The Stink of Segregation Needs to End in Steel Valley Schools – Education Article

 I am a teacher at Steel Valley Schools.   I am also an education blogger.   In order to belong to both worlds, I’ve had to abide by one ironclad rule that I’m about to break:   Never write about my home district.   Oh, I write about issues affecting my district. I write about charter schools, standardized testing, child poverty, etc. But I rarely mention how these things directly impact my school, my classroom, or my students.   I…

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Record Video Directions and Maximize Your Minutes | – Education Article

Few things are more frustrating than repeating yourself over and over. Yet, many of the teachers I work with repeat the same information and directions multiple times in a lesson. Sometimes this is the result of students who are distracted or not paying attention. Sometimes a student walks into class late and needs to know what to do. Other times a student may need to hear the instructions again because they got started, hit a bump, and need clarification. Whatever…

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Keeping Play Cognitive – Education Rickshaw – Education Article

I’m excited to announce a new workshop that I’m leading at The Future of Education Now Conference (#FOEN2019) at Western Academy of Beijing. It is one based around some my recent explorations in cognitive science research, and creativity & design. The description can tell you more about the workshop, which I hope will peel back the layers and present research findings on play, behavior, and cognition for elementary-aged students and beyond: Schools are rapidly moving towards play-based learning to prepare students to…

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Are Teachers Allowed to Think for Themselves? – Education Article

 As a public school teacher, I am often told what to do and how to do it.   Go teach this class.   Report to lunch duty at this time.   Monitor this student’s progress in this way, that student’s progress in another way, differentiate the following, document this medical condition, write up this behavior, check for that kind of hall pass, post and teach these academic standards, etc., etc., etc.   Some of these directives I agree with and…

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NAEP Test Scores Show How Stupid We Are… To Pay Attention to NAEP Test Scores – Education Article

 Brace yourselves!   America’s NAEP test scores in 2019 stayed pretty much the same as they were in 2018!   And the media typically set its collective hair on fire trying to interpret the data.   Sometimes called the Nations Report Card, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) test is given to a random sampling of elementary, middle and high school students in member countries to compare the education systems of nations.   And this year there was one…

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Planning a Station Rotation for Your English Classroom | – Education Article

“What are students doing in the stations that are not the teacher-led station?” I field a lot of questions like this. Teachers want to know what types of activities I incorporate into station rotation lessons. Since my teaching experience is in English, I wanted to share some of my favorite station ideas to inspire teachers who are flirting with the idea of trying the station rotation model. For those teachers who are already using the station rotation model, I hope…

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Charter Schools Cherry Pick Students & Call it Choice – PART 2: The “EVERYONE’S DOING IT!” Excuse – Education Article

  “Got school choice?” asks a charter school supporter.   But who exactly is she addressing – families or charter school operators?   Because it is the later group who is offered choice by school privatization – not parents, families or students.  Billionaire investors and charter school managers answer, “Heck yeah – we’ve got school choice! We get to choose to take your tax dollars but not your child!”   As we’ve seen in Part 1 of this article, charter…

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How Many? A Counting Book – Education Article

How Many? A Counting BookBy Christopher Danielson(Stenhouse, 2018 – Learn more) Reviewed by Michael DiClemente Is it strange to have a middle school history teacher review a book about math? I requested to review How Many? for a slightly selfish reason. I am the father of two girls, six and two, and I love helping them discover new things and encouraging them to be curious about the world. As my older daughter was going through kindergarten, we felt comfortable with the reading…

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Lessons from Cognitive Science that I’ve Used to Improve my Teaching – Education Rickshaw – Education Article

I  recently gave a presentation called The Cognitive Science of Creative Subjects at Learning2Asia, a conference which I thought was an incredibly well-run by Nanjing International School. The format of the workshop was really fun: Teachers do mostly hands-on, design-related experiments on themselves to sort of demonstrate how different principles in cognitive science work. I also tried to translate the principles into useful classroom applications, and to tell the story of each of the research studies that the workshop was based…

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3 Strategies Designed to Maximize the Impact of SyncTV Episodes | – Education Article

When I facilitate station rotation workshops with teachers using StudySync, I encourage them to consider designing offline discussion stations. There is value in having a small group of six to eight students discuss a text as opposed to facilitating a whole group discussion. In a small student-led discussion, every student has an opportunity to speak, they are responsible for keeping the conversation going, and they rely on each other as resources to dig deeper into the discussion questions. Unfortunately, a…

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Eight Things I Love About Elizabeth Warren’s Education Plan – And One I Don’t – Education Article

 My daughter had bad news for me yesterday at dinner.   She turned to me with all the seriousness her 10-year-old self could muster and said, “Daddy, I know you love Bernie but I’m voting for Elizabeth.”  “Elizabeth Warren?” I said choking back a laugh.   Her pronouncement had come out of nowhere. We had just been discussing how disgusting the pierogies were in the cafeteria for lunch.  And she nodded with the kind of earnestness you can only have…

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Planning a Station Rotation Lesson for Your Math Classroom – Education Article

Last week in Palm Springs, I had the pleasure of coaching a 9th-grade math teacher. It was exciting to work with a math teacher who was eager to try using the station rotation model in her math classroom. Math instruction tends to be linear with each lesson building on the one before. This can make it challenging for teachers, who are used to using whole group teacher-led lessons, to transition to blended learning models. The station rotation model poses additional…

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Racial Disparity in Student Discipline Isn’t All About Race – Education Article

In 2016, the poorest 50% of American adults had an average net worth (home and financial assets minus debt) of just $7,500. To make matters worse, only a year previously it was $9,000. The difference all went to the top 1% who gained an average of $1.5 million during that same year.   These facts have real world consequences for every level of society – especially how our children behave in school.   CONSEQUENCES   It seems clear then that…

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Questions to Guide a Reflective Conversation on Learning – Education Article

Most educators desire meaningful feedback that can be used as a catalyst for growth. When it comes to improving learning, criticism will rarely, if ever at all, lead to changes to professional practice. Here is the main difference between the two: Feedback – information about reactions to a product, a person’s performance of a task, etc., used as a basis for improvement. Criticism – the expression of disapproval of someone or something based on perceived faults or mistakes. As you…

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Is Math Anxiety Totally Avoidable? – Education Rickshaw – Education Article

Math and me have had a tumultuous relationship. When I (Zach) was in high school I had a pretty bad math teacher, whose cynicism and poor teaching skills – students were meant to “discover” the solutions to problems before receiving proper instruction – played a role in my decision at the time to never pursue a career that was related to math. During my junior year I studied in France and chose to take the Literature track, which meant less…

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Greater Test Scores Often Mean Less Authentic Learning – Education Article

 The main goal of schooling is no longer learning.   It is test scores.   Raising them. Measuring growth. Determining what each score means in terms of future instruction, opportunities, class placement, special education services, funding incentives and punishments, and judging the effectiveness of individual teachers, administrators, buildings and districts.   We’ve become so obsessed with these scores – a set of discrete numbers – that we’ve lost sight of what they always were supposed to be about in the…

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