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  • Defending the "D" Word...Dyslexia

    Posted By Louisa Moats, Ed.D. | Oct 21, 2015
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    Henry Ward Beecher once said, a word is a “peg to hang ideas on.” A single word can conjure a host of meanings and associations. “Dyslexia” is such a word. In the last couple of years, the well-known and respected researchers Julian Elliott and Elena Grigorenko have been arguing that it is time to do away with the “D word.” In The Dyslexia Debate (Cambridge University Press, 2014), they object to the word because many misunderstandings, false claims, and myths are associated with it.

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  • Unlocking the Language of Math for Your Students

    Posted By Bea Moore Luchin | Oct 14, 2015
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    Have you ever wondered why it is so difficult to teach mathematics and why it is so difficult for students to grasp the meaning of the words we use in mathematics? If you pause and think about it, mathematics is a very technical subject, and it has a set of vocabulary words that have very precise meanings and sometimes multiple uses within mathematics. Outside of the math class, those same words take on a whole different meaning—oops, there is one of those words: “whole.” Get it? Well, there are lots of them, and I would like for you to take the seat of the students for a few minutes as you read this and filter the conversation through their ears.

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  • Should Today’s Math Standards Be Research Based?

    Posted By John Woodward, Ph.D. | Oct 07, 2015
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    One of the biggest impacts of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation has been the infusion of the word “research” into the language and thinking about education. Teachers are encouraged to ask, “Is my classroom curriculum research based?” “What about specialized interventions for students with disabilities?” It is a short step to asking the same question about today’s mathematics standards, and prominent researchers at Vanderbilt University have done just this in a series of randomized control studies.1 What the researchers described as “very low achieving” fourth grade students were randomly assigned to either inclusive or specialized intensive classrooms. Instruction in both conditions was guided by grade-level standards for fractions. It wasn’t a major surprise that the students in the inclusive classrooms performed poorly over the three years of the study as teachers fully implemented the Common Core State Standards. Researchers, however, were dismayed to find that the performance of students in specialized intensive settings also decreased over time, despite the use of their intervention curriculum in these studies.

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  • PD for Teachers of Reading: What DOES Make a Difference?

    Posted By Louisa Moats, Ed.D. | Sep 30, 2015
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    Very few of us were ever taught what we needed to know about reading or language when we completed our degree programs or were licensed to teach. As teachers, the professional development we received often seemed irrelevant. Even after graduate school, what I had been taught left me helpless in the face of students who struggled to read. The knowledge I eventually applied to various instructional programs, I acquired haphazardly from my doctoral courses, from conferences, and from other teachers … too late to help me with my first students.

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  • Top 5 Tech Projects to Try with Your Students This Year

    Posted By Alexandria Mooney | Sep 23, 2015
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    Being a technology teacher, I am always looking for new projects for my students. I’m all over anything that can both engage them and teach them new content. For this blog post, I’ve come up with my Top 5 favorite technology projects that my students have done. These projects aren’t tied to a specific content area and can be used across a wide range of grade levels. The examples here were done by high school students, but you can scale them back or forward to best fit your students’ needs and grade level.

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  • What Do Math Standards Mean for Struggling Students?

    Posted By John Woodward, Ph.D. | Sep 16, 2015
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    Debates over math standards, whether they are the NCTM Standards or the Common Core Math Standards, often spill into the question, “What do they mean for struggling students?” There are many issues behind this question, not the least of which is the exceedingly heterogeneous group of students frequently called “struggling.” Unpacking that issue alone is an essay in itself. For our purposes, what standards mean for struggling students can be distilled into at least two basic questions: Are high standards appropriate for struggling students? If they are not appropriate, are they even relevant?

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  • How to Get the Most out of Collaboration

    Posted By Staci Bain, MIT | Sep 09, 2015
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    Your new schedule awaits your return, sitting silently in your mailbox at school. With palpating heart and sweaty hands you skim the page to find … COLLABORATION, Professional Learning Communities (PLC), Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, 2:00–2:45 It’s back. Written in the schedule again. The only difference is that this year it looks like you will be collaborating more often, not less. Three days of teaming? You panic. With mind racing you wonder, “How will I survive this year? Summer, oh summer – how I loved you! Wait. Should I have taken that secretarial position at the local bank?”

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  • How Writing Strategies Empower Students and Teachers

    Posted By Maureen Auman | Sep 02, 2015
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    Using Writing Strategies Is a Shared Responsibility As I shared the reading and writing strategies discussed in Part 1 of this blog series, word spread about the success middle school students were having with them. Over time, I met with teachers from various subject areas and grade levels. They then used the strategies to help their students learn, remember, and apply content. One team of intermediate-level teachers attended my workshops, learned the strategies, and used them with their third, fourth, and fifth grade students. They posted charts in their classrooms that listed the strategies that would be taught and used during the school year. After only a few months, these teachers changed the title of their charts from “Strategies You Will Learn” to “Strategies You Are Expected to Use.”

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  • Beyond What You Did This Summer: Writing to Boost Success Across Subjects, All Year

    Posted By Maureen Auman | Aug 26, 2015
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    ncreasing Achievement Through Writing, Part 1 A Brave Young Teacher Several years ago I shared writing strategies with a large group of middle school teachers and administrators – well over a hundred educators from all grades and subject areas. Everyone participated enthusiastically all morning as I demonstrated note taking, summarizing, responding to text, breaking down definitions, and asking or answering questions.

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  • Motivating Struggling Adolescent Readers: Try Relevance and Success

    Posted By Louisa Moats, Ed.D. | Aug 19, 2015
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    Motivation, according to a recent textbook on adolescent literacy*, is “a feeling of interest or enthusiasm that makes a student want to complete a task or improve his or her skills.” Teachers of adolescent poor readers, however, often find that their students are willing to do anything BUT read and write. Getting students to believe that they can make meaningful progress—when all prior experience suggests they will not—and to work at something that has never been rewarding is a major challenge.

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