Tag Archives: UnitsofStudy

Looking at the new ESSA, New Issues in Education and the Newest Work in the CCSS: The Good and the Bad

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by Anna Gratz Cockerille

The author of Improving Schools from Within, Roland Barth, claims that one can measure the health of a school by the number of elephants in the room. By this he means that when there are whispered conversations in parking lots and behind closed classroom doors, and when there is a feeling of “us-against-them,” and when one new initiative comes down the pike after another before the last ones were understood or embraced, a school’s health suffers. But when there is openness and frank conversation about what is truly best for the children of a school, the school’s health can grow. 

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What Does Research Say Adolescent Readers Need?

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A Preview from A Guide to the Reading Workshop: Middle Grades

by Lucy Calkins and Mary Ehrenworth

Over decades of research (1977, 2002), Richard Allington has returned often to the three key conditions readers need to thrive:

  1. time to read,
  2. access to books they find fascinating, and
  3. expert instruction.

The first condition, time to read, means examining middle school schedules to make sure students get time to practice. Allington argued, and many other researchers have argued, that above all, students need time to engage in reading in order to get better at reading. Arguing for time for independent reading in schools, Donalyn Miller (2015) likens the situation of students needing to read in order to get better at reading to learning a sport or an instrument. No one ever asks the coach why his players are practicing on the field, and no one asks the music teacher why students are playing instruments during practice times. The only way to get better at doing something is to practice doing it. 

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