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Melissa Reed

Melissa Reed's Public Library

Apr 24, 15

Reflecting is a part of growing. I try to take the time to reflect quite often. I love looking back at what went well for me as a teacher, within a lesson, after a presentation, etc. I also look at what I’d like to see go better next time. I jot down little notes and reminders in my phone and work toward my new expectations. 

Apr 22, 15

Several years ago, I attended a four-day training on instructional coaching at the University of Kansas, led by Jim Knight, an expert in the field. During this training, Knight presented a comprehensive model that can easily be implemented as part of internal professional development in schools.

Apr 22, 15

A professor at Stanford's Graduate School of Education has launched a new free math curriculum designed to help engage students more deeply in math.<br /><br />Dubbed the "Week of Inspirational Math," the program is aimed at students in grades 5-9 and includes five lessons, one for each day in a week, featuring math problems designed to be fun and engaging along with videos with positive messages about math. Teachers using the curriculum will also be able to join a network offering additional support and resources throughout the school year.

Apr 22, 15

Many of us have heard the Tom Peters quote: "Leaders don't create more followers, they create more leaders." Oftentimes, the way we create leaders is through the subtle and not-so-subtle ways that we communicate. Whether you are an instructional coach or another educator who sometimes coaches teachers, your language is often your most effective tool for helping them grow. The challenge, however, is knowing how to talk so teachers will listen.

Apr 22, 15

After just one day with our new furniture, I experienced one of those "ah-ha" moments that I'm sure resulted in a light bulb exploding over my head. OK, maybe no visible light bulb, but certainly there were flashes of light in my eyes.

Apr 22, 15

Project-based learning is a complex teaching method that, in our experience, requires a clear and established workflow to seamlessly accommodate the needs of teachers, parents, and students. Throughout this school year, we have found several apps, add-ons, and programs that have helped us best manage our workflow. Before we provide brief descriptions and links to each of them, it is important to state the current situation in our classroom:

Apr 22, 15

What is qualitative formative assessment? Some call it anecdotal or informal assessment. However, such designations imply passivity -- as if certain things were captured accidentally. I believe the word "formative" should always be included with the word assessment because all feedback mechanisms should help shape and improve the person (or situation) being assessed. Wedging the word "qualitative" into my terminology differentiates it from the analytic or survey-based measures that some associate with the term formative assessment.

Apr 22, 15

By sending home detailed data reports that focus on a specific skill, Humboldt opens a two-way line of communication with parents about their child's learning. 

Apr 21, 15

Mothers who discuss simple arithmetic with their preschoolers at the dinner table can improve their children’s grasp of math. That’s according to a new study by researchers at Chile’s Pontifical Catholic University and at University of Michigan.

Apr 21, 15

f you’re doing it right, most project-based learning will hit every area of the curriculum, whether it’s social studies, math, reading, or even technology. Any part of the curriculum can shine whenever kids are taking a hands-on approach to learning, because they’re not just sitting at a desk listening to you preach it. They’re the ones doing it themselves, which means they’re kind of assuming that role of the teacher.

Apr 21, 15

With the advent of the Common Core State Standards for mathematics, more educational leaders, including teachers, administrators and policymakers, are realizing the need to change the way math is taught. Simply adopting a math curriculum that aligns with the standards will not lead to learning changes, so many schools and districts are turning to instructional coaches.

Apr 21, 15

As the Common Core State Standards have been implemented this school year, with many states in the midst of using the new standardized tests, the transition has been mired in challenges. The Common Core is a critical step toward ensuring students have the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in life beyond graduation, but teachers and students alike have been apprehensive and overwhelmed. They need greater support, more empathy, and better communication from school and district leaders to help them overcome their anxiety.

Apr 21, 15

What’s the fewest number of squares, octagons and triangles needed to fill a large rectangle? What type of Spirograph gear creates a floral design with the most petals? And however do you get the colored balls inside a cube to align so the same color is on each side of the cube? Fifty-one Bethel Elementary School fifth-grade students explored these problems and many others last week as they learned about math in many real-life applications.

Apr 20, 15

One day in January he had a trouble while running in PE class. He struggled to take in enough air and felt shaky, so he stopped far short of his goal and received only a 60 percent on a key physical fitness test.<br /><br />That pulled down his grade, now the formerly straight-A student is likely to get a B, he said.

Apr 20, 15

“I just don’t see why I have to know these dates,” grumbled Danny as he looked at his midterm exam grade.<br /><br />Other students echoed his complaint. What do these dates matter? Why should we need to know the difference between 1789, when the Constitution was ratified, and 1765, when the Stamp Act was passed? Isn’t saying they’re in the 1700s enough?

Apr 20, 15

A third-grade teacher at a Denver elementary school decided to try to get to know her students better — most of whom come from low-income families — and gave them a writing assignment in which she hoped they would reveal something about themselves. Kyle Schwartz called the activity “I wish my teacher knew” — and she wound up learning more than she thought.

Apr 20, 15

I spend an enormous amount of time teaching writing to students who based on their initial writing samples from the first days of school, had probably never been pushed to write as much as they have this year.  This year, I changed my approach; tweaked it, if you will, to allow students more time to prime and polish their work. 

Apr 20, 15

Music classes are usually cut first when schools reevaluate their budget. But a new study from Northwestern University shows these classes are valuable, especially to low-income children.

Apr 18, 15

We are trying something new in our memoir unit this year: flash drafting our way to a “best first draft”.  The main reason for this is that for as long as I’ve taught memoir, I’ve always had a handful of students who would reach the midpoint of their first draft and then just stall.  Our conferences would begin with big sighs and  something like this:

Apr 17, 15

I think I might be an education advocate. I say “think” because I never considered that my lone little voice was enough to make a difference. Oh sure, we've all heard the "power of one person" speeches. We know individuals who have triumphed over incredible odds and become spokespersons. But that’s not me, is it? I don’t have any incredible background story. I feel like I’m just a regular teacher, but that right there is the point. I actually have some very valuable opinions on teaching, students, and what’s right for education. Believe it or not, people listen.

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