Sunday, April 15, 2018

Links I Love 4/15/18



Kristi Mraz on Being the Change

"What is Social Comprehension, and Do Little Kids Need it?
Sara defines social comprehension as developing “skills and habits to help us comprehend social issues and participate in relevant, transparent conversations.” She points out that this skill is learned, and to me, that means we need to be teaching it from the first day of school in kindergarten. It is more than just having the skills of conversation. Though that is certainly part of it, it is also normalizing difficult conversations and studying the impact of our actions on others so that we may learn better and do better. Little kids are more than capable of talking about big issues when we approach it in a way that feels appropriate and connected to their lives. It will be messy and clumsy at the start, but what isn’t?"

Embracing Student-Generated Questions in the Classroom 

"The research on student-generated questioning is compelling; questioning pushes students forward in making meaning of information. Students in inquiry-based classrooms demonstrate higher test scores. Brain scans reveal that when learners’ curiosity is piqued by questions, the parts of the brain associated with pleasure, reward, and memory undergo an increase in activity. Questioning generation improves students’ reading comprehension and promotes positives attitudes about reading and literacy."

Parent-Tested, Expert-Recommended Advice for When Your Child Isn't Reading Yet 

"Don’t judge. This is the cardinal rule, and the one I break all the time. So your child isn’t reading in first grade. So what? You can start labeling or comparing, or you can accept the situation as it is, and work with it."


“What you cannot imagine, you cannot do”

Now imagine Astronauts on the Space Station reading stories to the children of Earth as the world rotates below.
Imagine no more…it’s Story Time from Space!


A Few of My Favourite Blog Posts - to Read...or Inspire Writing

"I was asked the other day by another professional to share some blog posts that have inspired me.  She was curious about starting up her own blog and wanted to read through a few different writers’ works to get some inspiration.  To be honest, there are so many great educators posting wonderful blog posts that it is difficult to narrow it down.  Here is my attempt at creating a list of some of my favourite blog posts from the past few years.  Find one you haven’t read and take a look."

The 5 Practices Framework: Explicit Planning vs. Explicit Teaching

"Trust me, I get it. The word “explicit” has developed a cringe-worthy connotation among peers in the math community. In the past, if I were asked to paint a picture of a math teacher engaging in “explicit” teaching, I would have painted either a teacher standing up at the front of the room, telling students how to solve a problem, or a teacher crouched down next to a struggling student, “correcting” the way the student approached the problem because they were taking the “long way there.”

Promoting Productive Struggle in Math 

"Math hooks changed the feel in class right away. There was confusion, conversation, wonder mixed with frustration, some magical revelations, and lots and lots of rigorous thinking. This was all exactly what I was looking for."

What is a Number String?

"A number string is a set of related math problems, crafted to support students to construct big ideas about mathematics and build their own strategies (Fosnot & Dolk, 2002)."

Using Math Routines to Build Number Sense in First Grade

"Every time we do this routine, I find students building on one another’s ideas, challenging themselves, and getting excited about the different ways they can represent a number. I hear cheers and gasps as other students share their answers. This routine not only builds an understanding of how numbers are composed and decomposed, but it is also an engaging way for students to dive deeper into the meaning of numbers, which sets the foundation for future mathematical experiences. The conversations this routine spurs surprise me time and time again."



Saturday, March 31, 2018

Links I Love 3/31/18

I am dusting off this old blog so that I will have a place to gather, store and share some of the great posts and articles I run across online. I won't be writing a summary for each article but instead I will be pulling out a favorite quote from the article to give you a taste of what the whole article might be like. There are so many thoughtful educators out there and I learn so much from them every day.


Close Listening and a Kids-First Approach to Our Day to Day Interactions
by Kristine Mraz 

"Putting kids first does not mean that there is no expectation or difficulty in classrooms. It means that how we respond is different. In our actions, in our words, and in our conversational moves we demonstrate that we care for and value the children in our care, that we center on their needs, and support their growth. "

Non-Math Essentials for Math Learning
by Margie Pearse

"A teacher who loves teaching math will get students excited to learn math. Step into a classroom led by a passionate math teacher and you’ll notice students at the edge of their seats anticipating his or her next move, ready to take on any math challenge, and willing to take risks. When math is taught with enthusiasm, students begin to see learning in a different light, approaching each problem with interest. Passion sets the stage for engagement to happen in math. Brains are awakened by emotion, offering students a way to make stronger mathematical connections."


"Islands of Certainty" - Learning Sight Words 
by Katie Keier 

"This reminds us of the importance of making sure that everything we do is in the service of meaning. We can’t simply teach kids lists of words to memorize or put these words on flash cards. We have to focus on teaching these words in meaningful text and show our readers how these known words can be “islands of certainty.” We have to help our readers and writers see how to make these words theirs, and how they can use that knowledge in their reading and writing. "

Beyond Dojos and Card Charts
by Sarah  Caban 


"As math educators, we talk all the time about how important it is to get students to ask questions, justify their thinking, and critique the reasoning of others.  If we really want to make this happen, I think we need to pay attention to the mirrors we hold up for our students.  If we use extrinsic rewards and punishments are we building agency or promoting complacency?"

Making Space: Entering Lessons Mindfully
by Kim Yaris and Jan Burkins

"In classrooms, we all pay great attention to the physical space. We are conscientious about classroom clutter. We are intentional about room design, furniture placement, and color, particularly in these early days of a new school year. But, more important than the things we place and arrange in the classroom is the space around the people and the objects—the emptiness that is actually something. Similarly, creating space, or making room for nothingness, between lessons, by taking a few deep breaths as you cross over the threshold of a lesson, will affect your quality of life as well as the quality of student learning."

The Work of Finding Empathy
by various Heinemann authors

"One of the most enriching—and challenging—aspects of being an educator is that we must live what we teach in order to teach it well. To teach reading effectively, we must be readers ourselves. To teach writing well, we must write. To build an inclusive school community, we must look inward and examine how we work to see the humanity in others when words or actions differ from our own identity positions."

When Pushing Boundaries in Math Education, Where Can Teachers Turn for Help and Comaraderie?
by Kristen Rae Lapore 

"As an educator, how do you overcome the shortcomings of social media and network with other innovative teachers beyond the Internet?"