Marilyn Burns recently wrote an article in Educational Leadership entitled, Uncovering the Math Curriculum in which she explores the questions we are currently asking of our own programme. She discusses Eleanor Duckworth’s belief that in education we should never ‘cover’ a curriculum, rather we should always ‘uncover’ our curriculum. The difference, although slight is quite profound. Are we just covering math? How do we make sure our students uncover mathematics? How do we ensure skill development while providing experiences that allow our students develop deep conceptual understandings? This year we will discuss, debate and explore these questions in order to solidify what the Junior School believes to be our guiding principles of mathematics instruction. If you’d like to borrow Eleanor’s book, I have a copy.
How can we create a bubble of wonder in our classrooms? Thanks, Kath!
One of the most respected reading teachers, professors, and all-around educational gurus, Richard Allington recently wrote a powerful and thought-provoking article about reading, What Really Matters With Struggling Readers. Allington discusses many structures and routines schools develop that often inhibit reading growth, and how schools can move forward by utilising their resources effectively to help support struggling readers. A s you read through the article, think about MIS and how we are or could improve our support for our struggling readers.
At the end of the article, Allington poses a few questions for discussion and thought:
One thing that every educator who reads this article might do is to respond to each of the following characteristics of research-based reading lessons for struggling readers:
Terry Heick knows a thing or two about good teaching; it’s not what figuring out what kids know, but what they don’t know. He discusses that knowing something is ‘low-level knowledge’ and can easily be stated and distributed while understanding cannot.
“Understanding cannot. Wisdom cannot. These are acquired under a self-imposed cognitive duress. The moment a student can no longer tolerate not knowing, they can pursue an idea. If they do so with curiosity, and in terms and forms they can be playful and confident with, that curiosity can evolve itself to something aggressive.”
“Wisdom, understanding, knowledge, skills–and the pathways between each–are the very core of learning. There is nuance within each of these ideas–critical distinctions that matter. If our fall-back phrasing concerns whether or not they “get it,” we shouldn’t be surprised when they don’t.”
When we think about our teaching, are we focusing on what they know or what they don’t know? And, are we surprised if our students don’t get it?
How do inquiry teachers teach? In Kath Murdoch's blog posting, she shares the attributes of effective inquiry teachers. As we know, Kath brings a sense of wonderment in everything she does. This posting reiterates how we good teachers, teach. Take a moment to read the entire posting; it won’t disappoint you: How Do Inquiry Teachers…Teach?
She defines twelve attributes of effective inquiry teachers.
Nell Duke, professor of language, literacy, and culture at the University of Michigan, helps articulate how informational texts can and should be used in elementary schools. In her Educational Leadership article, The Case for Informational Texts, she states that the seven things that are seen in primary classrooms that are effectively using informational texts to help students learn to read and write.
70 years later, Dewey’s final quote still rings true, “The world is moving at a tremendous rate. No one knows where. We must prepare our children not for the world of the past, not for our world, but for their world. The world of the future.”
How are we preparing our students for their world? The world of the future.
Other Resources from Cristobal Cabo
I was fortunate to attend the IB Regional Conference during which time I learned a great deal. One presenter, Cristobal Cabo, shared many innovative strategies to implement in the classroom, which I will share throughout the year. One of the most thought-provoking videos he shared was from the 1940s in the United States. While watching, ask yourself, how has the world changed? Where are we right now? How far have we come? Where do we want to be? Education in the 1940s
In the spirit sharing how much we value and love books, I wanted to share The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. This Academy Award winning animated short is an adaptation of William Joyce’s book, which is available in our library under the same title (call number: E JOY). The video has no spoken words, which allows all our students regardless of language level access to its content. It might be a little scary in the very beginning for ECers depending on the class. You could fast forward through it (from 1:10 to 2:39). If you have a desire to use this or other videos in your class, you can read Using Video to Teach Comprehension Strategies and Thinking Routines
Creativity Takes Time brings to life the impact time has on one’s creativity. It posits creativity is the result of freedom, playfulness, and fun. This video although only two minutes long implores us to find ways to increase the amount of time students are engaged in creative activities. This allows allows students to explore what Sir Ken Robinson defines as the essence of creativity, “The process of having original ideas that have value.” However, in many schools, time constraints and pressure are constantly put onto student activities. In study upon study, increasing time pressure greatly inhibits the ability students have to be creative and only allows for a narrow range of output often resulting in children producing the same work.
The video brings up some important questions about the learning activities we create for our students.