Integrated Learning and the CDOS Learning Standards

Since joining the RSE-TASC and working with students in the high school, I have come to realize learning is most effective and meaningful when students can relate what they are learning to their future lives. This approach to connecting school and work is referred to as “integrated learning.”

The Case for Videotaping Lessons

I often coach teachers as part of collaboratively developed Quality Improvement Process Plans designed to help them improve outcomes for the students with disabilities in their classrooms. Together, we learn about evidence-based instructional practices that have been proven to be effective with struggling students, and then the teachers and I agree on strategies they would like to try to implement. I observe in their classrooms as they try out these new strategies, give them feedback about what I see them doing, and then we engage in dialogues about what went well and what could be improved. I have always felt that this was a productive experience that helped teachers improve their craft, and the teachers I work with have reported that they feel the same.

Meeting of the Minds: How Neuroscience Can Inform Instruction

In Multiple Pathways to the Student Brain Janet Nay Zadina, neuroscience researcher and teacher, describes what we know about how the brain works and the implications for teachers. In each chapter, Zadina focuses on a neural pathway; e.g., sensory-motor, attention and memory, or frontal lobe executive functioning; and outlines first “What the Research Says”, then “What it Means for Educators” and finally, “Leaping into the Classroom”, which outlines instructional strategies that are based on the research. Here are a few examples taken from the book and from Dr. Zadina’s newsletters.

Effective Vocabulary Instruction: The Backbone to Reading Comprehension

How important is vocabulary in enhancing reading comprehension? To answer this complex question read the following paragraph to yourself.

The man leaned against the current as he waded, waist-deep, upstream. His hands steadied either end of the furnwunch balanced across his shoulders. He had moved about 90 yards from the denup where he had entered the stream. A few yards ahead, a part of the wooded bank had been replaced by an acnrid frud. He came abreast of it, and with effort, pressed the furnwunch up and over his head, and then set it on top of the frud. He placed his hands on his hips, pulled his elbows back and arched his back in an attempt to stretch out muscles that were knotted from the prolonged exertion.

Jugyokenkyu: Lesson Study Leads to Student Success

Japan’s academic results are worthy of admiration. Its students are ranked third in the world in both reading and science, and eighth in the world in math according to the 2012 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) scores (Weisenthal, 2013). And this is no anomaly - since these types of international assessments have been given, Japan’s students have consistently fallen within the top ten of developed countries. Additionally, 95 percent of their students graduate high school (OECD, 2011). What is the secret behind the success of the Japanese education system? Many researchers and reporters who follow education point to the Japanese practice of jugyokenkyu, which translates literally as “lesson study.” This unique approach to lesson design holds promise for educators here in the United States as well.

Do you sometimes feel like your students just don’t get it? Here’s how to make sure they do…

Improving Regents and Writing through Explicit Instruction – November 2015

At Peekskill High School, Special Education Teacher Nicholas Agnello has seen a significant increase in students' on-time arrival to class, preparation for learning, engagement throughout the class period, and work completion. Recently, his students have increased their writing skills both in English class and across other subjects. Last year, Nick's students' grades and Regents scores increased from previous years.

Creating Self-Directed Learners through Reciprocal Teaching – June 2015

Marie Considine, a Resource Room teacher at Lakeview Elementary School in Mahopac, is thrilled to see an increased level of engagement among the students in her Resource Room. While her students have always been interested in scientific articles involving mysterious natural occurrences and unusual animals from around the globe, they are now excited to share their work and the connections they have made to the text out loud. They are talking to each other about sections of text that challenge them and analyzing what they think other students their age might struggle with, like multiple meaning words and unclear topics.

The Positive Impact of Teaching Higher Order Thinking Skills – April 2015

The students in Meryl Taylor's 5th grade self-contained classroom are busy constructing higher order thinking questions and engaging each other with these questions during classroom discussion. They are proud of their ability to challenge each other to think more deeply about topics and are showing more confidence during student-led discussions.

How EDI Lesson Planning improves Learning – March 2015

Samantha Gibbons, Reading Specialist at Greenburgh Academy says, “Students in my self-contained class, ranging in age from 12 to 15, often find staying on task for an entire lesson a significant challenge. However, when I developed a lesson using the EDI Lesson Plan template, the students were engaged and excited the entire period. By the end of the lesson every student demonstrated mastery of the literary strategy that was taught!
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