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Parents and Educators Should Know: Complex Text is the Gatekeeper to College – Education Article

01.13.20Parents and Educators Should Know: Complex Text is the Gatekeeper to College My colleague Jen Rugani shared this data with me. It’s really important for educators and parents to see. It shows scores from seven rounds of the ACT. When you dis-aggregate the data by the complexity of the text in the passages tested, you can see that students who scored below the ACT reading benchmark were essentially guessing at answers to questions about complex text. Remember it’s a MC…

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Board=Paper: How Sadie McCleary Builds Her Students’ Note-taking Skills – Education Article

01.10.20Board=Paper: How Sadie McCleary Builds Her Students’ Note-taking Skills One of those hidden life-skills… Taking notes is a critical but easily overlooked skill that allows students to organize and review materials over the long run: across a unit or a semester or a lifetime. In the short run (that is, in the moment during class when they are actually taking notes) it can cause them to focus and prioritize their attention. So next time you observe a class, take a…

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How Sadie McLeary Manages Student Participation (Video) – Education Article

12.19.19How Sadie McLeary Manages Student Participation (Video) Sadie’s teaching has been inspiring us for several years now- every since she taught at one of Uncommon’s NYC high schools. Now she’s at Western Guilford HS in Greensboro, NC Happy Holidays, friends. I give you the gift of outstanding video to send you off into your winter break. This clip is of Sadie McCleary’s class. She’s a Chemistry teacher at Western Guilford High School in Greensboro, North Carolina. Generally this clip will…

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The Paper Rocket: Thoughts on Improving ‘Hands-On’ Learning – Education Article

11.13.19The Paper Rocket: Thoughts on Improving ‘Hands-On’ Learning Knowledge first, please. A couple of weeks ago, I asked my littlest what was going on in Science. It’s her favorite class so it doesn’t take much to get some chatter going. She announced with no small amount of excitement that they were going to be building and flying rockets later that week. “Oh, cool,” I said, “Are you studying air resistance? Or aerodynamics?” That sounded super-geeky, so I re-phrased: “You know,…

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Christine Torres Crushes the ‘Habits of Discussion’ – Education Article

11.15.19Christine Torres Crushes the ‘Habits of Discussion’ “Start us off, Joseph…” Every time I watch Christine Torres teach I am inspired. Christine is the Middle School Academic Dean at Springfield Prep in Springfield, MA and a fifth grade teacher there. She is a teacher of truly epic skill and spirit. To prove it I am going to show you six minutes from her classroom in which she demonstrates as many elements of the technique Habits of Discussion as I have…

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Field Trips Benefit from Background Knowledge, Too – Education Article

11.24.19Field Trips Benefit from Background Knowledge, Too Looking at a shark: You perceive more when you know more. Last week I wrote a post about hands-on learning, and how what seemed like a rich experience–launching rockets–might not be so useful if students didn’t know what they were looking at. On the other hand if students had been primed with knowledge beforehand they could observe relevant things and increase their knowledge by adding detail to it. I was thinking about that…

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A Network at Work: Lobo School of Innovation – Education Article

  In the heart of Silicon Valley, many schools seek recognition as tech-savvy or cutting edge. While schools may promise innovation and a genuine connection to real-world learning outcomes, it is often a challenge to support these claims. In San Jose, California, the teachers and school leaders at Lobo School of Innovation (LSI), a public district school nestled on the campus of Quimby Middle School, are living up to their school’s name and using the power of the New Tech…

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How People Learn Best: Learning Styles vs. Dual Coding, a Guest Post by Benjamin Keep – Education Article

Recently I wrote a post about Learning Styles and why teachers held fast to their belief in them, even in the face of convincing evidence that they are not only hogwash but counter-productive. Several people responded including Benjamin Keep who works with Ulrich Boser at his organization the Learning Agency which uses the science of learning to help organizations succeed. Much of their work focuses on an idea called Dual Coding, a scientifically validated concept that puts what seems compelling…

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Strong Voice, Register Shifts and Warm/Strict: Ms. Cenac Greets Her Students – Education Article

09.26.19Strong Voice, Register Shifts and Warm/Strict: Ms. Cenac Greets Her Students “It’s going to be great!” Strong Voice is a critical tool for teachers. They need to manage a room, ensure directions are followed, make sure students listen–those things come with the territory. If you can’t do them, you can’t do your job. That doesn’t mean Strong Voice can’t also be warm and caring even while it helps us set expectations. In fact, moments when we set expectations and limits…

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My “Hot Take” on NAEP Reading Scores – Education Article

10.30.19My “Hot Take” on NAEP Reading Scores Mine’s probably a lukewarm take but you get the point NAEP scores are out today. Reading scores are lower. Especially post-elementary. This quote is telling: “NAEP Scores: While the 1-point decrease among fourth-grade students is small, the 3-point decline among eighth-graders is substantial, federal officials said.” I think a “hot take” is what you call it when you use social media to make an instant semi-thought-through response, right? I’m sure this doesn’t count…

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Blogging with Seesaw – Education Article

This year I’m teaching trimester long courses for 5th and 6th graders in Media Literacy and Digital Literacy at Casady School in Oklahoma City, and also serving as a technology integration coach with all our PK-12 teachers. In this post, I’d like to share a couple “How To” tutorials I’ve created for my students to help them “share outside” the walls of our classroom, using Seesaw Blogs. "#DENSI2012 Survey Results: Interactive Blogging" (CC BY 2.0) by Wesley Fryer Over the years, since blogging…

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Two Great Coaching Videos from John Leonzo – Education Article

09.26.19Two Great Coaching Videos from John Leonzo Leonzo and Team Last week I had the pleasure of doing an interview with John Leonzo on his basketball coaching podcast, Full Timeout. John is assistant coach of women’s basketball at Cedarville University. In addition to a great conversation about coaching and teaching, he mentioned in the intro that he had a website where he posted coaching videos. I hadn’t known that so I spent some time over the weekend checking it out.…

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Lesson Preparation: How Christine Torres Prepares To Teach – Education Article

10.13.19Lesson Preparation: How Christine Torres Prepares To Teach Torres’ Champions, Reading Deeply from Number The Stars. (Note vocab wall in distance) A few weeks ago I began work on the latest revision to Teach Like A Champion, what will become version 3.0 in about a year’s time. One of the biggest changes will be with Chapter 4, which is going to shift focus from Lesson Planning to Lesson Preparation, which are the things you do after your lesson is planned…

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Darren Hollingsworth’s Threshold: How do you not start at happy? – Education Article

09.27.19Darren Hollingsworth’s Threshold: How do you not start at happy? “Always a pleasure…” Yesterday I posted a video of Trona Cenac’s Threshold at Troy Prep–it was a beautiful example of a teacher bringing warmth and caring to a setting in which there was also much to be done to ensure learning. Today, reviewing film we just shot at from Great Yarmouth Charter Academy, I was struck by the same theme in Darren Hollingsworth’s Threshold–and honestly, I couldn’t stop smiling. I…

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How ‘Standards’ Work In Our New Reading Curriculum – Education Article

09.25.19How ‘Standards’ Work In Our New Reading Curriculum Irreconcilable? In her new book, ‘The Knowledge Gap,’ Natalie Wexler writes, “Cognitive scientists have known for decades [that] the most important factor in reading comprehension is not generally applicable skills like finding the main idea — it’s how much knowledge & vocabulary the reader has.” We agree and our new Reading curriculum is designed to build background knowledge intentionally as students read. But we also know that schools using it live in…

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The TLAC Way in the Music Classroom: A Guest Post by Stephanie Kelln – Education Article

I had the pleasure of meeting music teacher Stephanie Kelln at one of our recent workshops. She hails from Colorado, teaches at Centennial Elementary in Evans, and approached meat one of the breaks to ask about using TLAC techniques in the Music classroom. My answer wasn’t great honestly, but hers–a blog post about how she used TLAC with her students was. She writes:             Centennial Elementary School, in Evans, Colorado, is a 100% free-and-reduced lunch school with a significant English…

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