Thinking Skills: A Common Thread

What do Project Based Learning, 21st Century Skills, SCANS Skills (Secretary’s Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills), CDOS Standards (Career Development and Occupational Studies) and NYS Learning Standards all have in common? Hmmmm, you have probably deduced from the title that it is “thinking skills”…..and, if so, you have just used your own basic thinking skills to conclude, infer, or reason this out.

In order to engage in higher-order thinking, students must do more with information than just memorize it. Continue reading

Summer Read

Summer Reading: Setting the Standard for Project Based Learning by Larimer, Mergendoller & Boss.

I’m sure your nightstand is already piled high with the books you’ve been meaning to read but didn’t get to. Here’s another book for that pile. It’s a brand-new book that describes the instructional approach that is central to the Regional Vision for College, Career, and Citizenship Readiness. I hope you read it.

Some years ago, in our region, we started a conversation about the 21st century and how the world was changing and how our schools had to change too. We shared a general sense of restlessness about the disconnect between our traditional schools and classrooms and the changing world. Continue reading

OCM-Responsive Classroom® Blog: July: A Time to Reflect on Practice

“It’s not the ‘DOING’, it’s the reflection of the ‘DOING’ “is a famous quote by John Dewey. Now that the assessment season, the late spring jitters and the end of the school year are behind us, now is the time to take a deep breath, relax and take a moment to reflect on the past school year to guide us to new goals for the new school year starting in the fall.

In the new version of the Responsive Classroom Course, teachers are given time on the last day to reflect on their 4-days of learning and make goals for their Responsive Classroom application in the classroom. To assist them in the goals, they are now given Continue reading

Moms and Dads… Take Your Own Advice

Even though I am not a parent myself (at least not to human children), I am surrounded by family and friends who are. I observe them interacting with their children and notice the care and effort they put into creating environments in which their kids will thrive. I have shared the journey with my sister as she became a mother four years ago and have watched her blossom into an amazing parent. She, and most of the parents I know well, work tirelessly to keep their kids safe and healthy, to promote good behavior and to impart wisdom so that their kids will be a “better version” of themselves. They provide opportunities for enrichment, put in countless hours of carpooling, and patiently remind them to look both ways before crossing the street, to share their toys, to not stick their fingers in electrical sockets, and to eat lots of fruits and veggies. And, of course, they understand the importance of being a good role model. Continue reading

Teaching Social Studies = A Corps of Discovery

We are just finishing up two weeks of social studies professional development with teachers from many of our districts. Teachers have spent their time working very hard to understand and use the Social Studies Framework to build curriculum maps, plan units and think about Toolkit Inquiries in order to teach for understanding and transfer. Some my blogs from the last year remain relevant in light of everyone’s hard work, so I will be recycling some favorites! This blog first appeared last September.

Welcome to the first edition of the transformed Teaching American History blog, now the Teaching Social Studies blog! Although I will continue to write about historical and critical thinking, standards and teaching and learning in the classroom, the focus will widen to all social studies content.

I just (finally) finished the book Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West by Stephen Ambrose, the story of the Corps of Discovery and their trip of exploration of the Northwest from 1803 to 1806. I had started it in the spring in preparation for our first TAH book giveaway, but I was not able to finish it as the school year got busier and busier. I am now on a mission to complete the pile of books that I have started and half-read, so that I can move along to the pile of books that I want to read but have yet to start. So many books and so little time!! Continue reading

Renovation, Hero’s Journey and PBL World

At the very end of June, three of us from Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment had the opportunity to attend PBL World sponsored by Buck Institute for Education and held in Napa, California. During the four days we attended keynotes by renowned educators and two accomplished students and attended day- long sessions to build our capacity.

Alfred Solis was the keynote on June 25—the take away for me was his use of the term renovate. Many of us live in buildings built under prior technologies, building codes and availability of materials. Yet, we renovate these homes to fit today’s world and needs. Continue reading

Common Core Highlights from the Year

As we swing into summer and reflect on the past year, here are some highlights of the top Common Core blogs from our Network Team.

Teacher trainer, Randi Downs, wrote a blog focused on “ ‘Shifting’ to the New English Regents Exam”. She blogged, “In facilitating various dives into the test, it seems that the shifts most evident in this new assessment, at least for the Part 2 (Writing Argument) and Part 3 (Writing Analysis) pieces require the movement towards utilizing text-based answers and employing evidence from sources to inform or make an argument (Shifts 4 and 5).” To see posters of Continue reading

An oldie, but goodie blog – Teaching Content and Language Simultaneously

I have received many inquiries from educators in the field about teaching content and language simultaneously. As part of our flashback summer blog series, I defer to a great blog written by my predecessor, Adam Bauchner, on such a topic. I present to you, “Teaching Content and Language Simultaneously through Sheltered Instruction.”

Continue reading

Setting the Standard

Last week, some of my colleagues and I had the opportunity to attend PBL World in Napa, California. Not only was it fascinating and exciting to be amongst educators who have opened doors to engaging and rigorous inquiry for students all over the world, it offered the opportunity to reflect on the success skills necessary for young people once they leave the school setting. In Setting the Standard for Project Based Learning (2015 ASCD),John Larmer, John Mergendoller, and Suzie Boss describe success skills as the habits of mind, dispositions, or 21st Century Skills that students need for their futures. Continue reading