When teachers and parents hear the term Common Core State Standards, many have a tendency to think of the new standards as a simple upgrade. In fact, the standards represent an entirely new operating system.
This is good news for the whole child movement. The Common Core standards focus on an inquiry approach to education. Inquiry can't be done through direct instruction alone; it requires student cooperation, engagement, and persistence—all attributes drawn from a pool of social and emotional resources. Without addressing this aspect of human performance, the standards will fail.
Post written by William J. Tolley, instructional coach and head of history at the International School of Curitiba in Brazil. A graduate of Teachers College, Columbia University, he is a member of the current cohort in the Johns Hopkins/ISTE Supervision and Administration graduate certificate program. Connect with Tolley by e-mail at email@example.com. This post was originally featured in ASCD Express.
"Advisory" is often a catch-all phrase for a space and time set aside for faculty and staff to help students face academic, social, psychological, and perhaps physical challenges. Unfortunately, schools seldom give such programs the space, time, and resources needed to accomplish all this. Moreover, advisories are often ill-defined or poorly designed and end up as well-intentioned tangents to the school mission. Nonetheless, the need for effective advisories is especially important in the 21st century because, as never before, students with different abilities and intelligences all need to know how to learn without us and build their shared future. A 21st century advisory is the perfect place to help them do this.
ASCD conducted its second Whole Child Virtual Conference in May 2012. This free conference showcases schools, authors, and research about implementing a whole child approach for a worldwide audience. View and share archived session recordings, presenter handouts, and related resources at www.ascd.org/wcvirtualconference.
Gain insight into the role of education in society, the purpose of schools in that society, and what we all can do to ensure that each child, in each school, and in each community is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged through these presentations:
Post written by Karen McDaniels, an associate regional executive director for the Florida Department of Education where she provides literacy support to the most struggling schools in the South Florida area. Connect with McDaniels by e-mail at Karen.firstname.lastname@example.org. This post was originally featured in ASCD Express.
One of the greatest joys for parents is to see their child graduate from high school and head off to college. However, realizing their child's first semester of college is provisional and may consist of remedial courses may rob a parent of their joy, not to mention their dollars. Unfortunately, for many high school graduates, remediation, at least, is the short-term reality: "One out of every three college freshman in four-year institutions needs remedial classes" (Goldman, House, & Livingston, 2011, p.3). As K–12 educators, we have an obligation to adequately prepare students to meet the demands of college upon entering. High schools especially must create a scholarly climate where sophisticated thinking is routinely stimulated through reading, writing, and discussion.
What does "college and career readiness" mean? The Common Core State Standards suggest some clear and reasonable criteria. Consider the example of critical thinking. The Common Core documents suggest that students must be able to examine claims, arguments, and evidence and determine whether or not the evidence supports the claim. In addition, students should be able to advance arguments and support their ideas with evidence. The Common Core also places a heavy emphasis on informational writing, a need highlighted by college professors frustrated by the poor writing skills of even high-achieving high school students.
My name is Sandi Lauzon and I am the vice principal at Byrne Creek Secondary School responsible for technology. I try to attend the Computer Using Educators of British Columbia (CUEBC) conference every year, as it is without a doubt the best way to connect with like-minded educators who ultimately leave you inspired by the techno-risks they have taken in their classrooms. Their stories of innovative practices always start with a passion to shift learning and teaching in a new direction, but more often than not they include bureaucratic hiccups; creative work-arounds; young heroic teachers willing to take risks; and students who adapt, engage, learn, and, ultimately, teach us all.
At the end of the conference, I like to mill about and catch up with colleagues from other districts. With my iPad in hand, I asked one of the board members how the iPad Inquiry project was going. CUEBC lends out 11 iPads to teachers to use in their classrooms for a month at a time, and I had been following the project online. As it turned out, the iPads did not have a home for the following six weeks and I left the conference with them and a lot to think about before Monday morning. In my role at Byrne Creek, I had already been looking at how the iPad could be used with our English language learners, and now we had the opportunity to justify a purchase of 20 iPads if this pilot project was successful. All we needed was a passionate teacher with the skills to move beyond the apps, who could embrace the iPad as a powerful tool for student learning and was not afraid to jump in and explore the potential of the iPad as means of engaging, creating, and communicating.
Helen Erickson, without dipping her toe in to test the water, accepted the challenge and jumped right in. Here is her story.
Post submitted by Tim Magner, executive director of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21), the leading national organization that advocates for 21st century readiness for every student. Magner has had an extensive career in education, serving most recently as the vice president of Keystone for KC Distance Learning as well as the director of the Office of Educational Technology for the U.S. Department of Education. Follow P21 on Twitter @P21CentSkills.
The Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21) has spent nearly 10 years bringing together leading education, business, and nonprofit organizations to provide a unified framework defining what students need to know and be able to do, not just to succeed but to lead in the 21st century. By defining success holistically as the fusion of both knowledge and skills, P21's Framework for 21st Century Learning is focused on preparing students for college, career, and citizenship. The Framework includes the 4Cs of creativity and innovation, communication, collaboration, and critical thinking and problem solving, together with life and career skills and a mastery of technology, media, and information.
To many students, school is just a place they go. How do we create engaging learning experiences that make school more personal for them? Students need to be motivated in their learning before they can apply higher-order, creative-thinking skills and, ultimately, be prepared for their future college, career, and citizenship success.
Post submitted by Teri Dary, cochair of whole child partner the National Coalition for Academic Service-Learning (NCASL) and service-learning consultant at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. At NCASL, she leads collaborative efforts to advance academic service-learning in the school setting among state-level service-learning experts. Connect with Dary through the NCASL website and follow her on Twitter @NCASL_TeriDary.
Service-learning engages students in powerful ways, helping them to increase their academic engagement and performance, civic engagement, and social-emotional learning. Students connect to the community and their classmates in ways that are far more powerful than simple cooperative learning. And by applying their knowledge and skills to solve actual community problems, students experience the real-world value of what they are learning in school.