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Chapter 3

Douglas Fisher Solution Tree Press PDF
When the principal calls late at night on a holiday weekend, it’s usually not a good thing. In our case, it turned out to be a great learning opportunity but a challenging one. We received a call on Labor Day weekend with a plea:“Can you cover the twelfth-grade English classes for six weeks while the teacher is out on family medical leave?” Until that time, the oldest students we’d ever taught were ninth graders. We had both taught elementary and middle school and had spent a lot of time with freshmen in previous years. We really didn't know much about the senior year or the curriculum. We were faced with a problem and one that would require our ability to consolidate our understanding of teaching and learning to design meaningful experiences for the students. We had to learn a new curriculum quickly. We had to consider the developmental differences between our students of the past and the students who would be in our classrooms now. We had to figure out how to engage 140 students at the same time. As a result of school-level systems thinking, the faculty had decided that seniors needed some experiences with large-format lectures to be successful in college. See All Chapters
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Chapter 3: Implementing the Common Core State Standards for Writing

Fisher, Douglas Solution Tree Press ePub

Seventh-grade English teacher Stephanie Tarpley asks, “Can social media affect social change? There has been lots of attention given to various charitable organizations and social causes that use social media like Facebook and Twitter, but does it have any long-lasting effects, or is it lots of hype for a short while?”

To what extent does your team understand the Writing standards: What is the essence of each standard? What teacher actions facilitate the standards in practice? What evidence will we accept that students are learning this standard?

How do the three major text types influence the writing assignments students complete and the genres they must learn?

How is technology used to allow students to produce and publish their writing such that they can interact and collaborate with others?

Using informational articles and persuasive essays, Ms. Tarpley and her students explore how social media may or may not be affecting charitable organizations and social causes. Inspired by materials from YCteen, a youth journalism organization, Ms. Tarpley assembles several short readings on the topic for her students to form a foundation of understanding. She uses Malcolm Gladwell’s (2010) essay, “Small Change: Why the Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted” to build her own background knowledge, and identifies arguments he uses in the article to develop the unit. Following the author’s lead, she located first-person accounts of sit-ins conducted across the American South during the civil rights movement and contrasted these with newspaper accounts of the same events. In addition, they viewed several Twitter feeds about the Arab Spring protests of 2011 and contrasted these with contemporary broadcast media reports. As part of this unit, students wrote daily. Sometimes they wrote short, informal exit slips that summarized the main points of a reading and discussion. But as students began to understand the complexities of the issue, they started to formulate their own arguments. Over the two-week unit, each student wrote a longer essay addressing the question Ms. Tarpley first posed to them. They cited evidence from the readings, Twitter feeds, and broadcasts to support their claims.

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Chapter 2

Douglas Fisher Solution Tree Press PDF
Intimidating. Sadly, that’s how some students describe their schooling experiences. It’s true: teachers can make learning intimidating without ever intending to do so. Students know that they’re in a given learning situation precisely because they don’t know something, whether that be fourth-grade mathematics, middle school English language arts, or chemistry. They really don’t need to be reminded of that fact. When learners are intimidated, they shut down. We’ve all seen students shut down, too scared to even raise their hand to ask a question.

One of our colleagues, Jonathan Mooney, talks about being so intimidated by spelling that he used to hide in the bathroom. When his mom learned of this, she decided to take him to the zoo every Friday of fourth grade so that he didn’t have to take spelling tests. Jonathan’s mom took care of the intimidating experience for her son by removing him from it altogether, but she shouldn’t have had to. Schools should provide a safe place to learn and grow, an ideal learning environment that invites all students into the content they are studying. Teachers’ ability to launch students’ learning is critical to their success. See All Chapters
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3 Assessing the Performance of English Learners

Douglas Fisher Solution Tree Press ePub

Issues of accountability and assessment have become part of the daily discourse of principals. In fact, you may have turned to this chapter first, because you believed it unthinkable to separate the discussion of English learner issues from the measurement of their progress. For much of the history of education in the United States, however, that was not the case. Despite the fact that the United States consists of immigrants and their descendants, English language acquisition was viewed as an imperative for the child but not necessarily for the school. However, a series of court cases and statutes have shifted the responsibility to give assessment a prominent role.

Assessment for English learners requires attention to the whole child. A multidimensional approach is necessary in order for a true picture to emerge. This requires balancing large-scale assessments with individualized informal ones that highlight strengths, rather than simply catalog deficits.

• Haven’t English learners always been assessed?

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Chapter 5: Sharing Information: The World Is Your Audience

Nancy Frey Solution Tree Press ePub

One of the milestones in our transition to literacy 2.0 teaching came several years ago when a student asked if she could write her book review on Amazon.com rather than on paper. Amber, who had read Who Will Tell My Brother? (Carvell, 2002), wanted to share her thoughts about the book with other people who had read it. She really enjoyed the poetic format of the book and at the same time was angry about the mascot issue raised in the story. She wanted to know if this kind of thing happened in other places or if it was “just fiction.” She wanted to connect with other readers, and she understood that this relatively new service would allow her to do so. As she said, “Nobody else in class has read it, but somebody out there has, and I wanna talk with them.” Despite our concerns about this new venue, we encouraged her to post a comment about the book and promised that we would read her comment and discuss it with her. Were we scared to let her share her developing voice with the whole world? Yes. Did we understand her desire to do so? Of course. And did we learn something along the way? You bet.

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