The Delaware Valley Region Pennsylvania Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development
Pay it forward
Delaware Valley Region PASCD Officers Meredith Denovan….……….President Dorie Martin-Pitone…….…......President-Elect President’s Letter Colleen Lelli…….……....Past President President’s Letter - March 2015 Lyn Berenato….……….Vice-President Helene Duckett …..…….…...Secretary
President’s Letter- Meredith Denovan
Robert Magliano…………..…Treasurer The Delaware Valley Region of the Pennsylvania Association for Supervision and Curriculum 1 Development
To submit articles, information, or feedback, please contact: Monica Conlin Monica.Conlin@ssdcougars.org Editorial Team: Monica Conlin, Bekci Kelly and Brooke Mulartrick
October, 2015 Dear DVR-PASCD Members, And another school year has begunâ€Ś. Plans for our fall event to be held on October 21st at Neumann University in Aston, PA are being finalized. DIGITAL LITERACY AND LEADERSHIP: GREAT POTENTIAL, GREAT CHALLENGES is being sponsored by DVR-PASCD, PAETC and Neumann University. Topics will include: Digital Communication Strategies to Brand Yourself and Your District, Exploring Your Digital Learning Initiative and eBooks, iBooks and Databases â€“ Consideration of Digital Content. These three workshops are designed for school leaders. Two workshops geared to digital literacy will also be presented: Embedding Inquiry Across the Curriculum, and Graphic Novels. There is something for everyone! Information on presenters, registration and times can be found in this newsletter and on our web site: www.dvrpascd.org We were pleased to award $250.00 mini-grants to three educators from the region for classroom projects for the 2015-2016 school year. Congratulations to the teachers listed below. Debbie Koutsiouroubas, Stratford Friends Project: Hands on Equations Shelley Mansky, Stratford Friends Project: STEM Design Challenge Janice Conger, Methacton School District Project: Library LittleBits Student Kits Hope to see you on October 21st at Neumann University! Sincerely, Meredith Denovan Delaware Valley Region-PASCD President Delawarevalleypascd@gmail.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Connections and Collaboration in Content Literacy-Gaining a New Perspective By Dorie Martin-Pitone, Ed. D, President-Elect DVR-PASCD, K-12 Humanities Coordinator for The School District of Haverford Township Teachers have had numerous conversations about the new state assessment and the pedagogical shifts necessary in order to meet the demands of the rigor of the PA Core. So what does this mean for Social Studies since there isn’t a specific assessment? These shifts are associated with literacy strategies and skills in content learning. In March 2014 the documents were finalized for reading and writing standards in social studies, and perceptions on how to teach content also went through some shifting. The Text Dependent Analysis sections of the English Language Arts state reading assessment are filled with social studies content and related knowledge. The emphasis on nonfiction is 50% . Some of the shifts focus on balancing non-fiction and fiction text, using academic vocabulary in place of literary vocabulary, writing more often from a historical perspective, and analyzing text and historical documents to gain deeper meaning for multiple purposes. Additionally, the questioning in the classroom has also experienced an overhaul with the students’ inquiry propelling the learning. No longer is content learning a fact-finding process. Many have become aware of the shifts, yet, are still in process of adjusting what this means in the classroom. The planning that is associated and the level of engagement necessary requires a team effort with professional learning support. The Penn Literacy Network is one the professional development frameworks that can be provided on-site to districts through specific credit bearing courses, workshops and coaching programs. (www.gse.upenn.edu/pln/about) Below are some practical ways to begin to embed the pedagogical shifts in your classroom and associated planning. If you have instructional coaches, reach out to them for additional support and guidance. Meet with your grade level team and discuss how you might begin to plan with some of the following ideas in mind.
Use the Before/During/After model of engagement when planning lessons to be sure that every student is held accountable for his or her own thinking, yet also is provided an opportunity to share that thinking with a partner prior to sharing out in whole group. There is balance of teacher/student talk. Teachers adjust the pace of instruction to provide short bursts of information and build-in the questions that will dive deeper into the content learning. One example is provided for you with this article. Students need time built in for activating prior knowledge on a topic or content and understanding how the learning builds upon previous learning.
Content Vocabulary is taught through categorization and concept association instead of in isolation. Using activities such as List/Sort/Label and Concept Wheels as engagement activities can assist in planning. Knowing the difference between a historical event and a historical account is another way to have students thinking with a historical perspective yet also exposing them to specific academic vocabulary associated with content. This also provides an opportunity to explore multiple perspectives on one event. Using Essential Questions as pre-assessments and post-assessments. Use this type of formative assessment to assist in your planning of concepts and associated learning. Having students respond in writing every day in some shape or form. For example: Before the learning as a DO NOW- write 5 lines about the concept of __________________. As you look at the artists rendering of this battle- what do you notice? What 3 characteristics do you think are the most important for a future president? Having students then revisit their previous thinking after some learning and discussion has taken place by writing about how their thinking has changed or has been validated or deepened and why. By having students complete a 3-2-1 at the end of a lesson is also a form of writing. As the learning and questions deepen the writing can be reflective of that process. Students can then provide in writing the comparison of two battles or the physical features in two continents that allow that area to thrive. Being mindful of the type of writing that is needed in content is of utmost importance. Building in lessons on how to navigate non-fiction text. Students need to be able to identify text features and understand their purpose on a map, in an article and in a textbook. Students being aware of how a text is organized and author’s purpose in nonfiction. Use multiple resources such as news articles on The New York Times site for students, Smithsonian Teen, Newslea.com, http://www.jellybeanscoop.com/, readworks.org, LearnZillion,. There are also historical documents https://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/ourdocs/PrimDocsHome.html, http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/lesson-plan/journal-time-historical-perspective. http://teachinghistory.org/teaching-materials/ask-a-masterteacher/category/Historical%20Thinking The most recent issue of Educational Leadership for September 2015 is focused on Questioning for Learning- http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership.aspx Using formative assessments to inform instruction Being familiar with Depths of Knowledge (DOK) and reflecting upon what types of questions you pose on assignments, in discussions, during reading Have students being active readers through teaching them how to monitor their reading. (Chunk reading, set purpose, annotate text) Have students going back into a specific piece of text to identify: What the text says, how the text works and what the text means. (Close reading)
We strive for our learners to be active participants in our classrooms. We need to make them part of the learning in order for this to happen. By providing students with the opportunities to question, collaborate and discuss how they gained meaning of the content we can assist them in expanding from just thinking about the content in one way. To think critically and analytically students need multiple exposures to text with new purpose. Teachers need to be the model for this learning to happen. It may require a new perspective on how to teach content.
Digital Literacy and Leadership: Great Potential, Great Challenges October 21st, 2015 Neumann University
Commentary Dr. Robert Magliano DVR-PASCD Treasurer What’s happening to our profession? In a recent article entitled, “Can We Interest You in Teaching?”. Frank Bruni, the Op-Ed columnist for the New York Times, points out that it’s a sad, alarming state of affairs, and it proves that for all our lip service about improving the education of America’s children, we’ve failed to make teaching the draw that it should be, the honor that it must be. Nationally, enrollment in teacher preparation programs dropped by 30 percent between 2010 and 2014. Bruni also notes that to make matters worse, more than 40 percent of the people who do go into teaching exit the profession within five years. So the question is how do we make teaching more rewarding, so that it beckons to not only enough college graduates but to a robust share of the very best of them? According to Bruni, and I think most of us in the field would agree, better pay is a must. The average salary nationally for public school teachers, including those with decades in the classroom, is under $57,000, and starting salaries in some states barely crest at $30,000. Bruni also points out there’s the issue of autonomy, which in his conversations with Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers, is number 1—giving teachers a voice, a real voice. Education leaders disagree over how much of a voice and in what. Weingarten emphasizes teacher involvement in policy, and a survey of some 30,000 teachers and other school workers done by the A.F.T. in late April showed that one large source of stress was being left out of such decisions. Weingarten notes that others focus on primarily letting teachers chart the day-by-day path to the goals laid out for them, so that they’re not just obedient vessels for a one-size-fits-all script. Hold them accountable, but give them discretion. Another issue that Weingarten raises is that teachers crave better opportunities for career growth, and he states that Evan Stone, one of the chief executives of Educators 4 Excellence, which represents about 17,000 teachers nationwide, calls for “career ladders for teachers to move into specialist roles, master-teacher roles,” etc, “They’re worried that they’re going to be doing the same thing on Day 1 as they’ll be doing 30 years in,” according to Weingarten. Weingarten also questions licensing laws that prevent the easy movement of an exemplary teacher from one state to another. Minnesota recently relaxed such requirements; if other states followed suit, it might build a desirable new flexibility into the profession. Bruni, in his column, also notes that teaching needs to be endowed with greater prestige. One intriguing line of thought about how to do this is to make the requirements for becoming a 6
teacher more difficult, so that a teaching credential has luster. In the book “The Smartest Kids in the World,” Amanda Ripley noted that Finland’s teachers are revered in part because they’re the survivors of selective screening and rigorous training. According to Bruni, Kate Walsh, the president of the National Council on Teacher Quality, stated that in this country, “It’s pretty firmly rooted in college students that education is a fairly easy major.” Too often, it’s also “a major of last resort,” she said. Bruni notes that Dan Brown, a co-director of Educators Rising, which encourages teenagers to contemplate careers in the classroom, said that teaching might be ready for its own Flexner Report, an early 1900s document that revolutionized medical schools and raised the bar for American medicine, contributing to the aura that surrounds physicians today. Bruni also asks why, in the intensifying political discussions about making college more affordable, there’s not more talk of methods “to recognize and incentivize future public servants,” foremost among them teachers. No doubt, there should be. The health of our country and the future of our children depend on teaching no less than they do on Wall Street’s machinations or Silicon Valley’s innovations. We need to make the classroom and a career in education a destination as sensible, desirable, exciting and fulfilling as any other. So as we embark upon another school year, speak up and act to make the issues noted here and others you may have a reality to improve our profession.
Book Recommendation The Hidden Principalship -Dr. Anthony Barber By Monica Conlin-DVR-PASCD Board Member,Teacher on Administrative Assignment for Springfield School District After a close reading of The Hidden Principalship by Dr. Anthony Barber, I remain engaged in a collection of annotations jotted with text connections and applications for my practice. The purpose for this choice reading is based in its appeal as a practical and inspiring handbook for principal instruction. Each chapter offers short “vignettes: some anecdotal- others straightforward” to enlighten the potential principal of situations where he or she can gain a more “in depth understanding of the off the record culture” (Barber, 2013,p. x) that are present in a principal’s role. Commencing each section with a quick think to set a purpose for active reading, the reader attaches meaning; likewise, each concludes with practical advice pertaining to the topics discussed. Barber (2013) punctuates his series of vignettes with a section of case studies that are designed to “connect to each topic and to spur conversation” (p. 113). The vignettes range from communication with parents, faculty, and staff and advance to discussions about self-analysis of a principal’s practice. This section is supplemented by situations, “circumstances that the reader, as principal, can apply critical lessons” (Barber, 2013,p. 135). The case studies and situations are 7
positive text features that encourage the reader to revisit sections of the text for analysis and synthesis of understanding and application. As a result of the reading, a principal or potential administrator, gains strategies based on practical experiences as the applications that follow each story serve as a reservoir of support. Barber spotlights approaches through principals’ stories that can enhance the already existing culture of communication in a building for an instructional leader. Examples of this include: building school advisory teams and consulting the “resident expert on campus” (Barber, 2013,p. 8). Interesting to note is that Barber’s colloquial tone provides the likelihood for a principal or one in a principal program to meet with the successful adoption of the practical applications in the text. Barber speaks directly voided of scripted directives to the reader that allows the reader to engage in an ongoing conversation with Barber. The vignettes range from communication with parents, faculty, and staff and advance to discussions about self-analysis of a principal’s practice. As a result of the reading, a principal or potential administrator gains strategies based in practical experiences as the practical applications that follow each story serve as a reservoir of support. Barber spotlights approaches through principals’ stories that can enhance the already existing culture of communication in a building. Examples of this include: building school advisory teams and consulting the “resident expert on campus” (Barber, 2013,p. 8). Fostering communication and involvement of the faculty, as referenced in anecdotal experiences, can benefit students who witness this through teacher interaction and can look to this as an example of effective communication, collaboration and delegation of responsibility. Additionally, Barber (2013) asserts through anecdotal accounts of elementary, middle and high school principals, the importance of creating a culture of collaboration for effective leadership. This offers a “shared ownership allowing for a greater voice to be given by all peoples” (p. 68). The content reveals administrative work that is founded in collaborative problem solving. Because most chapters include a principal’s story about power, change and culture, the reader can examine each, and according to Barber (2013), “gain theoretical background and practical application” (p.141). The content can be deemed helpful and appropriate as it offers stories of both successful and unsuccessful principal experiences in decision-making and communication. This is beneficial to both active principals and those in principal programs.
Reference The Hidden Principalship (pp. 1-145). Lanham: Rowman&Littlefield.
Pay it Forward: Student Teachers Blogging with the Purpose of Learning from One Another Authors: Dr. Tammy A. Feil, Associate Professor Division of Education and Human Services Neumann University Tammy Feilâ€™s professional experience includes 16 years in the profession of education with experience in special education, inclusion, and autism. Dr. Feil has taught higher education at Neumann and Wilmington Universities for the past 14 years. Dr. Cynthia A. Ferraro, Assistant Professor Division of Education and Human Services Neumann University Cynthia Ferraroâ€™s professional experience includes 25 plus years in the profession of education, of which 12 years were in the classroom as a 6th, 7th, and 8th grade social studies teacher. Dr. Ferraro has taught higher education at Neumann and Eastern Universities for the past 14 years.
Pay it Forward: Student Teachers Blogging with the Purpose of Learning from One Another Tammy Feil, Ed.D. & Cynthia A. Ferraro, Ph.D. Abstract This article examines the comments and feedback of weekly gated blogs by thirty-three student teachers from a local catholic university in Delaware County, Pennsylvania over a period of fourteen weeks. The gated blog is a typical blog within a confined social media setting with the purpose of safety from unsolicited visitors and interactions (TeachersFirst, 2015). As an extension of the gated blog assignment, six student teachers presented their insights and thoughts regarding the gated blogs at a national student-teaching conference in Pennsylvania during the spring 2015 semester. All of the student teachers had welcomed the idea of weekly gated blogs as a means of sharing student-teaching experiences to help alleviate fears and concerns. These blogs provide an online forum where student teachers and their professors can share strategies, provide recommendations, offer advice, ask questions, share memorable experiences, and collaborate. Additionally, blogging facilitates a practical understanding of how to align studentteaching dispositions to the required Interstate New Teacher Assessment Support Consortium (InTASC) standards. Findings suggest that student teachers value the weekly gated blogs as a protected social media environment to help ease the stresses associated with the student-teaching experience. An analysis of blog entries reveals detailed information stating support for student teachers, blog results indicating classroom motivation and instructional planning as primary targets of concern for student teachers, strategies for lesson and behavior management implementation, and modeling of blog entries related to the required InTASC standards for all 9
novice teachers. This collection of blog posts was compiled so that all involved in the studentteaching experience could identify with the experiences they describe. They also support an understanding of the practical applications associated with the InTASC standards with the ultimate goal of stress reduction. Introduction That there is never enough class time to accomplish what really needs to be accomplished is a common frustration for most educators. In the authors’ weekly seminar class for student teachers, there is so little time and so much material to cover, yet often the only item of business student teachers really want to accomplish is to share their student-teaching experiences. There is a bit of sharing during the first class meeting, but all other class meetings are reserved for resume and cover letter writing, interviewing skills, certification process, application process, InTASC Standards, and completing the professional portfolio requirements. After pondering how best to let students share their teaching experiences, we realized that the answer to our frustration was within easy reach. Blackboard Learn is the virtual learning environment at our university and we use if for both face-to-face instruction and hybrid/blended learning environments. Blackboard Learn has a blog application built right into the program; thus, the key to sharing student-teacher experiences outside of the weekly seminar class was at our fingertips all along. As previously mentioned, the gated blog is defined as a typical blog entry within a restricted social media environment with the primary goal of eliminating unwelcome interactions that is consistently monitored by the blog designer. (TeachersFirst, 2015). This discovery encouraged us to immediately create a required weekly blogging assignment for student teachers titled Pay it Forward: Student Teachers Blogging for the Purpose of Learning from One Another. It is important to provide a concise explanation of the InTASC Standards before presenting the analysis of the gated blogs. The InTASC Standards are grounded in research and a constructivist view of learning and teaching (Danielson Group, 2013). More specifically, these ten standards outline “what teachers should know and be able to do to ensure every K-12 student reaches the goal of being ready to enter college or the workforce in today’s world” (Council of Chief State School Officers, 2011). An examination of blog entries reveals that the gated blogs provide a personal and collaborative method of exploring the challenges of student teaching while offering practical applications and dispositions related to the InTASC standards. Overall, this research will allow student teachers to recognize that they are not alone and that most of their experiences are common for all beginning teachers. Rationale Educators know student teaching is the most vital experience in the preparation of future teachers. Moreover, published research documents this time as one of the most stressful, emotional, and nerve-wracking semesters of the degree program. The emphasis on uncompromising teacher accountability and measurable student performance is also very challenging for beginning teachers. To this end, the InTASC Standards describe what novice teachers need to know and be able to do to achieve these rigorous student-learning gains. It is common knowledge that most teachers deal with a lot of stress; however, too much stress can lead to teacher burnout and physical issues (Justice, 1998). Student teachers often feel isolated; most are thrown into a classroom environment with what may seem like a sink or swim approach (Swick, 1989). Listening to student teachers express their anxieties about sleep 10
deprivation, being able to handle behavior management issues, being able to implement meaningful lessons, getting along with cooperating teachers and other school personnel, and handling the daily rigors and routines of teaching, motivated the need for the weekly gated blog assignment to support student teachers with a sense of comfort and reassurance from their peers and professors. Nature and Limitations of the Research Over one semester (spring 2015) and for a period of fourteen weeks, thirty-three student teachers from a local catholic university in Delaware County, Pennsylvania participated in a weekly gated blogging assignment. The findings involve a preliminary descriptive examination of the fears, concerns, stresses, and experiences of student teachers. This examination is limited to no more that thirty-three subjects at one four-year university because of the time constraints involved in analyzing and categorizing the data. The preliminary findings will serve as a baseline for future semesters and analysis of weekly gated blogs. Results There were a total of 1,087 blog entries over the course of fourteen weeks with the following percentile rankings of these blog entries related to the InTASC standards. These percentages reveal the hierarchal importance of InTASC standards during the student-teaching experience. 1) Instructional Planning (30%), 2) Classroom Motivation and Management Skills (27%), 3) Knowledge of Subject Matter (15%), 4) Assessment of Student Learning (14%), 5) Professional Commitment and Responsibility (9%), 6) Adapting Instruction for Individual Needs (4%), 7) Multiple Instructional Strategies (2%), 8) Partnerships (2%), 9) Knowledge of Human Development (.002%), and 10) Communication Skills (.001%). Overall, the 1,087 blog posts offered student teachers the opportunity to have their voices heard. Comments from the weekly gated blogs and the national student-teacher conference confirmed the value of the weekly gated blogging assignment. As one student explained, “Blogging supported my student teaching experience because it gave me the opportunity to share things in a safe environment. Our Blogging page is a judgment free zone where I can share my successes, failures, fears, suggestions, and so on. I can ask my fellow student teachers for help and advice. This page is really where we can encourage each other to be the best educators we can be.” Instructional planning, classroom management and motivation, and knowledge of subject matter were discussed as major focus areas for student teachers within blog entries and at the national student-teacher conference. Some of the discussion within blog entries and at the national student-teacher conference focused on difficulties with teaching mathematics in connection to InTASC standard 1: Knowledge of subject matter. Another student teacher noted, “Teaching varied skill subjects is very difficult because I have to keep up with the subject matter and be at least two weeks ahead of the students—and, this is frustrating.” With regard to lesson planning, the discussion concentrated on the time-consuming aspects of lesson / unit plan development. “There is never enough time to plan as much as I want to, because I am exhausted after a full day of teaching. Then, I go home and plan lessons.” Classroom management and motivation consumed most of the discussion in that “keeping students engaged and on track for an entire day is draining.”
The students all agreed that the gated blog assignment provided inspiration for one another in their efforts to become successful educators. By sharing experiences, concerns, and strategies, the student teachers were able to have their voices heard and could discuss concrete ways to overcome the stresses of teaching. Conclusions This research was conducted to support student teachers and all of those involved in the student-teaching experience. Student teaching is just one phase of learning to become a professional educator; learning to teach is a process that happens with years of experience in the classroom. Student-teacher blogs provided a forum for teacher candidates to share studentteaching concerns with one another and have their voices heard. Student teachers must wear many different hats and be able to hone their multi-tasking skills during this critical semester in their teacher education program. To this end, sharing experiences through weekly blogging provided useful support, camaraderie, and a safe environment to share strategies. Sharing concerns, ideas, and strategies using a weekly gated blogging environment may assist student teachers and future student teachers by providing concrete ways to help them succeed during the student teaching experience. Recognizing student teaching as a crucial and stressful experience, the weekly gated blog assignment provides a virtual learning environment and forum for dispensing thoughts and ideas to support student teachers. This forum supports the exchange of valuable knowledge and practical applications that may lead to a less stressful and a more rewarding experience. Future research delving into the specific fears and anxieties that student teachers experience would complement this research and other studies related to student-teacher factors. It can be said that subsequent studies of calming strategies for student teachers are essential to provide evidence of research-based data for a deeper understanding of how student teachers can be supported.
References Blackboard Learn. https://neumann.dcollege.net/webapps/blackboard/content/listContentEditable.jsp?conten t_id=_300218_1&course_id=_11344_1&mode=reset Bullough, R. & Young, J. (2002). Learning to teach as an intern: the emotions and self. Teacher Development. (6) 3. pp. 417-432. Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC). (2011, April). InTASC Model Core Teaching Standards: A Resource for State Dialogue. Retrieved June 2014 from file:///C:/Users/owner/Downloads/intasc_model_core_teaching_standards_2011%20(1).p df Danielson Group. (2013). Charlotte Danielsonâ€™s framework for teaching. Retrieved March 19, 2015 from http://danielsongroup.org. Gibbs, G.R. (2007). Flick, U. (Ed.). Analyzing qualitative data. London: Sage Publications. 12
Huffacker, D. (2004, June). The educated blogger: Using weblogs to promote literacy in the classroom. First Monday, (9), 6. Retrieved May 25, 2015 from http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/1156/1076 Justice, L.A. (1982). Beat stress. Boca Raton, FL: Globe Communications. Parsons, P. & Stephenson, S. (2005). Developing reflective practice in student teachers: collaboration and critical partnerships. Teachers and Teaching, Theory & Practice. (11) 1. pp. 95-116. Ros-Voseles, D., & Moss, L. 2007. The role of dispositions in the education of future teachers. Young Children 62 (5): 90-98. Swick, K. (1989). Stress and teaching. Washington DE: National Education Association Teachers First. Retrieved April 1, 2015 from http://www.teachersfirst.com/content/blog/tools.cfm Williams, J.B. (2004). Exploring the use of blogs as learning spaces in the higher education sector. Australian Journal of Educational Technology, (20), 2, 232-247. Retrieved May 30, 2015 from http://ascilite.org.au/ajet/submission/index.php/AJET/article/view/1361/731
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