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6 Laying the Foundation of a Professional Learning Community

Richard DuFour Solution Tree Press ePub


Laying the Foundation of a Professional Learning Community

In the first part of this book, I attempted to establish the following.

•  American educators are under attack because of the allegation our schools are “failing” when, in fact, students are achieving at the highest levels in the history of the United States.

•  The federal and state policies that dominate the school reform agenda in the United States are ill conceived, are based on faulty assumptions, and have no record of improving student achievement anywhere in the world.

•  The predominant strategy to improve schooling in high-performing nations is to develop the capacity of educators by embracing and implementing the principles of the Professional Learning Communities at Work process.

•  There are a number of reforms that the federal government, state governments, local school boards, and teacher unions could adopt that would have a positive impact on both student and adult learners in our schools.

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Chapter 10 Conclusion

Casey Reason Solution Tree Press ePub

Learning leadership is a relevant framework for both principals and teachers because of where we have been and where we are headed. Expectations for academic performance will continue to arch upward, coupled with the ongoing hope that we can simultaneously meet an array of profound social challenges. We are supposed to teach everyone, and with the splendor of diversity comes the task of accurately identifying and meeting everyone’s needs. Distractions due to the speed of technology will continue to plague us as our individual and collective mental bandwidth remains relatively static, while supercomputers learn to process the world faster and faster. Our jobs will continue to become increasingly specialized and technical, requiring the continued emergence of leadership that is less and less defined by position.

Leadership, learning, and change are a single force today. We will be able to meet the needs of the present and future only by using what we know about learning and strategically applying that knowledge so that each of us can directly connect with more of our own learning potential. Coming in a time that requires so much more of us, learning leadership will allow us to work smarter and do more during this short period we have together—improving our capacity to collaborate, learn, and evolve.

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Chapter One: Types of Work and Their Purposes

Eileen Depka Solution Tree Press ePub

Types of Work and Their Purposes

Over the years, I have heard dozens of reasons for the assignment of homework. Class was cut short, and there wasn’t enough time to finish the lesson. Without homework, students will lose skills over a vacation period. Poor student behavior, poor test performance, or poor preparation for advanced placement calls for additional homework. Students need homework to practice a skill or prepare for a test. Homework is a way for students to practice skills addressed during class, or homework is an extension of the school day. Homework provides discovery work for students (Guskey & Bailey, 2001). The list goes on. However, reasons are not the same as purpose. Ultimately, purpose defines the reason and why it is important for the student to engage in the task.

The word homework is just as global in scope as generic adjectives such as good, big, and nice. Often we fail to more clearly define the purpose of the homework for both the students and ourselves. Are we assigning a task that will provide information about the readiness level of students for the next unit? Are we asking students to do some introductory work so they are ready for class the following day? Are we assigning practice work to ensure that students have a better understanding of concepts or processes introduced in today’s class? Is it also possible to assign a task or project that sums up the skills and concepts learned while providing evidence that students can demonstrate their understanding of recent lessons?

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PART VIII Assessment

Stephenson, Susan Solution Tree Press ePub



Teachers know that students need frequent opportunities to write and receive feedback; however, for many teachers, the constant demands of responding to students’ writing can become tedious and time consuming. Teachers can also become discouraged when they do not see their evaluations and assessments contributing to students’ writing development. How do teachers provide feedback and assess students’ writing in ways that lead to positive growth in writing? How do teachers develop criteria for responding to and assessing students’ writing?

Research recommends that teachers focus on specific elements of writing and provide targeted feedback (Graham et al., 2012). Kelly Gallagher’s (2006) work supports this idea. He recommends that teachers should be readers during the writing process and uses the analogy of a coach providing support throughout a game or practice. For writing instruction, this means the teacher provides feedback and suggestions throughout students’ writing process rather than solely at the end, when students submit a final draft. One way to do this is to implement teacher-led conferences at various points of the process, so that students can focus their attention on specific aspects of their writing.

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Appendix B: Scales for 21st Century Skills

Robert J. Marzano Marzano Research ePub

• Applies the strategy in unusual situations, employs elements that were not explicitly taught, or both

No major errors or omissions regarding the score 4.0 content

• Analyzes and evaluates websites for the validity of their content

No major errors or omissions regarding the score 3.0 content

•  Can describe important considerations to keep in mind when examining websites

•  Can describe situations in which checking for the validity of information found on the Internet would be important

•  Can describe or recognize examples of legitimate and illegitimate websites

No major errors or omissions regarding the score 2.0 content

Even with help, no success

•  Applies the strategy in unusual situations, identifies logical errors that go beyond those that were explicitly taught, or both

No major errors or omissions regarding the score 4.0 content

•  Analyzes appropriate information for common logical errors

No major errors or omissions regarding the score 3.0 content

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