Live from the ASCD Annual Conference in Philadelphia This morning I had a nice sit down with several of ASCD's featured authors. Allison Zmuda, who wrote Breaking Free From Myths About Teaching and Learning, told an administrator and me that the inspiration for the nine myths addressed in her book came from her son, who returned home from early elementary school one day declaring, "I'm a bad reader." He said the other kids read faster than he did—one girl would finish five books from the "just right" box in the time he could read one. Zmuda started to research...


Live from the ASCD Annual Conference in Philadelphia A few more noteworthy moments from Saturday. • The mid-day keynote address was given by Reed Timmer, host of the Discovery Channel's Storm Chasers. He showed some exciting footage of himself driving an armored car into a tornado. The connection to education was, well, thin at best. (Timmer's parents were teachers. He pushed the notion that STEM education can be fun—especially when teachers use clips like the ones from his show. Hint, hint.) To me, the hour could have been better used, but unfortunately it was the only presentation going at the time...


Live from the ASCD Annual Conference in Philadelphia In a jam-packed post-lunch session, Alan Blankstein, author of Failure Is Not an Option: Six Principles that Guide Student Achievement in High Performing Schools, gave a fun, if hurried, presentation on creating a school culture that breeds successful students. He kicked things off with a true demonstration of what engagement can look like—getting the audience of mostly administrators up and clapping (and even swaying their hips) as he danced down the aisle to Aretha Franklin's "Respect." He went on to explain the importance of using interdisciplinary, multi-modal instruction to keep kids...


Live from the ASCD Annual Conference in Philadelphia It was pretty darn sunny in Philadelphia yesterday—record-breaking temperatures even for this time of year. It's cloudier now but I'll be inside for much of the next two days, along with 8,000 or so educators attending the annual ASCD conference. The sessions here really run the gamut—from Common Core to bullying to ed-tech to leadership. And with about 50 going on at any one time, it's a veritable head spin for the indecisive. This morning, I was decisively headed to a session on teacher evaluation with the much-revered...


If you're working in a school right now, this is probably all you're hearing about today (I'm not working in a school and it's been a dominant topic of conversation in my social circles). The premier of "The Hunger Games." The Columbus Dispatch jumped on "The Hunger Games" hubbub to write about the many benefits of teaching the popular novel. According to the article, Andrea Garnett, a 7th grade language arts teacher who works in a district that has been using the books as part of the middle school curriculum for the last four years, said, "When I have a ...


You know teacher evaluation is becoming a big deal when there's an app for it. And guess what, there is: The online PD service Teachscape this week announced the release of a new iPad app designed to make it easier for school leaders to collect and upload classroom-observation data. ... Meanwhile, Ariel Sacks tells of her disappointment on finding that a planned new app for English teachers is oriented around pre-created lesson materials. ("Am I off-base? Is that appealing to anyone?") She goes on to ponder the kinds of apps teachers really need: ... anything that can help us organize ourselves and ...


A new study published in the Child Development journal concludes that teachers and parents play a more important role than peers do when it comes to keeping adolescents engaged in school.


Renee Moore points to a potential hitch in all the recent strategizing around college and career readiness: We have "chronic lack of counselors in our nation's high schools." She highlights data from the The American School Counselors Association showing that in California the ratio of students to school counselors is 815-to-1. Nationally, the ratio is a little better but still eye-catching at 459-to-1. One solution, says Moore, would be for the counseling role to be taken on by trained cross-functional teams in schools. Under this plan, "cohorts of students [would be] served by a team of teachers, counselors, and other ...


According to Time.com, a few studies out there have found that readers may have an easier time remembering and digesting the material in a text when it's in print versus a digital format.


This seems worthy of note: Encyclopedia Britannica has announced that it will no longer publish its signature product in print, according to CNNMoney. While the news might spark a pang of nostalgia for some (you know who you are), no one seems terribly surprised: Apparently print sales currently amount to less than 1 percent of Britannica's total sales. And the company seems to get—how could they not?—the sea change that has taken place in the way people access information. "The younger generation consumes data differently now, and we want to be there," says Britannica president Jorge Cauz. The...


Was there a particular instance when you knew you wanted to teach, or an incident that made you realize that the teaching profession was for you?


Teach for America founder Wendy Kopp caused some buzz (what else is new?) by writing an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal condemning the public release of teachers' value-added scores in New York City. She writes: So-called value-added rankings—which rank teachers according to the recorded growth in their students' test scores—are an important indicator of teacher effectiveness, but making them public is counterproductive to helping teachers improve. Doing so doesn't help teachers feel safe and respected, which is necessary if they are going to provide our kids with the positive energy and environment we all hope for. Kopp...


Writing in The Huffington Post, Kevin Wilner, director of the National Education Policy Center, laments the MetLife Survey's finding that teacher job satisfaction has dropped precipitously over the past two years. He attributes the drop to a reckless media and policy environment that has assailed teachers' standing and values: While this 15-point plummet is no doubt caused in part by the bad economy and budget cutting, it's also hard to overlook things like Waiting for Superman, the media deification of Michelle Rhee, and the publishing of flawed "scores" that purport to evaluate teachers based on students' test results ... Similarly, teachers ...


A report released this week, based on survey results from 57,883 students in grades 6-12, found that only slightly over half of students feel that their teachers care about them.


In an Education Week Commentary, Joanne Yatvin, a past president of the National Council of Teachers of English, argues that the Common Core State Standards in language arts, with their emphasis on informational texts and building content knowledge, are overly academic for students in the early grades: For young children, the focus on academic vocabulary seems strange. At this time in their development, would it not be more sensible for children to learn words connected to their everyday lives and their interests rather than to things and experiences as yet unknown? In a blistering rebuttal, the Core Knowledge Foundation's Robert ...


In a July 2011 blog post, I pointed out that the D.C. public school system was using test scores from 100 schools still under investigation for cheating to calculate value-added scores that would eventually be incorporated into teacher evaluations. So some D.C. teachers were at risk of having students enter their classes with falsely high scores, which would make it difficult for those teachers to bring students' scores up. At the time, DCPS spokesperson Fred Lewis told me that one teacher with a value-added score who was deemed ineffective had started an appeal process. It appears that Washington ...


Edutopia has an interesting story about a principal at a troubled San Francisco middle school who instituted (among other holistic changes) twice daily meditation sessions for students. The results, according to the piece, have been dramatic: Suspension and truency rates at the school are down, while GPAs and teacher retention are up. "I definitely saw a correlation between [students'] behavior, being more manageable in class, and their beginning to meditate more," says a special education teacher at the school. In a related post, education psychologist Daniel Willingham, who admits he once would have rolled his eyes at this sort of ...


Still more from the ever-active teacher-accountability front: Under a provision in Ohio's new state budget law, thousands of teachers in the state's lowest-performing schools will have to take licensure tests anew this fall, according the Dayton Daily News. The requirement—apparently the first of its kind—applies to all teachers in core subject areas whose schools end up in the bottom 10 percent on the state's Performance Index, which is based on combined standardized test results. According to the Dayton story, core subject areas seem to include just about everything outside of P.E. Proponents of the measure say it will...


Prominent Edublogger Alexander Russo, somewhat reluctantly, has jumped on the Pinterest bandwagon, creating a pinboard called "Hot for Education 2012." (Why am I not surprised to see our tireless teacher-blogger Larry Ferlazzo up there?) Pinterest, if you're not familiar with it, is the latest social-media craze. Often described as a scrapbooking tool, it lets you organize and share images—and other tidbits—gathered from around the Web. If you're interested, New York Times tech writer David Pogue has a helpful introduction. You might also try this round-up of pointers put together by (who else?) Ferlazzo. We hear that teachers...


A Brooklyn special education teacher published an op-ed in The New York Times this weekend outing himself as a "bad" teacher, as defined by his district-mandated evaluation. The author, William Johnson, whose students have a wide variety of disabilities, recalls the observation that earned him the "unsatisfactory" rating: His assistant principal walked in when a student with emotional disturbance was cursing and throwing pencils. Johnson sent the student to the dean and was marked down on his evaluation for not following the school's discipline procedure. Johnson writes: I was confused. Earlier last year, this same assistant principal observed me and ...


Follow This Blog

Advertisement

Most Viewed On Teacher

Categories

Archives

Recent Comments