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Classroom management

Should Reading Be Taught Whole Class or Small Group?

Teacher question:

Flex your groupings

In most instances, educators will be using assessment data and classroom observations to create flexible groupings in the classroom. Other times, however, teachers may want to group or pair students randomly. This type of grouping works well for many different types of lessons including community-building activities, idea sharing, small-group discussions, or the exploration of materials.

This “Off the Page” selection is from my book Universal Design Daily.

Pick a stick, any stick

In any effective and student-centered classroom, the voices of learners should be heard often; they should be asking and answering questions, sharing ideas, and expressing their thoughts. Some students, however, struggle to engage in some or all of these behaviors. They may need models for asking appropriate questions or adding relevant comments.

The New Reading Program Implementation Blues

Teacher question:

New year, new goals

Happy New Year!

I had a lot of great feedback about this post in the last few years, so I am sharing it again to kick off 2018. I hope it will help you meet your inclusion-related goals as you get back to work this week.

Schedules and timers and lists … oh my!

What if I told you it was possible to make some (if not most) of your students feel more comfortable by just adopting a few EASY strategies each day, week, and month? What if I told you these strategies would not cost a thing and would also help you — as the teacher get a bit more organized? What if I told you these strategies could also help students learn new skills? Are you intrigued? If so, tune in to the latest episode of “Off the Page.” Be sure to share this one widely — these simple ideas can make or break a successful learning experience for some students.

Goal setting for co-teachers

It’s November and, therefore, it’s time for a new episode of “Off the Page.” In this segment, I am sharing a goal setting tool from 30 Days to the Co-Taught Classroom. Don’t skip this one if you don’t co-teach, though! This strategy is a smart one and can work well for any collaborative team big or small.

Teaching Reading in a Noisy Environment

Teacher question:

Our district is exploring and embracing Personalized Learning. We have a committee that has been going to professional development all year and a small group that is trying this out in their classrooms. Next year another group of teachers will be brought on to implement personalized learning and mentor under those trying it this year.

Why I'm Not Impressed with Effective Teachers

I was making a presentation about how to raise reading achievement. I was taking my audience through research on what needed to be taught and how it needed to be taught if kids were to do as well as possible. I was telling about my experiences as director of reading of the Chicago Public Schools at a time when my teachers raised reading achievement.

When I finished, a teacher approached me. “What do you think is the most important variable in higher reading achievement?”

My answer was, “The amount of teaching — academic experience — that we provide to our children.”

9+ Idea-Packed Resources to Prime Staff Development So All Learners Progress

There is no single best way to grow professionally. Here are some "finds" that educators and related services personnel can add to their professional development toolkit. 

1. Reading for All

How to Mix Oil and Water So that Nearly Everyone (including '1 in 5' with poor reading skills) Learns to Read by neuropsychologist Tim Conway at TEDxOcala on Dec. 15. Decide if his "highly effective" science-based approach can impact current approaches to reading instruction. 

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"To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark." — Victor Hugo, Les Miserables