval).
  • Intrinsic motivation leads to better long-term outcomes than extrinsic motivation.
  • It’s difficult to gauge one’s own learning and understanding. That’s why students need to learn how to monitor their own learning through assessments, self-testing, and explanation.
  • Students will be more motivated and successful when they believe they belong and are accepted.
  • Teachers need to recognize and dispel a set of incorrect beliefs about teaching and learning: -   Misconception #1: Students have different “learning styles.” -   Misconception #2: Humans use only 10 percent of their brains. -   Misconception #3: People are preferentially “right-brained” or “left-brained” in how they think. -   Misconception #4: Novices and experts think in all the same ways. -   Misconception #5: Cognitive development progresses in age-related stages.
  • having students work in groups for 30-45 minutes coming up with test questions that might be used (or reworded) in the actual exam. This is a two-fer, says Lang: it not only gives students a sense of control over their learning but also serves as an effective review session.
  • Open assessments – This involves leaving 10 percent of the syllabus for an assignment that students create with the instructor.
  • Class constitutions – Having students collectively come up with ground rules for a course gives them a collegial sense of working together toward a shared purpose.
  • “Teaching evolutionary theory is not in and of itself religious indoctrination.” That’s because evolution is not a religion. “How could a religion have no beliefs about the supernatural? No rituals? No moral commandments?”
  • ask students to learn about evolution without insisting that they believe it.
  • Good feedback is specific and clear, focused on the task rather than the student, explanatory, and directed toward improvement rather than merely verifying performance.
  • “It turns out children are better able to cope if they understand what they’re going through is normal, that it affects everyone, and that it will pass,” comments Adam Gamoran of the William T. Grant Foundation. “How we think about a stressful situation influences how we feel and how we perform.” Studies like this, he says, “show how deeply intertwined are cognition and emotion.”
  • use of Twitter in his middle-school science classroom
  • Connecting students to reputable, relevant scientific people and organizations in real time
  • Twitter as authentic audience – Students constantly tweet ideas, assignments, projects, suggestions, and photographs to each other, broadening the reach of their thinking.
  • Twitter as embedded literacy – Students get plenty of practice with succinct writing as they share analyses and observations.
  • Managing students’ encounters with objectionable material from the outside world, including occasional use of profanity and sexually suggestive follower requests.
  • Comparing services – Proportional reasoning, equations, creating and analyzing graphs, and number sense; -   Planning a budget – Organizing and representing information and number sense; -   Determining the costs and payoffs of higher education – Percentages, compound interest, and rates; -   Playing the Stock Market Game – Ratios, proportional reasoning, reading and analyzing reports and graphs, and algebraic thinking (e.g., gains and losses).
  • “The term generally refers to using a wide variety of hands-on activities (such as building, computer programming, and even sewing) to support academic learning and the development of a mindset that values playfulness and experimentation, growth and iteration, and collaboration and community. Typically, ‘making’ involves attempting to solve a particular problem, creating a physical or digital artifact, and sharing that product with a larger audience. Often, such work is guided by the notion that process is more important than results.”
    ""Researchers Probe Equity, Design Principles in Maker Ed." by Benjamin Herold in Education Week, April 20, 2016 (Vol. 35, #28, p. 8-9),"
Jill Bergeron

5 ways to make your classroom student-centered - 0 views

  • A student-centered classroom allows students to be an integral part of the assessment development process.
  • A student-centered classroom focuses on finding solutions to real-world problems.
  • A student-centered classroom is not about what the teacher is doing or what the teacher has done; it's about what the students are doing and what the students can do in the future.
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  • A student-centered classroom embraces the notion that there are multiple ways to accomplish an individual task.
  • A student-centered classroom firmly believes that there is a partnership and a strong level of trust between educators and students.
Jill Bergeron

The Marshall Memo Admin - Issues - 2 views

  • 1. What makes a team effective? 2. A new perspective on closing the achievement gap 3. Project-based learning 101 4. A school network experiments with high tech and student choice 5. Opening up a daily 40-minute block in a North Carolina high school 6. How to hold onto high-quality new teachers 7. The effect of reading about the struggles of accomplished scientists
  • Project Aristotle, as it was dubbed, found that some team characteristics that seemed intuitively important – members sharing interests and hobbies, having similar educational backgrounds, socializing after hours – didn’t correlate with team success.
  • The ‘who’ part of the equation didn’t seem to matter.”
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  • Then Project Aristotle began looking at group norms – the culture of unwritten rules that guide people when they collaborate – and hit pay dirt. It turned out that two group norms were shared by virtually all of Google’s most effective teams: -   Equal air time – In teams that got the best results, members participated roughly the same amount during meetings. “As long as everyone got a chance to talk, the team did well,” said Google researcher Anita Woolley. “But if only one person or a small group spoke all the time, the collective intelligence declined.” -   Interpersonal sensitivity – Effective team members had the ability to intuit how colleagues felt by their tone of voice, facial expressions, and other nonverbal cues. The members of less-effective teams were less tuned in to their teammates’ feelings.
  • The behaviors that create psychological safety – conversational turn-taking and empathy – are part of the same unwritten rules we often turn to, as individuals, when we need to establish a bond. And those human bonds matter as much at work as anywhere else. In fact, they sometimes matter more.”
  • In the best teams, members listen to one another and show sensitivity to feelings and needs.”
  • He believes there are two “ubiquitous features of conventional school environments” that trigger and reinforce the psychological factors noted above, augment the disadvantages with which minority students enter school, and feed the peer pressures to disengage from schooling – all of which creates a self-reinforcing downward spiral of achievement. The two features are: -   Students being given work that is too difficult for their current academic level; -   Students getting low grades on their work rather than frequent, individualized, objective feedback.
  • “The hypothesis,” say Yeh, “is that the conventional school system is inadvertently structured in a way that fosters disengagement, thereby reducing effort, which depresses achievement and grades, causing demoralization, which further reduces engagement and achievement.” The process kicks in around third grade, when struggling students begin to view themselves as intellectually inferior because their grades are lower than their classmates’, contributing to decreased self-efficacy and increasing passivity; it accelerates in middle school, at which point low grades strongly correlate with eventually dropping out.
  • What is to be done? Yeh’s theory is that by flipping the two pernicious factors, schools can turn the downward spiral into a virtuous upward cycle of achievement. That involves: -   Adjusting task difficulty for low-performing students to an appropriate level of challenge so that if they apply effective effort, they will be successful. -   Rapid performance feedback with respect to a standard, not other students.
  • He cites positive research on two programs using this approach – Reading Assessment and Math Assessment – and reports on a systematic study comparing different interventions aimed at closing the achievement gap – charter schools, voucher programs, an additional year of school, various high-quality pre-school programs, full-day kindergarten, class size reduction, value-added assessment, summer school, teacher salary incentives, teacher experience, teacher PD, longer school day, computer instruction, tutoring, and school reform. Rapid assessment is dramatically more successful at raising student achievement than any of the others.
  • by far the most powerful and cost-effective intervention is to adjust task difficulty and provide students with prompt, objective feedback on their efforts.
  • “When students engage in project-based learning over the course of their time in school,” says John Larmer (Buck Institute for Education) in this article in Educational Leadership, “there’s an accumulating effect. They feel empowered. They see that they can make a difference.” In addition, they’re more likely to acquire the skills, knowledge, and dispositions needed for college and career success.
  • the key elements of project-based learning, carefully planned and skillfully managed by the teacher:
  • A challenging problem or question
  • Sustained inquiry
  • Authenticity
  • Student voice and choice
  • Reflection
  • Critique and revision
  • Public product
  • four ways that project-based learning can go off the rails and not fulfill its potential: -   Mistake #1: Using materials that aren’t truly project-based; beware of PBL-lite! -   Mistake #2: Providing inadequate training and support for teachers; one-shot workshops are not enough. -   Mistake #3: Over-using projects in the curriculum; basic skills can still be taught in a more conventional format. -   Mistake #4: Implementing project-based learning on an ad hoc basis; to get the long-term effect, students need to engage in high-quality projects on a regular basis through their school years.
  • AltSchools encourage students to dive into topics they’re passionate about, with teachers tracking everything they do using classroom video cameras and elaborate K-8 databases. The schools make a point of shaping diverse student bodies by giving scholarships to students whose parents can’t afford the $30,000-a-year tuition.
  • We are raising a generation that will have the sum of human knowledge at their fingertips, for every minute of their life, so clearly education needs to change to accommodate that.”
  • “Basically, what we have told teachers is we have hired you for your creative teacher brains, and anytime you are doing something that doesn’t require your creative teacher brain that a computer could be doing as well as or better than you, then a computer should do it.”
  • To a computer measuring keystrokes, a student zoning out because he’s bored is indistinguishable from one who is moved by her book to imagine a world of her own.”
  • “People are very focused on the algorithm. But equally important is the quality of the materials” – the clarity of the math questions and the worthiness of the readings being presented on students’ computer screens. Willingham also notes that teachers in high-tech classrooms often have to prepare two lesson plans – one that uses the technology and one for when the technology breaks down.
  • Hire capable, well-matched teachers. Detailed advertisements and postings are important to giving candidates a clear idea of each position, says Clement. She also recommends longer interviews with more candidates, enlisting experienced teachers to take part in interviews, and gathering information on candidates from multiple sources.
  • Provide continuous professional development. This should include induction that eases new teachers into the demands of the full job – orientation before classes begin, well-matched mentors through the first five years, and ongoing PD specific to rookies’ needs.
  • Use colleagues to provide feedback. Traditional “gotcha” teacher evaluation has rarely been helpful in supporting new teachers, says Clement. Trained mentors can provide non-evaluative feedback that really makes a difference, perhaps with a firewall between their observations and the formal evaluation process. Of course it’s important that incoming teachers know the district’s criteria for effective teaching and are familiar with how administrators will assess their work.
  • Understand millennials. “This generation of teachers wants to network and have input,” says Clement. Most have a strong preference for electronic interaction, and administrators and colleagues should meet young teachers where they are tech-wise and provide strong online resources.
  • • Provide leadership opportunities. “While many new teachers are just surviving, others actively seek an avenue to truly make a difference,” says Clement. To find fulfillment in teaching and stay in the profession, they need to get involved in meaningful roles outside their classrooms. Some possibilities: speaking at induction ceremonies and serving on a welcome committee for the newest hires; leading book study groups; taking part in social service organizations on campus; and serving on curriculum committees
  • students who read about scientists’ struggles, whether intellectual or personal, got better grades in science after reading the texts. The positive effect was most pronounced among students whose science grades were low before the experiment.
  • Another finding: both before and after reading the texts, students who had a “growth” mindset (effort, not innate talent, determines success) tended to do better in science classes than students with a “fixed” mindset.
    This week's articles cover PBL, differentiation, effective teams, tech integration, teacher retention and science teaching and learning.
Jill Bergeron

Teaching Why Facts Still Matter | Edutopia - 0 views

  • When politicians and thought leaders can’t or won’t agree on a basic set of facts, how can we motivate students for the noble pursuit of truth and help them see why it still matters?
  • An unavoidable challenge arises when students realize that no matter how many facts support a certain conclusion, denial and dissent remain.
  • “You have to trust [that] the best information, the truth, will always prevail,” he said, though “that’s tough when you face a crowd of people screaming at you on Twitter in probably not the nicest way.”
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  • history tends to prove his assertion right.
  • “I think we are losing the graces of dialogue and respect, and the ability of at least listening to one another a little bit,” he said, reminding me that truth affects people differently. It would be hard to dispute that coal contributes to global warming, for example, but it’s also true that efforts to stop its production place jobs in jeopardy.
  • discuss the truth and its ramifications from multiple angles
  • students should read broadly from individuals across the political spectrum. “Then, it’s important that they have a chance to test those opinions, and their ability to express them in discussions—both with their peers and with knowledgeable others,”
Jill Bergeron

Use Arts Integration to Enhance Common Core | Edutopia - 0 views

  • From the students, integration demands creativity, problem-solving, perseverance, collaboration and the ability to work through the rigorous demands of multiple ideas and concepts woven together to create a final product. Integration is not simply combining two or more contents together
  • By weaving the arts into and through our content in naturally aligned ways, we are providing relevance to student learning, and giving them an opportunity to connect their world to our classrooms
  • The keys to using Arts Integration successfully are: Collaboration between arts and classroom teachers to find naturally-aligned objectives Using an arts area in which the classroom teacher is comfortable (for many, this starts with visual arts) Creating a lesson that truly teaches to both standards Assessing both areas equitably
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  • Sample Arts Integration Lesson Seeds
Jill Bergeron

How Does Project-Based Learning Work? | Edutopia - 0 views

  • Have in mind what materials and resources will be accessible to the students. Next, students will need assistance in managing their time -- a definite life skill. Finally, have multiple means for assessing your students' completion of the project: Did the students master the content? Were they able to apply their new knowledge and skills? Many educators involve their students in developing these rubrics
    • Jill Bergeron
      Get students to help write rubrics
  • Here are steps for implementing PBL, which are detailed below: Start with the Essential Question Design a Plan for the Project Create a Schedule Monitor the Students and the Progress of the Project Assess the Outcome Evaluate the Experience
  • Involve the students in planning; they will feel ownership of the project when they are actively involved in decision making.
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  • What time allotment will be given to the project? Will this project be conducted during the entire school day or during dedicated blocks of time? How many days will be devoted to the project?
  • Also, allow students to go in new directions, but guide them when they appear to digress from the project.
  • Facilitate the process and the love of learning. Teach the students how to work collaboratively. Designate fluid roles for group members. Have students choose their primary roles, but assume responsibility and interactivity for all group roles. Remind them that every part of the process belongs to each individual and needs each student's total involvement. Provide resources and guidance. Assess the process by creating team and project rubrics.
  • Team rubrics state the expectations of each team member: Watch the group dynamics. How well are the members participating? How engaged are they in the process? Assess the outcome. Project rubrics, on the other hand, ask these questions: What is required for project completion? What is the final product: A document? A multimedia presentation? A poster? A combination of products? What does a good report, multimedia presentation, poster, or other product look like? Make the requirements clear to the students so they can all meet with success.
  • Discovery Education (13) offers a great resource; a collection of assessment rubrics and graphic organizers (14) that may be helpful to you as you create your own.
  • When a student's assessment and the teacher's assessment don't agree, schedule a student-teacher conference to let the student explain in more detail his or her understanding of the content and justify the outcome.
  • devise a plan that will integrate as many subjects as possible into the project.
Jill Bergeron

The Backchannel: Giving Every Student a Voice in the Blended Mobile Classroom | Edutopia - 0 views

  • A backchannel (3) -- a digital conversation that runs concurrently with a face-to-face activity -- provides students with an outlet to engage in conversation.
  • TodaysMeet (4) would have let teachers create private chat rooms so that students could ask questions or leave comments during class. A Padlet (5) wall might have fueled students to share their ideas as text, images, videos, and links posted to a digital bulletin board. The open response questions available in a student response system like Socrative (6) or InfuseLearning (7) could have become discussion prompts to give each student an opportunity to share his or her ideas before engaging in class discussion.
  • To inspire questioning and wondering, Meghan Zigmond (10) put her first grade students in groups and allowed them to use a Padlet wall (11) to capture their questions as they read Douglas Florian's Comets, Stars, The Moon, and Mars: Space Poems and Paintings
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  • They create a blended environment where teachers and students engage in both physical and online conversations so that learning is no longer confined to a single means of communication or even an arbitrary class period. Backchannels don't replace class discussions -- they extend them.
  • She used Socrative to capture her fifth graders' questions and answers throughout the presentation, giving them an immediate channel for their thoughts.
  • The backchannel gave every student an opportunity to express his or her views and to listen to voices that otherwise may not have been heard.
  • A backchannel creates ubiquitous opportunities (18). In a blended environment, students and teachers can communicate through multiple modalities, allow their thoughts to develop over time, and engage in authentic learning.
    This article provides three good tech tools for teachers who want to try a back channel chat and nearly a half dozen ideas for incorporating this type of technology into the curriculum. There are even suggestions for how to use it with students as young as 6 years old.
Jill Bergeron

Why Integrate Technology into the Curriculum?: The Reasons Are Many | Edutopia - 0 views

  • Effective tech integration must happen across the curriculum in ways that research shows deepen and enhance the learning process. In particular, it must support four key components of learning: active engagement, participation in groups, frequent interaction and feedback, and connection to real-world experts.
  • Effective technology integration is achieved when the use of technology is routine and transparent and when technology supports curricular goals.
  • Through projects, students acquire and refine their analysis and problem-solving skills as they work individually and in teams to find, process, and synthesize information they've found online.
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  • And, as an added benefit, with technology tools and a project-learning approach, students are more likely to stay engaged and on task, reducing behavioral problems in the classroom.
  • Technology also changes the way teachers teach, offering educators effective ways to reach different types of learners and assess student understanding through multiple means. It also enhances the relationship between teacher and student. When technology is effectively integrated into subject areas, teachers grow into roles of adviser, content expert, and coach. Technology helps make teaching and learning more meaningful and fun.
    This article extolls the benefits of tech integration to both students and teachers.
Jill Bergeron

Empathy is a Design Mindset - part 1 | Social Emotional Learning and the Common Core - 0 views

  • At the most basic level, design thinking is thought of as a 5-step process. The first step is to empathize, which is getting into other people’s shoes… literally! Interviewing people, observing them or immersing yourself in what they do. The second step is to define, which is when designers identify implicit needs that users have, or reframe a problem in a new way. The third step is to ideate, which is when designers brainstorm novel solutions to the problems or opportunities they have identified. The fourth step is to prototype, that is making ideas tangible, often with few resources. The last step is to test, which is inviting users to experience your solution and having them help you make it better.
  • one principle is having an empathetic mindset, which means that you are always looking for multiple and diverse points of view before you make decisions about a problem. Another principle is to have a bias towards action, which is having an idea and doing something about it. Another principle is identifying and challenging assumptions, which is being aware that there are norms accepted as “truth” and challenging them.
  • Using a process like design thinking helps designers to get into the lives and experiences of others. It helps them be less focused on their own emotions and more focused on what is actually needed.
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  • There are three meaningful ways to develop empathy for others. One way is through interviewing, where you have conversations with your end users.
  • Another way to develop empathy is through observation;
  • A third way to develop empathy is by immersing yourself in other people’s’ experiences.
  • The scientific method, the writing process and design thinking all require that you are intentional about what you do and why you do it.
  • Design thinking creates this cycle of learning, where by immersing yourself into other people’s experiences, you learn to uncover more about yourself.
  • Observing, interviewing and immersing are only the first steps in the empathy work. The rest of the work includes interpreting what you see, hear, and experience, and making some leaps about what it all means.
  • One example is a strategy called “why laddering”, where you ask the question “why” several times in a row.
  • Once designers get to this important emotional information, they can start designing solutions to replicate these emotions.
  • Designing for others is an act of kindness and fidelity;
    This interview offers several methods for helping students and teachers build empathy. Strategies include interviews, observations and immersing oneself in the experience of another.
Jill Bergeron

Modern Professional Learning: Connecting PLCs With PLNs | Edutopia - 0 views

  • a Professional Learning Community is "a group of educators that meets regularly, shares expertise, and works collaboratively to improve teaching skills and the academic performance of students."
  • A PLC is made up of "a school's professional staff members who continuously seek to find answers through inquiry and act on their learning to improve student learning.
  • Teachers who work in more supportive environments become more effective at raising student achievement on standardized tests over time than do teachers who work in less supportive environments.
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  • a PLC is typically: Face to face High accountability Comprised of colleagues from a face-to-face or daily environment Comprised of peers with similar professional responsibilities
  • Torrey Trust defines the PLN (PDF) as "a system of interpersonal connections and resources that support informal learning.
  • according to multiple, peer reviewed studies, simply being in an open network instead of a closed one is the best predictor of career success . . . the further . . . you go towards a closed network, the more you repeatedly hear the same ideas, which reaffirm what you already believe. The further you go towards an open network, the more you're exposed to new ideas
  • PLNs are typically: Online and open More informal Open to a free flow of ideas Often welcoming to newcomers
  • PLNs' weaknesses are: Teachers get excited about an idea but meet resistance in their local school. Teachers have no way to share and discuss ideas with their local school. Some educators use their PLN inconsistently and have no accountability to keep learning. PLNs can be overwhelming because it seems like too much, or users can't focus. Authentic conversations can become dominated by a few loud voices. Some hashtag founders exhibit territorial behavior that limits conversation. Trolls and spammers can derail hashtag conversations.
  • "Blend" your school's PLC by creating an online space for it. Make this a simple place to share resources and ideas gleaned from participants' PLNs. Many teachers don't collaborate online because it's just one more thing to do. Make it simple to share. Give the less social-media-savvy educators simple options such as an email subscription to a few blogs.
  • Encourage educators to share ideas. Set specific goals. You can't be everywhere and do everything. Focus can achieve incredible results if you're all searching your PLNs for new ideas to tackle a troubling issue in your PLC
  • 5. Link the online and face-to-face worlds. Administrators and others should mention the online spaces in staff meetings. Likewise, an online reflection of something said at the PLC helps show continuity. Educators should see both the online and face-to-face spaces as substantial parts of their PLC.
    This article gives the benefits and weaknesses of PLNs and PLCs.
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