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Saturday, December 27, 2014

Students need to know what goals have been set for them in order to understand the instruction they are given and the purpose of the strategies they are learning. It is key for students who are developing meta-cognition. Here is a great article on how to set strong goals. Courtesy of ASCD Smart Brief.

The Big Fresh Newsletter from Choice Literacy
December 27, 2014 - Issue #413

Happiness of Pursuit
When a great adventure is offered, you don't refuse it.
                                                 Amelia Earhart
I've been enjoying the book Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life by Chris Guillebeau, about the joy that comes in life from quests. Guillebeau set out to visit every country in the world, and he accomplished his goal while he was still in his mid-30s. He isn't a wealthy guy, and the book chronicles nights spent sleeping on airport floors in third-world countries and the deep anxiety of visiting unsafe countries where westerners weren't welcome. He also shares other stories of ordinary people with extraordinary quests.
The quests can often involve travel. My two sisters are on a quest to bike in each of the 50 states together. Guillebeau writes movingly of a woman with a terminal cancer diagnosis who set out to view more species of birds across the world than anyone had ever seen. But a quest doesn't have to take you far from home -- one of the questers in Guillebeau's book set out to cook an authentic meal from every cuisine in the world, all within the confines of her suburban Colorado home.
The book reminded me that kids aren't only natural-born questioners -- they also love quests. Childhood reading provides a kind of scaffold for the bigger quests children might face down the road. All around us there are children who are right now memorizing dozens of stats for their favorite baseball or hockey team. When I was nine, I fulfilled my quest of reading a whole wall of children's books about the presidents at the town library (just because it was there, I guess).
Maybe we shouldn't be too concerned when a child is on a quest to read every book in a series (even when there are 47 of them), or a book that is far over their reading level because it is a favorite of friends. A quest isn't just an item on a bucket list -- it's something that requires planning, sacrifice, and often a bit of risk.  And aren't those all elements of reading beyond your comfort zone, with goals or texts that are a little bit daunting?
I am not on a quest at the moment, but I want to find one. I'm using the questions Guillebeau provides as a starting point for finding one:
What excites you?
What bothers you?
If you could do anything at all without regard to time or money, what would it be?
I am taking my time finding a quest -- or maybe I'm letting one find me.
This week we look at goals. Plus more as always -- enjoy!
Brenda Power
Founder, Choice Literacy


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Here are two features from the archives on goals for teachers and students: 
Katie Doherty considers goals for book clubs in Assessing Learning During Student-Led Book Clubs:
Ruth Ayres writes about being kind to yourself and realistic in On Perfection and Goals:
Make goals in your classroom SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely) by using this advice from Maurice Elias at Edutopia

Lead Literacy is our subscription site designed especially for literacy coaches and school leaders. You can sample content at this link:
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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Deeper learning involves meta-cognition - understanding the thinking process and directing your own thinking. Enjoy! Courtesy of ASCD.

School districts explore deeper-learning model
Some experts call "deeper learning" an emerging concept in U.S. schools. The model often includes project-based learning, group work and long-term cumulative assessments. The article highlights recent data on the effectiveness of the model. District Administration magazine online (12/22)Bookmark and Share

Monday, December 15, 2014

This is encouraging to me. It means that students will learn higher level thinking and metacognitive strategies. Hurray! Courtesy of ASCD Smart Brief.

Some districts increase class time for Common Core
Some school districts are altering their class schedules to allow more time to cover the Common Core State Standards. In some cases, districts are lengthening class periods to 90 minutes from 45 minutes. The Hechinger Report (11/28)Bookmark and Share

Monday, December 8, 2014

I am posting this information here today, becuase I believe it gives us an eye into the minds of teachers and how we learn and apply our understaandings. It is a lso a great resource. Enjoy Courtesy of Tch Teaching Channel

Director's Cut — Recorded Webinar: Research-Based Practices for Using Video
Watch the video
Teaching Channel Teams
Using Video for Professional Learning: Research-Based Strategies

Dear Darlene,

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Miriam’s presentation details research-based strategies for using video that have been shown to create lasting results in improving teacher practice. Our video-enabled platform, Teaching Channel Teams, provides interactive tools to support these strategies including a mobile app for easily capturing and sharing classroom video.

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Saturday, November 29, 2014

This should come as no surprise to any of us. The combination of skills is the way the brain works! Take a look and see what you think. Courtesy of ASCD Smart Brief.

Research: Mixed-set assignments may boost test scores
Homework assignments in which students study mixed-sets of skills may help boost student performance on tests, according to a recent study. Students using a mixed-set model were able to solve 72% of the items on a surprise test, while students using a more traditional method -- one in which they studied skills in isolation -- solved 38% of the problems. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (11/23)Bookmark and Share

Thursday, November 20, 2014

I am posting this article here because I believe teachers must have a level of understanding of how they think and why. Coutesy of ASCD Smart Brief.

Educators define "great teaching"
Five educators share their insights in this article into the qualities that make great teachers. They suggest apprenticeship, passion and the ability to give and receive feedback as some keys to being a great teacher. National Public Radio/npr Ed blog (11/8)Bookmark and Share

Friday, November 14, 2014

Higher level thinking is "taught" and "learned" in projects like these - especially when students create and apply rubrics. Well worth the read. Courtesy of ASCD Smart Brief.

                                                                       Students use "genius hour" to complete hands-on projects

Some fifth-graders at a Georgia school are using a "genius hour" during the school day to work on projects such as building a roller coaster, bookshelves and dioramas. Students present their projects at the end of the unit and are graded by student-developed rubrics. The Times (Gainesville, Ga.) (10/29)
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Friday, November 7, 2014

The use of the term personalized learning has been used and abused. Here is an article that addresses those issues and helps us think about the use of the term and the instruction it implies. Enjoy. Courtesy of ASCD Smart Brief.

Groups seek to define "personalized learning"
Many schools are looking to personalized-learning programs and principles to shape learning among diverse student populations, but what constitutes "personalized learning" may not always be clear. This article highlights efforts by various stakeholders -- including ASCD -- to help define the concept. Education Week (tiered subscription model)Bookmark and Share

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Teaching is a fine art and is based on the teacher's knowledgge of how students learn. Following is an excellent article on the feedback. Enjoy!

The Big Fresh Newsletter from Choice Literacy
October 25, 2014 - Issue #405

Learning Spaces
Memories aren't stored in the head or the heart or even the soul, but in the spaces between any two people.
                                                             Jodi Picoult

I had the privilege of collaborating with a literacy coach recently. At the end of several days together we were chatting about what we noticed and next steps. Heidi, the instructional coach, summed up her observations by noting that in my coaching and teaching I "create spaces for learning." I have not been able to stop thinking about these words since she shared them with me.
When I asked her to explain what she meant she added, "I notice you tend to begin by modeling something, setting up a situation, asking a question, or sharing an observation. Then you back off and leave the learner, whether it be a teacher or a student, the space to practice, reflect, and think."  She continued, "This space is important because it allows the learner to make sense of what they are doing and gives the teacher an opportunity to observe, assess, and understand where the learner is in the process. It makes the process more authentic to both the learner and the teacher. The learner is more prominent in the instructional process; it feels more productive and respectful."
I love this idea of "creating space for learning." It invokes an image for me that includes time, response, differentiation, and openness.  Space can be defined in terms of the physical area and in terms of freedom. Space gives room to make decisions, change direction, affirm, or reject. Space is something I realize I need in order to learn, and maybe that is why I offer it when I teach.
I don't think I was making a conscious decision in creating space, but now that I am thinking more about it I do realize this is how I learn. I need to think about things for a long time before I can own them. I take time when I am driving, running, or writing to create space in which to ponder new ideas. I am not someone who can read or hear something and then immediately champion the idea. I need to understand it in relation to my beliefs as an educator. I need to question the research, consider the point of view of the author, and talk out my ideas with colleagues. Space gives me the time and freedom to do this thinking and to make connections between what I know to be true and new ideas.
Space sends a message to the learner: I am inviting you in and I want you here. I am thankful to Heidi, who pushed my thinking by sharing her observations with me. Now that she has pointed it out, I want to hold myself accountable to it. In the words of Maya Angelou, &qu ot;Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better."

This week we look at peers supporting each other in classrooms. Plus more as always -- enjoy!
Clare Landrigan
Contributor, Choice Literacy

Clare Landrigan founded Teachers for Teachers with Tammy Mulligan. She spends her days helping educators from New England and beyond do the hard, thoughtful, and rewarding work of improving schools for young readers and writers. You can read their latest thinking at their Perspectives blog.

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[For sneak peeks at our upcoming features, quotes and extra links,  follow Choice Literacy on Twitter: @ChoiceLiteracy or Facebook:
Ann Marie Corgill has suggestions for Building Peer Conferring Skills in the Primary Grades in this article from the archives:

Mix It Up at Lunch Day from Teaching Tolerance is celebrated this week on October 28. It's a wonderful way to build new connections, respect, and friendships among children and adults:
Pernille Ripp has excellent tips for How to Make Your Anti-Rewards Philosophy Fit in a Pro-Rewards School:
Last chance to join Franki Sibberson for the Text Complexity in Grades 3-5: Minilessons, Nonfiction Text Sets, and Independent Reading online course October 29 - November 9.  The course includes three on-demand webinars, a DVD, Franki's book The Joy of Planning, and personal response from Franki tailored to your needs on the class discussion board. Click on the link below for details:
The new online course Supporting Teachers in Writing Workshops: A Course for Literacy Coaches with Ruth Ayres runs November 7-18. The focus is on conferring, record-keeping, and helping teachers at their point of need. Click on the link below for more details:
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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Here is a great opportunity for important information - FREE! This reading clarifies many of the misunderstandings about Marazano's work. Enjoy! Courtesy of ASCD SmartBrief.

Setting the record straight on "high-yield" strategies
Dr. Marzano contends that classroom strategies found in books are a good place to start, but schools must move beyond simple lists to get results. This recommended reading examines why using a comprehensive framework or language of instruction should be the basis for professional dialogue within your school or district. Download your free copy now!Bookmark and Share

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Deeper learning and its importace for student succes has been studied. I think you will enjoy reading about the results. Courtesy of ASCD SmartBrief.

Studies: How deeper learning benefits students
Students attending schools that focus on deeper learning had better test scores and people skills than students at other schools, according to recent studies. Researchers also found that on-time graduation rates were higher among students who focused on deeper learning. Education Week (tiered subscription model) (10/1)Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

I usually post regarding student meta-cognition, but today, I am posting this for teachers to think about the process they go through to scaffold student's learning. It is one of the best articles I have read. I hope you can find some use for it as well. Courtesy of Edutopia.

How scaffolding can help students learn material faster

09/30/2014 |
Teachers can use video, leading questions and other tools to provide on-the-spot scaffolding to help struggling students, educator Rebecca Alber writes in this blog post. Alber gives examples of how to use scaffolding to break lessons into smaller pieces to help students understand a concept.
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