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Professional development

Strong intervention outcomes: what does it take?

Summertime always gives me a chance to reread some of the articles and reports that I can only skim through during busier times. This week, I revisited Teaching All Students to Read: Practices from Reading First Schools with Strong Intervention Outcomes from the Florida Center for Reading Research.

What's it take to get strong outcomes from your work with at risk readers? This report details seven common traits across the schools:

Teachers take the summer off, right? Ha!

I don't know a single teacher who stops thinking and learning over the summer. Whether we're teaching summer school, doing curriculum development, taking summer classes or observing flowers and insects at the pool, there's a small piece of a teacher's brain associated with sharing information with kids that doesn't shut off (OK, there are no fMRI's to support that statement, just a bunch of anecdotal evidence).

I Do, We Do, You Do

Susan Hall, co-author of Straight Talk About Reading and more recently the editor for Implementing Response to Intervention: A Principal's Guide gave a workshop at the Center for Development and Learning's conference. The topic was on teaching the tough phonological awareness skills, and in it she referred to an instructional procedure she called "I Do, We Do, You Do."

Mindful of Words

I recently reviewed Mindful of Words, Spelling and Vocabulary Explorations 4-8 by Kathy Ganske.

The book is a great resource for teachers and tutors who work with upper-level spellers. Based in developmental spelling research and vocabulary learning, the book helps teachers understand how to assess students' word knowledge and how to teach in a way that encourages a love of words.

Teaching This Teacher

My first year of teaching (sigh, moan, groan) included a single-wide trailer behind a "high-needs school," one ream of paper for my copies (that was replenished in December), and one truly fabulous colleague.

Alison had been teaching for six years when I started, and was a truly gifted teacher. Her classroom (a double-wide trailer) was everything I wanted mine to be – inviting, stimulating, and organized. Her classroom management was subtle, but effective. She held incredibly high expectations for her students, and they worked even harder to meet her goals.

A new resource from PBS Teachers

PBS Teachers just launched a redesigned site, and part of it is a blog called Media Fusion, which will be a monthly post "about using multimedia resources to address common instructional challenges."

Stand up tall, wave your arms, find some help

If you've been reading the comments on some of my other posts, you might have seen first-year teacher Sarah's comment sharing her confusion "about the direction I want/need to go with reading instruction." Sarah put a voice to the feelings of so many first-year teachers when she wrote "with so little experience, it is hard for me to sort through everything I hear from the experts on both sides."

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"The man who does not read good books is no better than the man who can't." — Mark Twain