Perspectives

The Center for American Progress (CAP) recently issued the report, Teacher Leadership: The Pathway to Common Core Success, listing the following recommendations:
  • Create teacher leadership roles at the classroom, school, and district levels.
  • Allocate time for teachers to collaborate.
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  • Gratitude for Teacher Teams

    As Teacher Appreciation Week moves into full swing, I find myself thinking of the many teachers who have touched my life in important ways. As a student, I can point to Mr. Roper, my sixth-grade teacher in Mary Esther, Florida. I never had the chance to tell him how much he influenced who I would become as a teacher. I treasured the read-aloud of Marjorie K. Rawlings's The Yearling and what I now know to be guided reading practices that he put into practice on a regular basis.

     
    “My biggest struggle right now is that I have 36 students in each class (60 min periods). There’s not an empty seat in the room! Any ideas?”
     
    Maybe this sounds like you. I’ve been there –trying everything to make workshop work in my over-flowing freshman and sophomore classes. Last year I had 38 sophomores in my 8th period. Talk about ending the day exhausted.
     
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  • Selected Literacy Topics: Reading, Speaking, Writing
  • Día means “day” in Spanish. In 1996, author Pat Mora learned about the Mexican tradition of celebrating April 30th as El día del niño, the day of the child. Pat thought, “We have Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Yes!

    Blog keeps tabs on fake news on the Internet

    For a look at the sometimes-silly, sometimes-concerning false information that circulates the Internet, The Washington Post offers a weekly roundup on The Intersect, a blog dedicated to digital and Internet culture.

    Its series called “What was fake on the Internet this week?” can be a resource for teaching news literacy using timely examples that are relevant to an Internet-savvy generation.

    In a recent article titled Meeting the Challenge of Infusing Relevant PD in Schools, Lyle Hamm and Kevin Cormier argue that professional learning communities -- which encourage colleagues to relentlessly question their practice together in service of student learning -- often fail as a professional development strategy primarily because they require peers to come together for weekly face-to-face meetings with one another:
     

    Celebrate Poetry throughout April!

    Each year the month of April is set aside as National Poetry Month, a time to celebrate poets and their craft.

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    I want to share a classroom experience that proves students moving into the middle grades can remain enthusiastic readers and writers within an authentic process of learning.
     
    No test. No pressure. Just risk-free, engaging learning.
     
    And the interesting part is—with experiences like these—the test scores will take care of themselves. Students gain the skills they need to succeed during instructional moments and beyond.
     
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  • Capacity Building: Collaborative Culture
  • Selected Literacy Topics: Reading
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  • Selected Literacy Topics: Assessment 
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  • Capacity Building: Using Evidence
  • Common Core has created a whole new emphasis on the importance of vocabulary development.  This makes me feel two things.  
     
    1. This is the best thing that can happen to us!
    2. This is the worst thing that can happen to us!
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  • Selected Literacy Topics: Language, Speaking, Writing
  • Given that Friday, March 13, is the official Digital Learning Day hosted by the Alliance for Excellent Education, with a focus on policy and practice related to digital learning in schools, it's appropriate that's what's trending this week is Fast Company's Sector Forecast, 5 Big Ways Education Will Change by 2020. I wonder if the FastCo article's timeliness was a coincidence? 

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  • Selected Literacy Topics: Common Core Standards
  • Joellen Killion's article "Reprising Coaching Heavy and Coaching Light" tells the story of coaching that will truly impact learning for students.
     
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  • As more and more schools, elementary and secondary, are making the decision to go 1:1, providing each student with specific technological devices to facilitate learning in the classroom, there seems to be more of a need for educators to familiarize themselves with the importance of the emerging research set out to investigate and define what it means to be digitally literate. Community High School District 99, located in Downers Grove, IL, has recently announced its plan to provide each student next year with a Chromebook.

    Take part in the largest reading event in the United States on Monday, March 2! Gather books and readers for NEA’s Read Across America Day, celebrated on or around the birthday of Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss.

    Since last summer, I’ve had the real pleasure of facilitating an online course on formative assessment for the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). In each of the first two cohorts, a dozen or so teachers from all sorts of contexts and backgrounds collaborated around individual goals and some common learning experiences, all geared toward getting to know

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  • Selected Literacy Topics: Assessment 
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  • Topics: Formative
  • Share Your Stories of Assessment

    The NCTE Task Force on Assessment invites you to complete a 5-question survey so we can learn from teachers

    The oft-told story of the tortoise and the hare has been on my mind lately.  Just recently, I searched for different versions of Aesop’s fable and refreshed my memory; I especially enjoyed two versions: one by master storyteller Jim Weiss (accessible on You Tube from Greathall Production at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=isSG1skiMwY) and another created by BBC School Radio (accessible at http://www.bbc.co.uk/schoolradio/subjects/en

    So, I teach fourth grade in Texas. That in itself should tell you that I spend an enormous amount of time teaching writing to students who, based on their initial writing samples from the first days of school, had probably never been pushed to write as much as they have this year. This year, I changed my approach -- tweaked it, if you will -- to allow students more time to prime and polish their work. 

    Most Recent: February 6, 2015
     
    When Chelsia Berry, STEM academic coordinator and biology teacher at Central High School in Prince George’s County, Md., participated in the October 6 Good Teaching Summit put together by the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future, she discussed her definition of good teaching. For her that included words such as “collaboration, professional-learning communities, journeys, interaction, real-world, and opportunity.”
     
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  • Teaching is hard; no…that’s not it. Teaching is: frustrating, seemingly impossible, joyful, mind-bending, collaborative, blissful, all-consuming, and a passion. But most importantly, one thing it is NOT is static. We live in an educational world that is ever-changing because we live in a world in which people are ever-changing…our students never stop growing (physically and mentally).

    Most Recent: February 25, 2015