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17
December
2018

The Value of Rubrics for Assessment

In what year did World War II begin? What type of energy is generated from the sun? How many cookies are in 15 boxes if there are 6 cookies in each box? These types of questions are easy to assess. The student response is either right, or it’s wrong. You can simply assign a point value to each question and easily determine a grade. But what about when your students are sharing an oral presentation and slideshow about an endangered animal they spent an entire week researching? Or if they are writing a personal narrative about a special moment in their life? How about if they are conducting a scientific investigation on the states of matter and submitting a detailed lab report? How do you assess these types of assignments fairly where there is so much room for variation in quality? In these cases, a rubric is exactly what you need.

Written by: Wendy Lipe

17
December
2018

Backwards Design in the Classroom: Planning with the End in Mind

Are you letting your favorite lessons design your unit instead of designing it around student goals?  Are you thinking more about what you want students to do rather than what you want them to learn?  In this article, we will take a look at what it means to plan with the end in mind and the steps needed to make your instruction more meaningful and focused for your students.

Written by: Natalie Brown

13
December
2018

Pre-Reading Strategies: Setting the Stage for Successful Reading

What is done before a student begins to read a new text is critical to their reading and comprehension success. This article will describe important pre-reading strategies you can use in your classroom to ensure the success of your readers. In reading this article, you will learn how you can you ensure that your students get the most out of their independent reading time. Set the stage for success with practical pre-reading strategies you and your students can implement right away!

Written by: Wendy Lipe

13
December
2018

A Glimpse at Project Based Learning in the Classroom

As an educator, you have probably heard of Project Based Learning, or PBL, but might have been overwhelmed by all it seems to encompass. Take a close glimpse of an actual PBL project in action in the classroom to see that it is completely manageable!  After reading this article, you will have a basic understanding of Project Based Learning and what it looks like in the classroom.

Written by: Wendy Lipe

30
October
2018

Choosing a Skill for Explicit Instruction in Reading

Feeling overwhelmed by all of the reading standards you need to teach? Learn how to narrow your instructional focus based on the specific needs of your students!

As a classroom teacher, it can be overwhelming to see all of the curriculum standards we are responsible for teaching. Reading instruction in particular ranges from the basics of decoding words to improving oral fluency to deeper comprehension. From time to time, it is critical that we take time to step back, look at the big picture based on data and observations, and refocus our instruction on the skills that are most needed. There are often small groups of students who might not understand a concept when it is taught via whole group instruction, and those students would most likely benefit from explicit instruction that is focused on one particular skill.

Written by: Wendy Lipe

17
September
2018

Using Text Evidence to Respond to Questions

I regularly tell my students, “Reading tests are completely manageable. The evidence is right in front of you, you just have to take the time to find it.” So often, students rush through a multiple choice test, not giving much thought to each individual answer and just choosing one that sounds accurate. Or they may have to draft a written response to a short answer question, and instead of pulling specific details from the text, they write a too brief, generic response in very vague terms. If you find this is the case with some of your students, you can teach them specific strategies to use when they are tackling any reading assessment.

Written by: Wendy Lipe

11
September
2018

How to Support Effective and Engaging Structured Independent Reading Time in Your Classroom

Independent reading is a student’s reading of a text on his or her own. It can occur anywhere- as part of an activity in a school classroom or at home and includes books that are appropriate for the student’s reading level. Independent reading has shown to be an effective complement to other reading programs in school, not only in helping students practice and develop reading skills but in fostering a greater love for reading that may carry through at home. This article discusses how to foster reading skills and strategies through independent reading.

Written by: Shayna Pond

11
September
2018

The Importance of a Growth Mindset for Students

We’ve all heard a student complain, “This is too hard, I’ll never understand.” Or maybe even, “I’m not a math person, I just don’t get it.” These statements both reflect a fixed mindset, and one of our responsibilities as educators is to encourage a shift in our students from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. According to Dr. Carol Dweck, a professor of psychology at Stanford University and a leading researcher in the field of motivation, a growth mindset is the “understanding that abilities and intelligence can be developed.” Once students have this mindset, watch their confidence soar! Even as they face academic struggles, they will understand that the struggle is part of the process of learning.

Written by: Wendy Lipe

29
August
2018

Learning Objectives: What Are They and How Do I Write Them?

Do you sometimes find yourself using the state standard as your learning objective because you are unsure of how to write one yourself? Or maybe you are just leaving them out all together? Find out what information you should be including in your student learning objectives, as well as how you should be using them in your classroom with this article.

Written by: Natalie Brown

21
August
2018

The San Diego Quick Assessment

Readers will understand the purpose of the San Diego Quick Assessment and when it is appropriate to use to help determine a student’s reading level.

If you are looking for a quick way to get a general idea of a new student’s reading level, the San Diego Quick Assessment may be the right tool for you!

Some educational diagnostic tools truly stand the test of time! The San Diego Quick Assessment is certainly one of those tools. In 1969, Margaret La Pray and Ramon Ross created 13 lists of 10 words each based on grade level. These lists range from pre-primer and primer through eleventh grade. Originally published in Journal of Reading, these word lists are now available online and can be used by educators as a method to determine a student’s reading level.

Written by: Wendy Lipe

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