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

    Posted By John Woodward, Ph.D. | May 24, 2017
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    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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  • Teach Your Teachers Well

    Posted By Michelle George | Apr 12, 2017
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    A few weekends ago, I was playing music with some friends and we tried out the old standard, “Teach the Children Well” by Crosby, Stills, and Nash. Singing the lyrics reminded me that the teaching mandate goes two ways; the parents need a little guidance along the way as well as the children. The same applies, I believe, to education. Teachers need good teaching, and the basic principles of educational practice are essential for effective professional development (PD).

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  • Versatile Comprehension Strategies: Using Extended Metaphor Across Disciplines

    Posted By Gretchen Wing | Apr 05, 2017
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    "Teaching poetry to kids of any age is a blast. Simile? Think of your least favorite subject and your least favorite chore and combine them with “like.” Personification? Give that chocolate-chip cookie a tone of voice as it calls you to eat it. Metaphor? If your sister were a dog, what kind would she be? During my 20 years of teaching high school English and Social Studies, however, I found the power of metaphor stretched far beyond poetry. When extended, a metaphor is more than a descriptive tool; it becomes a system for comprehending and articulating complex concepts.

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  • Staying Grounded in Reading Realities: A Better Approach for Struggling Readers

    Posted By Louisa Moats, Ed.D. | Mar 29, 2017
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    At the end of October, I attended and spoke at the annual International Dyslexia Association (IDA) meeting in Dallas. IDA remains the best interdisciplinary conference for all professionals, advocates, and families concerned with reading, writing, and language difficulties. IDA meetings, over the past three decades, are where I’ve obtained my real education. This meeting was as informative as ever. We heard from neuroscientists, psychologists, directors of interdisciplinary research centers, researchers in language acquisition, experienced clinicians, education advocates, teacher educators, public school literacy leaders, and families affected by learning difficulties. Through diverse perspectives, one theme stood out for me: We will serve students and families better if we are informed by the facts. Romantic ideas, though appealing, will not serve the needs of students or teachers. Let’s examine a few beliefs that we’re better off without.

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  • The Problem with Word Problems Might Be the Way They Are Taught

    Posted By John Woodward, Ph.D. | Mar 22, 2017
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    Traditional algebra word problems have a bad rap and for good reason. Students are hardly enamored with content of the typical word problem, and its relevance to the real world is questionable at best. Amdahl and Loats (1995) captured this sentiment in their amusing tour of beginning algebra: “Folks who write math books live very different lives from you and me. They seem to spend a lot of time on trains, for example, which leave cities you and I rarely visit, in hopes of meeting their buddies on trains at destinations in-between….They launch rockets across rivers, build bridges, and agonize over how tall various trees are. After a couple of years of math classes, you’ll be uncomfortable hiking through the woods without your calculator handy.” (p. 104)

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