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Janet Hale

Janet Hale's Public Library

Dec 15, 15

"he chemistry students at Northwestern High School were not fiddling with Bunsen burners or studying the periodic table one recent weekday morning. They were sitting at their desks, reading an article about food coloring, underlining key ideas and preparing to analyze it in an essay.

This is the beginning of what Prince George’s County officials hope will be a significant shift in teaching and learning, one that mirrors a change taking hold in high schools nationwide as districts adjust to the Common Core State Standards. Literacy, long the responsibility of English teachers, is filtering into every other classroom — including math, science and even health class."

Dec 15, 15

"This week's question is How would you define "teacher leadership" and what does it look like in practice? In Part One, Regie Routman, Aubrie Rojee, Megan M. Allen, Shane Safir, Sean Slade, and Barnett Berry shared their thoughts on teacher leadership. You can also listen to a ten-minute conversation I had with Suzie and Ken on my BAM! Radio Show. You can find a list of, and links to, previous shows here.
Today, Laura Robb, Kylene Beers, Susan Chenelle, ReLeah Cossett Lent, Christopher Lehman, Matt Townsley, Anthony Cody, Patricia O'Grady contribute their ideas. I've also included comments from readers."

Dec 15, 15

"At the time of this writing, we are in the second year of a sixth-grade project-based learning program in a public school setting. In our two years of working to implement PBL, we have fielded a multitude of questions ranging from positive support to queries about the efficacy of policies that we feel best support PBL (grading for mastery, group work, etc.). Our experiences have taught us that district administration can fill three distinct roles to help streamline the PBL implementation process, which we'll discuss in this post."

Dec 15, 15

"If you want to move learners forward, they’ve got to know where they’re starting. It’s a simple truth but not one we tend to follow when it comes to professional learning for teachers. The ways in which we assess these learning experiences for educators often fall short of the realities of their contexts. Take, for example, the common practice of ending a session with evaluation forms largely devoted to measuring teachers’ level of happiness with a token question intended to gauge the likelihood of someone taking an idea from the workshop and using it next week. These vanity metrics for the professional learning providers give little indication of the impact of their work and at best communicate a very surface set of goals we’re striving to achieve as a group learning together. Why are we even attempting to measure impact before we give educators an opportunity to implement what they’ve learned?

Dec 14, 15

"Another idea in our Skills and Strategies series, the Four-Corners technique can be used by any teacher on any level with any material — it’s all in how you craft it.

Below, you’ll find a description of the strategy and several suggestions for putting it together with Times content.

Have you tried Four Corners, or something like it? How did it go? Let us know in the comments."

Dec 11, 15

"John B. King Jr. takes over as acting secretary of education Jan. 1, assuming the position with barely more than one year left in President Barack Obama’s second term. "

Dec 10, 15

"WASHINGTON (AP) -- Those federally mandated math and reading tests will continue, but a sweeping rewrite of the nation's education law will now give states - not the U.S. government - authority to decide how to use the results in evaluating teachers and schools."

Dec 10, 15

"Growing interest in teaching "grit" or "growth mindset" is a hopeful sign. It reflects an increasing awareness that richer, deeper learning can flow from having students struggle with a challenging task and persisting until completion. "

Dec 09, 15

"Explore this educator's guide to open educational resources for information about online repositories, curriculum-sharing websites, sources for lesson plans and activities, and open alternatives to textbooks."

Dec 09, 15

"When I hear the term OER, I don't automatically leap to "Open Educational Resources." Perhaps it just doesn't trip off my metaphorical tongue. Instead, my brain automatically translates it to "free online stuff to use in my classroom."

Officially, however, the term OER, according to The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, represents the "teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others. Open educational resources include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge.""

Dec 09, 15

"I absolutely love it when teachers and students create, remix, and mash up media; it's a fantastic way to encourage deeper learning and media literacy. But one issue that complicates digital freedom of expression is copyright law. While many would argue that copyright law is outdated and badly in need of an overhaul, it's still critical that adults and kids alike have a basic understanding of what's legal and ethical while playing with other people's intellectual property. Here's a list of videos I collected to help you navigate the murky waters of copyright law in educational settings."

Dec 07, 15

"It took me more than a decade to understand the importance and true worth of collaboration. During my early years in teaching, I strived hard, but I always worked in isolation. My aim was always to excel; thus, I built my library and invested a good amount of money to fill my shelves with physics books. I was mistaken. I focused too much on content and not enough on delivery—until I learned how to collaborate."

Dec 06, 15

"Interview with Janet Hale concerning the Common Core State Standards, wherein our guest draws a sharp and important distinction between standards and curriculum. "

Dec 04, 15

"I recently had the opportunity to be part of a teacher conference with the theme of Looking for Learning through the Lens of Growth Mindset."

Dec 03, 15

"On an early October morning, a mix of six kindergarten and third-grade teachers walked into Andrea Easley’s third grade classroom in Tracy, California to teach a science lesson. Students stared eagerly at the newcomers as Easley positioned herself the front of the classroom.

“Today we are going to do another experiment,” Easley said.

“Yay!” the third graders cheered, some jumping out of their chairs in excitement."

Dec 02, 15

"The debate about teaching history thematically versus chronologically still captivates and frustrates me almost daily. How does history seem most alive and authentic?"

Dec 02, 15

"One of my favorite education books is The Courage to Teach. In that text, Parker Palmer explores teaching as a daily exercise in vulnerability. As teachers, we expose ourselves, and often the content we love, to an at-times unforgiving world. Difficult students, dud lessons, doubting colleagues, short-sighted initiatives, all exacerbated by the challenges of our lives outside the classroom, can eventually harden a teacher. And that skepticism can make it a lot harder to take the risks necessary to get better."

Dec 02, 15

"Every year we built a community that modeled what all of us wished for in the wider world. We created a working campus where everyone had a job. All of these jobs were non-trivial, adult roles. If any role were not fulfilled, the well-being of the campus and the community would suffer. On many days, when we concluded our activities and jobs, we met in a circle and asked ourselves:

What should we stop doing?
What should we start doing?
What should we continue doing?"

Dec 02, 15

"Most teachers use silencing methods, such as flicking the lights, ringing a call bell (see Teacher Tipster's charming video on the subject), raising two fingers, saying "Attention, class," or using Harry Wong's Give Me 5. There is also the "three fingers" version, which stands for stop, look, and listen. Fortunately, none of these involve medical hoaxes. Lesser known techniques are described in this post and categorized by grade bands:"

Nov 25, 15

"In a given subject, standards or benchmarks—and potentially state curriculum—there are skills and content students must master. Within a given curriculum map, the trick is to identify what skills and content students need to learn, and then identify where students will have the freedom to construct inquiry on their own. If the goal of an activity is acquisition of content knowledge, perhaps you can vary the presentation method. For example, students could have a checklist of information about a particular historical era and then choose a specific medium for sharing those facts with the general public—essay, slideshow, podcast, video, and exhibit being just a few of the options. Alternately, if the goal is skill mastery, students can apply the specified skill to problems and situations that they select on their own, such as applying the same mathematical formulas to analyze statistical data on a topic or field of their choice, be it professional sports or neighborhood crime. The most advanced students can be offered control over both content and methods—what's important to learn, and how to present it."

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