REVIEW: An Excellent Guide When You're Ready to Address Problems of Instructional Practice
June 30, 2015
by Cathy Gassenheimer
If you or your school has embraced Instructional Rounds, here’s a book for you. Titled Opening Doors to Equity: A Practical Guide to Observation-Based Professional Learning,
this book provides a format for schools to adapt Instructional Rounds for a grade-level, subject area, or even for inter-school collaboration.
As Lois Brown Easton
suggests in the foreword, this book is “oriented toward implementation.”
The author, Tonya Ward Singer
, is a professional learning expert with experience as a classroom teacher, reading teacher and ELL specialist. Her passion for ensuring that all students receive a top-notch education led her to write this book:
“What drives me is the belief that every child, regardless of family income, ethnicity, or home language, deserves to graduate from high school with choices and opportunity. This vision has led me to ask tough questions and continuously evolve based on the answers I find.” (p. 2)
And, Singer’s answers constitute the content of this very resource-laden and useful book!Read More
WATWOOD ELEMENTARY: Targeting Learning, One to One!
June 26, 2015
by Susan Ogle
A.H. Watwood Elementary
Talladega County Schools
We have so much to be proud of at A. H. Watwood Elementary
this school year!! We went 1:1 with iPads, started AMSTI math in all grade levels, had Project Based Learning in all grade levels, and became a TLIM
Lighthouse School! (Here's our Facebook post
On top of that, we really focused on aligning our goals from the school level all the way down to the student level. We tracked school, grade level, classroom, and student data in various ways. Students owned their individual goals (that contributed to the attainment of school wide goals) by writing and tracking them in their Leadership Notebooks.
As a faculty, we also grew in our knowledge of daily learning targets
(in the form of I Can
statements), checks for understanding, and formative assessment. Teachers collaborated to plan and implement at least two PBL projects in each grade this year. They had authentic audiences and real world problems to solve. It was amazing to see the students truly being "Leaders of Their Own Learning!"Read More
Demographic Trends Will Have A Very Powerful Impact on Alabama
June 23, 2015
By Cathy Gassenheimer
Data doesn’t lie, even though sometimes we try to ignore or put a different spin on it. But if we don’t pay attention to facts and trends, we do so at our own peril. This is a key message from James H. Johnson, Jr.,
the Director of the Urban Investment Strategies Center and a professor at the University of North Carolina.
Dr. Johnson was in Alabama recently to speak at the 25th
Anniversary of Leadership Alabama. His presentation was compelling and, in some ways quite alarming. Johnson suggested to this gathering of Alabama leaders that we pay attention to important data points that will impact Alabama’s future.
Encouraging the audience to focus on facts, not our feelings about those facts, Dr. Johnson reminded us that “In five years, we are all going to be five years older. You may not like that, but it is a fact!”
Johnson structured his remarks about disruptive demographics
around six general themes, using census and other related data:
- The South Rises Again
- The Browning of America
- Marrying Out is In
- The Silver Tsunami
- The End of Men
- Cooling Waters from Grandma’s well …and Grandpa’s too!
These themes certainly grabbed the attention of the audience in the room!Read More