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11 Making System Changes

Marzano, Robert J. Solution Tree Press ePub


Making System Changes

Teachers function within the context of at least two systems: (1) the school and (2) the district. Those systems enhance individual teachers’ effectiveness and contribute to the ineffectiveness of individual teachers, usually simultaneously. While schools and districts certainly have policies that help classroom teachers, they also have policies (some long-standing) that are glaring impediments to effective teaching. These impediments can and should be addressed. Here I recommend eight system changes that naturally flow from the changes The New Art and Science of Teaching implies.

The recommendations in this chapter are based on the changes chapters 1 through 10 imply, but go well beyond them. Indeed, they even go beyond the confines of an instructional model like The New Art and Science of Teaching. They represent my personal beliefs about system changes that are essential if K–12 education is to rise to its next level of effectiveness. As the discussion in the introductory chapter indicates, they represent my manifesto on education.

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7 The Learning Journey: Putting It All Together in the Classroom

Laura Weaver Solution Tree Press ePub

The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.

—Martin Luther King Jr.


When you think of your teaching experiences thus far, what metaphors come to mind?

In chapters 2 through 6, we explored each of the Five Dimensions of Engaged Teaching in depth. In this chapter, we discuss how to integrate the five dimensions over the arc of a term or school year as a way to improve social, emotional, and academic learning outcomes. We will introduce a framework of group development called the Learning Journey that includes three stages, each with its own characteristics, challenges, opportunities, and goals. This developmental approach applies to any classroom and content area as well as to classes explicitly dedicated to social and emotional learning (such as an advisory, morning meeting, SEL, or transitions program). Whether we are teaching kindergarten or fourth grade, a high school math class, or a middle school advisory, integrating and applying the five dimensions through various stages of development helps us as we create and sustain thriving learning communities. Additionally, as our classroom communities develop over time, so do our capacities as an engaged teacher. In doing so, we also model and encourage these capacities in our students and in one another.

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Lee Watanabe Crockett Solution Tree Press ePub

Source: Adapted from Command Terms, n.d.; International Baccalaureate Organization, 2011a, 2011b; Quizlet, 2015; smannino7, 2011; TagMath, n.d.

Reaching a consensus is often difficult. Clearly defined command terms will help teachers have a common understanding of what success at each phase looks like. The following terms are a solid start.

analyze. Break down to bring out the essential elements or structure.

annotate. Add brief notes to a diagram or graph.

calculate. Obtain a numerical answer showing the relevant stages in the working.

classify. Arrange or order by class or category.

compare. Give an account of the similarities between two (or more) items or scenarios, referring to both (all) of them throughout.

construct. Display information in a diagrammatic or logical form.

contrast. Give an account of the differences between two (or more) items or situations, referring to both (all) of them throughout.

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Habit of Inquiry 2 Articulating Theories of Action

Richard Sagor Solution Tree Press ePub

Hopefully, at this point you and your team have used the scenario-writing process or followed a visioning strategy of your own design and created a clear, shared vision of success. You should also have created an agreed-upon set of assessment criteria that can be used to monitor progress, as you and your students take action toward realizing your shared vision. By doing these two things, you have demonstrated your skills with Habit of Inquiry 1, Clarifying a Shared Vision for Success. In reality, you are practicing Habit 1 whenever you find yourself pausing before instruction to verbally clarify to yourself or your colleagues precisely what you are seeking to accomplish and the criteria you will use to determine your progress.

Beyond the practical benefits that come from having common expectations, a deep sense of professional satisfaction comes from working as a group to collaboratively pinpoint precisely what the team wishes to see accomplished. As a PLC team, you should now be feeling very good about your work with Habit 1 and the consensus you have achieved on the aims of your program.

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Chapter 11 Crisis Management and Social Media

Kitty Porterfield Solution Tree Press ePub


In a crisis, school leadership skills all come together—or not. In crisis, social media can be an important tool for the leader.

Here is how the superintendent of the Nixa Public Schools in Nixa, Missouri, employed Twitter during a series of serious thunderstorms and a tornado watch:

6:22 a.m., May 8–“We’ve cleared out all our trailers’ due to the bad weather. I promise we’ll take good care of the kids during this scary time.”

7:03 a.m., May 8–“No damage at any of our schools as of right now. Inman has lost power, but we are taking care of that.”

7:28 a.m., May 8–“We do have some minor damage around the district. Nothing major that we can tell. Checking things out right now.”

7:47 a.m., May 8–“We have a light pole down across the JH track. Minor damage at other places. Keeping students out of mobile classrooms for a while.”

7:53 a.m., May 8–“We are now releasing the elementary students to complete their bus routes from the morning.”

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