Category Archives: Heinemann

How the Standards for Mathematical Practice Support Teachers

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How can we break the cycle of frustrated students who “drop out of math” because the procedures just don’t make sense to them? Or who memorize the procedures for the test but don’t really understand the mathematics? Max Ray and his colleagues at the Math Forum @ Drexel University say “problem solved,” by offering their collective wisdom about how students become proficient problem solvers, through the lens of the CCSS for Mathematical Practices. They unpack the process of problem solving in fresh new ways and turn the Practices into activities that teachers can use to foster habits of mind required by the Common Core.

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The Need for Making Teacher Evaluation Work

E08879_Gabriel and Woulfin_Bookcover_0358With new-generation teacher evaluation policies in place, the evaluation process may seem as daunting as ever—for both teachers and evaluators. And when both sides have a different understanding of what teacher evaluation looks like in the context of literacy instruction, evaluations can end up entirely unproductive.

As Making Teacher Evaluation Work points out, it doesn't have to be this way.  Authors Rachael Gabriel and Sarah Woulfin walk you through the entire teacher evaluation process and offer context and strategies aimed at improving the process for everyone involved. The authors clearly show how effective evaluations provide the foundation for collaboration that improves literacy instruction, promotes teacher growth, and supports schoolwide improvement.

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Making the Most of the End of the Year: How to Make Sure the Last Months of School Have Big Payoff

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by Anna Gratz Cockerille

In classrooms across the country, a sense of celebration is building. The feelings of joy and pride that come at the culmination of an entire year of daily hard work and dedication are unmistakable. This is is a time for a slight loosening of the reins, a time to reflect upon how far you and your students have come. It’s a time to enjoy the ease of routines you worked so hard to put into place, to watch students putting into practice the skills you’ve helped them to hone over and over. 

To be sure, along with this spirit of celebration comes the sense that the work is done. Many students seem to move into summer mode weeks (or months) before the summer is actually upon them. As teachers, our job, then, is to infuse the spirit of celebration with a sense of purpose, a sense that there is work left to be done in order for each student to truly become the best selves they are capable of being before the year ends. 

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The Role of Community in Math

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Today's math teachers have a lot to balance. From following the Standards for Mathematical Practice, to incorporating real-life application into math problems, to finding resources that are flexible enough to meet a range of students' needs. 

Cathy Fosnot's Contexts for Learning Mathematics is a rigorous K-6 classroom resource that uses a workshop environment to bring the Standards for Mathematical Practice to life. Rich, authentic contexts provide a backdrop for fostering the use of mathematical models as thinking tools, tenacious problem solving, and the reading and writing of mathematical arguments and justifications to ensure the development of a positive growth mindset.

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PLC Series: April Round-Up

Welcome the PLC Series April Round Up! This month, we reflected upon building lifelong literacy habits for all, from honoring the work of our smallest readers to our reflecting on our own practices as adults. 

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How to Support Student “Book Shopping” in Your Classroom

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Managing classroom libraries requires a delicate balance between organization, choice, behavior, and matching children with appropriate texts. Classroom libraries can be organized in many ways– by genre, series, or some other category. Susan Taberski (2000) suggests having bins of unleveled books from which students choose their independent reading selections and bins of books by level for when they need practice with something "just right." Other teachers label their books using the Fountas and Pinnell A through Z gradient. 

Because an "assessed" reading level doesn't always correspond with a student's level of comprehension, it is important that students spend time with more than just independent-level texts. To do this, it is necessary to spend time working with students on independent text selection that supports decoding development, fosters comprehension and thinking, and pique students' interests in reading.

"But How?" you might ask…

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