"In this project, the entire 6th grade learned about geometry, unit rate, expenses and revenue by designing and creating their own paper lanterns. At the same time, students explored various cultures around the world through the lens of important global issues. Their final product was an original paper lantern that was to be part of an auction to raise awareness and funds for a community improvement project of their choice through the non-profit organization, Lantern Projects. The exhibition took place at Centro Cultural de la Raza in Balboa Park.
In this project, the entire 6th grade learned about geometry, unit rate, expenses and revenue by designing and creating their own paper lanterns. At the same time, students explored various cultures around the world through the lens of important global issues. Their final product was an original paper lantern that was to be part of an auction to raise awareness and funds for a community improvement project of their choice through the non-profit organization, Lantern Projects. The exhibition took place at Centro Cultural de la Raza in Balboa Park.
"1. Mike Schmoker on three focus areas
2. Carol Dweck on fine-tuning the growth mindset
3. Maximizing high-quality teacher planning time
4. Effective and ineffective teacher teamwork in the Common Core
5. What gets professional learning communities working well?
6. Research findings on ability grouping and acceleration"
“It’s not just effort, but strategy. Students need to know that if they’re stuck, they don’t need just effort. You don’t want them redoubling their efforts with the same ineffective strategies. You want them to know when to ask for help and when to use resources that are available.”
the key to schools succeeding with all students is prioritizing – isolating and focusing on “only the most vital, game-changing actions that ensure significant improvement in teaching and learning” and then sustaining a disciplined, laser-like focus for a significant amount of time.
Teachers should have clear, specific direction on which skills and concepts to teach – the what and when – with discretion on the how to and some room each week for teachable moments and personal passions.
Of paramount importance is ongoing checking for student understanding (minute by minute, day by day, week by week) and adjusting instruction based on assessment insights. This is especially important for project- and problem-based learning.
“To succeed, students simply need vastly more time to purposefully read, discuss, and write about worthy, substantive literature and nonfiction across the curriculum (as often as possible, in the interpretive and argumentative mode)
“this should occur in a climate that emphasizes helpfulness and growth, rather than evaluation.”
“Nobody has a growth mindset in everything all the time,” says Dweck. “Everyone is a mixture of fixed and growth mindsets.
When students fail, teachers and parents should say things like, “Okay, what is this teaching us? Where should we go next?”
With praise, focus on the process that led to success – hard work, good strategies, effective use of resources. “Be matter-of-fact,” advises Dweck, “with not too strong or too passive a reaction… Effective teachers who actually have classrooms full of children with a growth mindset are always supporting children’s learning strategies and showing how strategies created that success.”
U.S. elementary teachers spend an average of about 32 hours a week with their students, secondary teachers about 30 hours, out of a 38-hour contractual week. Daily planning time ranges from 12 to 80 minutes for elementary teachers, from 30 to 96 minutes at the secondary level. The paucity of contractual planning time in most schools pushes a lot of teachers’ work into late afternoons, evenings, and weekends; including that time, the typical teacher’s work week is about 52 hours.
Teachers need two types of planning time, Merritt believes: (a) Individual time every day to prepare materials for upcoming lessons, assess student work, and communicate with specialists and parents about their students; and (b) common planning time once or twice a week with same-grade/same-subject colleagues to plan, implement, reflect on, and modify instruction.
The 30-32 hours U.S. teachers spend with their students each week compares to about 20-21 hours in other countries.
Shorter days for students
No-student days embedded within the school year
The number of such days ranges from two to 18 per school year.
Increased staffing – Core subject teachers can be given more planning time within the school day if their students go out to additional physical education, art, music, science, environmental education, and other specialty subjects – and also by increasing supervised recess and using instructional assistants and parent volunteers.
“we should trust teachers who are asking for more time, and make planning time a high priority in budgeting decisions. Instead of implementing costly interventions that yield minimal results in schools, we should pay more attention to the repeated requests from teachers about how to support them in their daily work… They need more time to identify problems they see in their schools or classrooms and work individually and collectively on solutions.”
Using inquiry protocols, they asked each other What do we want students to get out of the curriculum? and How can we get them there?
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->-<!--[endif]-->They collaboratively developed model curriculum units and adapted them as needed;
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->-<!--[endif]-->They used a fishbowl approach to observe colleagues teaching new curriculum materials;
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->-<!--[endif]-->They looked together at student work as students grappled with the new expectations and thought about the implications for unit and lesson planning;
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->-<!--[endif]-->They jointly figured out ways to support students in material that at first seemed too hard.
Meaningful data – Static assessment results from benchmark assessments are not enough. To have truly high-quality discussions about their work, teachers need (a) open-ended assessment items from their ongoing instruction to identify student strategies and uncover their mathematical reasoning; (b) feedback from classroom observations; and (c) video clips of their own instruction and that of colleagues.
• Supportive tools – These include classroom observations and videos and having a facilitator with deep pedagogical content knowledge. It’s also crucial that the PLC sinks its teeth into one or two substantive and actionable math concepts or strategies.
• Supportive colleagues – Dissonance is not enough, say the authors. To truly improve instruction, teachers also need a collegial group that will hold their hands as they deal with their students’ struggles and criticism from observers:
“It is likely,” say the authors, “that repeated video recording and written feedback motivated Ms. Walker and other teachers to try out new instructional strategies and continuously assess and refine them so that they could demonstrate improvement in subsequent observed lessons.”
-<!--[endif]-->Within-class grouping (teachers differentiating instruction among several small groups) had moderately positive effects.
-<!--[endif]-->Cross-grade grouping (students from different grade levels brought together to learn a particular subject or unit – e.g., the Joplin Plan for reading) had small-to-moderate benefits.
-<!--[endif]-->These two forms of grouping benefited students with high, medium, and low achievement.
-<!--[endif]-->Special grouping for gifted students (pullout or honors programs) was very helpful for those students.
-<!--[endif]-->Acceleration (students skipping a grade or taking courses at a younger age than their peers) was the most beneficial of all.
Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->-<!--[endif]-->Learning pathways and progressions toward student proficiency in each area;
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->-<!--[endif]-->Performance tasks that demonstrate mastery;
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->-<!--[endif]-->Tools for interpreting evidence of learning at the individual and group level and following up appropriately.
Leaders need to understand and act on assessment results in ways that improve teaching and learning and explain what’s happening to families and the broader community
grades are useful indicators of things that matter to students, teachers, parents, schools, and communities, and they are more accurate predictors of high-school completion and transition to college than standardized test scores. In addition, when grades are aggregated from individual pieces of student work to report card or course grades and GPA, their reliability increases.
Grades are multidimensional. They often include noncognitive information that teachers value, including effort, motivation, improvement, work habits, attention, engagement, participation, and behavior. That’s probably why grades are more accurate than test scores at predicting downstream success;
“Although measurement experts and professional developers may wish grades were unadulterated measures of what students have learned and are able to do,” say the authors, “strong evidence indicates that they are not.” Over the years, researchers have attributed variations in teachers’ grades to a number of factors: the rigor of the learning task; the actual quality of student work; the grading criteria; the grading scale; how strict or lenient the teacher was; and teacher error.
Transparency is important. Problems arise when teachers aren’t clear with students, parents, and colleagues about what goes into grades. When that happens, grades can convey inaccurate and misleading information.
Recent studies have shown that with clear rubrics and proper training, teachers can achieve an impressive level of inter-rater reliability.
What could explain why students who tried hard didn’t master the intended learning outcomes? There are several possibilities:
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->-<!--[endif]-->The learning goals were developmentally inappropriate.
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->-<!--[endif]-->Students lacked readiness or appropriate prior instruction to master the material.
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->-<!--[endif]-->The teacher didn’t make clear what students were expected to learn.
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->-<!--[endif]-->The teacher didn’t instruct students in appropriate ways, including using formative assessments to catch learning problems and help struggling students in real time.
“Research focusing solely on grades typically misses antecedent causes.
“Employees in high-trust organizations are more productive, have more energy at work, collaborate better with their colleagues, and stay with their employers longer…” he says. “They also suffer less chronic stress and are happier with their lives, and these factors fuel stronger performance.” I
Recognizing excellence. This has the biggest impact on trust “when it occurs immediately after a goal has been met, when it comes from peers, and when it’s tangible, unexpected, personal, and public,”
Assigning challenging but achievable goals with a concrete end point. Leaders should also check in frequently to assess progress and adjust targets so they’re at the Goldilocks level of challenge – not too hard and not too easy.
Giving people discretion in how they do their work. “Being trusted to figure things out is a big motivator,”
Enabling job crafting. Motivation and trust are enhanced when people have some latitude to work on what interests and energizes them and choose their teammates.
Sharing information broadly. When everyone knows the organization’s goals, strategies, and tactics, stress is reduced and buy-in increases.
Intentionally building relationships. Social ties at work improve performance, and these can be fostered by managers expressing interest and concern for team members and structuring lunches, staff parties, and fun off-site activities.
“if you’re not growing as a human being, your performance will suffer… Investing in the whole person has a powerful effect on engagement and retention.” Leaders need to have a growth mindset about developing talent, giving frequent feedback and discussing work-life balance, family, and career plans.
So joy on the job comes from doing purpose-driven work with a trusted team.”
“How much do you enjoy your job on a typical day?”
Too many people jump right into problem-solving before completely understanding what the issue is
But if the problem is reframed – Waiting for the elevator is annoying – different solutions are possible
Fresh eyes on the problem can be very helpful
Get people’s definition of the problem in writing.
Zoom out and ask if the problem statement lacks something important.
Step back and get people thinking metacognitively about what category of problem is being discussed: A personnel problem? An incentive problem? An expectations problem? An attitude problem? Some other category?
Look at situations where the problem didn’t occur and ask what was different.
“proponents’ deepest held worldviews were perceived to be threatened by skeptics, making facts the enemy to be slayed.” Their ability to hold to their beliefs in the face of contrary evidence is tied up with two psychological dynamics:
• Cognitive dissonance – This is the uncomfortable tension from holding two conflicting thoughts simultaneously, which proponents try to reduce by spin-doctoring facts to fit a preconceived notion.
• The backfire effect
what can we do to convince people of the error of their beliefs?
-<!--[endif]-->Keep emotions out of the exchange.
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->-<!--[endif]-->Discuss, don’t attack – no ad hominem.
<!-- [if !supportLists]-->-<!--[endif]-->Listen carefully and try to articulate the other position accurately.