Welcome to our June author focus newsletter! This month we have exciting insights and thoughts from authors Anne Davies, James Anderson, Lee Crockett, Daniel Pink, Rich Allen and Robin Fogarty. Read on below for snippets from their articles or blogs. You will also find links to the full article and selected books from Hawker Brownlow Education.


Happy reading.

Robin Fogarty

Three Thought-Provoking Articles
This month we have three brilliant and thought-provoking articles from Robin Fogarty and associated authors. These articles cover topics such as comprehension, thinking skills and describe a three-phase explicit teaching model. Click on any of the links below to open up the individual article.

Comprehension: The Phantom Skill
Thinking Like Citizens, Leaders and Entrepreneurs
Three-Phase Explicit Teaching Model

Titles by Robin Fogarty:
Supporting Differentiated Instruction (SOT7962)
inFormative Assessment: When It's Not About a Grade (CO3315)
How to Integrate the Curricula, Third Edition (CO1125)

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Lee Crockett
Jay McTighe

Work-Mandated 'Bring Your Own Computer' Imminent
This is a clear trend in business and it makes sense. Education, however, is still in part resisting allowing students to bring their own devices such as computers, tablets, or smartphones, and this is happening for any number of reasons.

In many schools, computers are older than the kids, and in schools that have been able to go 1:1, we see students bring their own computers if they have them, leave them in their locker, and swap out the school computer for their own whenever they can. Ideally the focus should be on learning, not on tech acquisition, although this should still play a part for the benefit of students with limited access. Meanwhile, if students bring their devices, we can shift our focus to providing an exceptional network to supplement whatever kinds of tech walks in the door with students. Investing in some more substantial gear, like boom microphones and green screens, then becomes more of a possibility.

More importantly, the rest of that surplus tech budget could go where it should—into meaningful, accountable professional learning to help our teachers, which are our most important asset to make the shift to a 21st-century student-centered learning environment.

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

Zeros? No Zeros? The Dangers of Dichotomies.
Many of the schools and systems with whom Sandra Herbst and I are currently working are engaged in thoughtful and involved conversations that focus on the use of zeros, deducting marks (or grades)[1] for late assignments, or some other kind of response to students who do not provide the kind of evidence of learning that has been requested. At times, this dialogue can become emotional and even divisive. We are reminded of Sir Michael Barber's statement[2] (2011 keynote), that as educators, we often find ourselves "on the road...paved with false dichotomies". That is, educators discuss issues from the mindset of 'either all or nothing.' For example:

  • Phonics: Some say phonics is the only basis of a good reading program while others say phonics is of no use at all.
  • Standards: Some say all students must achieve universal high standards while others say the standards depend entirely on the student.
  • Evaluating Student Work: Some would say when work is not handed in on time, deductions are given and, if necessary, a zero is assigned while others would say you should never deduct marks and you can never assign a zero.

Yet, in the midst of these often-heated debates, there is a place for a measured, reasonable response.

It is sometimes helpful to have an example that helps us better understand the situation. Some people say that in the 'real world' if things are late, there are consequences. That is indeed true. So let us take an example from educators' 'real world' of employment. What if a teacher does not complete the report cards for his classes by the specified date? Is the first response to fire that teacher? No. Is the first response to deduct pay? No. What will happen? Likely, the principal will have a conversation with him to determine why the report cards are not yet completed and to plan for next steps. This might mean bringing in a substitute so that they can be completed during the next school day. It might mean that a district consultant is brought in to provide support and guidance, or it might even mean that the principal spends the next two evenings sitting alongside that teacher to ensure that they are done. The consequence for not doing report cards is doing report cards.

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)

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James Anderson
Jay McTighe

Persistence Does Not Equal Failure.
Sometimes students think that if they need to persist at a task in class then they must not be smart enough. They learn not to value persistence because they see it as a sign that they are not smart enough to "get it" the first time.

Of course that's a generalization, but there's more than a little truth to it as well.

This series of blog entries is about the Teachers Handbook that we all carry in our head. Those unspoken and unquestioned default ways of working that we call on every day, that might actually be robbing kids of the opportunity to develop their Habits of Mind. It might be one of these default ways of working that leads children to believe that persisting is a sign of being not smart enough.

Consider this scenario. You've set the students in your class 10 questions to answer by the end of the class. With 5 minutes left in the class what would you normally do? Is it likely that you'd ask who's got all 10 questions finished? Is it also likely that you'd set any unfinished questions as extra work at home or after class? Sound pretty familiar? What's the message students get from this?

The message is that getting finished is what's important. That if you couldn't get through the work and needed to persist then you mustn't be smart enough. Students that finish quickly and easily are the ones that get recognised and rewarded.

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

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Daniel Pink

How to Move People with Two Irrational Questions.
Unless you're a hermit in a cave somewhere (and if so, how are you reading this blog?), you're probably in a position to influence someone in your circle - children, a significant other, your co-workers, your boss - several times a day.

Lately I've been digging into this broad question of how of we move people and I consulted a fascinating book I'd read several months ago titled Instant Influence: How to Get Anyone to Do Anything - Fast! (Buy it at Amazon,, or IndieBound). The author, Michael Pantalon, is a psychologist research scientist at the Yale School of Medicine. And he's generously agreed to share one of the tips from the book with us.

Titles by Daniel Pink:
Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us (PER7693)

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Rich Allen

Impact Teaching Tip: Acting Out Facts, Making Learning Exact.
At least once in our lives most of us have been enthralled by a play or movie that captivated our attention and relentlessly drew us in. For a short time, we surrendered to the thrill of suspended belief, caught up in the magic of the experience.

As teachers, we want to occasionally create the same type of fully captivating lessons for our students - to use the power and majesty drama has to entertain us, to move us, and most importantly ... to teach us things we will never forget.

Opportunities for the use of drama in the classroom usually come from two places:

  • The Students: The more you allow them to perform a skit, create a talk show, or create a short movie - any form of dramatic interpretation will work - the better they will remember the information.
  • The Teacher. The more dramatic you allow yourself to be when explaining ideas, developing concepts, or even just telling stories - the more memorable these moments are to students.

Used properly, dramatic teaching - from either side of the table - can trigger a wealth of healthy emotions and positive learning for everyone in the classroom. Dynamic learning experiences make lessons both highly enjoyable and memorable for our students.

Titles by Rich Allen:
Humane Teaching (HB3283)
Humane Presentations (HB1434)
TrainSmart (CO4855)

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