Guiding Principle #4 of the Responsive Classroom®

Math ClassOver the past 3 OCM BOCES’ Responsive Classroom blogs, I have been sharing the guiding principles behind the approach and its 10 teaching practices. This blog entry will focus on Principle 4: There is a specific set of social skills that children need to learn and practice in order to be successful academically and socially. 

These social skills can be remembered by the acronym CARES.  They are: Continue reading

Don’t Send Students “Floating” Without a Paddle!

KidsToday we are continuing our discussion of simple strategies for checking for understanding (CFU) and engaging ALL learners.  If you read the last Special Education entry in this blog, you know that eliciting frequent responses from students by asking them to say, write, or do something to process the information they are learning is the most essential skill required for effective delivery of explicit instruction.  This prevents students from “checking out” of instruction, what Anita Archer calls cognitive “floating.”  More specifically, according to Rowe’s 10:2 Theory, students should engage in a maximum of 10 minutes of instruction followed by a two minute pause to process the learned information. Continue reading

Historical Thinking: Empathy ≠ I Know How You Feel

TAH1One of the difficulties in teaching American history to students in the 21st Century is that the behaviors and actions of people in history can, at times, seem so bizarre and difficult to understand, that students think those historical figures must have been either crazy or ignorant.  How could anyone not join the rebellion during the American Revolution?  How could George Washington have been a slave holder?  How could everyone not have respected Abraham Lincoln as a great President?  Continue reading

Can we Really Keep our Kids Safe?

Shannon Hicks/The Newtown Bee

Shannon Hicks/The Newtown Bee

Recent events such as the tragic shootings in Newton, CT and the abduction of a 5 year-old boy from a school bus in Alabama have made me consider this question anew.  My own daughter is now a junior in college, so the question seems a bit less worrisome to me than it did when she was an elementary, middle school, or high school student in a local district.  Although the minute I write that, I also realize that a number of shootings have occurred on college campuses.  Is she really safe?

In January I had the opportunity to attend a Beyond Bullying Summit at Teachers College, Columbia University. Continue reading

Is There a Difference Between Informational Text and Nonfiction Text?

BooksThe Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS) has brought to the forefront the importance of teaching using informational text in today’s classrooms. One of the major shifts called for in the CCLS is an emphasis on developing the skills required for comprehending and analyzing informational text. The standards call for a balance of literary and informational text with 50% of elementary reading being informational text and by high school it grows to 70%. The ultimate goal of this shift is Continue reading

In Depth Inquiry

HandsUp“We should think of question asking as the goal of an educational activity, rather than a happy by-product.” (Susan Engel, Educational Leadership, February 2013, “The Case for Curiosity”)

Questioning is the beginning of in-depth inquiry.  In Project Based Learning, in-depth inquiry happens throughout the process.  Questions are answered and new questions are generated.  No question is discouraged and ending up a project with more questions than answers can be seen as a good thing. Continue reading

Priorities and Grit…

Two items crossed my desk this past week.  First was a Dilbert cartoon regarding priorities.  It made me think of the many conversations occurring this year regarding standards.  What is priority?  The Common Core Learning Standards for Literacy?  Content standards from New York State?  Standards from professional organizations? What about Continue reading