Patriot Update

September 28, 2014

Transformational Teachers Facilitate Productive Struggle

It's hard not to rescue kids when they beg for help. But that altruistic instinct can get in the way of learning. In a Wired Magazine piece, "Telling You the Answer Isn't the Answer," Rhett Allain explains why letting students engage in productive struggle is the unpopular and necessary approach to instruction:

What if a person was having trouble doing a pull up for exercise? Instead of giving them some other exercise, I could help them by doing the pull up for that person. Right? No, that wouldn’t actually be useful. However, if I push on the person's feet a little bit, they can still struggle and still exercise.

Warning: allowing productive struggle to occur will consume more class time. However, when the learning process is frictionless, retention is less likely. Struggle actually saves re-teaching time in the long run and is the best way for new dendrites to grow.

Allowing productive struggle to occur, using artistic and scientific instruction, modeling symphonic thinking, and encouraging students to lean into constructivist problem solving can lead to the holy grail of transformational teaching: epiphany

Try This...

Ways to Check for Understanding

1. Summary Poem Activity:

• List 10 key words from an assigned text.

• Do a free verse poem with the words you highlighted.

• Write a summary of the reading based on the words you highlighted.

2. Invent the Quiz

• Write 10 higher-order text questions related to the content. Pick 2 and answer them in half a page.

3. The 411

• Describe the author’s objective.

4. Opinion Chart

• List opinions about the content in one half of a T-chart, and support your opinions in the right column.

5. So What? Journal

Identify the main idea of the lesson. Why is it important?

About Leave...

  • Professional leave - To avoid (or minimize) classes not being covered by subs, the district has stipulated that teachers should submit their request for a substitute into Aesop within 24 hours of being notified of an upcoming professional development that will take them away from their classroom.

  • Post ALL personal & professional leaves on the 'Personal & Professional' leave calendar posted on the collaboration site.

Have a project that requires extra funding? is an online charity that makes it easy for anyone to help students in need. Public school teachers from every corner of America post classroom project requests on our site, and you can give any amount to the project that most inspires you.

When a project reaches its funding goal, we ship the materials to the school. You'll get photos of the project taking place, a letter from the teacher, and insight into how every dollar was spent. Give over $50 and you'll also receive hand-written thank-yous from the students.

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KISD Bond Related Information

  • KISD is in the bottom 20% of the state in 'per pupil' expenditures and we are in the top 13% of the state in student performance
  • KISD has grown ~215% in the past 15 years.
  • If bond election passes, Elementary, ELC, CATE, and a 5-8 campus would open in 2016.

Save the Date...

What Storybook Character Will You Be On October 3rd?

It can be as simple or as elaborate as you would like...

Mark Your Calendar...

Book Fair...October 6-10

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October 10 - PTA Hosting Fall Tailgating, Outdoor Movie Night, & Book Fair

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