In education, knowledge has the most value when it is shared. When we build community around common goals and work to learn from one another, we can reach those goals faster. Here are the top 5 blogs that resonated most with you:
An Interview with Dr. John B. King
In this podcast recap, former Education Secretary Dr. John B. King discusses the state of education in America today and how to improve it. Part of the conversations touches on unconscious bias and acknowledging bias within ourselves before we interact with students. He also talks about his childhood, how his experiences led him to work in education, and what he and other educators can do to protect our democracy.
3 Ways to Create an Environment Where Students Thrive by Jessica Law
In the above interview with former Education Secretary King, Law was struck by King’s description of his experience as a student, particularly how his school was a sanctuary from troubles at home. After hearing that interview, Law, a third grade literacy teacher sought to make her classroom a safe haven for her students. She presents three recommendations for educators, and through them, she charges educators to listen more and to give students agency. “The circumstances some of my students find themselves in outside of school are not ones they have much control over. This can lead to a sense of powerlessness that can follow them into the classroom and dampen their engagement. It is thus essential for me to try to empower my students however I can, giving them ownership over the things we do in class,” she writes. She also asks educators to think about their behavior in terms of equity and consider how their actions in the classroom might inadvertently perpetuate stereotypes.
The Literacy Imperative: How Research-Informed Literacy Instruction Can Engender Democracy & Civic Participation, a conversation with Dr. Timothy Shanahan
In this podcast, Dr. Timothy Shanahan, Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois at Chicago, examines literacy in our schools and how new research conflicts with traditional practices. He talks about the idea of literacy and defines it as a range of abilities to use text to meet your needs and solve your problems. He then looks at literacy instruction and explains why teaching students at their instructional level is not as successful as other methods.
5 Reasons to Implement Fluency Practice for Your Students Today by Marcia Eisenberg
Three years into her five years of teaching ELA, Marcia Eisenberg attended a literacy institute to help her more effectively teach students reading below grade level. In this blog, she explains how she used a four-step fluency practice routine with a group of 6th grade summer school students. The fluency practice took only 10 minutes a day, and the results were dramatic: After just two weeks, every student had increased the number of words they read per minute and decreased the number of errors in their reading. In addition to outlining the process she used, Eisenberg lays out five reasons why such practice should be a part of every ELA’s teachers practice.
An Interview with Dr. Thelma Jackson
After UnboundEd’s Winter 2017 Standards Institute, we sat down with Dr. Thelma Jackson to hear about her experience at the Institute and how it changed her practice. Jackson, principal of Seminole Elementary School in Okeechobee, Fla., talks about how she now looks at instruction with a civil rights perspective and the role standards play in getting students to meet the challenge of conquering rigorous text. She also describes specific leadership changes that her school has adopted and why other school leaders should consider attending the Standards Institute.
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