3334 Chapters
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Medium 9781943874514

3. Student Engagement

Marge Maxwell Solution Tree Press ePub

In the spring, kindergarten students are studying the role of community helpers. One student asks why there wasn’t a community helper to rescue cats from a tree. The students giggle, and another asks why there aren’t community helpers to carry a large snake. One student asks why they cannot invent a community helper. So the students work in pairs to draw an original community helper on the app Explain Everything on their iPads and record an audio narration about their community helper.

Student engagement happens when students take responsibility for their own learning and partner or collaborate with the teacher, other students, or outside experts to guide their learning. The concept of engaged learning has a well-established history that has morphed since the 1990s into much more than simply attention to the learning task. Research demonstrates that engagement in learning involves student interest (Dewey, 1913), effort (Meece, Blumenfeld, & Hoyle, 1988), motivation (Skinner & Belmont, 1993), time on task (Berliner, 1990), and high levels of active learner participation (Bulger, Mayer, & Almeroth, 2006). Students in highly engaging classrooms perform an average of nearly 30 percentile points higher than other students on standardized tests (Marzano, 2007). This chapter explains the five levels of student engagement, the elements of engaged learning, and standards for student engagement.

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Medium 9781935543336

1 Beyond the RTI Pyramid

William N. Bender Solution Tree Press ePub

Most educators have been introduced to the common conception of a three-tier RTI pyramid (Kavale & Spaulding, 2008; L. S. Fuchs & Fuchs, 2007), and that model has provided a mechanism by which educators across the nation could initiate RTI efforts. However, teachers who have been involved in the initial implementation of RTI have found that there were some incorrect assumptions resulting from the three-tier pyramid and how that pyramid was initially presented. In this chapter, after an initial discussion of the origin and implementation of the three-tier RTI pyramid, we will also investigate the fairly significant differences between the early implementation descriptions of the three-tier RTI pyramid and the actual experiences of teachers following that model.

In the commonly used three-tier RTI pyramid, Tier 1 is a general education tier that represents instruction that is presented to everyone in the class. Proponents of that three-tier model suggested that this “typical” instruction in general education classes should meet the needs of perhaps 80 percent of the students in the school population (Bradley et al., 2007; Boyer, 2008; L. S. Fuchs & Fuchs, 2007; D. Fuchs & Fuchs, 2005; Gersten & Dimino, 2006; Kavale & Spaulding, 2008; National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities, 2005; Spectrum K12/CASE, 2008). Furthermore, the general education teacher is considered the primary facilitator of instruction for Tier 1 and is expected to deliver whole-group instruction, limited small-group instruction, and differentiated instruction based on the needs of the students in the general education class. These expectations are not new and are not related directly to the implementation of RTI, but rather represent effective instructional techniques used in general education classes as a grounding for later RTI interventions. In this model, that general education teacher is also expected to monitor student performance in a variety of ways, perhaps with some assistance from other educational personnel, as allowable by the instructional demands of the class and the time constraints on the teacher.

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Medium 9781943874088

Chapter 1

McLeod, Scott; Graber, Julie Solution Tree Press PDF

Chapter 1

Seeking a

New Approach

The ongoing criticisms of educators’ current technology integration practices are deadly accurate. Although most schools have a lot of technology, they rarely use it well. As a result, they usually find that their technology-related efforts aren’t paying off as they had hoped, leaving them open to understandable and easily anticipated questions about time, energy, and financial cost. There is a lot of replicative use—doing the same things that educators used to do in analog classrooms, only with more expensive tools—and many schools and educators are using technology simply for technology’s sake. Until schools can get beyond basic replication with the digital devices that they’ve purchased, they are never going to satisfy the questions and concerns of their parents, communities, and outside critics.

Educators need better resources in order to move toward more transformative technology environments in which students and teachers use digital tools to actually do things that they couldn’t previously do in analog learning spaces. In this chapter, we review several conceptual models that are worth understanding, but they also are insufficient for most school systems.

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Medium 9781935543091

Collective Inquiry

Campbell, Martha F Solution Tree Press ePub

Think about all the questions a teacher must consider when preparing a unit of instruction. Some of those questions include:

• What knowledge, skills, and dispositions must students acquire as a result of this unit?

• What instructional strategies will be most effective in helping all students acquire the intended outcomes?

• What is the best way to sequence the content?

• How should I pace instruction?

• How can I gather evidence of student learning as I am teaching?

• What is the best way to assess student learning at the end of the unit?

• What criteria will I use to judge the quality of student work?

• What can I do to provide additional time and support for students who are struggling?

• What can I do to enrich and extend the learning for students who are proficient?

If educators address these questions in isolation, students in the same course or grade level are subject to very different experiences. In a professional learning community, educators address these and other questions collectively because collective inquiry is a better way to promote both effectiveness and equity.

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Medium 9781936764433

8 Developing an Action Plan for Success

Kathy Perez Solution Tree Press ePub

This final chapter provides a blueprint for success in your literacy program. So far, this book has examined the characteristics of struggling readers, instructional practices, student engagement strategies, and intervention tools. Now we will explore how to organize and manage your literacy classroom, design an action plan, receive ongoing professional development, and maintain and accelerate literacy achievement for all your students.

Reaching your struggling readers requires dedication, commitment, and an integrated literacy program across the content areas and grade levels. As struggling students move up through the grades, the curriculum and knowledge continue to build and the achievement gap widens unless intervention steps are taken. If students aren’t proficient readers, they will fall further behind. Literacy skills are the key to student success.

It is important to provide new information for struggling readers in multiple contexts over time (Allington, 2012). In today’s classrooms, nothing is more essential to successful teaching and learning than strategy-based instructional techniques that engage even the most reluctant and struggling student. Repeated but meaningful practice can significantly increase students’ potential for success. This can be a daunting task and challenging for busy teachers like you who are trying to accomplish too much in too little time. Give yourself permission to take baby steps on your journey to reach and teach all your students. Try one strategy at a time. You need to feel successful as well. The strategies in this book are designed to empower you, the classroom teacher, to implement an effective course of action that makes a difference for student achievement.

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Medium 9780253005939


Matthew Tully Indiana University Press ePub



Two boys stood in the main office on a Thursday afternoon, talking quietly to each other as their mom sat in a chair a few feet away. They were an example of the dropout epidemic that is devastating many American cities and the mind-boggling lack of urgency that can be found in far too many communities. The boys, brothers named Tyler and Chris, were sixteen and seventeen, respectively. They were Manual students, but only officially. They hadn’t been inside the school in a few weeks, and they’d shown up only occasionally before that. And they didn’t plan on coming anymore. Their mom, a single thirty-something mother of six, had driven them to Manual that morning so that they could formally drop out. They were intent on becoming part of the huge collection of Manual students who failed to graduate.

The brothers were waiting to find someone to talk to when vice principal Alan Smith raced through the room. He was heading from one mess to another but stopped suddenly when he saw the boys. He’d gotten to know them during the previous school year—largely because they were frequently in the office answering to one infraction or another. Their biggest problems had been an unwillingness to show up for class and an inability to live by the school’s strict dress code. Despite the problems, and despite their unwillingness to give school much effort, Smith liked them. He gave a puzzled smile. “Long time no see,” he said.

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Medium 9781935249443

1. Real-World Learning

Marge Maxwell Solution Tree Press ePub

A seventh-grade classroom has a door leading outside, and bees built a hive in the doorway. The students asked questions such as, What will we do about the bees? Why did they choose to live here? How do bees make honey? How do you move them? How do they help people?, and How can we capture them and put them in a hive so we can get the honey? The class decided that they wanted to capture the bees and maintain them in a beehive on the corner of the large school property (with permission of the principal). Teams of students researched a different aspect of this authentic problem. One team worked with a parent-teacher organization to raise money to purchase a beehive. A second team called a local beekeeper to help the students capture the bees and put them in the beehive. Another team researched how to maintain the bees and keep other students at the school safe. The fourth team researched how to extract honey from the hive, process it, and sell it. This opened another opportunity for the class as entrepreneurs!

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Medium 9781932127157

Chapter 1: Dealing With Differences

Crystal Kuykendall Solution Tree Press ePub

There is no one Model American.

—American Association of Colleges
for Teacher Education, 1973

I long for the day when we will be judged not by the color of our skin but by the content of our character.

—Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 1963

The events of September 11, 2001, will forever be indelibly etched into the memories of most Americans. Not only were we shocked and shaken by the very horror of such heinous acts of terrorism, we were reminded, yet again, of our fear of different people, different religions, different cultures, and different values. While many Blacks and Hispanics have long been familiar with the sting of racial profiling, Arab Americans (and those who look like Arab Americans) have now also discovered the acute hurt associated with the victimization and unequal treatment that result from racial or religious bias, discrimination, and prejudice.

Prior to that fateful morning, America was still struggling with issues of racism. Only two generations removed from the marches, murders, and hate-filled crimes against Blacks in the South, America has witnessed a history replete with the lynching, burning, and killing of Blacks all over this country. Moreover, the atrocities of slavery, the race riots of the 1920s, the deportation of Hispanic Americans to Mexico in the 1930s, the detainment of Japanese Americans in the 1940s, and the terrors of Jim Crow from the 1870s through the 1950s are painful reminders of the polarization and racial animus that have plagued this country because of our inability to deal effectively with differences. It is this inability to deal with differences that often leads to injustice, unequal treatment, and in some cases (too many, in fact) even death. Despite the steady increase of different races within this country, there are many Americans who stubbornly refuse to accept—let alone embrace—our growing and rich diversity.

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Medium 9781935542230

3 Using Student Achievement Data

Edie L. Holcombe Solution Tree Press ePub

Prepping for his second year at Mode, Mr. Good expands his school leadership team to be sure every grade, content area, and staff category is represented. To keep the group to a manageable size, he makes some combinations. All secretaries, aides, and lunchroom workers are one constituency with one representative, as are the electives teachers who cross over grade levels. He holds small-group meetings to be sure that all staff members know who the representatives are and how agendas and notes will be handled so they are kept informed and can provide input.

He also forms Mode Middle School’s first schoolwide data team. A few members of the original leadership team agree to double up and be the links between the two groups; several others express interest in staying with just the leadership team. They begin to talk about what “the data part” of the work will entail.

All summer, Mr. Good has been counting on one of the math teachers to become Mode’s data dynamo. They have exchanged several emails about how to begin. But she’s already having second thoughts. He’s very worried because of what he overheard her say to a friend …

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Medium 9781936764136

Chapter 1 Leading Schoolwide Inquiry Around the Common Core State Standards

Fisher, Douglas; Frey, Nancy Solution Tree Press ePub


•  What actions in your previous leadership experience have fostered development of effective collaborative planning teams? How will you use that experience to lead schoolwide inquiry around the CCSS?

•  What is your vision for implementing the CCSS ELA with teachers in your school? What first steps do you plan for developing and communicating the vision?

•  What aspects of the school culture will contribute to success in implementing the CCSS ELA? What aspects of that culture do you think will be obstacles to success?

•  What do you think is the biggest challenge you face in leading schoolwide inquiry around the CCSS ELA?

Teachers at an elementary school are accustomed to meeting regularly as a faculty. Their former principal led them in reviewing and discussing student data and directed grade-level teams to develop common assessments as a means of monitoring student progress. Three consecutive years of lackluster results left teachers and the school district disappointed with the absence of return on the time and energy invested. According to fifth-grade teacher Theresa Hughes, “I am frustrated by the fact that I was collaborating and planning with colleagues, monitoring student progress, and developing interventions for students who struggled, but we observed no notable progress.” She then qualifies her statement, “To be honest, I can remember when our meetings included the principal’s announcements and directives. Too often, we were left with little time for collaboration or professional development, and so we struggled to understand our data. We were probably shooting in the dark when it came to our instructional responses and interventions. In fact, we never really had the time to unpack our state standards together and develop curriculum in an informed way. It’s difficult to admit, but our cursory understanding of the standards probably resulted in mediocre first teaching. We were always running to catch up and relying on after-the-fact intervention to fill in the gaps.”

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Medium 9781935543244

Chapter 5: Impact and Implementation

Anne E. Conzemius Solution Tree Press ePub

If gold represents the vision, then platinum represents the implementation.


While helping schools and districts master the SMART goals process, we discovered that we needed to provide assistance way beyond training and coaching. Districts need support to help them situate SMART-goal writing and its use within the larger context of their work. Goals themselves don’t drive improvement; they must be aligned to the school improvement process, curriculum, instruction, assessment practices, mandates, and professional development. In order for goals to gain enough traction to have an impact, there must be a system that keeps us continuously focused on them. Indeed, unless we’re seeing short-term gains and increasing clarity regarding how we can work smarter, we soon become discouraged and move off course. It takes discipline at the beginning of new learning to stick to the methodology to gain momentum. This not only produces results but also increases our energy and excitement to see just how successful we can be.

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Medium 9781936764549

Chapter 4. Gaming as a Literacy: An Invitation

Heidi Hayes Jacobs Solution Tree Press ePub

By Marie Alcock

Existing models of literacy simply do not
fully address reality in the world today

—Eric Zimmerman

The truth is, video games are hard work, and learning to play one can be a frustrating experience. Many complex games can require over fifty hours of play time to reach “a win state.” In addition, complex games often have a number of different win states, allowing a number of different solutions or strategies to be effective in solving the given problems. When a player has won using one strategy he or she will often replay the game using a new strategy. A game might have a win state reached by having the most points, the greatest amount of territory on a map, the most levels complete, or by having developed the strongest character (avatar). A player can be working toward several different win states at the same exact time. What is it about these games that encourages children and adults to work so hard at mastering them? Does something in this process point to the pleasure of working that all humans share?

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Medium 9781935542964

Chapter 7 Blogging

Kitty Porterfield Solution Tree Press ePub


It’s easy to create a blog site, but it’s difficult to sustain one that develops a devoted and engaged audience. A blog entry brings with it different expectations than its distant print cousin, the “Superintendent’s Corner” in the district newsletter. Blog readers expect a more conversational, less formal tone and will often want to interact and give feedback. Before you begin it is essential to identify your blogging goal and figure out what niche suits your personal style of leadership. Here are three possible goals:

1. Connect the community to the school.

2. Reveal the human side.

3. Provide “thought leadership.”

Jesse Kraft, who identifies himself as the lucky principal of Providence Elementary School in Fairfax, Virginia, publishes a weekly blog for parents and community members (http://providenceschool.wordpress.com). Written in an informal style and usually posted on Friday, Kraft’s headlines underscore the emotional appeal of his content. Posts—including “Love Letter to the PTA” (2011c), “Hello, Young Man!” (2011a), and “We Miss You!” (2011b)—focus on a single happening from the school week and offer his take on the event.

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Medium 9781943360031

Chapter 6 | Transforming Teacher Development

Marzano, Robert J.; Heflebower, Tammy; Hoegh, Jan K.; Warrick, Phil; Grift, Gavin Marzano Research ePub

The fifth question in table 1.1 (page 4) is, How will we increase our instructional competence? This is an issue of teacher development. While not commonly mentioned within discussions of the purposes of the PLC process, it has always been an implicit factor.

In a well-functioning PLC, teacher development is not a one-day workshop every few months, nor is it the sole responsibility of administrators to mandate, facilitate, or organize it. Instead, professional development is a continuous, iterative process that members of a collaborative team undertake together. This may initially be uncomfortable for some teachers, as—traditionally—“going public with questions, seeking help from colleagues, and opening up one’s classroom to others go against the norms of appropriate teaching behavior” (Cochran-Smith & Lytle, 1993, p. 88). This tradition must change, however. Teacher competence has a well-documented influence on student learning (Marzano, Frontier, & Livingston, 2011; Marzano & Waters, 2009; Nye, Konstantopoulos, & Hedges, 2004); therefore, if the ultimate goal of the PLC process is to improve student learning, improving teachers’ instructional prowess should be a major focus of work within a collaborative team. Many theorists and researchers have said as much, focusing on a culture of critical inquiry around teaching (see table 6.1 for examples).

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Medium 9781936764372

Chapter Five Using Novelty for Reluctant Learners

Mary Kim Shreck Solution Tree Press ePub

To be successful in our efforts at bringing all students to a state of literacy competency that will serve them in our complex world, we teachers need to have more than “book knowledge”; we need to have a full palette of pedagogical methods geared toward attracting and sustaining student interest. The research substantiates the relationship between a teacher’s intuitive judgment in delivering material and the acquisition and mastery of literacy—especially in the case of reluctant learners.

This chapter consists of a wide variety of common classroom activities, content, and interchanges that can be transformed by the manifestation of creative and novel methods practiced in order to promote and facilitate literacy acquisition. Novelty implies something is new, unusual, original, something with a sense of freshness and curiosity about it. For students who feel chronically bored in a school routine that offers no surprise or interest, inserting a wide and consistent dose of novelty to the delivery of curriculum is a necessary element of good teaching.

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