Our Top 10 Blog Posts in 2011
In the past year, experts and practitioners in the field, whole child partners, and ASCD staff have shared their stories, ideas, and resources to help you ensure that each child, in each community, is healthy, engaged, supported, and challenged and is college-, career-, and citizenship-ready. These are the top 10 posts you read in 2011.
A professional learning community (PLC) can bring educators together as a collaborative team committed to the success of each learner. But as with any other transition process, moving from teaching in isolation to forming a PLC involves overcoming several common hurdles. Educator Steven Weber shares how to spot what he refers to as the five dysfunctions of a PLC—from a lack of norms to a lack of trust—and connect with strategies for addressing each one successfully in your learning community.
According to Douglas Reeves, ASCD author and founder of the Leadership and Learning Center, "differentiated instruction, in brief, begins with differentiated homework and assessment." Find out how homework menus can help you differentiate students' take-home assignments, and get familiar with the three keys to motivation and engagement that can help all of your students achieve the trance-like "Nintendo Effect" in the classroom.
In 1954, a Michigan teacher asked her 6th grade students to develop a group letter recapitulating their work and reflections of the year. This time capsule reveals that the students were heavily focused on multicultural understanding and the ideals of democracy. ASCD reference librarian David Snyder pulls insights from the letter.
Some schools view physical activity as superfluous to learning, others see it as an integral part of the learning process, and the rest fall somewhere in between. These views dictate where a school lies on the "movement continuum," explains ASCD Healthy School Communities Director Sean Slade. In the post, Slade explores the continuum, the benefits of integrating movement into the school day, and ideas for incorporating physical activity into a range of lessons.
"Physical structures communicate a lot about the learning environment and what to expect," writes Andrew Miller, an educator and consultant for the Buck Institute for Education. In this post, explore how two schools use their learning spaces to communicate important messages about learning and a safe school culture to students. Find out what basic adjustments you can make to your classrooms and facilities to communicate that you put students first.
What if back-to-school night was centered on problem solving and featured a community conversation about how to keep each student healthy, safe, engaged, supported and challenged? In a recent Whole Child Blog post, ASCD's Whole Child Programs Managing Director Molly McCloskey describes the often dysfunctional experience that is back-to-school night and explains what we, as members of the education community, can do to make it better.
Middle-school-aged programming guru Thomas Suarez has been interested in technology from an early age. More recently, he's been developing apps for the iPhone and iPad, and he's even started a special school club that shares his passions and knowledge with peers. Learn more about Suarez's work and watch his TEDx talk in this post.
If you could do it all over again, what is the one thing you wish you'd known as a new teacher? We asked our readers and were flooded with responses. One reader wished she had known not to engage students interested in an argument, another that she'd known that the best way to establish rules is through modeling, and one wished he'd understood that a great deal of learning happens well after the lesson has ended.
Are you looking for creative ways to integrate movement into your students' day? Reading professor and author Michael Opitz recommends using FitLit, fitness literature that focuses on different aspects of health and wellness, as a tool. Find out how to integrate FitLit into a three-part fitness literacy lesson that gets kids moving, reading, and thinking about their health.
What is the best way to reach each learner in a 40-student classroom? During his 2011 Annual Conference presentation on effectively teaching large classes, professor Greg Rouault admitted there were no easy answers, but he offered educators action principles that would enable them to move forward strategically. You'll find the action items and additional insights from Rouault's session in this post.
We wish you a happy, healthy, safe, engaging, supportive, and challenging 2012!