Education is meant to be the great equalizer for society, but reality shows continued disparity in terms of educational outcomes along the lines of race and income. The achievement gap, the opportunity gap, the academic gap—these all refer to a systemic difference in educational performance for students of color compared to their white peers or for students in poverty compared to students in more affluent communities. There is something wrong with a system that continues to replicate an outcome of inequity.
Teachers give assessments so that they can find out what students understand, what needs to be reviewed or retaught, and where differentiation needs to happen. Because the goal is to determine if student learning has occurred, it’s important for assessments, especially summative assessments, to be true indications of what students know.
At any moment of the day, a variety of stimuli are vying for our students’ attention. Video games. Instagram. Snapchat. Twitter. Texting. Facetime. The list goes on and on. Thus, in order for a kid to choose a book over all the other competing options, we must cultivate a culture of reading. Reading must be equally as “cool” as Fortnite. Period. Here are three tips for cultivating a culture of reading in your classrooms and schools.
As classrooms celebrate Black History Month throughout the month of February, we wanted to share a collection of assignments created by teachers in our community. Incorporate these resources into your lessons to honor great leaders, writers, artists, athletes, and scientists and to help guide students through discussions about civil rights. These assignments can be used not only during Black History Month but year-round in your classroom.
As English language arts teachers know best, teaching students to read is multi-faceted and incredibly complex. One of the best professional development (PD) experiences I have had was Close Reading led by Doug Lemov and the Teach Like a Champion team. At this PD they emphasized and re-emphasized the importance of text selection when teaching students to read.
As the polar vortex is creating record lows and cities are experiencing the harshest cold in years, be certain your classroom climate doesn’t mirror this event. Instead, create or infuse a climate of JOY in your classroom as we head into the spring. Think back to a lesson you were taught in school that you still remember. What did the teacher do to make it stick?