ANet blog archive
- achievement gap
- authentic texts
- best practices
- class culture
- classroom routines
- Common Core
- Common Core instructional support
- complex texts
- conceptual learning
- Connect Standards to Instruction
- data-driven instruction
- formative assessment
- instructional resources
- John Maycock
- lesson plans
- professional development
- reading instruction
- school culture
- school leadership
- student work
- supporting educators
- teaching resources
- text dependent questions
- text-based planning
Almost everyone in education, especially teachers and school leaders, understands the importance of high-quality interim assessments to guide effective instruction. The problem is: How do you know which ones are best?
At Mission Grammar School each week, every lead teacher receives, at minimum, a 15-minute instructional observation and a corresponding 30-minute coaching conversation. Teachers and students are reaping the rewards.
Bringing data into the classroom is easier said than done. Here are the six stages I went through as I adjusted to data-driven instruction, expressed by some of my favorite TV/movie educators.
Stanley Elementary School is known for their dedicated educators, who care deeply about students and are constantly developing their practice to meet the needs of their students. As first-year ANet partners, they’ve chosen instructional priorities that will align instruction with standards. In ELA specifically, they’re prioritizing complex text. In math, the focus is on the major work of the grade.
Data from instructional assessments can give teachers and leaders powerful information that results in better, more targeted teaching and learning. But wouldn’t families benefit from learning about students’ strengths and areas of development, too?
The Renaissance Charter School in Queens, NY is doing great work around complex text. When you walk into different classrooms throughout the school, you’ll see first-grade students charting their stamina for reading, fifth-grade students reading and crafting their own memoirs, and sixth-grade students diving deep into texts and sharing their understanding with their classmates.
Evelyn Ruiz has been the principal of the Harry Sharp Family School for the past 13 years. As a first-year ANet partner, Mrs. Ruiz and her leadership team chose to focus on instructional priorities that will lead to Common Core alignment and instructional change.
Their key to success: professional development.
“I want to hear every teacher say that this was the year they learned and improved the most.”
This is Leo Watson’s blue-sky vision for teacher development this year.
Most educators agree that assessments shouldn’t be a “departure from instruction” but, rather, an “integral part of it.” They’re on board with changing the conversation around assessments from student scores to what students have learned, and many agree that teachers should take the assessment.
However, in light of the ever-increasing demands on the time of teachers and leaders, the questions become when can this work be done? And, is this work truly worth it?
Among the twelve schools in the Boston Public Schools system to achieve Level 1 status this year was Mildred Avenue K–8 School, which rose to the top for meeting assessment targets. Remarkably, Mildred Avenue progressed to level one from the first percentile—the only school in Massachusetts to do so over the last five years.
In this post, we want to share a case study of two Chicago teachers’ approach to using the open-source materials offered by the Vermont Writing Collaborative.
Getting your hands on high-quality materials is a critical first step, but it’s how you use those materials to thoughtfully prepare and strategically plan your instruction that matters most for student learning
We’ve all been there: You’re scrambling to prepare a lesson and you think, "Why reinvent the wheel? Let’s check the interwebs." You google your topic and…28,000,000 results pop up. How on Earth do you decide what might be worth using with your students?
Teachers at The Mozart Elementary School, a BPS school in Roslindale, were thrilled to see significant improvements in student writing last school year. Students were grasping the key understandings in text and structuring responses that addressed all parts of each writing prompt.
Math teachers, spurred by new standards, are striving to increase the rigor of their instruction. But…what exactly is rigor?
Zachary Parker, an experienced coach with ANet District of Columbia, recently wrote to the school leaders he works with on the subject of equity.
If there’s one thing teachers and school leaders are short on, it’s time.
That's what led Marilyn McCottrell to streamline her sessions with her teachers. Instead of carving out separate times for professional development and curriculum planning, she’s found a way to enable teachers and leaders to tackle both of these critical aspects of their work at the same time.
Think about some of the reasons that we assess: to measure growth, as a diagnostic, for accountability/evaluation, or to inform teachers’ instructional decisions.
How could any one assessment do all of those things well?
Most of Isaac Castelaz’s professional development work doesn’t happen in a packed conference room or a post-observation debrief. It happens before he ever sets foot in a classroom to observe a lesson when he sits down to study and internalize the lesson himself.
When someone asks you a question, the ball’s in your court. Your brain engages in a deeper, more active way than if information were being fed to you. Teachers take advantage of this phenomenon when they ask thoughtful questions.
Discussion can act as a bridge between reading and writing for students. It can prompt them to articulate, refine, and build on their ideas; and listening to their peers can expand their thinking.
If we want our students to be prepared for the reading, writing, and thinking they will do in the future, texts should be an essential component of what we think about when we sit down to create a lesson plan.
With all the time, energy, and money devoted to teacher development these days, school leaders—and everybody concerned about education—want to be sure it’s actually paying off in the form of improved teaching and learning.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a school that isn’t focused on improving student writing. And that’s not surprising—it takes a lot of practice to transfer thoughts into writing, and to do so in a clear, compelling way.
Creating learning opportunities for students is at the heart of what it means to be a teacher. But too often, we forget that it’s equally important that learning opportunities extend to teachers and leaders, too.
Teachers rely on student errors to help guide their instruction and tailor support to what students need most. But how do teachers and leaders can get that same information about their own performance so they can be proactive when it comes to development?
"This superintendent was facing the same challenge as many other districts—all his assessments were getting lumped into the accountability world."
By studying the progression of standards, educators can create a seamless flow of instruction from one grade to the next.
A classroom culture that values discussion encourages students to take ownership of their learning. Discussion engages students and allows for real-time feedback, which can ultimately deepen their understanding of math content. In this video you’ll see some of fifth-grade teacher Carina Pruitt’s strategies for building an effective culture of student discussion in her classroom.