Tagged “Motivation”

ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Creating a Culture of Redemption

Post submitted by SmartBrief education editor Amy Dominello

What is one thing that teachers who achieved the greatest amount of student growth in an Alabama school district have in common?

They created a culture in the classroom that allowed for failure and mistakes to be a part of the learning process, according to Betty Winches, an assistant superintendent of Homewood City Schools, and Jodi Newton, an associate dean of education at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala.

The two collaborated on an analysis of what top teachers in the Homewood schools did to cultivate success. They found a culture of redemption was key and offered tips during a session at the ASCD Annual Conference for educators to replicate a similar culture in their schools.

Creating a culture of redemption incorporates five aspects:

  • Combining rigorous standards with multiple ways for students to succeed. "[Teachers] were negotiable about how you got to the end goal, but not negotiable about the end goal," Winches said.
  • Provide encouragement to students, but also accountability.
  • Offer specific feedback. "Great teachers are clear about what needs to be accomplished next in order to be successful," Winches said.
  • Share progress with students visually and in kid-friendly terms. Winches said students don't always know what their grades mean. "These teachers strive to eliminate confusion about performance," she said.
  • Partner with students for success. Homewood City Schools establishes specific learning targets for each grade and sends home booklets at the beginning of the school year outlining what students will be expected to know by the end of the year.

Learn more about the district's learning targets.

Laura Varlas

The King of Ish-ful Thinking

Peter Reynolds - 2011 ASCD Annual Conference

When Peter Reynolds' teachers dared him to teach others, through art and storytelling, they uncorked the genie of Ish-ful thinking.

At the second general session of ASCD's 2011 Annual Conference in San Francisco, the award-winning children's book author, illustrator, and software designer (FableVision), shared some of the backstory to Dot and Ish, and how educators can incorporate the maxims from these books into their classroom culture and practices.

Dot encourages readers to "make their mark and see where it takes you." Ish builds on this theme, advocating that there are no prescribed "right" ways of imagining and creating.

How well do all schools reflect these values of creating something meaningful to yourself and the world and breaking free of conformity and standardized thinking?

Reynolds suggested six essentials for classrooms that support creative ideals:

  • Environmental Cues: How does the physical space of our schools encourage creativity?
  • Open-Ended Invitations: A blank page, or a blank screen, invites creative thinkers. Let the good stuff come from you and your students, not scripted curriculum, said Reynolds. "Bottled-up creativity leads us to consume, not create. We need to make more."
  • Expressive Tools in the Hands of Students: Reynolds demonstrated a digital drawing tablet that turns a computer mouse into a pen. "Technology lets us explore and share ideas, and see what else is possible."
  • Time and Freedom: Reynolds said teachers need more time and freedom to dive more deeply into learning. "We're much more creative than standardized testing. Standardized testing is like dial-up in a broadband world."
  • Visionary, Enlightened, and Engaged Leaders: Reynolds aimed this appeal not just at school leaders, but political leaders who need to "get it" that creativity is not just a once-a-week art class. It's every day, across curriculum. Art can connect the dots between the subjects and fun.
  • Love: Let every child know they exist and they matter. Ask students, who are you? Where have you been, where are you going, and how will you get there? Reynolds' middle school math teacher noticed him and connected the dots between doodling in class to using art to teach lessons through stories. Know that you change the lives of your students for the better, and let that prompt you to do it even more.

ASCD's Annual Conference is an "opportunity to stop and imagine what next year could be like," noted Reynolds. He called on educators to express themselves bravely; to be kind, creative, and generous and to "let no one squish your ish or the ishes of the ish-ful thinkers around you."


Podcast Whole Child Podcast

Ready and Able: A Q&A with Jay Mathews

Download Podcast Now [Right-Click to Save]

The demands of meeting all district, state, and national requirements often seem to leave no time for preparing students for anything else. Yet teaching solely to the test will leave students ill-equipped for college, careers, and citizenship. Recorded live at ASCD's Annual Conference on March 28, this special edition of the Whole Child Podcast features an engaging conversation about powerfully preparing young people for the demands of the future.

You'll hear a conversation between Molly McCloskey, managing director of Whole Child Programs at ASCD and host of the Whole Child Podcast, and Jay Mathews, education columnist for The Washington Post and author, about what it means to be college- and career-ready and the value of citizenship skills. Mathews answered questions from session attendees on a range of topics including the importance of teacher-student relationships, KIPP charter schools, and the responsibility of education journalists. He also shared his five characteristics of great schools:

  1. Have high expectations of every child.
  2. Dedicate more time to instruction.
  3. Take academic achievement and assessment seriously.
  4. Create a team spirit.
  5. Have great leadership.

What are your reactions to Mathews's viewpoint? What do you think is critical to preparing young people for the complex futures that lie ahead?

Download a conversation on this topic with staff and a student from Quest Early College High School, winner of the 2011 Vision in Action: The ASCD Whole Child Award.

Healthy School Communities

Health and Learning News and Updates


Food Experts Urge Parents, Schools to Get Tough About Nutrition: Experts in food politics are taking parents and schools to task for not being more aggressive about providing healthy foods for children, saying students do not necessarily need to have a say in what goes on the menu and that the school lunch line should not mimic a fast-food restaurant. "Renegade lunch lady" and author Ann Cooper, speaking at the Natural Products Expo, criticized the organic industry for making candy, corn dogs, and other unhealthy snacks.

Read more »

ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Cracking the Whip: Dealing with Bad Behavior

Post submitted by Whole Child Blogger Hunter Holcombe

Close to 300 attendees filed into a Marriott ballroom Saturday afternoon at ASCD's Annual Conference to soak up a discussion on a frustrating topic for many: dealing with bad behavior.

Beverley Johns has handled problematic students since the 1970s and says that behavioral problems have only gotten more frequent—and worse—over the decades. In her presentation, "Twenty-Five Positive Behavioral Interventions That Really Work," Johns listed a number of practical ways, primarily through situation-specific positive reinforcement, that teachers can better deal with these particularly problematic students.

Her most essential point was that educators simply aren't acknowledging positive behavior enough, and those that do aren't doing it sincerely. "Even though we know we are supposed to focus on the positive, we don't do it," she said.

Two other major points Johns made were the following:

  1. Low achievement and behavioral problems go hand in hand.
  2. A large percentage of students with emotional or behavioral disorders are known to have language disorders.

The session audience was divided into 10-chair tables, and Johns asked the groups to collectively brainstorm the best way to deal with problematic situations using the methods she proposed. At one table, the three most popular choices were behavior momentum, behavior-specific dialogue, and positive reinforcement.

When it comes to punishment, Johns take a strong stance against suspensions. However, she recognizes that many teachers simply need a break, and suspension is often the easiest way to get one. Yet she points out that suspension results in valuable instructional time lost and the student falling behind. If their personal time is taken up by suspension, they will use up homework time to recoup their lost social time. Additionally, suspension may allow some students to escape from problems.

As a take-home, Johns handed out small green cards to the attendees, a cheat-sheet she calls her "credit card":

10 Quick Verbal Interventions that can Prevent Behavioral Problems

  1. What do you need to do to follow this rule?
  2. How can I help so that you can...?
  3. Is there something else you need to do this task?
  4. Would you like to figure out a different way? How can I help you?
  5. Is what you're doing getting you what you want?
  6. What is your assigned task now?
  7. What do you think about...?
  8. When will you be ready to start this task?
  9. What could you do to make things better for you?
  10. Is there someone that I can get to help you talk through this?

ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Creating Success in the Urban Classroom

Post submitted by Whole Child Blogger Julia Liapidova

"How did I get an 'A'? Mr. Raja cared," said Greg Williams, a student from Grant Union High School in urban Sacramento, Calif. "No one in my family has graduated from high school or college. It was expected that I would sell drugs. My first class in Sacramento was like a jungle, (but) Mr. Raja built a relationship and showed me that I’m not ever alone. He made sure I understood the material in class. There were consequences if I didn't."

At his Saturday morning session, algebra teacher and ASCD author Kadhir Rajagopal—accompanied by four former students, including Williams—outlined how his instructional model has helped teenagers who were struggling academically overcome a history of failure in math. Rajagopal explained that his relational, culturally responsive approach—CREATE—evolved out of techniques that he successfully used to help his special education high school algebra class outperform peers on California state algebra exams. He used what are now the six tenets of CREATE to build sincere relationships, establish a common language that made algebra problems easy to understand, and reverse the mentality that "to be smart and black or brown is not cool."

Rajagopal discussed the need for urban educators to take "tenacious accountability" for in-class student learning. He strongly recommended that teachers develop an in-class reward system and keep lecture time to a minimum. When lecture is critical, he finds great value in asking his students personal questions. His goal is to transform each instructional delivery into a "30-way dialogue."

To motivate his students, he rewards success with a scoreboard. Each class is worth a certain amount of points, and to earn them, each student must answer 20 questions on the concepts learned that day in class. He encouraged session attendees to abandon their chairs upon their return to the classroom and recommended individually monitoring each student's progress as he completes these questions—these become the student's exit price for leaving that day.

He regarded homework as unnecessary practice with too many variables that a teacher cannot control. Rajagopal told teachers in attendance that the most significant takeaway from his presentation was the importance of compelling students to master content in class each day.

Rajagopal further outlines the CREATE model in his 2011 book Create Success! Unlocking the Potential of Urban Students.


ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Listening to Student Voices

Post submitted by Whole Child Blogger Karissa Bell

The "Listening to Student Voices" session examined the strategies and programs the National Urban Alliance (NUA) has implemented in schools across the United States to inspire confidence in all students and give them a voice in their own education.

"All students have the potential for high intellectual performances," said presenter Yvette Jackson, chief executive officer for the NUA. Jackson calls this idea "the pedagogy of confidence," and she wrote a book by the same name that examines methods, backed up by research, to inspire urban students to perform at a higher level.

"We've been doing the wrong thing for so long with underperforming students by starting with where they're weak," said Jackson. Instead, she said, it's important to focus on the things students are good at and build off of their strength, adding that her own neuroscience research confirms this.

"If you start working with someone based on their strengths you are working on a very specifically developed area [of the brain] that makes learning happen more efficiently, more effectively," she explained.

Listening to Student Voices - 2011 ASCD Annual Conference

The NUA has developed innovative strategies—like including students in professional development and faculty meetings—to get students more invested in their own education. One school in Green County, Georgia, particularly demonstrated this. There, the students who were included in the professional development meetings were those who were at Saturday school for being consistently tardy.

But their experience in interacting with their teachers in this way completely changed them and the way they thought about school. "By the middle of the year, none of those students were ever tardy," Jackson said. And not only that, but those students also became ambassadors to other students and began coteaching with their teachers.

"The school became a place where they had voice," Jackson explained. "They were having fun. The real issue becomes what we have to do not to reform education, but to transform it."

San Francisco schools, with the support of the superintendent, have also embraced student voice programs. At Washington High School, students were allowed into faculty meetings so that they could express their concerns to teachers in a casual way. This gave students the opportunity to take issues that affect them and offer teachers their suggestions for improvement.

Ericka Lovrin, the principal from Washington High School, will present a session with Jackson on their experience with the student voice program Monday morning (Session 3153: "Leading for Change: A Principal's Story in San Francisco").


Laura Varlas

Give Boys Reading Role Models

What's with boys and reading?

In "The Boy Factor in Special Education: Overrepresented or Misguided Pedagogy?," one of yesterday's sessions at ASCD's Annual Conference in San Francisco, presenters talked about ways to make instruction more accessible to boys. And really, the strategies discussed—more active learning environments, less emphasis on conformity, more student choice—are tools that work with all genders and are about the overall goal to make learning more engaging.

The strategy that really stood out relates to the question above: how can we hook more boys into reading? Presenter Gail Choice observed that we need to provide boys with male reading role models.

"Boys don't see reading as a masculine activity," Choice said. She suggested getting male volunteers to come into school to read to or with classes and individual boys, providing boys with reading role models.

Along with male literacy role models, let all students self-select some of their reading, choose nonfiction, participate in readers theater, have time to practice before reading aloud, and joyfully experiment with the writing process with topics they are comfortable writing about (in other words, let kids be gross, weird, and funny).

To read more about gender and learning, check out Inservice blog posts: Stop Pseudoscience of Gender Differences in Learning and Science and Education Need to Work Together for Boys & Girls.


ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Applying What You Know for Student Success

Post submitted by Whole Child Blogger Tymeesa Rutledge

Thirty faces of 5-year-old kindergarteners of multiple ethnicities, socioeconomic backgrounds, gender and religious background flashed across the screen. Instantly, one third of the kids vanished from the screen because they failed to graduate high school. Another third vanished from the screen because, despite graduating from high school on time, these kids were unprepared for employment or college.

In the session "Changing the Odds for Student Success: What Matters Most," Bryan Goodwin focused on five key areas that educators know and can use to improve student success in life: setting high expectations and delivering challenging instruction; fostering engaging learning environments and meaningful relationships with students; matching teaching strategies to learning goals; providing all students with high expectations; and personalizing learning opportunities.

"This is not new information. We have been researching this for 40 years at McREL," explained Goodwin. "We just need to apply what we know."

An audience member agreed with Goodwin's statement and felt the lecture was a reminder for her.

"[The information] was an organized, timely reminder of what instruction should be," said Margaret Messina.

Another audience member had recently attended a similar education conference and felt that this session was an affirmation that much of the education research is going in the right direction.

"The research is becoming more complimentary. It's reaffirming practical application [and] is in the right direction," said James Espinosa of Del Vallejo Middle School in San Bernadino, Calif.

During the presentation, Goodwin cited several practical applications for the classroom and beyond. For example, McREL surveyed schools and asked about their school culture and found five key traits of high-performance culture schools: structure, press for achievement, teacher influence in school decisions, shared mission, and goals and orderly climate. Goodwin cited the cofounder and codirector of Big Learning Think, Dennis Littky, as an example of accomplishing this high-performance culture. At Big Learning Think, low-achieving students are given student projects to perform at local businesses that fulfill core curriculum requirements like math or fine arts. The experience that these students gain shows that research can translate into practical application.

Thirty faces of 5-year-old kindergarteners of multiple ethnicities, socioeconomic backgrounds, gender and religious backgrounds appeared on the screen for the last time. The children's faces morphed into college graduates and became adults. Goodwin emphasized that using the key areas for successful students would make it possible to keep all of the kids from vanishing out of the education system.

But, how can you improve your students' success? According to Goodwin, we apply what we know.


Klea Scharberg

Watch and Learn from Home

ASCD will live stream select sessions from the 2011 Annual Conference and Exhibit Show in San Francisco. All times indicated are Pacific Time.

You can view all livestream sessions on ASCD EDge. To participate in live chat during the sessions, you must log in to EDge or sign up for a free EDge account if you don't have one. You can also view the sessions on Android and Blackberry mobile devices. You will not be able to watch the livestream on the iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch.

Interactive sessions have an online moderator to guide the discussion. Onsite and virtual participants can ask questions, add comments, or reply to comments on the session's chat wall. You can also download presenter resources from the session's livestream page.

Saturday, March 26

8:00 a.m.–9:30 a.m., PT

Heidi Hayes Jacobs - Curriculum 21: Essential Education for a Changing World (interactive)
We do not need reform—we need new forms for teaching and learning. What year is your school preparing your learners for: 1990 or 2025? In this provocative and highly practical session, based on the presenter's ASCD book of the same name, the presenter will lay out steps for transforming your school into a contemporary learning environment.

3:30–5:00 p.m., PT

Harvey Silver - The Strategic Teacher (interactive)
Bringing together 35 years of research on effective instruction and 30 years of experience in helping schools address student diversity, the session will provide educators with the tools needed to help all students meet today's rigorous standards.

5:15 p.m.–6:15 p.m., PT

Bob Sullo – The Motivated Student: Five Strategies to Inspire
Successful teaching requires you to create an environment that fosters academic success by engaging and inspiring students rather than trying to control them. In this session, learn how to manage your classroom effectively, and identify five strategies that will inspire academic achievement and unlock your students' natural enthusiasm for learning.

Sunday, March 27

8:00 a.m.–9:30 a.m., PT

Urban Education Panel
In this session, hear from three distinguished principals who are making a difference in the lives of urban high school students: Linda Nathan, founding headmaster, Boston Arts Academy (Mass.); Baruti Kafele, principal, Newark Tech (N.J.); and Tim King, founder and president, Urban Prep Academies (Ill.).

10 a.m.–11:30 a.m., PT

Peter Reynolds – Make Your Mark, and See Where It Takes You (General Session)
Creativity champ Peter H. Reynolds is a New York Times best-selling author and illustrator and founder of FableVision Learning, creating technology tools to inspire young writers, artists, and thinkers. Join Peter as he shares his uplifting message, and hear more about how you can inspire learners through his philosophy and vision. (This session will not be archived.)

1:15 p.m.–2:45 p.m., PT

Doug Fisher and Nancy Frey - Responding When Students Don't Get It (interactive)
How teachers respond to an incorrect answer significantly influences students' eventual understanding. Resolving errors requires an interaction between students and teachers, with the goal of ensuring that students experience success. Participants will explore questions to check for understanding, prompts for cognitive and metacognitive processes, cues to shift attention, and direct explanations and modeling.

Monday, March 28

8:00 a.m.–9:30 a.m., PT

Geoffrey Fletcher - From Islands of Excellence with Technology to Every Classroom: An Optimist's Perspective
A few schools and districts have been able to garner the right mix of hardware, bandwidth, tech support, and professional development to change instruction, truly engage students, and increase student achievement. This session will look what is driving change in the purchase and distribution of content and how this missing link will be a major catalyst to changing our schools.

10:00 a.m.–11:45 a.m., PT

S. Lawrence Lightfoot – The Third Chapter: Adventure-Passion-Risk (General Session)
In this presentation, author and philosopher Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot will envision a much-needed cultural shift in our attitudes toward youth and age—a need based on simple demographics. She will examine the challenges educators face in their search for meaningfulness and purposefulness after their careers have ended. (This session will not be archived.)

12:15 p.m.–2:15 p.m., PT

Betty Garner – Getting to "Got It!": Helping Struggling Students Learn How to Learn
Why do some students get it while some don't? This session will help educators learn how to help students develop cognitive structures needed to process information for meaning, such as finding patterns, formulating predictable rules, and abstracting generalizable principles that transfer and apply learning.

What sessions will you be watching?


Share |

Blog Archive

Blog Tags