Teaching Tips

1 year 29 weeks ago
from Sue Wilder
While planning for a recent day of Professional Development with principals and reading coaches, a district leader commented that although teachers had been using the Making Meaning program for a while, students were not really thinking about text in the way the program authors intended. She was concerned that unless the instruction was strengthened, students would not be prepared for the demands... (1)
1 year 30 weeks ago
from Chad Kafka
Students and staff at Forest Park Middle School in Franklin, Wisconsin received Google Apps for Education accounts during the 2011–2012 school year. I led this charge as the tech coach of the building. We have six houses of students in the building (three at eighth grade and three at seventh grade), so we rolled out Google Accounts to students house-by-house. I worked with a core teacher in... (1)
1 year 31 weeks ago
from Sue Wilder
Last Sunday I spent the entire afternoon on the couch watching the Master’s Golf Tournament. Though my husband is a golfer, I am not. Yet I still found myself obsessed with the final round. Augusta National is a beautiful golf course, at least on television, and the competition was interesting and exciting, but what really kept me engrossed throughout the afternoon were the advertisements...
1 year 34 weeks ago
from Jeff Allen
What’s my number? What’s my Lexile? If you recognize either of these questions it is very likely that you have been around students at the beginning of a library session, early in the school year. If you are unfamiliar with the term “Lexile”, it is a number that is assigned to a student after taking the reading portion of the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test, and... (5)
1 year 38 weeks ago
from Sue Wilder
I recently asked several administrators why principals and district leaders should budget for classroom libraries. I got the following responses. Well, the same reasons a basketball coach would budget for basketballs, court time, etc. Kids improve their reading by reading. They develop print concepts, vocabulary, comprehension skills. They learn about the world they live in. Just like basketball...
1 year 49 weeks ago
from Sue Wilder
The more our students can do for themselves, the less we have to do for them. This includes choosing their own books for independent reading, monitoring their reading for comprehension, problem solving and self-correcting when meaning is lost, and setting goals for themselves in relation to the expectations of the Common Core standards. Fostering this type of self-directed learner is a result of... (1)
1 year 52 weeks ago
from Sue Wilder
Making Meaning lessons are designed so that students do the thinking and talking about the important ideas in the texts they are working with in class. Our goal should always be to expect students to do this work themselves so that they learn how to think deeply in ways they can later apply in their own reading. The lesson transcript below offers an example of the kind of conversations that...
2 years 3 weeks ago
from Sue Wilder
Listening and Speaking Anchor Standard 1: Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas, and expressing their own clearly and persuasively. In my experience, students (and adults for that matter) prefer to work with people they know or are friends with. They don’t typically group themselves in...
2 years 8 weeks ago
I have been discovering a lot about learning spaces lately—one of our school board’s areas of focus this year. My first foray into figuring out what our board meant by learning spaces was to visit Walton Middle School. The principal there, Alison Dwier-Selden, spent a lot of energy this summer on two important spaces in her building—the library and the cafeteria. One of the...
2 years 8 weeks ago
from Sue Wilder
Students who read and write every day are building their stamina as readers and writers, and by now should be able to sustain their reading and writing for close to 30 minutes a day. Reading and Writing Standards 10 call for students to “read and comprehend independently” and “write routinely” so daily practice is critical. Take some time this week to observe across both...
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