The research is compelling: When teachers differentiate reading instruction, students learn more. But teachers are too often given the expectation of differentiation without the details on how to make it work. In No More Reading Instruction Without Differentiation, Lynn Bigelman and Debra Peterson offer a framework that adapts instruction based on individual students' needs and interests.
Homework. The word alone evokes strong emotions from children, youth, parents, and teachers. For most teachers, this word sits right between rock and hard place. Assign too much homework, and teachers run the risk of complaints, if not outright misery, from parents, students, and—feeling the need to give feedback on all that homework—themselves. Assign too little homework, and teachers risk being seen as “soft” and lacking in rigor, and because homework can feel like it helps “cover” the curriculum, feeling further behind. And that just regards the issue of how much homework. Then there are all the complexities around what kinds of homework.
That is how a student, who we’ll call “Earl,” recently started a conversation with his teacher, Cornelius Minor, after class one day. On today’s podcast we’re talking about advocating for our students with Cornelius Minor. Mr. Minor is a frequent keynote speaker and Lead Staff Developer at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project in New York where he works with teachers, school leaders, and leaders of community-based organizations to support literacy reform in cities. In his work, Cornelius draws not only on his years teaching middle school in the Bronx and Brooklyn, but also on time spent skateboarding, shooting hoops, and working with kids. He’s also currently writing his first book for Heinemann.
Cornelius says it best; "we may not have the answers for every situation we face, but we can’t choose to do nothing." So what did Cornelius do? How did he advocate for Earl and all of his students? Listen below to find out.
Because inquiry sometimes seems so hard to define, Steph Harvey and Smokey Daniels created the chart below to highlight the contrasts (2015) between it and a "coverage" approach. Notice that they do not label old-school teaching as “traditional.” That’s because progressive, student-centered, and inquiry-based learning is just as strong a strand in the American tradition (think John Dewey, Jerome Bruner, Francis Parker) as the skill-and-drill paradigm that has dominated the last three decades.
Every so often we like to ask our authors about the books that most affected their teaching, the books that served as a turning point in their practice or opened their eyes to a new way of approaching their work, thinking about education, or seeing children. In this installment, we bring you the professional book top five of Harvey AKA Smokey Daniels, who has been a city and suburban teacher, a professor, a writing project director, a columnist for Voices from the Middle, and a consulting editor for Heinemann. Smokey has authored or coauthored 19 books, including Best Practice, Literature Circles, Upstanders, Subjects Matter, and the Texts and Lessonsseries. His brand-new book is The Curious Classroom: 10 Structures for Teaching with Student-Directed Inquiry.