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Five Reasons Why Everyone’s Talking About Micro-Credentials

Micro-credentials 5 reasons why

They May Be Little, But They’re Making A Lot of Noise: Five Reasons Why Everyone’s Talking About Micro-Credentials

Micro-credentials may be small, but don’t let their size fool you: this tiny take on professional development is making big waves in education.

If you haven’t heard of them yet, we’re certain you will. Micro-credentials enable learners to gain and demonstrate mastery of skills incrementally, earning recognition from their workplaces along the way. Given the new PD guidelines set forth in the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, micro-credentials will likely play a defining role in educator professional learning in the near future.

Here’s why:

Traditional PD Doesn’t Work

It’s no secret that professional development is a sore spot for educators. Studies by the Gates Foundation and others overwhelmingly show that teachers are dissatisfied with it, and that the traditional, workshop-based model just doesn’t work. In fact, the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) goes so far as to exclude “stand-alone, 1-day, and short-term workshops” from its definition of professional development.[1]

Why? For one thing, generic workshop topics are often too broad or simply irrelevant to many teachers and fail to account for the range of skills and diverse needs of the audience. Take a first-year middle school math teacher and a thirty-year veteran with classroom management dialed in. No question, they’re in very different places. Thus, a workshop on effective classroom management may be exactly what a new teacher needs and no more than a paid day off for teachers with time and experience. Professional development that actually impacts teacher practice and student learning happens in context—it directly relates to the teacher’s subject area and focuses on specific skills and concepts within that discipline.[2]

Micro-Credentials Are Disruptive

We tend to think of disruption as bad—especially in the classroom—but we can thank disruptive innovation for some of the most commonly used technologies today—laptops, cell phones, cars, calculators, flash drives, even the ubiquitous plastic bag. Disruptive technologies change market landscapes, and micro-credentials are quickly changing the landscape of professional development.

Micro-credentials make the case for a competency-based learning model over one primarily based on seat time. They require demonstration of skills and abilities. In other words, they require evidence. With regard to Title II spending on professional development, the words “evidence-based” appear 27 times in the new ESSA regulations.

Micro-Credentials Take a Huge Step Toward Giving Teachers “A Voice and a Choice”

One of the clearest takeaways from the research done on professional development and teacher satisfaction is that teachers want to have a say in their PD. They want PD that is relevant to their needs and the needs of their students, and since they’re in the best position to know what those needs are, they want a voice in the PD they’re offered. Micro-credentialing allows teachers to choose the skills and competencies they’ll pursue, bringing their own goals, needs, and interests, as well as those of their students, to the table.

To boot, micro-credentials let the user determine the pace. Because they utilize an on-demand, online system, micro-credentials are responsive to schedules and constraints on a teacher’s time. This kind of adaptability marks a clear shift away from the decontextualized, “one-size-fits-all” PD model and is a significant step toward truly personalized professional development.

Micro-Credentials Make Mastery Manageable

Granular by nature, micro-credentials build competencies in small, focused steps, which facilitates incorporation into daily practice. This is especially important given the fact that implementation is often the hardest part of PD. According to the Center for Public Education, “the largest struggle for teachers is not learning new approaches to teaching but implementing them.”[3] By breaking down PD into bite-sized pieces and requiring proof of competence, micro-credentials are closing the gaps between knowledge acquisition, implementation, and mastery.

Micro-Credentials Reinforce Accountability

Be honest: have you ever attended a conference and paid less than stellar attention? Maybe you dozed off for a second, maybe you brought a book, or, if you’re that guy, maybe you brought a stack of papers to grade. Among other problems, PD that centers on seat time typically doesn’t require much more than just sitting there, and, unfortunately, attendance is a poor measure of competence.

Recognizing that the most common forms of PD in use today require very little proof of competence, the new federal law’s emphasis on “evidence-based” PD is a clear call for accountability—for teachers and for the PD they’re using. Goodbye, grading papers in conferences, or pressing play on that video and tuning out! ESSA wants to see proof that what educators are being offered—and what they’re doing—works. Micro-credentials bolster accountability by requiring educators to do more than “sit and get” and by providing demonstrable evidence of competencies and accomplishments.

As the need for personalization, evidence, and accountability continues to inform the conversation around PD, micro-credentials are making their case loud and clear. Disruptive and digestible, they’re a major step forward in improving professional development for teachers.

[1] Every Student Succeeds Act, section 1177-295, paragraph 42.B

[2] Teaching the Teachers: At a Glance. centerforpubliceducation.org

[3] Teaching the Teachers: At a Glance. Center for Public Education.org

Reading Comprehension Strategies

Reading Comprehension Strategies

Teaching reading comprehension to your students is not a one-size-fits-all prospect. In fact, teaching your students a variety of strategies for improving their understanding of text is most effective. Here are three strategies you can walk through with your students and use to accelerate their comprehension.

  1. Monitoring comprehension
    Students can learn to know when they understand what they read and when they do not. They can have strategies to improve their understanding. Instruction, even in the early grades, can help students become better at monitoring their comprehension.Comprehension monitoring strategies include:
  • Identify where the difficulty occurs
  • Identify what the difficulty is
  • Restate the difficult sentence or passage in their own words
  • Look back through the text
  • Look forward in the text for information that might help them to resolve the difficulty
  1. Graphic organizers
    Graphic organizers can help students focus on text structure (such as differences between fiction and nonfiction) as they read. They provide tools to help examine and show relationships. They can also help with writing well-organized summaries.

You can get more information on these strategies and others at readingrockets.org, a national literacy initiative for helping young kids learn to read.

Strategies for Before, During, and After Reading PreK–3rd Grade

Students can increase their reading comprehension through a variety of activities. This video segment above showcases classrooms in which real teachers implement various comprehension strategies (such as KWL charts, structured notes, graphic organizers, T-charts, and evidence-based summaries) before, during, and after reading.

This video segment also comes with a downloadable study guide that summarizes the concepts presented and offers reflection questions as well as links to additional resources for teaching reading comprehension.

These materials are part of a comprehensive series of videos and downloadable resources on teaching literacy, available only on Edivate.

**Can’t log in to Edivate or forgot your password? Contact Edivate Support at 855 337-7500 or support@schoolimprovement.com.

Common Core State Standards Introduction Video

Common Core State Standards and Common Core 360 – The Goal: Every Child College and Career Ready!

Answering the Common Core Concerns with Common Core 360

The Common Core State Standards have been adopted thus far by 44 states, and another four states are initiative participants—that means that 3.4 million teachers throughout America will be affected by the new Standards. Teachers are largely unfamiliar with what the Standards are, what they mean, what they look like, why they matter, and how to implement them. Educators lack the training they need to accomplish the goals adopted by their state.

Facts on the Common Core State Standards Initiative:

  • Created by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), not the federal government
  • Approximately 3,391,553 teachers in the 48 states linked to the Standards
  • Goal: Common Core assessments administered by the 2014 – 2015 school year
  • Common Core 360 answers the questions that 3.4 million teachers are asking about how to make the Standards work in their classroom every day. Common Core 360 gives administrators, teachers, and instructional coaches the necessary resources to turn State Standards into measurable student achievement. The unique training, expert analysis, and real classroom examples of putting the Standards into practice all come from the same minds that designed PD 360, the world’s largest professional development platform. Common Core 360 is directly integrated with PD 360, so educators have a single sign-in solution for the professional development they need to move forward in the 21st century classroom.

With Common Core 360, you receive the following unique resources:

  • All new video library specifically designed for Common Core training
  • Crosswalk tools to align current practices to the Common Core Standards
  • Training on grade-level progression
  • Single sign-on integration with PD 360
  • Lifetime membership to the PD 360 community of over one million verified educators
  • Common Core 360 is a tool designed by educators for educators. As educators gain more experience in implementing the Standards, Common Core 360 is there to document the strategies that are helping teachers and students. We will regularly release new content on the Standards over the coming months and years.

Things to look forward to in Common Core 360:

  • Library of 300+ videos
  • Grade-by-grade examples of implementation and usage
  • Case studies
  • Follow two districts—one urban and one rural—for an entire year as they implement the Standards

30-Day Free Trial of Common Core 360
Receive access to the growing Common Core 360 library—register today for a FREE 30-day trial and watch training segments and access other content that outlines the foundations, goal, and vision of the Common Core Standards. When you register for your free license, you will gain a free, lifetime membership to the PD 360 community, the world’s largest online PLC with over one million verified educators.

Common Core 360 has been created by educators for educators. For more information on how to use this unique tool for your schools, contact a Professional Development Advisor at 1.866.835.4185.

One Reason You Should Fall in Love Common Core Math, and How to Get Teachers and Parents to Fall in Love with It Too.

common core math

Fall in love with the Common Core all over again!

By Cameron Pipkin

I have a confession to make.

Those of you who read this blog regularly know that I defend the Common Core every chance I get. And I don’t apologize for that. To me, implementing the standards makes more sense than any other education policy enacted in my lifetime.

Having said that, when arguing for the Common Core I always feel a little twinge of insecurity, because honestly, I don’t understand the math standards as well as I’d like. I understand the English standards extremely well—I have a master’s degree in the subject and have taught it—but when it comes to math I’m still just that 8th grader struggling to solve for “x.” So, when I say I support the CC math standards, I say it as someone who loves the idea of critical thinking in math class, not as a someone who is very qualified to comment on the particulars of math practice.

That’s why I’m always happy to hear from people like Adrianne Meldrum—math whizzes who validate my conclusion that Common Core math is a great thing for our kids. If the argument she makes in the article below is clear and simple enough for a math dunce like me to understand, then I’m sure there’s something in it for every American with a stake in education (all of us).

As a bonus, Ms. Meldrum offers some great advice on getting parents and teachers to understand Common Core math, and to become more enthusiastic about it.

Read on and enjoy.

 

Why I Stopped Criticizing Common Core Math

By Adrianne Meldrum at The Tutor House blog

Posted on the Corkboard Connections blog

One of my favorite scenes in Disney’s Tangled is when Rapunzel makes the decision to leave her tower.  She isn’t sure whether she should feel guilty or gleeful.  If you don’t remember this scene (or just want to watch it again–because it’s so awesome…click the link to watch below).

Tangled up in emotions.

I relate to those feelings oh so well when I look back at my experience with the Common Core Math Standards.

Much like Rapunzel, I was wide eyed and excited to learn about these math standards. I knew that because we were such a transient culture that it could help more children be at the same place academically when they moved to a new city. I was giddy at the idea that children were going to dig deeper into math as well.

Then my own children experienced Common Core Math.  (cue the scary music)  Suddenly, I felt myself getting angry at the way they were teaching my children to do math. I also felt like we were going against the way we were taught.  What was wrong with the way we were taught?

Math became  hard and confusing at times for my children and me. To make matters more complicated, I am a private math tutor. For goodness sake–I should be able to figure this stuff out! And honestly…I did, but it took some time and thinking. I wanted desperately to go back and have things stay the same.

One night, my son brought me his homework and he was marked wrong (yet again) even when his work was correct. After dealing with my frustrations, I realized what she was trying to teach my son something very important. She wanted him to attend to precision. The very skills that I demand in  my own students when they came to tutoring!

And so the pendulum swung for me this previous school year while I sorted out my feelings and own misconceptions about Common Core Math. I decided to confront some of my own thoughts and frustrations. I started to read Common Core Standards beyond the grades that I tutored.  I read the suggested pacing guide and got a more complete picture. While reading, I discovered something that teachers should be telling parents…the standard algorithm that we grew up using is in there! Imagine that. Starting in third grade, the standard algorithm shows up. Students are expected to know how to add and subtract the “old school” way.

“Fluently add and subtract within 1000 using strategies and algorithms based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction.” (3.NBT.2)

I could feel the joy bubbling up inside of me. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for teachers and parents to know where we have been in grades previous and where we are heading. We need to see the full picture. I know that celebrities and comedians like to paint a picture of students using number parts and number lines as adults, (ahem–Stephen Colbert) and I laugh right along with them…because using those methods as an adult is crazy. The point is, the methods being taught in lower grades enables students to do mental math thus freeing up their mind to do harder mathematics. I spend a lot of time as a middle and high school math tutor waiting for a child to tell me what 6 x 8 equals. I’ve seen a change with some of my students that are younger. They have fluency with math facts whereas, the older students do not.

Common Core Lesson Plans

Common Core Math Mindset

To bring my feelings full circle, I made a choice to attend a mathematics conference this summer.  Phil Daro, the lead author of the Common Core Math Standards, was our keynote speaker. He made excellent points about the teaching children to be critical thinkers and less worried about answer getting. Our world needs more critical thinkers. He emphasized teaching math with this mindset:

You Do:  The student explores a problem and comes to conclusions on their own.

We Do:  The teacher leads a discussion about the conclusions students make. Students are encouraged to share their ideas and the teacher guides them towards the concept being taught.

I Do:  The teacher then steps in and teaches the mathematical concept and provides exercises for students to practice.

No matter what your feelings are about the Common Core Math Standards; it takes time for teachers, children, and parents to adjust. Even if you are hopeful that Common Core will just be a blip in history, we need to stop putting our heads in the sand and get comfortable with these ideas that are not new in any sense.

Educating Parents About Common Core Math

What can you do as a teacher to help implement and educate parents about common core math?

1.  Host a Parent Math Night
At the beginning of the year, show parents how Common Core Math is being taught to their children. Reassure them that the way they learned how to do math is being taught right along side other methods. Laura has a great free resource about how to host such a night like this. Download it here.

2.  Include Parents During Math
If you are having discussion about math with your students, don’t be afraid to invite parents to come and watch so they can see the value in what you are teaching their children.  Specifically ask for volunteers to come to class during math as well!

3.  Give Parents a Math Glossary
I’ve seen many awesome math vocabulary packs on Teachers Pay Teachers, why not take it a step further and allow parents to have their own copy of math vocabulary in a glossary. Make sure the definitions also include examples so that parents can refer to the glossary when an issue arrives with homework.

4.  Provide Quality Articles and References
There are a lot of misleading images and articles floating around on the web. Parents are confused! Help them get some clarity by sharing articles and references that you’ve found are helpful. If you have a class website, provide an entire page dedicated to links that will help parents understand Common Core more fully. Here are some suggestions:

Americans Are Bad at Math, but It’s Not Too Late to Fix It
Common Core Math Standards in Action
Truth About Common Core
The Common Core Savvy Quiz

Bottom line, implementation of Common Core Math Standards is key. If we don’t take the time to properly educate and introduce parents to these standards, we will always be facing resistance.

What about you?  How have you educated parents?

Adrianne is a private tutor and creates materials for tutors and teachers alike.  She authors The Tutor House, a blog aimed at helping tutors run an effective business.

  • Common Core Math

Common Core-Aligned Lesson Plans – 4th Grade

Get Common Core-Aligned Lesson Plans: Downloadable and Ready to Use

Get hundreds of Common Core-aligned instructional videos and lesson plans just like this, for every grade!

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Watch Ms. Hollenback teach her students a Common Core-aligned lesson: Speaking, Listening, and Writing About Crickets, aligned to standards SL.4.1 & 3, W.4.8, & W.4.10.

Does implementing the Common Core Standards make you feel like a new teacher all over again? Do you find yourself spending hours writing new lesson plans and coming up with new ways to approach topics you’ve taught for years?

When it comes to Common Core implementation, you don’t have to rewrite your lessons from scratch. With Common Core 360, the most widely used Common Core implementation aid in the US, the work of aligning lesson plans to the Core has already been done for you!

Using Common Core 360 is easy:

  1. Select the Common Core Standard you need to implement.
  2. Choose from hundreds of hours of video footage that show master teachers implementing the Common Core standard by standard in their own classrooms.
  3. Download standard specific, classroom-ready lesson plans that you can use any time.

The best part is you can access all of this FOR FREE.

Just sign up for a 30-day free trial of Common Core 360 and start getting downloadable Common Core lesson plans and instructional videos today.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at (800) 572-1153.

– See more at: http://www.sinet-web.com/common-core-lesson-plans-4th/#sthash.bmHauQsy.dpuf

Accelerated Schools Transform Education with Henry M. Levin

Segment 01 – 02: Accelerated Schools Transform Education with Henry M. Levin

All children can learn, even those who have been identified as at-risk students. The accelerated school does not remediate, but accelerates all students to high levels of achievement. By embracing the accelerated schools philosophy and utilizing its systematic process, hundreds of schools from every socioeconomic area, both urban and rural, are seeing remarkable growth in all students.

Rich Rusak, a principal in Aurora, Colorado, says, “You can be a good school and be doing a variety of things, but you’ll never be a great school without having focus. Accelerated schools provide a structure for focus.”

“We are an accelerated school and we want to go faster for these children. They have enough disadvantages; we’re trying to put some advantages in their lives,” says 5th grade teacher Anthony Rego.

Second grade teacher Amy Gallagher says, “I think our biggest strength is that our faculty and staff and administrators really come together to deal with problems or deal with curriculum or different things like that. It’s working as a whole.”

Accelerated schools transform education so all students can reach their fullest potential. Students are often in at-risk situations in conventional schools. One of the primary motives that provided the geneses to the accelerated schools model is the belief that there are no at-risk students, but only children placed in at-risk situations. Henry M. Levin is Director of the National Center for the Accelerated Schools Project at Stanford University.

Dr. Henry M. Levin says, “We began to realize that some very fundamental problems were there. The first thing is that these children were put into special programs, remedial programs, or repair programs which slowed them down, and if we want to bring all children to the mainstream, which we thought should be our goal, and a healthy mainstream in terms of academic results and participation, then it seemed logical to think in a different direction. That’s when we came up with the idea of accelerating the growth of these kids, not slowing them down.”

Bob Jasna is the deputy superintendent in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He said, “Why not try to accelerate students? If we tried to remediate, they would always stay where they were and they would always be behind. So as soon as I heard about the project out of Stanford, I became very interested in it.”

The effectiveness of this approach has drawn many schools into the accelerated process, an increasing number of which typically would not have been considered to have at-risk populations.

Learn firsthand from educators dealing with these issues when you watch the full video segment on PD 360.

Get Common Core-Aligned Lesson Plans – 8th Grade

Get Common Core-Aligned Lesson Plans: Downloadable and Ready to Use

Get hundreds of Common Core-aligned instructional videos and lesson plans just like this, for every grade!

Video Image

Watch Ms. Griffin teach her students a Common Core-aligned ELA lesson: Writing Additional Scenes to Literary Texts, aligned to standards RL.8.1 & 3, W.8.3a, SL.8.1c.

Does implementing the Common Core Standards make you feel like a new teacher all over again? Do you find yourself spending hours writing new lesson plans and coming up with new ways to approach topics you’ve taught for years?

When it comes to Common Core implementation, you don’t have to rewrite your lessons from scratch. With Common Core 360, the most widely used Common Core implementation aid in the US, the work of aligning lesson plans to the Core has already been done for you!

Using Common Core 360 is easy:

  1. Select the Common Core Standard you need to implement.
  2. Choose from hundreds of hours of video footage that show master teachers implementing the Common Core standard by standard in their own classrooms.
  3. Download standard specific, classroom-ready lesson plans that you can use any time.

The best part is you can access all of this FOR FREE.

Just sign up for a 30-day free trial of Common Core 360 and start getting downloadable Common Core lesson plans and instructional videos today.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at (800) 572-1153.

Get Common Core-Aligned Math Lesson Plans: Downloadable and Ready to Use

Get Common Core-Aligned Math Lesson Plans: Downloadable and Ready to Use

Get hundreds of Common Core-aligned math instructional videos and lesson plans just like this, for every grade!

Video Image

Watch Ms. Parham teach her students a Common Core-aligned math lesson about how to understand linear equations: 11th Grade Math Standards MP.2, 3, 4, 5, 6, & 7.

Does implementing the Common Core Standards make you feel like a new teacher all over again? Do you find yourself spending hours writing new lesson plans and coming up with new ways to approach topics you’ve taught for years?

When it comes to Common Core implementation, you don’t have to rewrite your lessons from scratch. With Common Core 360, the most widely used Common Core implementation aid in the US, the work of aligning lesson plans to the Core has already been done for you!

Using Common Core 360 is easy:

  1. Select the Common Core Standard you need to implement.
  2. Choose from hundreds of hours of video footage that show master teachers implementing the Common Core standard by standard in their own classrooms.
  3. Download standard specific, classroom-ready lesson plans that you can use any time.

The best part is you can access all of this FOR FREE.

Just sign up for a 30-day free trial of Common Core 360 and start getting downloadable Common Core lesson plans and instructional videos today.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at (800) 572-1153.

Evaluating Materials and Methods in a Science Experiment

Jason Niedermeyer shows us a Common Core lesson in action. His AP Biology class at South Salem High School in Salem, Oregon, determines the integrity of classmates’ materials and methods notes for completing a diffusion experiment in a lesson plan aligned with the Common Core Standards.

Watch a classroom example of Mr. Niedermeyer teaching through ELA standard 8 and Literacy standard 3

  • 8. Evalutate the hypotheses, data analysis, and conclusions in a science or technical text, verifying the data when possible and corroborating or challenging conclusions with other sources of information
  • 3. Follow precisely a complex multi-step procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks; analyze the specific results based on explanations in the text

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Learning Goals: Sound Assessment and Goal Clarity

Video Image

Creating a vision for the future is the foundation for motivation. Setting specific learning goals with students prior to the actual learning gives students the foundation they need to approach learning and allows teachers to effectively assess each student.

Education expert and noted author Jay McTighe encourages his mantra that the primary purpose of assessment should be to promote student learning. He prioritized five key learning goals that range from short-term factual goals to long-term application goals. Watch him explain this list that includes:

  • Knowledge
  • Skills & Processes
  • Understanding
  • Habits of Mind
  • Long-Term Transfer Goals