Tag Archives: professional development
Whether you are adjusting to the Common Core standards or attempting to integrate mobile technology into your classroom, we truly find ourselves in an age of disruption. But as was mentioned in an earlier post, these disruptions aren’t struggles or hurdles, these disruptions are opportunities for innovation, they are moments that can propel us on [...]
What is a disruption? As a teacher and a parent, I think of a disruption as something that interrupts the activities of a particular room or area, but usually in a negative way. You know what I mean: the thirteen year old boy during silent sustained reading who starts his drum solo after just five [...]
At Compass Learning, we take education seriously. However, we also know that “serious” doesn’t have to mean always operating by the proverbial book. So when Compass Learning attended The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference in San Diego this June, we decided to pair serious learning with serious interaction. Instead of just shaking [...]
Over the past month, Compass Learning posted the following question on the WeAreTeachers (WAT) community site to give teachers an opportunity to earn $1,500 for their expert advice:
“What challenges do you face as you try to differentiate instruction to meet each of your student’s needs?”
The question posed and the partnership with WeAreTeachers caused me not only to reflect on the need for a focus on differentiating instruction but also to ask the question: What difference are we making as educators in the lives of our students in this age of digital technology and 21st century learning?
Prior to joining Compass Learning, I got started in education because I wanted to make a difference by helping those in my community — so, I became a teacher. I taught middle school English and used technology in my classroom. In the early nineties, we did not have “the internet,” so I used creative writing projects to teach students concepts about writing and mechanics, grammar and comprehension, by way of using tools like Excel, PowerPoint, and Word. I didn’t use these tools to teach them how to point and click or change the font; I learned early on that these were tools to help engage students and enhance their approach to learning skills and concepts. I also used resources like Compass Learning’s product back then to help me personalize the instruction for each learner. Although the program has a different name today, the idea was then — as is today — to identify areas of strength to extend each student’s capabilities.
Lewis and Clark Elementary School in South Sioux City, Nebraska, reflects the town’s character. With a large population of native Spanish speakers, many of whom are factory workers facing high rates of employment turnover, it’s no surprise that English as a second language (ESL) children comprise 30 percent of the South Sioux City Schools population. Historically struggling to meet adequate yearly progress, Lewis and Clark Elementary School had its principal, Sheri Fillipi, truly worried with its students’ 2010 Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) Measures of Academic Progress® (MAP®) assessment results. Sheri recalls, “I got one of those panicked feelings when I saw the scores.” A concentrated effort to determine the root cause of the poor results indicated a serious need for more support of the school’s ESL population.
The Lewis and Clark Elementary intervention strategy began with professional development targeted at in-depth data gathering and analysis. From the beginning, Sheri and her staff analyzed the practiced they followed that produced the troublesome results. At the issue’s core was a fragmented approach to intervention for the school’s 63 ESL students, who spent 30 to 120 minutes learning from different specialists with divergent instructional methods.