Medium 9781945349850

Launching and Consolidating Unstoppable Learning

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Part of the Unstoppable Learning Series

Adopted by educators worldwide, the Unstoppable Learning model includes seven elements of teaching and learning: (1) planning, (2) launching, (3) consolidating, (4) assessing, (5) adapting, (6) managing, and (7) leading. This book offers strategies for launching (introducing content and hooking students) and consolidating (facilitating students' comprehension) to help readers cultivate and increase meaningful, student-centered learning.

Learn classroom management strategies to support student engagement and learner autonomy:

  • Become familiar with the student engagement mindset continuum and gain classroom management strategies that help establish a growth mindset for students.
  • Understand the theories of self-determination, participation, and motivation for students.
  • Consider differentiated instruction and classroom scenarios that increase participation and intrinsic motivation for students during a lesson launch.
  • Boost competency and learning consolidation by tapping into student engagement strategies designed specifically for different kinds of students.
  • Learn how to monitor bias, which can negatively affect motivation for students who are struggling.
  • Focus on student-centered learning to help students relate to content, and learn when and where to differentiate instruction to provide more learner autonomy.

Contents:
Foreword
Introduction
Chapter 1: Student Engagement
Chapter 2: The Agitator Mindset
Chapter 3: The Retreater Mindset
Chapter 4: The Probationer Mindset
Chapter 5: The Aficionado Mindset
Chapter 6: The Academician Mindset
Chapter 7: Engagement Culture Schoolwide
Epilogue
References and Resources
Index

Books in the Unstoppable Learning series:

  • Unstoppable Learning
  • A Handbook for Unstoppable Learning
  • Leading Unstoppable Learning
  • Adapting Unstoppable Learning
  • Assessing Unstoppable Learning
  • Managing Unstoppable Learning
  • Launching and Consolidating Unstoppable Learning

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7 Chapters

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Chapter 1: Student Engagement

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CHAPTER 1STUDENT ENGAGEMENTTeacher instruction either inspires or dulls engagement. The launching (contexts) and consolidating (situations) that you create influence students more than any other aspect of their education (Parsons et al., 2014). Other elements can inspire students, but your teaching practices are at the center of a student’s desire to learn in your classroom. Sadly, educators often focus improvement initiatives on changing students, not changing their own practices. I, too, have been guilty of this. All the research in this book (including Dweck, 2006; Fisher & Frey, 2015; Muhammad,2018; Ryan & Deci, 2000a, 2000b) tells us that educators are the ones who need to adjust. It also tells us that when we do adjust and use the most effective strategies, our students are more likely to succeed (Hattie, 2012).How should educators and other stakeholders define engagement? What is its significance? How can they measure it? What are its elements? How can educators and stakeholders implement those elements? We’ll answer these questions in this chapter.

 

Chapter 2: The Agitator Mindset

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CHAPTER 2T H E A G I TAT O R M I N D S E TEvery teacher in the world has had students with the agitator mindset. These students’ behavior disrupts class, foiling the teacher’s opportunity to educate. The teacher engrains these students’ names in his or her mind. I met my first student with an agitator mindset when I was a student teacher in a fifth-grade class. Brad was tall, energetic, intelligent, and compulsive. His teacher had moved him to every corner of the room to sit with a combination of students around him to inspire a behavior change. Brad interrupted everyone’s learning. The morning I began student teaching, Brad was in his new assigned seat—by the floor next to the teacher’s desk.It was only early September.Brad did not do most of his work. The work he did was rushed and incomplete.Brad did not stay in his seat. Brad would joke about the classmates around him. He joked about the teacher and me. He was disengaged from the content, his classmates, and his teacher.

 

Chapter 3: The Retreater Mindset

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CHAPTER 3T H E R E T R E AT E R M I N D S E TEighth grader Stacy sat quietly in my language arts class. I found out shortly after the school year began that she lived with her older brother, and her father, who had an addiction. Stacy did nothing in class—less than nothing. She completed no assignments. Asking where her work was, I learned, would lead to her acting out. Stacy and all of her teachers had developed an unspoken truce—allow her to sit quietly in class, and she wouldn’t blow up. During a conference, her father seemed to care, but we never saw any follow-through. She didn’t take part in extracurricular activities, and she didn’t seem to engage with students, either. She seemed to be withdrawing from the world—but we had a breakthrough during a theater game.Stacy, who had never wanted to say anything, was the first to volunteer for a character-development game called teachers and students. In the game, the students acting as teachers give one-sentence commands, and the students do exactly what they say—in a way. The students attempt to seek out the teachers’ true wishes and use their words against them. They must comply, but they are supposed to flip the command. It’s much like how the book character Amelia Bedelia behaves. When

 

Chapter 4: The Probationer Mindset

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CHAPTER 4T H E P R O B AT I O N E R M I N D S E TAdam was like a flash of lightning on the football field. He was a scrambling junior varsity quarterback who used his feet more than his arm. He scored touchdown after touchdown for the team I coached. From those first days ofAugust practice, Adam was a leader. It was not until school began in September thatI discovered the type of student Adam was.Football coaches do more than teach players a game. They are caring adults in a young person’s life—a protective factor that improves a student’s odds of resilience(Center on the Developing Child, n.d.). They help to build an affective connection between the player, team, and school—relatedness. As a coach, I had many conversations with my players, listening to their questions and difficulties, and helping where needed. This was important, because it was my job to make sure my players stayed academically eligible to play. This meant that a student had to begin the season with over a 2.0 grade point average (GPA) and stay above that mark during the season.

 

Chapter 5: The Aficionado Mindset

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CHAPTER 5THE AFICIONADO MINDSETIt would be accurate to describe eighth grader Aaliyah as obsessed with her grades.In school, she listened to her teachers, kept organized, and always turned in her work on time. Teachers and the principal regularly gave her the student-of-theweek award to recognize her excellence.Every day, when she got off her bus, Aaliyah made the quick walk home with her little brother. Although her parents were not home but still at work, unprompted, she immediately sat down with a snack to complete her homework. Like clockwork every day, even on Fridays, homework was the routine. If she had questions, she would video chat with her father. Unlike many students in her class, homework included studying. Before her tests, she independently made flash cards or study guides. She sought out her parents after dinner to quiz her on those resources. After completing her work for the day, Aaliyah read for pleasure or attended volleyball practice.

 

Chapter 6: The Academician Mindset

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CHAPTER 6THE ACADEMICIAN MINDSETValentina was a seventh grader with a passion for writing, and not just the process or the composition of a story. She asked the most interesting questions about how plot arc impacts the reader’s interest in a story and how character development is intertwined in that process. She found many of the class assignments too easy.Outside of school, Valentina was a voracious reader of young adult novels. She had a different book with her all the time. What the class read over weeks, she consumed in an evening. Valentina also wrote at home, working on her own young adult novel similar to what she was reading. She brought in chapters for me to read. Once, she even skipped bringing in the simple vocabulary homework and gave me another chapter. She did eventually turn in the vocabulary work, but it was clear where her focus was. Valentina was more interested in the mission of exploring writing than doing a simple homework chore.Valentina’s comments in class were so insightful they sometimes confused many of her thirteen-year-old classmates. She was thinking deeply about the concepts we were exploring. I feared I may have been an obstacle to her learning. I needed to do something different.

 

Chapter 7: Engagement Culture Schoolwide

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CHAPTER 7E N G A G E M E N T C U LT U R ESCHOOLWIDEEarlier chapters focus on grades preK–12 teachers. This chapter supports teachers and administrators, since principals and district leaders have a broader reach and can do much to establish schoolwide culture. Systematic changes precede culture changes. You can lead the steps to systematic change.Here, I will explain why staff may resist change, so you can get buy-in. Then, I will walk you through the steps you’ll need to take to create a culture of engagement in a school at large.Resistance to ChangeWhy would anyone ever fight against developing high levels of student engagement?The short answer is that our school culture is deeply engrained and difficult to change(Muhammad, 2018). There might be pushback when your team decides on what strategies to implement to increase engagement. It is important to know why some educators push back and to help them understand their feelings of resistance and why they should join together as a team to implement new strategies in the classroom.

 

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