Dr. Frederick Hess, Author of Cage-Busting Leadership, Coming to Reno

Dr. Frederick Hess will be visiting Washoe County School District this Friday as part of the Leadership Institute of Nevada. If you don’t know Dr. Hess’ work, and if you are not attending the event, it might be worth watching the video presentations below.

In the this video for the Missouri Department of Education, Hess gives some context for why many of the reforms we are asked to implement in our classrooms often do not have the desired effects. At minute 5:37 he provides several specific examples including block scheduling, site-based management, comprehensive school reform, small high schools, and turn arounds. At minute 9:50, he outlines that some ideas are good but implementation is more challenging than we fully anticipate (e.g. differentiation). Consequently, sound ideas appear to be failures.

In a second presentation before the American Enterprise Institute, Hess asks the question, “Are American schools just not designed to succeed?” Hess makes his case that many of the challenges facing schools may seem intractable before sharing—at minute 10:25—two examples of solutions. These would include the Basis Schools in Arizona, and the Equity Project in New York.

Given that many of our district leaders and administrators will be hearing from Hess, might be worth opting into some of his content.

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How “Practice Retrieving It” Leads to Greater Retention

Does more studying lead to higher test scores? The answer isn’t no but it turns out that a better strategy to retain information is a combination of studying and testing. Dr. Henry Roediger, citing work done by he and his colleague Franklin Zaromb, demonstrated that 4 sessions of studying, each followed by a quick assessment, yielded stronger scores than 8 successive sessions of studying. The implications for the classroom being that students need opportunities to “practice retrieving” information before a big summative assessment. You can get the gist of Zaromb and Roediger’s work by reviewing the slides below. You can watch a video presentation on the aforementioned through the link here.

Study StudyStudy Conclusion

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Core Task implementation Project, Session 5: Syntax

The focus for the February sessions of the Core Task implementation Project (CTiP) has educators working with the importance of teaching syntax—both why and how. This learning started with a video from Dr. Lily Wong Fillmore followed by reading how to implement the instructional move, Juicy Sentences. Educators also returned to the value of building a coherent body of knowledge, learned the engagement strategy Busy Bees, and watched a lesson demonstration from 3rd grade Diedrichsen teacher Ruby Burnley. All of the session materials can be accessed in the PowerPoint and in the links below.

Session 5 on Syntax PowerPoint

Article 1 on the Impact of NCLB

Article 2 on the 4th Grade Slump

Syntax 1808 Notetaker

Session 5 Notetaker

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Early Elementary Document Based Questions

2nd grade teacher Chris Hayes and Washoe’s Social Studies Coordinator Angela Orr have been working on creating Document Based Questions (DBQs) for the primary grades with connections to the Core Knowledge Domains. Their first efforts are linked below and Angela and Chris are hopeful that practitioners, who download, will consider providing feedback on their prototypes.

DBQs give students an opportunity to practice reading about history from a variety of perspectives through primary and secondary resources. You can watch several DBQ overview videos here.

2nd Grade War of 1812 DBQ

2nd Grade Greek Myths DBQ

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CTL 746 Presentation Materials

Students in Dr. Margaret Ferrara’s CTL 746 class—a course focused on the principles of curriculum development—moved through some foundational pieces on the Nevada Academic Content Standards and the Common Core. Participants learned about the instructional shifts, the Instructional Practice Guides, pedagogical engagement strategies, and reviewed a video from cognitive scientist Dr. Dan Willingham on “mental obstacles.” You can review the PowerPoint and handouts in the links below.

CTL 746 PowerPoint

Instructional Shifts Handout from SAP

Instructional Shifts Notetaker

6=3 Shifts Crosswalk

6-12 ELA Instructional Practice Guide, Daily

6-12 ELA Instructional Practice Guide, Yearly

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35 Mini-Assessments Added to 63000Resources.com

The full set of Mini-Assessments has been added to www.63000resources.com through the link here. The Mini-Assessments are well aligned to the Next Generation Assessments and teachers throughout Washoe have discovered that they are a good gauge of how students are working with Common Core outcomes. Assessments include Because of Winn-Dixie, Cactus Jam, The Fisherman and His Wife, Mrs. Mack, Basic Archeology, Yang the Eldest & Out of the Dust, Walk Two Moons, Bubblology, Looking for Lunar Ice, Summer of the Swans, Who was Marco Polo & The Adventures of Marco Polo, Counting on Grace, Curse of the Poisoned Pretzel, The Great Fire, and The Making of a Scientist.

The MA’s were developed by Student Achievement Partners to “illustrate the shifts of the Common Core.”

Full list of downloadable assessments can be found here.

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Darling-Hammond & Polikoff on Standards and Assessment

In a presentation before the Maryland State Education Association, Stanford professor Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond and University of Southern California professor Dr. Morgan Polikoff overview the Common Core State Standards and contextualize previous state standards and assessments. Certainly worth watching the entire discussion or, at the very least, hearing Hammond and Polikoff talk about the two PowerPoint slides below. First Hammond, at minute 3:40, explains how the skills in demand have changed over time and at minute 19:07 Polikoff describes the continuum of narrow to deeper assessments. You can see the entire presentation here.

SkillsAssessments

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