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  • Is Every Teacher a Literacy Teacher?: Reading and Writing in the Content Areas | Teaching Matters
    workplace we are discovering the need to expand our understanding of literacy as a set of essential skills that are critical for success in every subject area Teaching literacy in isolation misses the point of why we need to be literate in the first place The idea of reading and writing across the curriculum isn t new We already know that having students write in their content classes say math strengthens their performance in ELA assessments But the critical shift in rethinking the idea of literacy is that we want students to read and write in math because it also makes them achieve better results in math If they can construct a viable argument and critique the reasoning of others they will be doing the real work of mathematicians If they can t it doesn t matter how good they are at calculating or memorizing facts There is no question that students need to learn a complex range of skills in reading and writing But they also need to learn how to learn through reading and writing When students in social studies class conduct research on current events issues and write letters to their elected representatives to express their opinions they are exercising critical literacy skills And yet we would not deny that these activities are appropriate for the social studies classroom To further illustrate this point imagine a hypothetical scenario in which we have the specific goal of only preparing students to be scientists The purpose of K 12 education in this scenario is to make our students ready for a college experience where they will only take science courses so that they can graduate and become scientists They would still need to know how to cite evidence from informational texts to support an argument They would still need to know how to write explanatory texts to convey complex information They would still need to know how to prepare and deliver oral presentations and communicate with other scientists World progress in science depends on literate scientists So if we can agree that content specific literacy skills are vital to the work of the scientist the historian and the mathematician we must then ask who is best prepared to teach these skills Who should teach students how to write a story proof to solve a math problem Who should teach students how to dissect primary source documents to learn about a historical period Who should teach students how to use experimental data to construct an argument about a scientific principle Confining literacy skills to the ELA classroom makes about as much sense as allowing students to use wooden pencils only in wood shop As a Using Data facilitator I once conducted a session for all of the Data teams in one New York City school Each Data team represented a different academic discipline During this session the teachers themselves answered the question about who has the responsibility to teach literacy As we drilled down into the data for each subject

    Original URL path: http://www.teachingmatters.org/blog/every-teacher-literacy-teacher-reading-and-writing-content-areas (2016-02-13)
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  • Rohatyn Prize for Schools Where Teaching Matters | Teaching Matters
    Teaching Matters Submitted by Lynette Guastaferro on Thu 03 08 2012 3 43pm Teacher effectiveness is a hot topic these days but lately the conversation and investment has focused on teacher evaluation While measuring teachers effectiveness is a significant first step more important will be to use this information effectively and strategically to develop retain and reward effective teachers There is no question that teaching matters Accordingly this year s 15 000 Elizabeth Rohatyn Prize will highlight innovations in the area of teacher capacity building and effectiveness Teaching Matters is seeking nominations to highlight replicable school based strategies that education leaders implement in this area Teaching Matters urges you to nominate a school principal whose leadership results in an academically rigorous and innovative learning environment This year s submissions will be accepted from all publicly funded K 12 schools in the New York metropolitan area within a 100 mile radius of New York City The application and criteria for the Elizabeth Rohatyn Prize are available here Teachers parents principals and network leaders are encouraged to submit nominations There are schools that inspire and develop great teachers Do you know one Click Here to Nominate View the discussion thread Elizabeth Rohatyn

    Original URL path: http://www.teachingmatters.org/blog/15000-rohatyn-prize-schools-where-teaching-matters (2016-02-13)
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  • Even Nothing Can Be Something | Teaching Matters
    achievement gap Counterintuitively teams can be excited to find a significant difference in performance between different sub groups within their schools They re not happy that a gap exists they re just glad that they ve found it But when you do the analysis and find no gap you should be just as pleased if not more so Keep disaggregating the data using different criteria but if you don t find any achievement gaps in the end enjoy the discovery that your school seems to be providing relatively equitable educational opportunities for all of your students What does it mean when testing data shows even performance across strands It s a clear path to drill down into a content strand where students are clearly showing deficiency But when strand data doesn t provide easy answers it s time to start looking for pervasive problems that reach across strands Could students be having trouble with multi step problems in Algebra Geometry and Measurement alike Are students having vocabulary issues regardless of whether the question is asking for a literary response or critical evaluation A deeper look within the individual strands can usually reveal more fundamental problems What does it mean when students leave answers blank While a telling distractor answer might give you insight into why students got the wrong answer a significant number of blank answers can signal that students didn t even understand the question It also might indicate a problem with stamina if students are leaving a lot of questions blank towards the end of the exam A student guessing blindly has a one in four chance of making a lucky choice but blank answers are often deafening in their silence What does it mean when surveys show ambivalence from respondents Surveys often measure participant attitudes using a

    Original URL path: http://www.teachingmatters.org/blog/even-nothing-can-be%C2%A0something (2016-02-13)
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  • A Conversation with Linda Darling-Hammond | Teaching Matters
    those kinds of expectations for students mean that students are continuously being asked to think to analyze to synthesize to communicate to evaluate to do those things that they will have to do in college in the world outside of school to persevere at big task to frame and solve problems Guastaferro I agree that good assessment is the lynch pin to developing students higher order skills but what about accountability Working in New York City schools we see both the negative and positive effects of the accountability system But prior to accountability there was not a systemic way to look at performance and there were areas of true neglect no one really looking under the hood How do you strike that right balance Darling Hammond Used well assessments can be apart of a very powerful instructional improvement system and an accountability system where the goal is to be transparent about what kind of outcomes we are getting The tests have to be worth teaching to the outcomes have to be the right ones the process has to engage teachers in ways that makes them smarter about their teaching and more capable of being responsive to students In addition there s a form of accountability that we have not been investing adequately in this country which is professional accountability That is what happens in Finland Singapore Canada and many other countries With attention to professional accountability everyone who wants to enter teaching is both highly selected and highly supported Teacher education is high quality and free to candidates and they have put a lot of attention into designing high quality preparation because they think that it is a good investment We ve been trying to put all of our eggs only in a testing with rewards and sanctions basket And we ve gotten as far as you could get with that model on accountability We need to make the investments in professional knowledge and skills Then we need to allow the assessment system to be a good measure of learning in which teachers could actually be engaged as part of the process of evaluating the assessments scoring them and thereby becoming better teachers Guastaferro Do you think our accountability focus comes from the fact that this country has so much inequity in the education we offer our students We ve seen so much failure in our schools and are there examples where they have the kind of a real diversity in income levels like the extremes that we re see in the United States Darling Hammond There are a lot of countries where almost all of the kids are poor In Singapore 80 of the kids live in public housing and yet it is one of the highest achieving nations in the world But no kid is homeless Guastaferro Yes a culture of poverty vs economic poverty Darling Hammond No child is without health care No child is without food We have one of the highest effective rates of poverty

    Original URL path: http://www.teachingmatters.org/blog/conversation-linda-darling-hammond (2016-02-13)
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  • Save the Date: Teaching Matters to Honor Linda Darling-Hammond on October 18, 2011 | Teaching Matters
    and Innovation at our annual Champions of Education and Innovation celebration Linda Darling Hammond is an authority on school reform educational equity and teacher quality In 2007 Education Week named her one of the 10 most influential people in the field of education over the last decade David Pogue Emmy award winner and New York Times technology writer will deliver the keynote address The event will take place at noon

    Original URL path: http://www.teachingmatters.org/blog/save-date-teaching-matters-honor-linda-darling-hammond-october-18-2011 (2016-02-13)
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  • All Together Now: Common Core and the Necessity of Professional Learning Communities | Teaching Matters
    Core aligned curriculum and assessments teachers will need new skills to teach to and assess the higher order skills embedded in the new standards and ensure consistent levels of rigor school wide In most schools this will require redefinition of staff roles and responsibilities In order to meet the challenge of the task ahead schools will need a new model where teachers work collaboratively to push their students and their practice The efficacy of educators will be less about the competencies of individual teachers and more about maximizing the shared knowledge resources and skills of the collective In Leaders of Learning How District School and Classroom Leaders Improve Student Achievement Richard Dufour and Robert J Marzano provide a framework for building collective capacity using professional learning communities PLCs The establishment of PLCs necessitates a shift in culture from the individual teacher working in isolation to purposefully grouped teams of teachers working collaboratively to achieve shared goals Dufour and Marzano define a PLC as an ongoing process in which educators work collaboratively in recurring cycles of collective inquiry and action research to achieve better results for the students they serve Professional learning communities operate under the assumption that the key to improved learning for students is continuous job embedded learning for educators It is not enough to randomly group teachers and require them to meet on a weekly basis A properly developed PLC has a shared vocabulary group norms and specific goals focused on the issues that will have the greatest impact on professional practice and student achievement In addition school leaders committed to the successful implementation of PLCs must provide teachers with the time guidance and support structures necessary to meet their objective The key to maintaining an effective PLC is to focus on the right work and to ask the right questions Dufour and Marzano offer the following four questions as a starting point for any PLC What is it we want our students to know How will we know if they are learning How will we respond when individual students do not learn How will we enrich and extend the learning for students who are proficient After implementing last year s Common Core pilot program the Department of Education concluded the importance of structures like teacher teams common planning time as well as support from school leadership are integral to a school s ability to make significant shifts in their everyday classroom practice Many principals intuitively know that teacher teams done poorly without leadership support clear goals and an outcome driven focus are a questionable investment of scarce educational resources It is critical that principals develop strong distributed leadership with specific goals tied to measurable outcomes In some schools it may be best to start with a few groups facilitated by strong teacher leaders and grow from there What successes have you seen as a result of collaboration among teachers What challenges does the PLC model present for traditional schools What concrete or practical suggestions do you have

    Original URL path: http://www.teachingmatters.org/blog/all-together-now-common-core-and-necessity-professional-learning-communities (2016-02-13)
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  • Teaching Matters’ Common Core Summer Series | Teaching Matters
    of higher order skills It s easy to know whether a student has correctly identified parts of a speech Comparatively speaking it s more difficult to identify whether a student has sufficiently demonstrated knowledge of synthesis How will teachers come to a common understanding of what is needed to assess these higher order skills And what kinds of structures can leaders put in place to ensure their teaching staff is prepared to meet the challenge of the Common Core While schools are not expected to fully implement the standards until 2014 school leaders know that experimenting early and often will ease the instructional transition During the 2010 2011 school year 100 New York City Schools participated in a Common Core pilot program With the support of national education experts teams of teachers and administrators developed Common Core aligned curricula including college ready performance based tasks and assessments Samples of tasks student work and related instructional supports can be found on the Department of Education website The DOE has also posted citywide instructional expectations for the 2011 2012 school year during which all schools will be expected to engage students in at least two Common Core aligned tasks one in literacy and one in math and look at student work in teacher teams Over the next few weeks Teaching Matters Common Core Summer Series will examine the implications the new standards will have on teacher practice We ll also explore how professional learning communities PLCs and teacher teams can support school implementation of the new standards Finally we ll examine a few technologies that enable teachers collective capacity supporting collaboration around Common Core outcomes and improving teacher effectiveness We hope you ll join the conversation by sharing your ideas and experiences If you would like to subscribe to our Summer Series

    Original URL path: http://www.teachingmatters.org/blog/teaching-matters%E2%80%99-common-core-summer-series (2016-02-13)
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  • In the News: Teaching Matters at Chelsea High School | Teaching Matters
    of Juniors passed this year s English and US History Regents exams with comparable gains seen among Sophomores who took the Science Regents Teaching Matters has worked in partnership with Chelsea High School for three years to help build a school culture of professional learning planning and collaboration During the 2010 2011 school year Senior Educational Consultants Jelbin DeLaCruz and Judith LeFevre worked with 18 teachers across grade levels and subject areas with a specific focus on improving student writing outcomes DeLaCruz and LeFevre supported staff in the creation of grade specific writing prompts and rubrics aligning the curriculum to the school s instructional priorities Using Writing Matters as a model the school administered a baseline writing assessment to identify deficiencies and strengths among the student population Throughout the year teams came together to check in on student progress and revise instructional resources as needed According to DeLaCruz When we administered the end of year assessment we saw a measurable improvement in students writing skills in the problem areas we d identified in September We also noticed more students taking ownership of the writing process fostering an atmosphere of self directed learning Teaching Matters is committed to helping schools produce

    Original URL path: http://www.teachingmatters.org/blog/news-teaching-matters-chelsea-high-school (2016-02-13)
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