Friday, September 30, 2016

Educational Resources & Tech Tools 10/01/2016

  • This article offers six ways to think about student engagement and several ideas for how to increase it.

    tags: engagement collaboration differentiation teaching strategies student engagement pbl

    • In aiming for full engagement, it is essential that students perceive activities as being meaningful. Research has shown that if students do not consider a learning activity worthy of their time and effort, they might not engage in a satisfactory way, or may even disengage entirely in response (Fredricks, Blumenfeld, & Paris, 2004).
    • highlighting the value of an assigned activity in personally relevant ways.
      • Researchers have found that effectively performing an activity can positively impact subsequent engagement (Schunk & Mullen, 2012). To strengthen students' sense of competence in learning activities, the assigned activities could:

        • Be only slightly beyond students' current levels of proficiency
        • Make students demonstrate understanding throughout the activity
        • Show peer coping models (i.e. students who struggle but eventually succeed at the activity) and peer mastery models (i.e. students who try and succeed at the activity)
        • Include feedback that helps students to make progress

      • When teachers relinquish control (without losing power) to the students, rather than promoting compliance with directives and commands, student engagement levels are likely to increase as a result (Reeve, Jang, Carrell, Jeon, & Barch, 2004). Autonomy support can be implemented by:

        • Welcoming students' opinions and ideas into the flow of the activity
        • Using informational, non-controlling language with students
        • Giving students the time they need to understand and absorb an activity by themselves
    • When students work effectively with others, their engagement may be amplified as a result (Wentzel, 2009), mostly due to experiencing a sense of connection to others during the activities (Deci & Ryan, 2000).
    • Teacher modeling is one effective method (i.e. the teacher shows how collaboration is done), while avoiding homogeneous groups and grouping by ability, fostering individual accountability by assigning different roles, and evaluating both the student and the group performance also support collaborative learning.
      • High-quality teacher-student relationships are another critical factor in determining student engagement, especially in the case of difficult students and those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds (Fredricks, 2014). When students form close and caring relationships with their teachers, they are fulfilling their developmental need for a connection with others and a sense of belonging in society (Scales, 1991). Teacher-student relationships can be facilitated by:

        • Caring about students' social and emotional needs
        • Displaying positive attitudes and enthusiasm
        • Increasing one-on-one time with students
        • Treating students fairly
        • Avoiding deception or promise-breaking
    • When students pursue an activity because they want to learn and understand (i.e. mastery orientations), rather than merely obtain a good grade, look smart, please their parents, or outperform peers (i.e. performance orientations), their engagement is more likely to be full and thorough (Anderman & Patrick, 2012).
  • This article explains how children's theory formation is central to how they understand scientific concepts. It also explains how teachers might build on children's current theories and how teaching can focus students on new areas of exploration so that they can build new theories.

    tags: science

    • In school, teachers can select a range of experiences that provide children with new data and encourage them to challenge their existing ideas and build new ones. School also provides the opportunity for children to learn how to record what they are in many different ways, how to communicate and share with others, and also how to develop models for understanding as they get older.
    • Young children are often more linear in their thinking about causality than adults are. It's hard for them to juggle too many factors at the same time. They are not terribly upset, in the primary years, if theories contradict one another. They can have one theory over here and another one over there, and that's okay, for the moment. They haven't quite taken hold of the notion that you can't have contradictions. It doesn't necessarily mean that their thinking is illogical or irrational. It may simply mean that they do not need consistency or see the connections. Nor do young children tend to value parsimony, or elegance and of explanation. They may have very complicated explanations of how and why something happens. They may not care whether it is as elegant or simple as it could be. Simplicity is a more adult constraint on theory formation, not necessarily one of young children.
    • Power of Children's Thinkingby Karen WorthThe earth is flat. Fluttering leaves make the wind. The moon follows you as you walk. Based on how they understand everyday sensations and experiences, even young children create theories to explain the world around them. As this essay points out, guiding children to discover a more scientific view of the world means helping them learn through those same sensations and experiences-something that inquiry does particularly well.Two grandparents were out walking with their young grandchildren. They came to a rabbit hutch with three rabbits inside, an adult male and female, and what seemed to be a baby. As the children watched, a leaf fell on top of the cage. The female rabbit reached up, pulled the leaf into the cage, and dropped it on the ground. At that moment, one of the other rabbits started to eat it. Four-year-old Tommy, the littlest child, was intrigued. He picked up some leaves, put them on top of the cage, and watched the rabbit pull them inside. When they got home the grandmother asked, "Well, what did you think of those rabbits? What do you think was going on in that cage?" Tommy said, "The mommy rabbit taught us something when she pulled those leaves down. The mommy rabbit was really a teacher and you and grandfather and the other rabbits, we were all the students." There are many stories in which children reveal their attempts to make sense of the world. They are important, not because they are cute, but because they tell us something about the power of children's thinking. Young children can and do inquire, and it is important not to underestimate the power of this inquiry. They do so in different ways, depending on developmental level, prior experience, and context. From what we know from cognitive research, the context has to be concrete; the phenomena and objects must be ones children can explore with their senses. But at all ages, children do observe and investigate, collect data, think, reason, and draw conclusions.The theories children build, whether they are right or wrong, are not capricious. They are often logical and ratio
    • The theories children build, whether they are right or wrong, are not capricious. They are often logical and rational, and firmly based in evidence and experience. The experience may not be deep and broad enough, the thinking capability may not be enough to formulate what we call a scientific theory, but the process by which the children form these ideas is very scientific indeed. Some call these early ideas children form misconceptions; others label them naive conceptions, or alternative conceptions. They are simply the children's conceptions and do not deserve the negative connotations associated with these terms.
    • The immediate context is all that they have, tightly linked to personal experience. But the ideas that they develop are, in the right context, transferable across experiences
    • Young
    • children are often more linear in their thinking about causality than adults are. It's hard for them to juggle too many factors at the same time. They are not terribly upset, in the primary years, if theories contradict one another. They can have one theory over here and another one over there, and that's okay, for the moment. They haven't quite taken hold of the notion that you can't have contradictions. It doesn't necessarily mean that their thinking is illogical or irrational. It may simply mean that they do not need consistency or see the connections. Nor do young children tend to value parsimony, or elegance and
    • simplicity of explanation. They may have very complicated explanations of how and why something happens. They may not care whether it is as elegant or simple as it could be. Simplicity is a more adult constraint on theory formation, not necessarily one of young children.
    • Another characteristic of children's thinking is tenacity. Children do not want to give up the concepts and theories they work so hard to make. They take their experiences and struggle to come up with understandings that work in their daily lives. They are not about to drop their ideas just because someone says so, or because an event disproves what they have come to believe. As anyone familiar with the history of science can attest, even adults have trouble changing theories that are well grounded in experience. If a child's theory works, if it has been productive and the child has worked hard to build that theory, she will not give it up unless she has a lot of new experiences that provide reasons to do so.
    • Fundamental to this kind of teaching and learning is the willingness to work with children "where they are," and to understand with what they are struggling.
    • Fundamental to this kind of teaching and learning is the willingness to work with children "where they are," and to understand with what they are struggling.
    • By offering children open-ended experiences and discussion, and by carefully observing and listening, we can come closer to knowing not only what their conceptions are, but the source of their struggle. If we don't, they may draw a picture of a round world, but not believe or understand what that really means.
    • As children explore phenomena and materials, they focus on what is immediately important to them, not necessarily on what is important from a scientific point of view. Structured programs in a school environment make the phenomena and objects somewhat less messy and encourage students to look more closely at particular elements of what is going on. Teachers also guide children's inquiry to help them be more orderly and systematic than they might be on their own, and so they can draw on other resources such as books, people, media, and technology.
    • In school, teachers can select a range of experiences that provide children with new data and encourage them to challenge their existing ideas and build new ones. School also provides the opportunity for children to learn how to record what they are
    • To support children's learning in science, teachers must be willing to try to understand the ideas and formulations children have made and are making and to guide their instruction accordingly. This means the teacher accepts andsupports a wide variety of views and encourages real dialogue and debate among the children. This also means creating a rich physical and social learning environment in which new questions, explorations, and investigations can arise, and in which every step is not dictated.
    • in many different ways, how to communicate and share with others, and also how to develop models for understanding as they get older.
    • In such an environment, the teacher allows the children to gather data and approach ideas from multiple contexts. He or she allows the children time for trials, repetition, and mistakes, and creates a balance between adult guidance and time for children to be guided by their own questions, predictions, and explorations.
    • If children are struggling with an idea, they need time to come to a physical understanding of it before they can really use it in their world. If they do not have these opportunities, they may learn the words and information they need for school. They may get all the answers right on a test. And they may also create another kind of understanding on their own. They may come to believe that there is something called "science," in which they are told what to see, what to know, and what to think, and that it is rather unrelated to the world they experience outside of school.
    • They also may come to the conclusion that there is a whole realm of knowledge that they themselves cannot understand, and that they must simply take, unquestioned and not understood, the facts as given from an adult or a textbook.
  • These plastic pieces can be used to connect straws together to build a variety of structures.

    tags: maker maker tools straws strawbees STEAM stem

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Educational Resources & Tech Tools 09/30/2016

  • These are online classes for teachers looking to better incorporate growth mindset into their classrooms.

    tags: growth mindset mindset Dweck teaching

    • 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:


      <!-- [if !supportLists]-->-   <!--[endif]-->Having students evaluate their own work;


      <!-- [if !supportLists]-->-   <!--[endif]-->Using on-the-spot and interim assessments;


      <!-- [if !supportLists]-->-   <!--[endif]-->Having students revise their work;


      <!-- [if !supportLists]-->-   <!--[endif]-->Encouraging multiple strategies for learning;


      <!-- [if !supportLists]-->-   <!--[endif]-->Peer-to-peer learning.

    • 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

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Educational Resources & Tech Tools 09/22/2016

  • The K-8 model seems to be more supportive of middle school students than the 6-8 model.

    tags: middle school research k-8

    • They found being in a K-8 school, where kids were top dogs for longer created a better learning environment, marked by less bullying, and better academic results.
    • “Top dogs are less likely to report bullying, fights, and gang activity and more likely to report feeling safe and welcome in school than bottom dogs due to their top dog status. In contrast, bottom dogs report higher rates of bullying, fighting, and gang activity and lower rates of safety and belonging than top and middle dogs.”


    • According to Guido Schwerdt, from the University of Konstanz and Martin R. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, students moving from elementary to middle school suffer a sharp drop in student achievement in the year they move, which persists through tenth grade (transitions to high school in ninth grade cause a smaller one-time drop in achievement, but the effect does not persist).
  • tags: poetry English

  • Practical advice on using displays in the classroom.

    tags: empathy displays posters curation room design

    • Displays should serve three functions.  Firstly, they should act as memory prompts for the knowledge, concepts, and ways of communicating and thinking that children are currently learning or have been learning. 
    • displays should set a standard for the extent of knowledge and the quality of work expected of children. 
    • Thirdly, they should make the classroom an inviting place that stimulates interest in the subject content to be learned
    • With the sheer amount of content that children are expected to learn, it can be tempting to plaster every inch of wall space with some sort of display.  This is a mistake.  Children can only attend to so much from the environment around them before working memory is overloaded.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Educational Resources & Tech Tools 09/21/2016

  • "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), "

    tags: empathy management leadership gratitude generosity evaluation check-in collaboration parent-teacher conferences PLC English poetry math election 2016

    • “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.
    • 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:


      <!-- [if !supportLists]-->-   <!--[endif]-->Ask a question or two in every interaction, showing genuine interest in the subject.


      <!-- [if !supportLists]-->-   <!--[endif]-->Paraphrase important points made by others.


      <!-- [if !supportLists]-->-   <!--[endif]-->Listen with gusto, orienting your body and eyes toward the person speaking and verbally showing interest and engagement.


      <!-- [if !supportLists]-->-   <!--[endif]-->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.”


      <!-- [if !supportLists]-->-   <!--[endif]-->Before a meeting, take a moment to think about the person you’ll be with and what’s happening in his or her life.


    • To practice gratitude:


      <!-- [if !supportLists]-->-   <!--[endif]-->Make thoughtful thank-yous a part of how you communicate with others.


      <!-- [if !supportLists]-->-   <!--[endif]-->Send colleagues specific and timely e-mails or notes of appreciation for a job well done.


      <!-- [if !supportLists]-->-   <!--[endif]-->Publicly acknowledge the value that each person contributes to the team, including support staff.


      <!-- [if !supportLists]-->-   <!--[endif]-->Use the right kind of touch – pats on the back, fist bumps, high-fives – to celebrate success.


      • To practice generosity:


      <!-- [if !supportLists]-->-   <!--[endif]-->Seek opportunities to spend a little one-on-one time with people you lead.


      <!-- [if !supportLists]-->-   <!--[endif]-->Delegate some important and high-profile responsibilities.


      <!-- [if !supportLists]-->-   <!--[endif]-->Give praise generously.


      <!-- [if !supportLists]-->-   <!--[endif]-->Share the limelight – give credit to all who contribute to the success of your team and your organization.

    • “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.
    • 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.
    • 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.”
  • This post summarizes a HBR article on how organizations can better consider the view point of a change-resistor so that when changes are rolled out, they are better received.

    tags: resistance change innovation management admin

    • For education at present we face a deluge of reports that the pace of change shall only accelerate and its scale become more absolute.
    • The resistor is that person or even group of people who are seen by advocates of change to be habitually irrational and averse to change.
    • It is perceived as an aspect of their personality, a response to their fear of change, an irrational reaction rather than a considered response to the change or its representation.  Rather than trying to understand the rationality of the decision to resist attributions are made that this is typical behaviour from that individual and that in time they will get on board with the change. This reference from Ford et al (p366) touches on the effect of this response ‘By dismissing this scrutiny as resistance, change agents not only miss the opportunity to provide compelling justifications that help recipients make the cognitive reassessments required to support change but also increase the risk of inoculating recipients against future change’.
    • For teachers who are strongly committed to providing quality pedagogy poorly articulated change agendas can fail to meet their criteria for a change that would deliver enhanced learning for their students.
    • Resistance to change is more likely to be the norm where the change is mandated externally or from management without consultation with those who must implement the change.
    • 'When we start with “why,” we enter the realm of purpose.  While everyone resents new requirements imposed on their day-to-day practices — which is the realm of “what” — people welcome conversations of purpose.’
    • When the situation is reversed and input is sought, understanding grows from the purpose of the change towards the co-construction of a solution.
    • Input to the change and the agency that comes with having input may allow the change to be embraced more readily.
    • Too many organisations are clear on what they do but miss the important first step of clarifying why they do what they do.
    • When an organisation is clear on its why change can be driven from within the organisation as all team members are able to envision pathways that are in keeping with the ‘why'. Understanding of the organisation’s ‘why’ allows for diffuse decision making without loss of direction.
    • The forces for motivation are described as purpose, autonomy and mastery. Purpose comes from being a part of something that matters,
    • Autonomy requires that individuals have opportunities to determine how they will engage with the work that they do
    • Mastery is the sense that the individual can achieve high levels of competence in doing what they do and again this is not possible without individual input to the process.
    • With no clarity on the ‘why’ and without motivation resistance to change is almost inevitable even in situations where the change could otherwise be seen as positive.

    • "An alternative to relying on hierarchy for change is to identify and make allies of local influencers, the people who, regardless of position or functional role, have a disproportionate amount of local influence."
    • Rather than mandating change and hoping it will stick identifying the right people in an organisation to play a part in developing and then implementing a change initiative is crucial.
    • Somewhere in the middle are those who have a reputation for adopting change based on considered evaluations of the affordance it brings and these are the ones with the most significant influence on a change’s longer term survival.
    • The voice of the resistor may not be what change agents wish to hear but it is a voice they should heed if the very best outcome is to be achieved.
  • Nine recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatricians about children and screen time.

    tags: parent CATIE parenting screen time

  • This article summarizes a report that stipulates there will be an increased demand for STEM professionals over the next 10 years. It offers six broad ideas about how to bolster STEM education.

    tags: stem STEAM

    • analysts predict that over the next five years, major American companies will need to add to their workforce a total of nearly 1.6 million employees versed in STEM: 945,000 who possess basic STEM literacy and 635,000 who demonstrate advanced STEM knowledge. Other data suggest that at least 20 percent of U.S. jobs require a high level of knowledge in at least one STEM field, according to the report.
    • Accessible learning activities that invite intentional play and risk.
    • Educational experiences that include interdisciplinary approaches to solving “grand challenges.”
    • Flexible and inclusive learning spaces. Teachers and students need flexibility in structures, equipment and access to materials in both the classroom and the natural world, as well as environments augmented by virtual and technology-based platforms.


    • Innovative and accessible measures of learning.
    • Societal and cultural images and environments that promote diversity and opportunity in STEM.
    • The ideal future of U.S. STEM education would emphasize problem-solving, interdisciplinary approaches and the value of discovery and play, according to a new 10-year vision from the American Institutes for Research for the U.S. Department of Education’s STEM Initiatives Team.
    • Recent results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, for example, show that 43 percent of white students and 61 percent of Asian students score at the proficient level in eighth-grade math, compared to 19 percent of Hispanic students and 13 percent of black students. Eighth-grade students with disabilities and students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch scored nearly 30 points below their peers in science and mathematics; English learners scored nearly 40 and 50 points below their peers in these two subjects.
  • tags: coding making AI

    • By contrast, the report’s short-term developments, online learning and makerspaces, have a distinct yesterday’s news vibe about them. But make no mistake, they still hold some of the biggest long-term promise in the report.
    • six trends, six challenges, and six so-called important developments.


    • Take online learning and makerspaces for example, which are now expected to find their way into even more classrooms during the next year.
    • In the next year, coding as literacy and students as creators are listed as two major drivers. Are the panelists trying to tell us that some combination of physical-digital making is likely in our short-term future?
    • It’s not hard to envision individual elements, such as makerspaces or even coding, losing steam over the next few years as new technologies and trendy teaching styles enter the conversation. But it’s much harder to imagine student creation disappearing entirely.
    • Certainly coding and content creation are currently driving tech adoption in schools, and will likely continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Assuming that holds true, collaborative and deeper learning (the trends expected to drive tech adoption for the next three to five years) appear a natural progression as schools look to capitalize on the creative mindsets they’ve helped foster.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Educational Resources & Tech Tools 09/15/2016

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Educational Resources & Tech Tools 09/14/2016

  • "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"

    tags: bias decision making evaluation teacher evaluation differentiation self-efficacy independence cold calling classroom management exit ticket formative assessment

    • 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.


    • 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:


      <!-- [if !supportLists]-->-   <!--[endif]-->Quality assurance of supervisors’ observation and coaching skills;


      <!-- [if !supportLists]-->-   <!--[endif]-->Achieving a reasonable degree of inter-rater reliability among supervisors;


      <!-- [if !supportLists]-->-   <!--[endif]-->A rubric with research-based criteria for classroom instruction;


      <!-- [if !supportLists]-->-   <!--[endif]-->The conceptual difficulty of capturing complex classroom dynamics in a rating instrument;


      <!-- [if !supportLists]-->-   <!--[endif]-->Getting an accurate sampling of each teacher’s work;


      <!-- [if !supportLists]-->-   <!--[endif]-->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):


      <!-- [if !supportLists]-->-   <!--[endif]-->What are students supposed to be learning?


      <!-- [if !supportLists]-->-   <!--[endif]-->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.


  • This excerpt provides ideas about how and why collaborative learning work.

    tags: collaboration Listening Learning Reflection sharing joint attention small group work group work

    • when students collaborate on class assignments, they learn the material better (we provide examples below). Ideally, small group work can yield both better abilities to cooperate and better learning of the content.
    • listening and sharing as cooperative techniques can alleviate frustration and, more importantly, allow group learning to surpass what would be possible by a single student (Slavin, 1995).
    • Visual attention provides an index of what people are thinking about.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Educational Resources & Tech Tools 09/08/2016

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Educational Resources & Tech Tools 09/07/2016

    • “Sooner or later life teaches you that you’re not the center of the universe, nor quite as talented or good as you thought. It teaches you to care less about what others think and, less self-conscious, to get out of your own way.”


                  David Brooks (see item #1)

    • We need to let them see us sweat and smile way before Thanksgiving. Students know we’re not robots, so let’s not try to act like them.”
    • “Experience, or what we call experience, is not the inventory of our pains, but rather the learned sympathy towards the pain of others.”
    • If you interpret your life as a battlefield then you will want to maintain control at all times… If you treat the world as a friendly and hopeful place, as a web of relationships, you’ll look for the good news in people and not the bad. You’ll be willing to relinquish control, and in surrender you’ll actually gain more strength as people trust in your candor and come alongside.
    • Don’t hold back; change demands full-on commitment.
    • When life issues an invitation, accept it.
    • Value a little compulsion.
    • Understand how the human mind works. “Our brains are designed to create, not to hold onto, content,”
    • Expect the unexpected. “And when that unexpected thing is not to your liking but you cannot change it, make peace with it,”
    • Practice the art of under-reacting. “A Zen perspective helps balance the bad and the best,”
    • Stop. Worrying. Now.
    • Always carry a sense of humor.
    • Do it while you can.
    • Consider the opportunities you will one day kick yourself for missing.
    • When young, people are prone to avoid risks and potential failures in the belief that they will rue any bad outcomes… It is helpful for younger adults to deploy the mental capacity to travel in time… Consider the experiences that the older you will likely regret not having had.”
    • Take the long view. “Our identity in the present is shaped in part by our view of the person we hope to become,”
    • don’t sell yourself short… Expect failure, learn from it, smile at it – and move forward anyway.”
    • Feeling uncomfortable is not a reason to reject an opportunity. It’s a reason to embrace it.”
    • A]ll of us feel honored when others whom we respect think our names are worth remembering. In that simple act, we make a connection.”
    • Make sure students feel safe and know they belong. “Once students feel sure these needs are met, they’ll dive into learning,”
    • when students say they don’t know, trying this line: “Pretend that you did know the answer – what words would come out of your mouth?”
    • Be yourself. “Students detest duplicity in their teachers,”
    • Wormeli suggests asking parents at the beginning of the year, “In a million words or less, tell me about your child.”
    • A related strategy is asking students, “Write a letter from your parent to the teacher describing you.”
    • ask students to write on a card everything that helps them learn –
    • -   <!--[endif]-->Sit at students’ desks and see the classroom from their point of view;


    • -   <!--[endif]-->Attend to students’ essential human needs – hydration, movement, nutrition, light, fresh air, sightlines, tools;


  • "In This Issue: 1. True grit 2. Successfully educating boys: what works 3. Teacher-student mediation in action 4. How to work with an opinionated colleague (who is wrong) 5. Should schools continue to teach cursive handwriting? 6. Do students’ appearance and grooming affect achievement? 7. Key elements of an effective open house 8. I wish my teacher knew…"

    tags: BTSN boys new ideas instructional coaching dress code mediation difficult conversations grit character

    • A lot of what we take to be toughness of the past was really just callousness.
    • There was a greater tendency in years gone by to wall off emotions, to put on a thick skin – for some men to be stone-like and uncommunicative and for some women to be brittle, brassy, and untouchable. And then many people turned to alcohol to help them feel anything at all.”
    • A more helpful way to think of toughness is resilience, says Brooks. “The people we admire for being resilient are not hard; they are ardent. They have a fervent commitment to some cause, some ideal, or some relationship. That higher yearning enables them to withstand setbacks, pain, and betrayal.
    • If people today are less tough or resilient, Brooks concludes, it may be because they lack purpose. “If you really want people to be tough,” he says, “make them idealistic for some cause, make them tender for some other person, make them committed to some worldview that puts today’s temporary pain in the context of a larger hope
    • “In every school I have visited, social competition and hierarchy, bullying and maltreatment, peer policing, and the marginalization of less-preferred types of boys characterize cultures that even wonderfully committed faculty and staff cannot control.”
    • These teachers report that, “contrary to the stereotypes of young men as diffident, disruptive, or dangerous, most boys care deeply about being successful and simply long for instructors… capable of connecting personally with them and believing in them, even when they may not believe in themselves and struggle with behavior, effort, or attention problems… Relationship is the very medium through which successful teaching and learning is performed with boys.”
    • strategies that build connections with boys.
    • Demonstrate mastery of subject matter.
    • Maintain high standards.
    • Respond to a student’s personal interest or talent.
    • Share a common interest.
    • <!--[endif]-->Acknowledge a common characteristic.
    • Accommodate a measure of opposition.
    • Be willing to reveal vulnerability.
    • “Mediation provides teacher and student with ways to listen and understand each other’s perspectives, restore goodwill, and develop positive plans to move forward,” she says. “The process boosts social, problem-solving and communication skills – all of which are important for students’ resourcefulness should problems arise in the future.”
    • the characteristics of an ideal academic team:


      <!-- [if !supportLists]-->-   <!--[endif]-->There is frequent, easy communication.


      <!-- [if !supportLists]-->-   <!--[endif]-->Assessment is an integral part of the culture.


      <!-- [if !supportLists]-->-   <!--[endif]-->Changes are identified and readily implemented.


      <!-- [if !supportLists]-->-   <!--[endif]-->New ideas are frequently discussed.


      <!-- [if !supportLists]-->-   <!--[endif]-->Limitations in professional knowledge and skills are recognized and addressed.


      <!-- [if !supportLists]-->-   <!--[endif]-->Professional development is seen as essential and it happens regularly.


      <!-- [if !supportLists]-->-   <!--[endif]-->Improvement is continuous.

    • Don’t just tell them they’re wrong.
    • Evidence alone won’t work.
    • People with incorrect beliefs can become even more entrenched when presented with facts that contradict their beliefs. To change people, you have to reach their hearts, and you can do that only by building relationships.
    • Listen
    • If you want to effectively address forces that resist positive change, you need to genuinely listen first.”
    • Be indirect. Use suggestive rather than declarative language. Let your colleagues come to their own conclusion and, better yet, think it’s their own idea.
    • Have one-to-one conversations.
    • Identify your allies.
    • Change should be collective.
    • Identify the mission.
    • Choose your battles.
    • Focus on your personal goals.
    • Be patient, hopeful, and persistent.
    • If change happens, expect things to get worse before they get better.
    • “Research suggests that individuals are prone to automatically make assessments about the competence and social status of others based on features of their physical appearance. These features may include facial cues, ethnicity, clothes, and body language… [I]ndividuals are likely to base their impression of others on limited information and then fill in the rest accordingly.”
    • “Children described by teachers more negatively in terms of their appearance had worse academic adjustment… Students described by teachers as appearing poorly dressed, tired, sleepy, or hungry were rated by teachers as being less competent academically, less engaged, and as having a poorer relationship with these teachers.
    • “These results suggest that some students may be experiencing difficulties in school because they appear inadequately physically prepared for the classroom,”
    • As a staff, if we said, ‘Here’s our first chance to engage parents,’ then surely open houses… would be a much warmer, much more collaborative event and linked to learning.”
    • Consider having a general orientation for parents before the beginning of school – more of a mini-fair, with fun activities and a chance to get to know school staff. This is distinct from the open house in mid-September, which is more academically focused.


      <!-- [if !supportLists]-->-   <!--[endif]-->Encourage teachers to make a positive phone call to each family early in the year so that calls on behavior problems are not the first time parents hear from the school.

    •   <!--[endif]-->Give parents and guardians name tags and a chance to socialize with family members of other students.
    • Have students be leaders of the open house at the classroom level: students prepare a PowerPoint presentation on what they are learning and what the plan is going forward.
    • Include actual learning activities for parents.
    • The bottom line: family members should leave the open house excited about the school year, clear about three or four things their child will know by the end of the year, and feeling part of a team that will help students accomplish those key learnings.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.