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  • Who is Formative Assessment Really For? | Teaching Matters
    teaching and learning in New York City and across the country The first descriptor of the College and Career Ready Student proffered by the Common Core states in bold letters They demonstrate independence Students work without significant scaffolding are able to independently discern and write without prompting More broadly they become self directed learners effectively seeking out and using resources to assist them This sounds great Who could object Similarly Charlotte Danielson s Framework for Teaching provides multiple criteria and indicators in her descriptions of Distinguished practice that emphasize student agency and independence Regarding the student s role in assessment she is quite specific For Component 1f Designing Student Assessments distinguished practice might include that Students are actively involved in collecting information from formative assessments and provide input Hers is not a new idea The fundamental principle that students should become owners and consumers of their own learning data has been well researched and proven effective And yet it is not widely practiced We at Teaching Matters work with many teachers and teacher teams who are highly skilled in the teacher driven uses of formative data Making immediate instructional adjustments Making near future instructional adjustments Making last chance instructional adjustments But classroom environments where students regularly make their own learning tactic adjustments based on formative data are more rare We aim to change this The Mastery Connect tool provides affordances that can help teachers down this path Teachers can conduct online polls and quizzes where students can see the results both individually and aggregated as a class instantaneously Students can get scores from individual standards aligned assessments immediately and reflect upon them to adjust learning tactics Finally the tool presents students with an individualized dashboard where each can monitor her or his progress across each assessment and in all the

    Original URL path: http://www.teachingmatters.org/node/529 (2016-02-13)
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  • Teaching Matters Celebrates 20 Years, and Honors Our Founder | Teaching Matters
    Rohatyn a champion of public education and the woman who made it all possible Tweed Courthouse headquarters of New York City s Department of Education was the lovely site for the festivities Chancellor Carmen Fariña paid tribute to Teaching Matters long standing role in supporting teachers throughout New York City and her personal experience when a superintendent with Teaching Matters exceptional quality support We know our partnership will continue Chairman of the Board Olga Votis kicked off the evening with a warm welcome to all and a special tribute to Mrs Rohatyn whose daughter Nina Griscom spoke on behalf of her mother Lynette Guastaferro our Executive Director gave heartfelt thanks to Mrs Rohatyn for her personal mentorship and visionary leadership Lynette continued with a reflection about her own years teaching in Baltimore and both the daunting and gratifying responsibility for students education She laid out some numbers too In our work to increase teacher effectiveness and help close the achievement gap we ve touched the lives of over 500 000 school children We ve directly coached over 30 000 teachers And we ve partnered with more than 900 schools In our most recent program evaluation we found increases in student achievement across nearly all grades in the schools evaluated In some grades our students soared For example our intensive partner schools posted an 18 increase in the number of their proficient fifth grade math students Brian Rosenbloom Principal of Chelsea Career and Technical Education High School in Manhattan paid tribute to Teaching Matters impact in the years since he came to the school as a turnaround principal They re our partners he said What they gave our teachers nobody else was able to do Teaching Matters has allowed us to give our teachers a level of support unparalleled in the

    Original URL path: http://www.teachingmatters.org/node/527 (2016-02-13)
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  • Teacher Leaders: Planting a flag – or foot – in the classroom | Teaching Matters
    s enough to counteract the challenges the profession faces such as its pink collar tradition lack of voice and lack of advancement opportunities The idea of teacher leadership is to work in the classroom but to affect people beyond the classroom to create this into a profession like medicine so the teacher has the respect and the status The goal of teacher leadership also includes improving teacher effectiveness very directly through the collaborative help that an experienced teacher can give a colleague In New York Teaching Matters is working on a project that helps teacher leaders facilitate teams working with special populations to address their students needs better But teacher leadership is not yet universally understood or embraced Johnson explains that there are three powerful norms of teaching that this new model for structuring schools challenges They are respect for individual teachers autonomy privacy and seniority Though these old assumptions can make pay a sticking point there are ways around the problem and some unions have in fact embraced new ways for teachers to be compensated if there is a clear recognition that the pay is for additional duties or in recognition of specified criteria The 2010 Baltimore Teachers Contract is an early example called remarkable by Moore Johnson Says Marietta English head of the Baltimore Teachers Union Our contract really revolves around teachers having a voice and teachers being able to choose a pathway for their career She says that while merit pay was once considered a third rail in teacher compensation the vast majority of her members don t want to go back to the previous system which relied on years in service and degrees and appreciate the chance to advance at their own pace according to how aggressive they are in moving up the ladder as far as getting pay for the performance they do Good principals can also overcome resistance to teacher leadership Moore Johnson says I think principals are absolutely critical in what happens with these roles I do think in some cases principals won t let go There are pioneers however Katherine Boles credits principal Jerry Kaplan with unflagging support decades ago when she and her colleague Vivian Troen were first talking about the teacher leadership they were developing with him in their school He was our leader but he gave leadership to us as well We began to go to conferences and speak People would always say Can we call your principal It astounded us We said No you can call us if you want to know anything more That s the way he wanted it to be And there is a benefit that goes directly to principals teacher leadership can help distribute their very heavy workload Overcoming resistance may also involve a very structured teacher leadership program In New York City at the Department of Education Donalda Chumney is leading implementation of a federal Teacher Incentive Fund effort to make crystal clear who teacher leaders are and how they are selected Back

    Original URL path: http://www.teachingmatters.org/node/525 (2016-02-13)
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  • Creating Teacher Leadership Targets - and Hitting Them - with Micro-Credentials | Teaching Matters
    teacher leaders Teaching Matters began the micro credentialing program in January starting with workshops on facilitating learning teams for both principals and a cohort of teachers At the administrators workshop principals learned about the roles teacher leaders can fill and how to use the skills of those teachers to improve learning One important component is maximizing team analysis of data and student work Teachers selected for the micro credentialing program attended a two day institute covering the rubric for competencies protocols how to select the best focus area and how to measure impact Then they were assigned a Teaching Matters coach to guide them in developing and demonstrating the competencies The coach also observes teachers as they practice those competencies in their schools In many cases These are teacher leaders that have already been identified that are already doing leadership work in their schools Strain said So they re coming at it with a lot of skills already in place The micro credential eligible skills are grouped into three main bands facilitation and team building data and research and pedagogy and instruction Within those bands teachers can earn credentials for such skills as facilitating groups of colleagues using data to undergird their instruction and aligning curriculum to achieve the best outcomes Attaining a credential requires passing assessments that include observation and evidence of effectively leading teams to influence classroom practice As they demonstrate these competencies we can then recognize the work that they re doing by issuing a micro credential said Jennifer Gleason a senior educational consultant for Teaching Matters and a micro credential coach Successful teacher leaders are rewarded with more than a certificate They are awarded a digital badge embedded with data showing the competency earned and the evidence of what they did to earn the credential Teachers

    Original URL path: http://www.teachingmatters.org/node/523 (2016-02-13)
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  • Teacher Leadership By Any Other Name: Distributing the Load at Tompkins Square Middle School | Teaching Matters
    say every time I trust you guys to make the best decision The school carves out time for teachers to meet together weekly in committees Everyone is welcome We all feel more accountable when we re talking to each other when we re making decisions together says Douglas Keyzer 7th grade Humanities teacher Keyzer has served as a committee facilitator a coordinating role There are regular meetings within departments and within grades One day a month teachers have a joint best practices show and tell On a snowy day in February a group from Teaching Matters visited the school and saw classrooms with a culture that looked participatory energetic and effective Later a team of Tompkins Square teachers shared their thoughts about the school s operation Words recurred community trust structure consensus building a democratic system At a time of heated debate in education policy about what works to engage and retain good teachers who in turn engage their students it seems as if Tompkins Square has hit upon a winning formula Their faculty turnover has been low and student performance high But there are a few caveats TSMS is small and it has a well established culture of cooperation and participation The school was founded with that ethic and its teachers must subscribe to it in order to be hired As a former teacher himself Principal Estwick values it and has been committed to ramping it up Not every school has a principal who puts so much trust in his staff and believes so strongly in teacher voice He is reluctant to tamper in some ways with what is working Although some of his teachers say the school embodies the best principles of teacher leadership he is leery of the term because it could create too much hierarchical division

    Original URL path: http://www.teachingmatters.org/node/521 (2016-02-13)
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  • Teacher Leadership Helps Schools Start Students on the Right Foot | Teaching Matters
    learning they absorb in workshops outside of the classroom Research shows that teachers are most effective when they use their classrooms as sites of intentional investigation to reflect on and improve their practice In fact this approach to engaging teachers in professional learning is the foundation of my work as one of the developers of Teaching Matters Early Reading Matters program which emphasizes teacher collaboration as the driver of improved reading achievement among K 3 students So what has invited this change For starters reforms to the profession like new teacher evaluation requirements have prompted teachers and school leaders to find creative ways to optimize their resources These same reforms have also necessitated targeted professional development for teachers We have seen more and more professional learning communities popping up in schools in response to these realities In addition research on teaching and learning has helped us figure out that effective instruction relies on formative assessment because it can with precision influence a teacher s next instructional steps And given the complexity of teaching children to read formative assessment which involves monitoring student progress toward reaching the established learning targets is essential This task however can be overwhelming for teachers reviewing formative assessment data in isolation For this reason teacher collaborative inquiry that centers on student achievement guided by skilled teacher leaders makes sense Finally student achievement data give us some insight Only one third of tested third graders demonstrated proficiency in reading on the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress The achievement data in an overwhelming majority of the schools in which this program is being introduced this spring are even more sobering The need is clearly great and there is a road map for improvement Teacher leadership promotes a sustainable culture of professional learning and growth that uses collaborative

    Original URL path: http://www.teachingmatters.org/node/519 (2016-02-13)
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  • Harnessing Teacher Talent for Leadership: The Feds Invest in Spreading the Idea | Teaching Matters
    teachers are willing to use their talents in a range of roles from instructional coaching and curriculum reform to crunching student data and organizing parents but they ve often been denied the chance Not all principals have welcomed sharing leadership or prioritized teacher ideas needs and growth The practitioners of instruction have had the least voice in how we move schools said Lynette Guastaferro executive director for Teaching Matters If teachers don t inform reform there can be a disconnect between what works on the ground and policies I am continuously amazed at how little our schools tap into the talent that many many teachers have They teachers want to use that talent without leaving the classroom said Ron Thorpe president of the National Board Their ideas and talents can be key in improving outcomes for their students and aiding principals who have seen the time they have to devote to curriculum and instruction eroded by other demands They re saying their job is as hard as ever if not the hardest it s ever been said José Vilson a math teacher in New York City and board member for the Center for Teaching Quality A teacher leader can really do a lot to decrease the stress that principals have with developing all the new initiatives Summits organized under the banner of Teach to Lead took place in Kentucky Boston and Denver in December January and February Jennifer Gleason a senior education consultant for Teaching Matters led a workshop at the first summit held in Louisville Attending were educators and administrators who earned invitations after submitting ideas to Commit to Lead an online forum created as an adjunct to Teach to Lead The summit was a time to refine ideas and get feedback from other educators Among those Gleason met

    Original URL path: http://www.teachingmatters.org/node/517 (2016-02-13)
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  • It’s 9 am. Do You Know Where Your Students Are? | Teaching Matters
    bring them to the next level will be scattershot at best The growth of high stakes testing and accountability has only added weight to the need to monitor student progress with accuracy These days we count the state among the parties interested in how your students are progressing deeply interested Two and a half years into adoption of the Common Core Standards in New York teachers know that their ability to track student progress on mastery of the standards has become a professional imperative At the same time innovation in the education technology space has produced an abundance of tools to track student progress At Teaching Matters we keep tabs on these things with an eye towards three critical features ease of use quality of the data and the ability of the data source to inform and improve practice In September 2014 we launched a network wide initiative to track student mastery of standards using a tool called Mastery Connect The tool consists of two main components trackers which provide an easy to read dashboard of student mastery progress on standards aligned assessments and and a social network through which teachers can share assessments We presently have 15 schools piloting the tool with implementations ranging from small teams of teachers to whole school adoption The results have been encouraging Here are three quick highlights Standards Alignment Teachers report that the process of aligning assessments to standards question by question has resulted in higher quality and better targeted assessments Professional Collaboration Training a keener eye on the the alignment of assessments has resulted in more productive conversations in team meetings Teams looking at common assessments are easily able to drill down into comparative views of student progress across a grade to move from there to item analysis and discussions about instructional

    Original URL path: http://www.teachingmatters.org/node/514 (2016-02-13)
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