School Improvement News February 2014
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The Office of School Improvement News webpage often contains links to other websites and news articles. These links represent just a few examples of the numerous education reference materials currently available that support our work in improving student learning. The opinions expressed in any articles or web pages do not necessarily reflect the positions or policies of the WVDE but are provided to inform our work. The inclusion of resources should not be construed or interpreted as an endorsement by the WVDE.
Elementary Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Flexibility
- Accountability measures and annual target process
different for each state — places ownership at the state, regional, district and
- Goal is transparent and for accountability system
that fosters increased student learning
- Schools will be making annual progress on
- Now 5 categories of designation which
acknowledges progress at the school and subgroup level
- Schools will be recognized for achievement AND
There are five school designations:
These websites provide hands-on tools and research-based resources for Priority and Focus Schools and Districts.
The School Turnaround Learning Community (STLC) is an online community of practice for state, division, and school leaders implementing school turnarounds. Available resources on the STLC include research-based practices and practical examples from states, districts, and schools inventing on-the-ground solutions. In addition, it facilitates activities including training, discussions and Q&A sessions with experts on school turnaround implementation.
National Education Association - Priority Schools Campaign - Educators are deeply committed to the success of every student. That’s why NEA members across the country are teaming with parents, principals, community organizations and elected leaders through NEA’s Priority Schools Campaign, focusing attention on raising student achievement in struggling schools. The work centers on five research-driven elements that lead to permanent systemic change: leveraging community assets, improving staff capacity and effectiveness, developing family and community partnerships, improving district and local association capacity and collaboration, and improving student achievement and learning. These schools' experiences can inform our practice in West Virginia. The NEA programs provide a vital free service to struggling schools.
Engaging Students in Direct Instruction (Grades 9-12, ELA, Questioning)
Common Core Question of the Month
What are ways primary elementary teachers can support the developmnt of higher level thinking skills while teaching foundational skills in reading and math?
- Discussions are a great way to promote higher order thinking skills. Sharing the CCSS with students helps them learn what they are supposed to learn, and sharing the importance of those standards helps to build engagement. Though some teachers may be skeptical about sharing standards with students, they are always impressed with the discussions they have with students. Help them to answer the "why?" of their learning and you are teaching them to think. Try it! Here are some student friendly standards written as "I can" statements. You can find more here.
- A great start might be through the selection of the read aloud in primary grades. Check out the exemplar texts in Appendix B (http://www.corestandards.org/assets/Appendix_B.pdf). While these are not intended to be a partial or complete reading list, they serve as handy guideposts as we think about the types of texts we might read to students in the earlier grades.
Primary teachers might also think about building the habits of close and careful reading. There are several exemplars posted for primary grades at www.achievethecore.org and at www.coretaskproject.com. One of my favorites is "The Wind!" We also pull from the Basal Alignment Project lessons (http://www.achievethecore.org/page/525/basal-alignment-project-lessons-grade-3) While they are rewritten for stories in basal readers in grades 3 -5, many of the texts are popular K-2 read alouds. (There is Ruby the Copycat, My Brother Martin, Penguin Chicks, etc.) The questions are aligned to the CCSS, and with small adjustments, can lead to rich discussion in the primary grades!
P21 Common Core Toolkit: A Guide to Aligning the Common Core State Standards with the Framework for 21st Century Skills
The Foundation for Critical Thinking: Where to Begin
Teaching Rigorous and Reflective Thinking
Inquiry Based Teaching
Asking Effective Questions
The Visible Thinking Project, Harvard Project Zero
Making Thinking Visible, Johns Hopkins University
Office of Early Learning's Facebook Page
Say the Same Thing Using New Vocabulary
If you’ve recently attended trainings focused on the Common Core (Next Generation Content Standards and Objectives), you know the critical role that appropriate and aggressive vocabulary instruction must play. A fun, quick, and easy to duplicate resource is this one-minute clip addressing vocabulary. We know nearly all of our students are deficient in vocabulary—which is an indicator of a lack of background knowledge—which impacts fluency and ultimately comprehension. The most effective methods require few materials and no money. This video, College Talk: Improving Students’ Vocabulary, will provide you with some food for thought and possibly a new strategy for vocabulary instruction in your class. https://www.teachingchannel.org/videos/improving-student-vocabulary?fd=1
| ... for the Classroom
How do you integrate Common Core State Standards in the math classroom? How do you engage your students and increase interest in math? XP Math features fun and educational math games for Grades 5-9. Mental mathematics is a component of the Common Core Mathematical Practices and XP Math Games makes it easy to support it. XP Math allows teachers to differentiate instruction by process and content by providing tools to collect and analyze student data at every stage of their learning.How do you integrate Common Core State Standards in the math classroom? How do you engage your students and increase interest in math? XP Math features fun and educational math games for Grades 5-9. Mental mathematics is a component of the Common Core Mathematical Practices and XP Math Games makes it easy to support it. XP Math allows teachers to differentiate instruction by process and content by providing tools to collect and analyze student data at every stage of their learning.
Mapping The Masterpieces
Google Lit Trips: Google Lit Trips is a website dedicated to placing story lines into a Google Earth tour. With something for every grade level K-12, Google Lit Trips is a great way to provide geographic context that coincides with stories students are reading. Students can also create a Google Lit Trip of their own to gain a better understanding of a storyline or showcase their knowledge.
Twiddla is a real-time online collaboration tool. Its beauty is in its simplicity and accessibility: no pllug-ins or downloads, no need to work around complex firewalls, no advanced scheduling. It's 24-7 and the only requirement is a computer with an internet connection and a web browser.
Create and share amazing stories and have them published.
Have students use their own pictures to create a video.
Science360 Knowledge Network immerses visitors in the latest wonders of science, engineering, technology and math. We gather the latest science videos provided by scientists, colleges and universities, science and engineering centers, the National Science Foundation and more. Each video is embeddable to put on your own personal websites, blogs and social networking pages. Science360 engages the general public, science junkies and students alike in the cutting-edge discoveries and big science stories of the day.
At this website you can learn about how your own mind thinks. The test takes about 10 minutes and gives you results instantly. This information could be used when placing students in cooperative learning groups, understanding how their learning interests, and in other ways to enhance engagement.
Try it out for yourself. Here is the link:
Perhaps you like this one better:
This is a personal favorite because it gives suggestions of how to engage your intellengences.
Okay, try this one. You might like it better:
|Once you have used any of these tools, please contact us so that we can share your experiences with other teachers.
Where to find the Office of School Improvement in Cyberspace
- ONLINE: http://wvde.state.wv.us/schoolimprovement/
- TWITTER: @WVSchoolImprove
The Office of School Improvement has expanded into cyberspace to assist schools more effectively and efficiently. The SI website offers an array of online resources to assist schools in the development of their school improvement blueprint. As new items are added to the site, they are also tweeted for immediate use.
On the School Improvement website, Principals, Leadership Teams, and Districts can access the High Quality Standards and Data Collection Tool, Principal’s Toolkit, Culture Survey, IPI, Conference resources and materials, and other resources for instant integration.
Send us tools, materials, strategies, books, and articles that have helped your school improve. We will feature it on the Office of School Improvement website.
Instructional Practices Inventory in West Virginia Schools
Why use IPI?
- For overall school improvement in learning and teaching
- To increase student engagement with the curriculum and their own learning
- To use data collaboratively to help your school continue to grow
The West Virginia Department of Education's involvement in the IPI process has given teachers the ability to reflect upon their collective teaching practices, thus raising the bar of expectations toward higher level and deeper thinking, in addition to developing a more active and engaged student learning environment. WVDE’s continued focus on student engagement has expanded into 50 counties and the WVSDB. This expansion has allowed for more than 2,075 IPI coders to be trained and certified statewide. For additional information about the IPI process and development, please visit Dr. Jerry Valentine’s website at www.ipistudentengagement.com. *(Please note this site is still being developed, but will give you an idea of what type of IPI resources can be accessed).
**IMPORTANT** For those currently using IPI, data should be uploaded when completing an IPI coding. This data is used for research and continued development of the IPI process. To upload your data, visit the IPI site at http://wvde.state.wv.us/ipi/. To upload a WebTop login and password are required. Each coding should be uploaded once.
Courtesy: Glenna Heinlein, State School Improvement Specialist at email@example.com
A Must Watch Video
This is how we transform learning. A whirlwind of energy and ideas, Stephen Ritz is a teacher in New York's tough South Bronx, where he and his kids grow lush gardens for food, greenery -- and jobs. Just try to keep up with this New York treasure as he spins through the many, many ways there are to grow hope in a neighborhood many have written off, or in your own.
(Filmed at TEDxManhattan.)
Stephen Ritz teaches at-risk kids in the South Bronx.
Here is the link.
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