• Headed to #ISTE17?

    Posted By EdView360 | Jun 21, 2017

    There's so much to see and learn...Don't miss the highlights!

    Next week, in San Antonio, thousands of dedicated educators and edtech professionals will converge on this Texas town for an unparalleled meeting about education technology. #ISTE17 is the annual conference that brings together innovation and learning, sharing and reconnecting...and Voyager Sopris Learning is proud to be a part of this event.

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  • Life Is A Science Project, And So Is Teaching

    Posted By Michael Milone, Ph.D. | Jun 14, 2017

    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. Imagine one of our ancestors long, long ago struggling with hair in her face as she managed the family fire while keeping the children from being eaten by a cave bear. She tried the Flintstone’s bone-in-hair approach, and that didn't work. Frustrated, she grabs a piece of flowering vine in one hand and her streaming locks in the other. Deftly wrapping the vine around her hair, she invents the hair tie and hair flair at the same time!

    Throughout history, we have admired those who tried things, failed, kept trying, and eventually succeeded.

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  • Teachers, Textbooks, and Big Ideas in Math

    Posted By John Woodward, Ph.D. | Jun 07, 2017

    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.

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  • The Parent Letter: Sometimes, the Basic Approach to Struggling Students is the Best

    Posted By Gretchen Wing | May 31, 2017

    Remember when the Reagan Administration directed the Department of Agriculture to cut school lunch funding? When ketchup was briefly labeled a vegetable? Those were the days. A dark joke circulated in the education community then was: “If a miracle drug were discovered that made children school-ready every morning and increased their chances of success, the administration would surely fund that drug, right? Turns out, that miracle drug exists…just don’t tell the Ag Department. It’s called FOOD.” 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. I’m talking about those students teachers spend extra time with, conferencing, phone-calling, tutoring, disciplining, or all of the above. During my 20-year high school teaching career, I attended plenty of trainings about behavioral strategies, and some about learning deficits (such training being sadly rare in the high school sphere). I did one-on-one reading practice (in case that student simply couldn’t read very well); I used extrinsic motivation (“Finish your essay and you get to take the classroom chinchilla home for the weekend.”). The most effective thing I did, however, came from no inservice but gut instinct: The Parent Letter.

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  • Site-Based Math Professional Development: Where to Begin?

    Posted By John Woodward, Ph.D. | May 24, 2017

    Rita Bean’s and Diane DeFord’s article about instructional coaching offers a highly sensible list of dos and don’ts for working with teachers in their classrooms. Crafted from what is clearly a great depth of experience, Bean and DeFord apprise the reader immediately of the highly political nature of coaching. For example, if coaches communicate explicitly or implicitly that they are there to “fix them and their classrooms,” then the chances of a successful working relationship plummet dramatically.

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  • Don't Miss the Point: Content-Focused Reading Instruction Is Crucial

    Posted By Louisa Moats, Ed.D. | May 17, 2017

    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. The topic is inherently interesting—or if it isn’t, yet, it will be once the students know something about it. The reader will be rewarded with understanding, insight, ideas, and new information.

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  • How Should Principals Take the Lead on Math Professional Development?

    Posted By John Woodward, Ph.D. | May 10, 2017

    Professional development researchers have told us for a long time principals need to be instructional leaders. That prescription entails visible support for new instructional strategies as well as the need for persistence, follow-up, and even the use of data to sustain or refine new practices. Unquestionably, all of this is important. But 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.

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  • Mysterious Learners: What's Going On with Them?

    Posted By Michael Milone, Ph.D. | May 03, 2017

    A colleague and I have been looking at progress and outcome measures for a number of students using different interventions. We are doing this the old-fashioned way, not through data analytics (all the rage these days), but by reviewing every single detail we can find. These data are being plotted visually to see if some patterns emerge that might allow us to draw some general conclusions. After much plotting and discussion, we came to a remarkably insightful conclusion that I would like to share with you. (Slight drumroll, please.) We had no idea what was going on.

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  • Empowering Teachers with Velocity, a Real-Time Adaptive Learning Program

    Posted By Shannon McClintock Miller | Apr 26, 2017

    Editor's Note: Recently, Shannon McClintock Miller, educator and author of The Library Voice blog, featured Velocity on her page and shared her excitement about the 60-day free trial.

    At ISTE last June I was introduced to Velocity® a dynamic, online literacy program for K-5 students that optimizes the way education is experienced by letting technology empower and enhance both teachers and students. I loved how Velocity transforms classrooms into 21st-century learning stations, making it perfect for 1:1 instruction and other learning environments. Velocity makes learning fun with special little characters and unique "worlds". They engage and motivate a love of reading and challenge students with new skills on grade-level and beyond. Velocity also fills in the instructional gaps of individual students. 

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  • Distracted Reading: Sometimes, It Is a Great Notion

    Posted By Michael Milone, Ph.D. | Apr 19, 2017

    It is a truth universally acknowledged that any reader in possession of a good book must be attentive. If those words sound familiar, then you know what I am talking about. If they are new to you, then you have a very important work of literature to include on your “I'd better read this” list. Paying attention is a consummation devoutly to be wished in most circumstances, from successfully implementing a recipe in the kitchen to driving a horseless carriage, sometimes called a motorcar. By so doing, we are more likely to accomplish our goal, whatever it might be, whilst avoiding the less-than-pleasant circumstance of inconveniencing others. The need for attention is especially compelling for young learners, whose minds have not yet accumulated the sense or sensibility of their elders. Please do not mistake my urgings, for like you, I recognize the importance of attending to the task at hand, no matter what it might be.

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