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Showing posts from February, 2013

Shovel-Ready Bullet Points 101

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In a recent Ed Week blog post, Nancy Flanagan urges her fellow teachers to speak up and offer their perspective on the Common Core. She encourages them to develop salient ideas, and then asks teachers, "Can you put them into shovel-ready bullet points, for the limited attention span of your average legislator?"

Having teachers weigh in the Common Core is so needed, after all they are the first-order Core users. The much-needed voice of the teacher has been almost absent from the Common Core policy making table. Even as the weight of  educator accountability evolved to the misguided connection between standardized assessment scores and teacher quality, the public has so rarely heard from the teacher. Even as conventional wisdom seemed to turn on the teacher, and as teacher unions were dismissed as self-serving, the teacher voice is missing.

One explanation, and one that I have heard most often, is that teachers are so busy doing the thing they know and do best that they have…

We Are the Ones We've Been Waiting For

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"What do we want the students we teach to be like as adults?"
This question is at the base of the research conducted by Ron Ritchhart and Project Zero at Harvard University. The responses he has received from educators are rather consistent. Rather than content knowledge, educators indicate that they want students to be inventive, risk-taking, responsible, compassionate, creative, reflective, meta-cognitive, and skeptical. These dispositions, coupled with thinking skills and abilities, produce good thinkers. If this is what we envision for our students, Ritchhart poses, how do we create schools that develop good thinking?

Good thinking is developed by students being able to communicate their ideas and by interacting with one another. It occurs in classrooms and schools where everything about the culture communicates the importance of wondering, noticing, and problem-solving.

While not likely to gain political attention, there is an important finding here. Ritchhart and colle…