Welcome to our April author focus newsletter! This month we have exciting insights and thoughts from authors Jay McTighe, Anne Davies, James Anderson and Lee Crockett. All of the featured authors are also presenters at our upcoming 9th Annual Thinking and Learning conference, happening from 19-22 May. If you haven't registered yet, head through to our website here.


Happy reading.

Jay McTighe
Jay McTighe

Understanding by Design
What do we want students to understand and be able to do? How does “understanding” differ from “knowing”? Jay McTighe is one of Hawker Brownlow Education's exciting authors and upcoming conference presenters. Watch this fantastic video where he talks about Understanding by Design (UbD): what it is and how all educators can implement the eight modules in their everyday teaching life. To see the video, click here to go through to our YouTube page.

Along with being part of our upcoming 9th Annual Thinking and Learning Conference, Jay McTighe is doing a tour of UbD workshops around Australia. Click here to see the flyer for more information.

Titles by Jay McTighe:
Understanding by Design, 2nd Edition (103055)
The Understanding by Design Guide to Creating High-Quality Units (109107)
The Understanding by Design Guide to Advanced Concepts in Creating and Reviewing Units (112026)

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Lee Crockett
Jay McTighe

50 (Mostly) Free Social Media Tools You Can't Live Without in 2012
A couple years ago, Jay Baer wrote a great blog post called 'The 39 social media tools I'll use today' which was an all-in-one toolkit for social media marketers (and still is). A lot has changed in the two years since that post was published so here is a '2012 remix' featuring 50 (mostly free) tools you can use on a daily basis. Whether you are just starting out in the social media arena or have been at it for a few years, this will hopefully be a handy resource. So, let's serve 'em up!

The applications are all broken down into specific categories with a link to each one. There's tons of useful stuff here, so have fun exploring!

Titles by Lee Crockett:
Understanding the Digital Generation: Teaching and Learning in the New Digital Landscape (TCF8143)
The Digital Diet: Today's digital tools in small bytes (TCF8150)

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Anne Davies
Jay McTighe

The Great Grading Debate
My colleague, Rick Stiggins - a pioneer in assessment for learning - had a wonderful resource called Report Card Grading: Strategies and Solutions that is no longer available for sale, but that you might find in your professional development library. He gave me permission to share this one activity from that resource. It is particularly helpful for educators as they shift towards standards-based grading and reporting.

There are many right ways to think about evidence of learning and what counts for evaluation and report card grading. This activity helps colleagues respectfully work towards common agreement around what evidence to include (or not include) in a grade. One of the points Rick Stiggins makes in this resource is that all barriers to including (or not including) a particular kind of evidence need to be removed or transformed before the evidence can be considered.

This is also true of different grading practices such as giving penalties for late work or giving zeros. That is, you and your colleagues need to articulate all the reasons why the practice should continue or not continue; then, remove all the reasons why (or why not). At that point, you are free to move forward.

As you work with your colleagues on coming to an agreement about key aspects of your grading practices, I think you will find this simple but powerful activity to be incredibly helpful. I've included a couple of samples from different groups who have used it successfully.

Titles by Anne Davies:
Making Classroom Assessment Work, 3rd Edition (SOT1762)
Knowing What Counts Conferencing and Reporting, 2nd Edition (SOT1830)
Knowing What Counts Setting and Using Criteria, 2nd Edition (SOT1809)
Knowing What Counts Self-Assessment and Goal Setting, 2nd Edition (SOT1793)
Transforming Schools and Systems Using Assessment: A Practical Guide (SOT3382)

> View the Grading Debate Activity
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James Anderson
Jay McTighe

What does "Habit" mean?
A few weeks ago I took a close look at the definition of the Habits of Mind. I teased it apart with an educational audience in mind. That got me wondering about how we define the Habits of Mind for children and the general public. When we talk about "Habits of Mind", what ideas do most people bring to mind?

For example, one of my students, Billy, talks about the Habits of Mind being "what famous and successful people do" and goes on to say "so if I do this, I can be successful too". I've always believed Billy showed a great deal of insight  and understanding about the Habits of Mind and felt that he had "got" the Habits of Mind. Now I'm not so sure.

Now I wonder if Billy sees the Habits of Mind as something static, or something you develop and get better at? Does Billy see the Habits as something that successful people "do", and therefor he has to start doing? Or does he see them as something that successful people do well, and therefor as something he does but has to get better at?

This distinction isn't a trivial one. The first reflects a fixed mindset and creates a greatness gap. The second captures a growth mindset and gives Billy a chance to take control of his success and to grow and improve to become increasingly able to succeed.

Titles by James Anderson:
Succeeding with Habits of Mind (HB6224)

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