Pine Lake Preparatory

Curriculum Connections, K-12: May 2015

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Planning for Next Year........

The power of CONFERRING with Students

Conferring in Reader's Workshop: What are you thinking?

Article & Video


In professional workshops with teachers over the years, Patrick Allen has encountered a list of "counterfeit beliefs" about the process of conferring with readers, including such comments as: "I don't have time, I don't know what questions to ask, It's too hard, I don't know what to write in my notes, I don't even take notes, I don't know how to go deep. . . ."

Seven Keys to Effective Feedback by Grant Wiggins

Advice, evaluation, grades—none of these provide the descriptive information that students need to reach their goals. What is true feedback—and how can it improve learning?

Let's Talk Managing One-on-One, Peer, and Small-Group Conferences Mark Overmeyer

Preview the entire book online:

When it comes to increasing student motivation and success in writing, classroom talk is a powerful tool. More than simply providing assessment data for predetermined standards, talking with our students builds relationships and a community where students rely on one another—not just their teacher—for advice, affirmation, and support.


The ‘most powerful’ classroom innovation — by the $1 million teaching prize winner - Time & Choice in Reading (Content Area & ELA)

Nancie Atwell is the renowned founder of the Center for Teaching and Learning, an award-winning non-profit independent K-12 demonstration school in Edgecomb, Maine, where she teaches seventh- and eighth-grade writing, reading and history.

Socratic Smackdown!

Socratic Smackdown Tutorial

53 Formative Assessments - You're Welcome!

Please select link to access this the extensive list:

Remember, formative assessments are only effective if you use them to alter your teaching or for students to adjust their learning.

English, Math, Science & Social Studies

The Benefits of Teaching Argument

The many benefits of teaching argument (via Stenhouse)

Argument not only makes subject matter more interesting; it dramatically increases our ability to retain, retrieve, apply, and synthesize knowledge.
—Mike Schmoker and Gerald Graff

Think about students' background knowledge and understanding about argument. Dartmouth's Institute for Writing and Rhetoric offers a list of what college freshmen know (or don't know). How do they compare to your students? Use the list to assess students and plan instructional moves:

Analyze commercials for elements of argument. Check out how Emily and Aubry ofWhere the Classroom Ends sequence their own argument analysis lesson. Mine their post for questions to guide students' thinking, then choose commercials that fit your current unit or theme:
(This page may take some time to load.)

Use Teresa Henning's "Argument, Persuasion, or Propaganda" handout with World War II posters (or other media) to teach students similarities and differences among the genres:

See students in Emily Davaney-Graham's class read articles about the value of young adult literature, then evaluate authors' claims about the genre in this video from Teaching Channel:

Practical, cogent, and inquiry-based, Jennifer Fletcher's Teaching Arguments is perfect for school-wide study. Preview the entire book online:


A Brief Ode to Blank Paper....... What Do You Think?

Prescriptive worksheets can often cheat children out of real thinking and understanding. Read how Tracy Zager encourages her own children to explore and communicate their mathematical thinking through writing—on simple blank paper.


Art Integration

Classroom Management

Incentivizing Your Class: The Engagement-Based Classroom Management Model

When I think of our most struggling and distracted students, I see how social pain and rejection often hijack their ability to be academically focused and successful. Optimal school performance requires positive emotional connections with those students that we want to prosper while feeling capable and competent.

When students and teachers feel this connection, we are all responding from the higher cortical regions of the brain, and our dopamine reward centers are activated by these feelings, these positive emotions. Our interactions with students are intimately connected with our own feelings and agendas. When our efforts in the classroom meet with frustration and opposition, we can inadvertently mimic our students' negative emotions.

Growth mindset


How to Create Effective Homework

Based on a recent spate of articles on homework, it’s clear that the homework wars — how much? how often? — are still topic of big interest to both parents and teachers. Some teachers hate to give homework; others see it as a vital necessity. But according to some research presented by Annie Murphy Paul, the question isn’t how much, but whether the homework teachers do give actually advances learning.

One of Those Days?

Professional Development

Compiled by Deans of Students

Shelly Sims (K-5), Lauri Schatz (6-8), Lori Reuter (9-12)