Let’s all get back to teaching . . .

Robin and I believe that teachers are not expected to or not allowed to teach in an authentic way that will  Invite the Learner In Excite Them Through Engagement Ignite Their Curiosity to Learn

If you Google “reading programs for sale” and you get 157,000 hits in .46 seconds . . . Schools are chocked full of miracle programs purchased by administrations who need to show that they are doing something to improve schools test scores.

Here is a silly video we put together that speaks to the absurdity of the current situation

Design Thinking and PBL | Edutopia

This is a great point that has to be considered when introducing new ideas!

Consider this conundrum: much of what we know about teaching comes from 16+ years of observation as students. In no other profession do you spend that much time watching the previous generation before being told to change everything once you take control. Without the framework or scaffolding for that change, it’s truly unreasonable to tell educators, “OK, start innovating.”

Source: Design Thinking and PBL | Edutopia

Why Do “innovations” Fail?

1-Why do smaller size classrooms show little change in the data?
Because the style of teaching remained the same.
John Hattie of Visible Learning fame, currently the latest “thing” in education, famously based his work on a meta-analysis of factors that influence student achievement. His results showed that class size had little impact when compared to other strategies. The reasons can be simply explained, if the number of students in the class is reduced but the teacher does not take advantage of the change with different teaching methods there is no measurable positive effect.
Class size
2-Why does integrated technology harbor a cloud of doubt about it’s value?
Because low level instruction delivered with technology is still low level instruction.
People seem to think that 21st-century education is all about technology. It’s not. Granted, technology can be used as a tool to enrich the learning and teaching experience. But the best way to prepare our children for the new millennium’s challenges is by simply allowing them to learn and think independently.
Good instruction challenges students to think, to connect, to find relevance and to ultimately be able to transfer and apply what they have learned in a unique and different context. If technology can contribute to or enhance this process then technology as part of instruction is great. But when kids cut pictures out of magazines and pasted them to poster boards and display the posters in the hallway there is little critical thinking. And so if the kids, using 21st Century technology download images from the web and then upload them to a class website where they are viewed by parents but there is still no critical thinking . . . This is may be why acceptance of technology is lagging . . .
3-Why doesn’t inquiry learning (PBL, Projects) have a bigger impact on achievement?
Because when an inquiry-based project results in 24 similar student-generated products, it’s not really inquiry-based learning.
Authentic inquiry-based learning consistently student generated work that has similar in characteristics but are very different from one another. When students are control of their own learning journey every product will be as unique as each child. What does it say if the goal of inquiry-based learning is “discovery” and at the end of the lesson every child has discovered the same thing?

Teachers Want To Teach, Students Want To Learn

#Teachlearn. Teachers Want To Teach, Students Want To Learn.

“Teachers Want To Teach. Students Want To Learn. What’s getting in the way?” Is it too much teacher talk? or  Is it too little student to student talk?

This hashtag, #TeachLearn follows a pattern. Much like a haiku  poem that follows a pattern. A haiku is brief, structured around nature and insightful.

Haiku (俳句, (plural haiku) is a very short form of Japanese poetry. It is typically characterized by three qualities:

*The essence of haiku is “cutting” (kiru).[1] This is often represented by the juxtaposition of two images or ideas and a kireji (“cutting word”) between them, a kind of verbal punctuation mark which signals the moment of separation and colors the manner in which the juxtaposed elements are related.

*Traditional haiku consist of 17 on (also known as morae though often loosely translated as “syllables”), in three phrases of 5, 7, and 5 on respectively.

*A kigo (seasonal reference), usually drawn from a saijiki, an extensive but defined list of such words

 Summertime and The Catfish Are Jumping                 


                                         are jumpin’; just for the joy

                                         doin’ belly flops.            Jack Fogarty ‘97

Similarly, #TeachLearn, is brief, structured around education and insightful. The first part is a question that puts the spotlight on a CONCERN, something we as parents, educators and students may consider an ineffective or poor teaching/learning strategy. The second, also in the form of a question, actually poses a possible CONSIDERATION for changing the previously mentioned  concern

The goal is to enlighten the conversation and highlight the ongoing obstacles of the traditionally, didactic classroom model, that continues to flourish. In turn, #TeachLearn offers salient points for consideration in global and substantive conversations across our schools.

#TeachLearn. Teachers want to teach. Students want to learn. What’s getting in the way? Is it too many priorities or  Is it the wrong priorities?

DIY. Do It Yourself. Try #TeachLearn. Educational Concern. Educational Consideration.

The Overselling of Ed Tech – Alfie Kohn

We have always said, we don’t need a high tech ditto sheet – And we agree with Alfie Kohn when he quotes – an article in Education Week, “a host of national and regional surveys suggest that teachers are far more likely to use tech to make their own jobs easier and to supplement traditional instructional strategies than to put students in control of their own learning.”

We can’t answer the question “Is tech useful in schools?” until we’ve grappled with a deeper question: “What kinds of learning should be taking place in those schools?” If we favor an approach by which students actively construct meaning, an interactive process that involves a deep understanding of ideas and emerges from the interests and questions of the learners themselves, well, then we’d be open to the kinds of technology that truly support this kind of inquiry. Show me something that helps kids create, design, produce, construct — and I’m on board. Show me something that helps them make things collaboratively (rather than just on their own), and I’m even more interested — although it’s important to keep in mind that meaningful learning never requires technology, so even here we should object whenever we’re told that software (or a device with a screen) is essential.

Source: The Overselling of Ed Tech – Alfie Kohn

Teachers say critical thinking key to college and career readiness | EdSource

It always gets back to teaching thinking . . .

California teachers say critical thinking skills, not scores on standardized tests, are the best way to assess whether students are prepared for success in college and the workplace, according to an online survey by EdSource in partnership with the California Teachers Association.Teachers said they have received much more training on how to prepare students for college – and far less on preparing them for non-college options.They also said college and career readiness has not been fully integrated into the professional development training they have received to implement the Common Core State Standards.

Source: Teachers say critical thinking key to college and career readiness | EdSource

Standardized testing blunders just keep on coming – The Washington Post

A good rule to follow when it comes major school reform – Complicated is usually profitable but not effective while Simple is effective but not profitable. Massive Standardized Testing is Profitable

One teacher in New York reported that on day 2 of testing, the third- and fifth-grade testing books were both missing the planning pages for the extended response, according to the nonprofit Change the Stakes, a group of New York City parents and educators who oppose an over-emphasis on high-stakes standardized tests.

Source: Standardized testing blunders just keep on coming – The Washington Post

BUZZ WORDS-Surprise Ending!

BBUZZ WORDS are the words one hears, “in the air” ;  indicators of “Whats’ Next?” Over the duration of a professional conference and trade show, there are words trending that you hear within various setting, through informal chats in a session, around the lunch crowd as they share the take-aways from the morning, dinner table conversations and, of course on the tweeter feed that is appearing throughout the days and evenings

The BUZZ WORDS are often NEW NUGGETS that are surfacing. phrase They are glimmers, early signs of what’s coming down the pike, as we say. These buzz words can be first time one hears them. For example, the word “seeking system” as applied to the brain as an anticipatory device that is motivational, causing the learner to want to know, to be seeking and pursuing or they can be new configurations or advancements of initiatives that are already trending. An illustration at the ASCD conference was the phrase, “transforming schools”, rather than school reform.  In addition, buzz words can be familiar words that are taken root and have become prevalent in the educational arena. In this category, one word that floated around the conference in keynotes and breakouts and in hallway conversations was “practice”; practice, repetition and rehearsal, with coaching and feedback.TO BROWSE.

BUZZ WORDS TO BROWSE. NOTE THE WORDS THAT RING TRUE FOR YOU. Creativity, Projects, Problem-based Learning, Power of Play, Real World Applications, Digital Widgets, Leadership, STEM, STEAM (add art) , and now STREAM (add reading), Grading (no zeroes), No Averaging, No Grade; Teacher Talk, Reduce, Less is More, Omit, Make Choices, Next Generation of Tests, Balance, Humanities, Critical  Thinking, Engaged, Student-Centered, Workplace Skills, Techno-Wizards with App-development exploding among young people. While these are just the words captured by 5 people around the dinner table one night of the conference, it’s clear that there are some things percolating on the back burner, and others have been move to the front burner.

BUZZ WORDS AT-GLANCE, generalizing the oncoming school scene, it may look like this: Leadership crafting schools with student centered classrooms, focused on relevant, real world learning through projects and problem-based inquiry, informed by digital sources and resources. 

SURPRISE ENDING!  In brief, to summarize the buzz words, COMMON CORE HAS COME OF AGE! Think about it” Complex learning; Student Ownership; Application and Transfer of School Skills to Lifelong Skills. Isn’t that what it’s all been about? The work continues.