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A foundational ability of humans is the willingness to try things to see how they work out. This might be the most important talent we have developed.
American educators have a well-honed way of thinking about curriculum. Typically, district committees compare and then adopt a curriculum to meet specific goals or guidelines. More recently, curriculum adoption in math has been driven by state or national standards.
That ultra-basic approach—fed children learn better than hungry ones—has a counterpart in the realm of individualized strategies for dealing with struggling students.
Is there a more efficient way to begin PD or coaching, one where the teachers’ needs are more common than they are divergent? Can this be done in a way that is nonthreatening, at least in comparison to in-class coaching with feedback?
While many language skills and comprehension strategies are embedded in daily lessons, teachers know that the overall purpose of each lesson sequence is to understand content related to a theme. The reason for reading a text is clear: The text is worthwhile. It is complex and rich.
Where does a principal start today in a world awash with new teachers, many of whom struggle to teach to state or national standards? As co-authors of the K-8 mathematics professional development program, NUMBERS, Michele Douglass, Mary Stroh and I have done a lot of thinking about how principals can orchestrate successful change.