What is missing from teachers' lesson planning? | Ore. school devotes "teach-in" to energy, science | Ill. districts collaborate in design of "universal" math class
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March 18, 2013
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What is missing from teachers' lesson planning?
Teachers' preparation often focuses too much on planning for academic lessons -- and too little on classroom management and teaching methods -- writes instructional coach David Ginsburg. In this blog post, he writes that when he was a new teacher, he fell into a trap when he planned a project-based lesson in which students marketed T-shirts commemorating the Chicago Bulls' NBA championship. While he thoroughly prepared for the lesson, it fell flat, Ginsburg writes, because he lacked proficiency in his teaching methods and classroom-management skills. Education Week Teacher/Coach G's Teaching Tips blog (3/17)
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Download a free collection of chapters on teaching poetry from 14 Stenhouse books spanning K-12—a 266-page PDF to celebrate National Poetry Month. Available through April. Click here to get your copy!
Focus on Practice
NBCT: How to get students to buy into learning
Motivating students to learn requires engaging them as active participants who take on leadership roles in class, National Board Certified Teacher Elizabeth Stein writes in this blog post. Stein shares more of what she says she learned from Larry Ferlazzo's "Self-Driven Learning: Teaching Strategies for Student Motivation." In his book, Ferlazzo lays out five principles that teachers should adopt, such as building a community of learners, activating students' background knowledge and encouraging students to "learn by doing." MiddleWeb/Two Teachers in a Room blog (3/11)
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Ore. school devotes "teach-in" to energy, science
Middle-school students at Sunnyside Environmental School in Portland, Ore., recently spent four days focused solely on the science of energy as part of a teach-in that included field trips and visits by industry professionals. Students studied energy forms, the physics of energy, fracking and coal transport and visited a nuclear reactor at Reed College. Teachers said they appreciated the administration support to plan for the event as well as time off from the standard curriculum for the teach-in, which in past years have focused on the Iraq war and climate change. The Portland Tribune (Ore.) (3/14)
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Schools Today
Ill. districts collaborate in design of "universal" math class
Several Illinois school districts are working together to create a universal Algebra I class with common assessments and objectives that would be made available to all students, whether they are in sixth grade or ninth grade. One school official noted that collaboration of this kind is unique and allows for sharing of teaching practices. Chicago Tribune (tiered subscription model) (3/15)
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Other News
Developing Leaders
Teacher training should include ethics, morals
Studying ethics is imperative for school leaders because of the types of decisions they make and who is affected by their actions, K-12 leadership experts Jill Berkowicz and Ann Myers write in this blog post. "All educators have a responsibility to do the right thing; right not only regarding regulations, laws, policies, and procedures, but right as it touches the hearts, souls, and minds of the children they are charged with educating," they write. Education Week/Leadership 360 (3/12)
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Policy News
Should machines be used to grade student writing?
Les Perelman, former director of writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is questioning a recent study that found that machines could grade students' essays as well as humans. He finds that the study is flawed, and using machines could lead teachers to begin teaching students to write for "robo-readers." Perelman's concerns come as many states are expected to introduce new K-12 standardized tests that include writing graded by machines as part of the transition to Common Core State Standards. InsideHigherEd.com (3/15)
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The Buzz
Write It Right! is a practical 32-page flipchart that guides teachers and students through the stages of the writing process with a focus on revising and editing. Includes all of the essentials, with tips, aids, and checklists for easy reference. Only $13. Click here for details!
The language you use in the classroom can change students' lives. In Opening Minds Peter Johnston (author of the groundbreaking Choice Words) shows how words can shape students' learning, their sense of self, and their social, emotional, and moral development. Read Chapter 1: Choosing Words, Choosing Worlds.
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What men value in this world is not rights but privileges."
-- H.L. Mencken,
American journalist and essayist
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