42 Chapters
Medium 9781935542735

Chapter 1

Douglas Fisher Solution Tree Press PDF
CHAPTER 1
PLANNING LEARNING
Beginning with the end in mind is generally good advice for educators. We have to know where we want to go so we can design a plan to get there. It’s like traveling to a new destination. In the old days, we got out paper maps and plotted our course. When Doug first started subbing, he used a map to plot out the path to a given school assignment. When he got lost, he’d retrace his path to figure out what went wrong. When construction or a traffic jam interfered, he would pull over and devise a new plan to get to school. Over time, computers and the Internet took over the “getting there” process. When

Nancy was a central office coordinator in Florida, she printed out directions to several locations that she had to regularly visit and kept them in her car. When traffic conditions were not ideal, she’d call the location for advice about how to get there. GPS has changed our mapping procedures. Both of us have GPS devices in our cars.The tools we use to get where we are going have changed, but the fact that we need to know where we are going has not. It’s similar to teaching. The tools have changed, but having a plan for student learning outcomes has not. Teachers have to take into account the classroom conditions and be prepared for the unexpected. They have to work to close the gap between what is and what could be. Teachers have to understand the current performance of their students as well as the grade-level and course-based expectations. Lastly, teachers must continually assess students’ performance to plan ways to develop their potential throughout the school year. See All Chapters
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2 Developing a Quality Program for English Learners

Douglas Fisher Solution Tree Press ePub

The students who arrive at our schools bring with them a host of experiences, learning profiles, and family supports. English learners aren’t uniformly the same, even when they share a heritage language, any more than monolingual English students are. Some students enter the kindergarten classroom with years of preschool education. For others, this may be their first contact with a school, regardless of chronological age. Students with extensive development in their first language are likely to use it to leverage learning a second, while those who have limited vocabulary will take longer to reach proficiency in English. In all cases, English learners have unique family and life experiences that influence their learning. This presents a host of challenges for schools as they attempt to tailor curricular, instructional, and programmatic approaches to better serve individual students.

English learners are doubly chalenged, as they must learn English while learning in English. They benefit from quality instructional programs that emphasize student talk in order to give them lots of experiences using academic language.

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Chapter 4 Analyzing and Discussing Expository Texts

Douglas Fisher Solution Tree Press ePub

WHEN ANGELICA ASKED HER TEACHER for a book about stars, he asked, “What kind of stars? You know, that word has a lot of different meanings. Are you thinking about the night sky or famous people?” Angelica, who was used to her teacher’s encouraging her to use specific terminology, responded, “I want to read more about celestial stars, like the ones in our textbook.” Her teacher replied, “Oh, excellent. I think you’ll find some very good information about these massive, luminous balls of plasma that are held together by gravity in this book,” and he handed her A Child’s Introduction to the Night Sky (Driscoll, 2004). “Wow, cool! Thanks!” Angelica exclaimed as she left her sixth-grade science class on her way to humanities.

When she got to her humanities class, her teacher, Mr. Ryan, noticed the book she was carrying and asked, “Did you pick that one? I didn’t know you were into stars.” Angelica replied, “I wasn’t, until we read about these balls of plasma in the sky. Now I want to find out more and more. Why?” Mr. Ryan responded, “I think there’s a book in here someplace about Tycho Brahe [Gow, 2002], the astronomer who built his own observatory way back in the 1500s, medieval times.” Angelica, with a look of astonishment on her face, asked, “Really, they’ve been able to study stars, I mean plasma held together with gravity, for that long? Can you help me find that book?”

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Chapter 5 Empowering Students to Think Like Scientists

Maria C. Grant Solution Tree Press ePub

Purposeful instruction involves continually reviewing and revising a plan of action designed to accommodate growth in student learning. Alterations to instructional plans result from an ongoing assessment of each student’s performance as related to predetermined goals that are aligned with state and national standards. Assessments of performance are collected as teachers listen to students’ answers to questions and to their conversations with peers, read their written work, and observe multiple other forms of presentation of their thinking. While varied, students’ performances offer teachers opportunities to assess what is being learned and what additional instruction needs to occur. Insightful teachers link learning, instruction, and assessment for each student.

Interest in the assessment of science performance among students in the United States continues to be of major concern since the publication of findings from the 2009 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA; National Center for Education Statistics, 2009), which compared the performance in reading, math, and science literacy of fifteen-year-old students in the United States with students of the same age from sixty-five countries. When compared with students in the thirty-four member countries that represent the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), findings indicate that U.S. students performed about average in reading, with a ranking of fourteenth; average in science, with a ranking of seventeenth; and below average in math, with a ranking of twenty-fifth. While these scores do show increases from PISA studies conducted in 2003 and 2006, the 2009 U.S. scores lagged behind other leading countries, such as South Korea, Singapore, China (Hong Kong and Shanghai), Finland, and Canada.

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Chapter 3 Learning to Write Like a Scientist

Maria C. Grant Solution Tree Press ePub

The old saying “A picture is worth a thousand words” is at the heart of writing instruction, because to become an expert writer, one must be exposed to writing through the texts he or she hears, reads, talks about, and attempts to craft. According to the CCSS, “Students need to learn to use writing as a way of offering and supporting opinions, demonstrating understanding of the subjects they are studying, and conveying real and imagined experiences and events” (NGA & CCSSO, 2010a, p. 18). Instruction designed to support students as writers must remain a priority if we expect them to learn to write texts that inform, entertain, explain, and argue information.

The results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP, 2011b; National Assessment Governing Board [NAGB], 2012; National Center for Education Statistics [NCES], 2012), which measures the writing proficiencies of U.S. students, amplify this need for very intentional writing instruction. Of the 24,100 eighth graders and 28,100 twelfth graders who completed the assessment, representing both public and private schools, only 3 percent at each grade level performed at the advanced or superior level, and only 24 percent at both grade levels performed at the proficient level. These findings indicate that the majority of students in each of these grades—54 percent of eighth graders and 52 percent of twelfth graders—performed at a basic level, suggesting they have only a partial mastery of the prerequisite skills and knowledge needed to perform as proficient writers. These data send an alert to teachers in grades K–6 that greater attention must be placed on purposeful writing instruction that ensures students will leave their elementary school years knowing how to write well across the disciplines. At least 20 percent of students at both grades performed at a below-basic level, indicating that they have much less than a partial mastery of the skills and knowledge needed to share ideas and information through writing. These data further indicate that the majority of eighth and twelfth graders are not proficient at sharing their thinking through written statements that persuade, explain, and convey information.

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