AuthorFocus

Welcome to our July author focus newsletter! This month we bring you tips and insights from our authors Rich Allen, Robert Marzano, James Anderson, Will Richardson and Anne Davies. 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.

Will Richardson
WillRichardson

Valuing the Immeasurable
One of my new favourite bloggers, Justin Reich at Harvard, writes:

I could imagine learning environments where parts of the student experience (learning grammar, practicing math algorithms) are optimized in thoughtful ways using personalization technology, where other parts of the student experience allow for individual experimentation and research, and where time still remains for students to form learning communities devoted to the study of our shared history and civic responsibilities. I can also imagine learning environments devoted to personalization that obliterate meaningful opportunities for collaborative, connected civic learning.

My fear is that we are staring down the barrel of the latter, not just in the area of civics and history but in just about all areas of schooling. And for me it comes back to this fairly simple statement: We define an "education" by what we assess, which in turn defines the value (or lack of value) of this thing we call "school."

Read more.

Titles by Will Richardson:
Personal Learning Networks: Using the Power of Connections to Transform Education (SOT1816)
Learning on the Blog: Collected Posts for Educators and Parents (CO1111)

> View blog
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Robert Marzano
RobertMarzano

Teaching & Assessing 21st Century Skills - Tips
Self-efficacy is the disposition that an individual has control over his or her life. Developing this disposition is at the core of understanding and controlling oneself.

Helping students cultivate self-efficacy involves teaching them optimal ways of thinking, including resiliency. As the teacher presents examples of resiliency, whether from literature, a well-known person in their field, or a local personality, they can lead a discussion of its characteristics. Ultimately, students must examine their own resiliency.

Titles by Robert Marzano:
Teaching and Assessing 21st Century Skills (SOT2325)
Classroom Instruction That Works, 2nd Edition (111001)
Building Academic Vocabulary Student Notebook (109030)

> View more tips
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Anne Davies
Jay McTighe

An App to Assist in Communication with Parents
Sometimes educators struggle as they try to communicate with parents. They want the student voice to be present but that can take way too much time. 
Have you considered an app like Quick Voice Pro? It is designed to record a brief message and then email it to others. It is simple and easy to use.

Three quick ideas to get you started...

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 full blog post
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James Anderson
Jay McTighe

We've Already Done Habits of Mind
"I've already done persistence!"

This was what my daughter came home saying after her teacher had "done" persistence for the third time this semester. And it's the sort of thing I hear from lots of teachers and students just before their work with Habits of Mind falls over.

How do you avoid the "We've done this already" syndrome?

When you hear students or teachers saying we've done ths before what you're really hearing is a misunderstanding of what the Habits of Mind are about. To suggest you've "done" Habits of Mind reflects the Habits are being taught like a topic - when in reality they need to be taught more like a subject. Let me explain.

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

> View full blog post
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Rich Allen
RichAllen

Impact Teaching Tip: Small Changes Lead to Big Changes
"Within the limits of what we know, we simply don't grow."

Successful teachers inevitably share one common trait - the willingness to consciously, intentionally, and frequently try something different. So, what about you? What have you done lately that's just ... well ... NEW? It's easy for all of us to fall into rituals and routines in the classroom. While that's often perfectly fine, as a teacher the best way to stay fully conscious and focused is to deliberately choose to do something other than what we have done in the past. When anything new is happening, our brains wake up and focus more clearly on the moment.

Remember, it doesn't have to be a dramatic, earth-shattering, revolutionary shift in style. In fact, simple is often better. In the classroom, it could be as easy as:

  • Using a new phrase.
  • Playing a new song.
  • Showing new visuals.
  • Starting a lesson in a new way.
  • Using a new question to get students talking.

The key is to consciously pick something, anything, and give it a go! Then, see what's happens - if it works, keep it, if not, throw it out. And then, yes ... try something else. Change - for the right reasons - is often change better, if for no other reason than it keeps everything and everyone vibrant and alive. Indeed, one of the keys to great teaching is to develop a lifetime 'habit of change' - where small changes build over time to become big, useful, and ultimately empowering changes.

Titles by Rich Allen:
Impact Teaching (34148)
High-Impact Teaching Strategies for the XYZ Era of Education (44261)
Green Light Classrooms: Teaching Techniques that Accelerate Learning (CO6742)

> View blog
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