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As the 9th largest school district in the state of Ohio, the Hilliard City School District serves more than 15,500 students in grades K-12, through three high schools, three middle schools, two sixth-grade schools and 14 elementary schools.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

September 26, 2011

The Flipped Classroom Infographic

I have shared a couple pieces about the “flipped classroom” and how we need to start thinking differently about instructional structure in the traditional classroom.  Check out this interesting “infographic” about the history and development of the flipped classroom.  This isn’t the answer all of the time but could trigger some good discussion about instructional design and strategies.

The Flipped Classroom Infographic

Ten Reasons to Get Rid of Homework (and Five Alternatives)

Over the last few years, we've had many discussions about homework and how it should be structured.  In this article, Spencer, identifies ten reasons we should get rid of homework.  Many of theses reasons, if not all, are things we have identified as flaws in our homework practices.  However, Spencer, provides five alternatives to homework that may prompt some discussion in your buildings amongst your teachers.

Ten Reasons to Get Rid of Homework (and Five Alternatives)

Fallen High Flyers Don't Fall Far

The educational landscape in Ohio changed in an important way last week.  Teacher level value-added reports were released to 30% of the districts in Ohio.  Next year at this time, many Hilliard teachers will receive reports that measure their estimated effectiveness.  This fact is important for educators because of the political and professional implications.  In the coming years, at least 50% of the evaluation for teachers and principals will be based on the growth measure.  It is likely that informed parents and community members will seek to know the effectiveness ratings of teachers in their neighboring schools.  

As we deepen our personal understanding of the value-added growth measure that our state uses, we will need to examine our ability to show progress with every type of learner.  

In "Fallen High Flyers Don't Fall Far", the author comments on the recent study released by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute called Do High Flyers Maintain their Altitude?  Performance Trends for Top Students.

What the iPad (and Other Technology) Can’t Replace in Education  

“A recent article in The New York Times explains how after investing $33 million in technology, a school district in Arizona has seen almost no improvement in test scores.  It is no surprise that we as a society have a kind of blind faith that technology is able to solve all of our problems.  Yet while the iPad can and should replace textbooks, it can’t replace common sense.”

What is it that raises student achievement?  We have to be careful that we don’t confuse the “platform” for high quality instruction.  This article shares evidence that we can’t rely on technology to fix our educational dilemmas. Solutions must begin with an examination of instructional strategies that can connect students to the content. 

What the iPad (and Other Technology) Can't Replace in Education

Sunday, September 18, 2011

September 19, 2011

Five Characteristics of an Effective 21st Century Educator

This piece from eSchool News is an interesting take on the important characteristics of the effective 21st century educator.  Though framed a little differently, these characteristics are well aligned to our 7s. 

The 21st century educator . . . 

1.  Anticipates the future
2.  Is a lifelong learner
3.  Fosters peer relationships
4.  Can teach and assess all levels of learners

5.  Is able to discern effective vs. non-effective technology

If school isn't for collaborating, why does anyone come?
“Serious question. If students want to learn in isolation; if they want to sit at a desk and work on their own stuff, occasionally checking in with an "expert," they have no reason to come to school. They can do a lot better at home, or at their local coffee shop or even the public library, where both the coffee and the WiFi connection will be better” (Socol, 2011).

Although some of the suggestions Socol mentions in the article are somewhat unrealistic, he does provide some valuable insight in to how schools should be structured to maximize opportunities for student achievement.

Making the Most of Instructional Rounds
In "Making the Most of Instructional Rounds", researcher and author Bob Marzano explains how teachers can benefit from visiting the classrooms of colleagues.  He shares, "Instructional rounds are one of the most valuable tools that a school or district can use to enhance teachers' pedagogical skills and develop a culture of collaboration".  I would encourage the administrators of Hilliard to consider using the district's Instructional Round Template with educators in your building.

Lessons of Mastery Learning
This article "Lessons of Mastery Learning" describes the core elements of mastery learning and strategies for it's use in the classroom.  It goes on to show that mastery learning is the foundation for Response to Intervention (RTI), and that by following the RTI sequence for instruction, educators can make strides in closing the achievement gap. 
Last year we field tested RTI in three schools, and this year our CIP includes "full implementation of the framework.  Thomas Guskey's insights in the article help us to understand how striving for mastery learning also satisfies all of our intervention plans, including RTI.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sepember 12, 2011

One Year After High School Graduation, Class of 2010 Shares Lessons Learned About College Readiness

An interesting study was just released by the College Board.  “One Year Out” explored how the class of 2010 assess their high school experience and its role in preparing them for life after graduation.

“With a year of formative new experiences behind them, the majority of 2010 high school graduates looks back positively on their time in high school, expressing satisfaction both with the collective experience and on a variety of specific measures. Still, while these recent graduates have a generally favorable view of their time in high school, almost all of them admit there is at least one thing they would change or do differently.”

Results of this national survey aren’t much different from what we hear from our own graduates . . .

One Year After High School Graduation, Class of 2010 Shares Lessons Learned About College Readiness

The 12 Most Important Things Children Want From Their Teachers

My selection this week comes from the blog, The 12 Most.  As I read this entry, I was not only reminded of Hattie's research regarding Teacher-Student Relationships, but more importantly, I was reminded why we are all so passionate about our careers.  This is best summed up by the opening line of the blog post: "Whether you are a teacher, parent, relative, boss, or fellow community member, each of us has a chance to make a positive and impactful difference in a child's life" (Maiers, 2011).

Let Me Learn My Own Way

All learners have preferences for the manner in which they process new information.  These preferences produce cognitive styles crucial to the learning process (Kise, 2007; Lawrence, 2009).  A recent ASCD article entitled “Let Me Learn My Own Way” explores four distinct ways of learning.  Author Jane Kise challenges readers to use the learning styles to design intervention sessions.  As building data teams implement the RTI model across Hilliard City Schools, this article could serve as a powerful discussion tool for teacher teams.   

West Virginia learns Finland’s ‘most honorable profession’: Teacher

Three policy measures that are currently receiving attention in the United States don’t exist in Finland:, charter schools, removing tenure protections, and tying teacher pay and evaluation to test scores.  In fact, these movements are directly opposite to what is happening in Finland, yet, Finland ranks at the top of international test rankings for elementary through high schools. Why?  Finland honors the teaching profession and is committed to preparing and developing high quality teachers.  “In Finland, it is a tremendous honor to be a teacher, and teachers are afforded a status comparable to what doctors, lawyers, and other highly regarded professionals enjoy in the U.S.”, said West Virginia State Superintendent Dr. Steven Paine, who is using the Finland system as a model for educational reform in his state.  “In Finland, they attract the very best and brightest into the profession and it has nothing to do with money.  It has everything  to do with the respect that is given to the profession.”

Among the other interesting points made in the article: Finland’s teachers spend half their school time planning with colleagues, working with parents, and taking part in high-level professional development.  An integral part of Finland’s education system is Project Based Learning.  One “project” is used as a starting point and then multiple contents are integrated in to this unit.  Sounds interesting?  Read about Finland’s education system and then be sure to register for the iGeneration Seminar.  We will view the movie entitled “The Finland Phenomenon on December 1st as part of our series. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

September 6, 2011

The Flip

My selection this week comes from the blog of a high school teacher who periodically “flips” her classroom to create deeper learning experiences for her students.

“The point of the flip is to capture more of the time when teacher and students are together for deeper learning — to create more opportunities to apply knowledge and skills to challenging in-class assignments. Bottom line: it’s not always the right instructional choice, it’s only one tool in our educational repertoire. But it can be a powerful one.”

In the same spirit as the Khan Academy, this teacher’s approach does make us think about truly shifting classroom instruction into 21st century learning experiences!

The Flip

International No Office Day

As many of you indicated in your Professional Goals & Objectives at our Administrative Retreat, making time for Walkthroughs are something we all strive to improve on.  In that spirit, the article I've selected for the week suggests a "No Office Day."  A day in which we spend our entire school day out in the classrooms of our teachers, alongside our students, to get a true sense of the learning environments that have been created in our buildings.

"So why a whole day? Every administrator spends time in classrooms… every one that I know wishes they could spend more time doing it. Permitting yourself to spend the whole day in classes is cathartic. It is a battery charger like no other, and let’s face it, everyone needs a burst of enthusiasm in mid September."

Within the article you will see links to anecdotes by a number of school administrators that have utilized a No Office Day.  Enjoy the read, and more importantly enjoy your day alongside your teachers and students.

International No Office Day

The Power of "Leverage"

Author Mike Schmoker believes, "Perhaps the greatest current impediment to better schools is our meager understanding of the most high-leverage actions and elements that ensure large, swift improvements to learning. If implemented, they would have an immediate effect on student learning and on college and career preparation."  A recent post on The ASCD Community Blog speaks to three "grossly under-implemented levers."

The Power of "Leverage"

The Takeaway Tips for Replicating Project-Based Learning

The first article I posted on this site was about debunking five myths surrounding Project Based Learning (PBL).  I decided to provide additional information about PBL after reviewing a PowerPoint that Dr. Stan Heffner, the new Superintendent of Public Instruction, recently used in a message he delivered to Ohio School District Superintendents.  In his address, Dr. Heffner referred to a New ODE, one that is committed to High Quality Instruction reflective of a change in practice.  The High Quality Instruction he described included Problem Solving, Inquiry Based Instruction, and Project Based Learning.  I think we are “right on track” with our desire to build capacity across the district with PBL.

“Ten Takeaway Tips for Replicating Project- Based Learning” provides some key lessons on how to tackle the challenges of implementing PBL school-wide.  Fostering collaboration, allowing for flexibility, and helping teachers to feel comfortable taking risks are tips that are offered.  In addition, the two short videos that can be accessed as part of this article provide useful insights into building trust and educating parents about PBL.