November 5, 2014
Independent Tribune Features Mary Phillips
Tuesday, Nov. 18th, 8:30am
505 N Carolina 49
Kathy Parker from DPI will present on Digital Media Centers
Look forward to seeing everyone on the 18th.
Destiny 12.5 will soon be available:
November 14, 2014 Destiny 12.5 will be available for download.
This includes exciting Universal Search features to make searching and learning experiences easy, quick and pinpoint accurate.
Free webinar is being provided. To attend the free webinar visit:
What Makes for Effective Professional Development?
In this Teachers United report on teacher preparation, support, and retention, Sarah Margeson, Chris Eide, and Alison Fox list the criteria for effective professional development:
- It is designed to improve teacher effectiveness as measured by improved student outcomes.
- It is tied to schoolwide reform efforts, a clearly communicated vision for student learning, and student-achievement goals.
- It includes structured planning and practice so teachers can immediately implement new practices in their classrooms.
- It’s job-embedded – that is, designed around a specific context, staff composition, and instructional needs and gives time for teachers to collaborate with a coach or other teachers to plan for classroom implementation.
- It is differentiated based on teachers’ previous experiences, demonstrated areas for growth, student age-group, and content area.
- It involves teachers in planning content and methods and builds in opportunities to give feedback on the quality of PD.
- The leader/facilitator is knowledgeable, engaging, and responsive to feedback.
- It includes active participation by teachers and collaboration within teacher teams.
“Intentionality: Strategic Preparation and Development to Retain Our Most Effective Teachers” by Sarah Margeson, Chris Eide, and Alison Fox, Teachers United, Fall 2014,
What Students Aren’t Learning On Their iPads
In this Education Week article, Benjamin Herold reports that the reading achievement gap between advantaged and disadvantaged students may be greater than previously believed because researchers haven’t taken into account SES-based differences in online reading skills. Donald Leu (University of Connecticut) just completed a study of seventh graders (“The New Literacies of Online Research and Comprehension: Rethinking the Reading Achievement Gap”) and found the gap between upper- and lower-income groups is large, amounting to a full year’s worth of learning.
“We need to regularly and consistently show students how to use three critical skills,” says Leu: “Being able to identify the author of information; being able to evaluate the expertise of the author; and being able to evaluate the point of view that’s being expressed on the Web page. The first two are almost never taught. The third tends to be taught, but with offline information, in the form of narratives.”
Leu is concerned that a lot of technology activity in schools – for example, bring your own device programs and the use of apps on iPads – is not addressing this cluster of skills. “Typically these apps are teaching offline reading skills, such as word recognition or vocabulary,” he says. “They’re not teaching critical evaluation of sources on a Web page, or effective e-mail communication, or how to synthesize information from multiple websites to draw a conclusion.”
“Literacy Skills for the Web Showing Gap” by Benjamin Herold in Education Week, October 15, 2014 (Vol. 34, #8, p. 1, 11), www.edweek.org
Teaching Students to Find the “MVP” Phrase in a Text
In this Edutopia article, Todd Finley mentions a few of the standard quiet-down techniques – the “whisper bell” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvo2BbQDsqk, raising two fingers, saying “Attention, class,” and Harry Wong’s “Give me 5” (Focus eyes on the speaker, Be quiet, Be still, Empty your hands, Listen). He also mentions a technique he once used to silence a group of 36 out-of-control sophomores: he clutched his chest and dropped to his knees like Sergeant Elias at the end of Platoon. “Instantly, dead silence and open mouths replaced classroom Armageddon,” says Finley. “Standing up like nothing had happened, I said, ‘Thanks for your attention – let’s talk about love poems.’ I never used that stunt again. After all, should a real emergency occur, it would be better if students call 911 rather than post my motionless body on YouTube. I’ve thought this through.”
Finley then shares some other possible quiet-down techniques suitable for different grade levels. It’s important to introduce your chosen technique and practice with students until they can get to 100 percent silence. (Click on the article link below to access videos on several of these.)
Kindergarten and lower elementary:
- Making a novel sound like a rain stick or wind chime;
- Popping a marshmallow into your mouth, puff out your cheeks, and have students puff out theirs.
- Blowing “hush bubbles” from a Windex bottle filled with bubble mix.
- Placing Quiet Critters on each student’s desk and moving too-noisy students’ critters close to the edge of their desk, which means no talking or the critter gets taken away. Students who have their critter at the end of the activity have their name added to a reward chart.
- Various commercial products like Traffic Light (ICT Magic), Super Sound Box, Class Dojo, and Too Noisy App.
Upper elementary and middle school:
- Saying “Silent 20” at the end of an activity; if students return to their seats and are completely quiet in 20 seconds, the group advances one space on a giant facsimile of Game of Life, and when they reach the last square (which takes about a month), the class has a popcorn party.
- Talking to students as they enter the room and using informal chit-chat to socialize them to class expectations.
- Using Doug Lemov’s “100 percent attention” hand gestures and countdowns.
- Having a content word of the week – perhaps integer, renaissance, or circuit – that signals that it’s time for silence.
- Playing classical music (Bach, not Mahler) at low volume as students enter the room sets a professional tone.
- Write on the board, “If you wish to continue talking during my lesson, I will have to take time off you at break. By the time I’ve written the title on the board you need to be sitting in silence. Anyone who is still talking after that will be kept behind for five minutes.” This is effective because it gives students adequate warning to comply.
Call and response (the first few are for elementary and middle, the others for high school):
- Teacher says: Holy… Students respond: Macaroni.
- Teacher says: 1,2,3, eyes on me… Students respond: 1,2, eyes on you.
- Teacher says: I’m incredible… Students respond: Like the Hulk. Grrrrr (and flex).
- Teacher says: Ayyyyyyyyyyyy… Students respond: Macarena.
- Teacher says: I get knocked down… Students respond: But I get up again, you’re never going to keep me down.
- Teacher says: Oh, Mickey, you’re so fine… Students respond: You’re so fine, you blow my mind – hey, Mickey.
- Teacher says: The only easy day… Students respond: Was yesterday. (A Navy SEAL slogan)
“30 Techniques to Quiet a Noisy Class” by Todd Finley in Edutopia, October 21, 2014,
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