Grant Wiggins' family announced today that he passed away on Tuesday. We've shared many of his insightful articles and ideas over the years. This post is dedicated to the memory of a brilliant and committed man who understood learning deeply.
by Cathy Gassenheimer
Summer offers some opportunity for educators to relax, renew, and prepare for the next school year…hopefully in that order!
The April issue of ASCD’s Education Update
offers tips for that third part of your summer vacation: preparing for the 2015-2016 school year. As you continue to work to improve instruction using Alabama’s College-and Career-Ready Standards (CCRS), this article offers some useful tips. Let me summarize.
Relying heavily on research from Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins in the new ASCD/Arias book, Solving 25 Problems in Unit Design: How Do I Refine My Skills to Enhance Student Learning?
, this short but resource-laden article, titled “Writing a Master Plan,” suggests five strategies teachers should consider when planning instruction.
Establish an End Game
- Establish an End Game
- Avoid Cotton Candy Curriculum
- Resist Information Overload
- Plan Out Loud
- Ditch the Daily Focus
As teachers begin to plan instruction, they need (as Wiggins/McTighe always remind us) to start with the end in mind.
What is it that students need to know and be able to do? How will it be measured? In what ways can the unit be planned so that students deeply understand the key concepts? And, importantly, how can students apply and demonstrate proficiency?
According to Jay McTighe, “Just like a coach plans with the game in mind, teach individual skills and knowledge with the performance in mind, not as ends in themselves.”Read More
by Cathy Gassenheimer
During this time of year, almost any teacher would love to hear “less is more!” Wrapping up the year, testing, student assemblies and public events, grading, and all the rest – May just seems to demand more time. As a result, Facebook posts by teachers all across the country are beginning to count down the days until summer.
What can be done to make teaching less cumbersome and more engaging—for both educators and students? The authors of an excellent new book that came across my desk the other day have an answer: Less is more!
The book, Less is More in Elementary School: Strategies for Thriving in a High-Stakes Environment
, is written by three educators
from South Texas – Renee Rubin, Michelle Abrego and John Sutterby – who regularly deal with students of poverty and second language learners.
The authors suggest that the new standards provide a real opportunity for teachers to slow down, focus more on important concepts and deep learning, and engage students more effectively through interdisciplinary learning. In fact, they suggest that Alabama’s new standards can be used “as a springboard for creating a streamlined curriculum that does less, but does it better” (p. 4)
That statement certainly got my attention and the book moved from the queue into my hands. Soon I was tweeting as I was reading!Read More