Independent Study Guide


Published on

Published in: Education
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Independent Study Guide

  1. 1. Independent Study Guide Preparing for the Training Institute 2009 TeacherNex 744 Broad Street, 16th Floor Newark, NJ 07102 Email: 1|Page
  2. 2. Table of Contents Introduction......................................................................................................................................................3  The Teaching for Student Achievement Framework .............................................................................4  Exercise 1: Assigned Readings.......................................................................................................................5  ASSIGNMENT #1: Read the Guidebook (approx. 10-15 hours to complete).....................................5  ASSIGNMENT #2: Read Two Articles.....................................................................................................6  Exercise 2: The School Visit ............................................................................................................................6  Purpose of the School Visit ........................................................................................................................6  Logistics of the School Visit .......................................................................................................................7  ASSIGNMENT #3: Create a Running Record (Approx. 1 hour) .........................................................9  What is a Running Record? ...................................................................................................................9  Sample Running Records.......................................................................................................................9  Exercise 3: Reflection Questions ..................................................................................................................11  ASSIGNMENT #4: Write Reflections (Approx. 2-3 hours) .................................................................11  ASSIGNMENT #5: Article Reflections (1-2 hours)...............................................................................14  Exercise 4: (Optional) Building a Toolkit of Best Practices and Resources ...........................................15  ASSIGNMENT #6: Classroom Best Practices........................................................................................15  ASSIGNMENT #7: Create an Optional Resource Binder ....................................................................17  Appendix ........................................................................................................................................................19  Sample Principal Letter ...............................................................................................................................24  2|Page
  3. 3. Introduction W elcome to TeacherNex. You are about to embark upon the first step in your journey to becoming an effective teacher—training Institute. During the Institute you will attend “Student Achievement Framework sessions” which will acquaint you with the Teaching for Student Achievement Framework (see page 4). The Framework describes the knowledge and skills teachers use for effective teaching in high-need schools and is explained in depth in the Teaching for Student Achievement Guidebook, the central text for the Framework sessions you will attend during the Institute. Prior to beginning the Institute, you are expected to complete all exercises in this Independent Study Guide (ISG). This will ensure you are prepared for your training experience. The Student Achievement Framework sessions you will attend during the Institute are designed with the assumption that you are familiar with the contents of the Guidebook and Teaching for Student Achievement Framework. The Institute sessions will build from—rather than review—what you have read in the Guidebook – it is essential that all teachers come to Institute having read the Guidebook in its entirety. Institute is a very short, very intense experience. You are expected to make the most of it. By reading the Guidebook and completing the other exercises described in the ISG, you are making a significant investment in your preparation and ensuring that your students have the kind of teacher they deserve. If you are not prepared to Institute, you risk not being prepared for your students in September. TeacherNex will not recommend teachers who do not consistently demonstrate they will do whatever it takes to close the achievement gap in Newark. The time we have to prepare you is short and the stakes are too high for us to take any chances. The exercises involve:  Assigned Readings  The School Visit  Responding to Reflection Questions  Creating a Toolkit of Best Practices and Resources (optional) By the end of the Independent Study, you will be able to describe important concepts, strategies, and challenges of teaching and to reflect on your own areas of strength and growth as a future teacher. The exercises will be collected June 29th and will be reviewed by your instructor, called a Teacher Advisor (TA). TAs will draw upon these exercises during Student Achievement Framework sessions throughout Institute. Before reading the exercises, please take a look at the Teaching for Student Achievement (TfSA) Framework diagrams on the next page. You will see these graphics frequently throughout the Institute. Note: The Framework is slightly different for special education teachers. This slight difference will be discussed during the Institute. You will see both Frameworks below. 3|Page
  4. 4. The Teaching for Student Achievement Framework General Education Special Education The Teaching for Student Achievement Framework  Teaching is a complex activity—part art and part science. Over the course of your training you will begin to understand both the technical aspects of teaching, such as writing a lesson plan and using high impact teaching strategies (HITS), and the art of teaching, such as how to talk and carry yourself in a manner in which you instantly command respect from students. Both parts of teaching are difficult, and the TfSA Framework emphasizes what we have learned based on our work with thousands of beginning teachers. There are two major interrelated components of the Teaching for Student Achievement Framework—Instructional Design and Delivery and Classroom Culture and Management. We believe that teachers who develop knowledge and skills in both of these areas are best positioned to address achievement gaps where they exist and become effective teachers in high-needs schools. We have divided each of the components into smaller parts, called competencies, which correspond to the chapters in the Guidebook. The Instructional Design and Delivery competencies include:  Set Rigorous Academic Goals  Use Appropriate Assessments  Create Standards-Based Lessons and Units  Apply Differentiated Instruction  Use High-Impact Teaching Strategies The Classroom Culture and Management competencies include:  Create a “No Excuses” Classroom Culture 4|Page
  5. 5.  Develop Rules, Procedures and Consequences  Address Misbehavior  Use Diversity to Promote Achievement  Effect Change in the Classroom as a Newcomer In addition to these “framework competencies” you will examine related issues such as how to foster achievement among English Language Learners and students with disabilities. You will consider the reality of students living in poverty and the socio-cultural issues enmeshed in closing the achievement gap. Throughout your training and during your teaching experience you will return to the TfSA Framework frequently. It is our goal that when you successfully complete the Institute you will feel very well prepared to dramatically increase the academic achievement of your future students. Exercise 1: Assigned Readings ASSIGNMENT #1: Read the Guidebook (approx. 10-15 hours to complete) It is our expectation that you will have read the Guidebook in its entirety prior to the first day of the Institute. Teachers tell us they take something new from the Guidebook each time they read it. As you gain experiences in the classroom through observation, practice teaching and the first few years of your career, you will be ready to return to this text and gain new insights each time. There are two versions of the Guidebook. You will receive one, depending on what we expect that you will be teaching in the fall. Teachers teaching special education will receive a specialized version titled Teaching for Student Achievement: A Guidebook for Effective Teaching of Students with Special Needs, while all other teachers will receive the version titled Teaching for Student Achievement: A Guidebook for Effective Teaching in a High-Need School. During the Institute you will attend sessions – called “Student Achievement Framework sessions” – related to the Guidebook. The faciliator of these sessions (the Teacher Advisor) will help clarify concepts expressed in the Guidebook and deepen your knowledge acquired from the readings, but he or she will not specifically cover the content—that part is up to you. In the past, the most successful alt-route teachers we have worked with begin the first day of the Institute having carefully studied the Guidebook. The text is yours to keep so please read actively: highlight especially important terms/ideas and/or write notes and questions in the margins. We expect that you will continue to come back to this text again and again throughout your first year in the classroom and beyond. 5|Page
  6. 6. ASSIGNMENT #2: Read Two Articles  Helping All Students Achieve (approx 30 min to complete)  White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack (approx.15 min to complete) Many of you, when applying to this program, stated your commitment to providing all students with an opportunity to experience academic success. The article, Helping All Students Achieve: Closing the Achievement Gap by Kati Haycock, will define the achievement gap in a straightforward way so that you are familiar with the disparities in our pubic education system. This article can be found in the Appendix of this document. The article, White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh, will encourage you to become more aware of how your background will impact your teaching experience. The article can be found in the General Education Guidebook pgs 330-331 and the Special Education Guidebook on pgs 462-463. NOTE - In a later exercise you will be reflecting and responding to questions about these articles. We suggest you review the reflection questions prior to doing the readings on page 11. Exercise 2: The School Visit Purpose of the School Visit The School Visit will provide you with an experience in a public school that will inform your educational thinking and practice. We have four main goals for the School Visit:  Jumpstart your thinking The exercises and Guidebook reading give you a chance to start thinking about teaching and learning before you begin the intensity of Institute training. The observations will allow you to anchor this reading to actual students and an actual classroom setting. You will also begin to define the kind of educator you would like to be.  Give you a taste of reality Your School Visit will be allow you to observe the myriad tasks a teacher must juggle over the course of the day - from collecting homework to responding to a student who is confused by the lesson to transitioning students from one activity to the next. By observing a classroom during the academic year, you will also experience first-hand some of the differences between the academic year and summer school (e.g., student-to-teacher ratio, curricula, and length of the school day). 6|Page
  7. 7.  Meet and network with a teacher in a high-need school Teachers who are most successful in their first year in the classroom proactively seek out mentors at their own school to support their development as teachers. This school visit can provide an early opportunity to build a relationship with a teacher in a high-need school.  Provide you with material to reference throughout your training A number of Student Achievement Framework sessions during the training will focus on your school visit and written reflections. These assignments will also provide a foundation upon which to build your knowledge about teaching and learning during the rest of the Institute and beyond. The School Visit is not intended to overwhelm you with too much information or make you nervous about your upcoming journey to becoming a teacher. We recognize that you have probably never completed a Running Record (Assignment #3), nor been asked to reflect on how a teacher manages transitioning students from one activity to the next (Assignment #4). Through this exercise, we will try to address the general background knowledge that will help you complete this assignment and get the most out of it. Logistics of the School Visit  You will need to contact a local school to arrange your visit. Once inside the school, you must follow all school protocols and procedures. This page explains how and when to arrange and conduct your visit. It is important to conduct your School Visit as soon as possible. The end of When to Visit  the year often brings activities and behaviors that are not typical of the rest of the year. The last day of the school year for district schools is June 25th. Your visit will be most valuable when the classes are engaged in the activities that take place throughout the year. Additionally, some schools may be less likely to allow visitors in the final weeks of school. We suggest that you observe in a school no later than June 5th. It is your responsibility to contact a public school teacher or principal who Arranging a  you know, and ask him/her to arrange a visit. Whenever possible, we School Visit on  strongly recommend that you visit a high-need school in Newark. However, Your Own  if you are relocating to the Newark area, you are welcome to visit a high- need public school in your community. Whenever possible, we suggest that you visit an urban high-need school. If you are unfamiliar with your community’s public schools you can search the school system’s homepage where they often list each school’s demographics and test scores. We suggest using a high percentage of students receiving free/reduced lunch as an indicator of a high-need school. Once you have identified a school, call the school’s main office and ask to speak with the principal or another designated person about your observation. To help explain the School Visits to the school, we have enclosed a letter from the office that you can give to a principal or another 7|Page
  8. 8. administrator (see pg. 24 of this packet). You may also give a copy of this letter to the host teacher. You will be required to observe in a classroom(s) for a minimum of four hours. Visiting Multiple  Although we require you to make only one school visit, we highly Schools  recommend that you make several visits. You may choose to visit the same school that you originally observed, as that second visit may offer deeper insight into that school’s culture. You may also choose to visit a different, high-need school to broaden your horizons. You might visit a district and a charter school or classrooms at different grade levels. Finally, you may wish to visit a school that is widely regarded as excellent to try to identify what components make that school so successful. As a visitor to the school, a new member of the teaching profession, and a Conducting Your  representative of the program, please remember to be punctual and Visit  demonstrate professionalism in your attire and interaction with other professionals. On the day of your school visit, you should be certain to bring with you the following items, which you may be asked to present: 1. Photo identification 2. Notebook and writing utensil 3. Letter to Principals (included at the end of this guide) Be aware that each school has different procedures and policies for school visitors. Such policies may require you to sign in and out, wear a nametag, or provide background information about yourself. You should check in with the school’s security guard and then consult the main office about the school’s specific procedures and follow them carefully. Remember that observing your host teacher can also serve as a valuable networking opportunity as well. If you do get the chance to meet a school administrator, be sure to be polite and professional, indicating a genuine interest in the efforts of their school. Teachers often report that early connections with teachers and principals can sometimes lead to district hiring opportunities much later in the summer. After your visit, we recommend that you send a thank-you note to all those who assisted you. 8|Page
  9. 9. Make sure you schedule ahead of time a 10-minute block of time while your Conversing with  host is not teaching to hold a conversation with him/her. It is important that your Host  you schedule this prior to arriving as teacher’s schedules do not allow for these sorts of breaks. Consider asking if you can come early to the school, stay during lunch or their planning period or staying after school. Please limit your questions of current teachers to their classroom and school experiences, as well as their general experiences as teachers. Do not ask the teacher questions about the TeacherNex process or policy, as many of the specific procedures change from year to year. ASSIGNMENT #3: Create a Running Record (Approx. 1 hour) School Visit Length (Approximately 4 hours)  As part of the School Visit exercise you are expected to complete a Running Record of one class period that you observe. Directions: Complete a Running Record of the teacher’s activity over the course of a full period (approximately 50 minutes) of instruction. The goal of the Running Record is to produce a set of “data” that can later be analyzed in your written reflections and Institute training sessions. You may type your notes, or submit legible photocopied hand-written notes. Please do not worry about the formality of your writing; rather use abbreviations, lists, and short phrases for your observation notes. What is a Running Record?  A Running Record is in some ways just what it sounds like—a written record of all of the activity that transpires during a given period of time. In this case, your Running Record will be the handwritten or typed notes that you take on “everything” that the teacher you observe says and does over a class period. Obviously, you cannot take notes on “everything.” We use this word to suggest that everything— from the way the teacher faces the class as s/he erases the chalkboard to the words the teacher uses when eliciting students’ reactions to a literary passage—is noteworthy in your Running Record. The more specific you can be in your Running Record, the more useful it will be to you as you reflect on it later. While the focus of your Running Record will be on the teacher’s activity, it is also helpful to note significant student responses to what the teacher is saying and doing. Think of yourself as a video camera; you are not taking subjective or interpretive notes, but rather recording only what you see and hear. We recognize that you have never done a Running Record before, and may be nervous about “catching everything” or knowing what to look for. Reading the written assignment questions in Exercise #3 below can help you focus your observations. On the next page are two example excerpts of a Running Record – one effective and one ineffective – on the first five minutes of a lesson. Sample Running Records  9|Page
  10. 10. Effective Running Record  Date: May 10, 2007, 9:45-10:30 a.m. Class: 9th Grade English T: quot;Please take out your notebooks and start the Do Now.quot; (Do Now = on board: quot;List 5 typically male character traits and 5 typically female character traits. -- 5 min, independent workquot;) Three S's in back are talking; T, walking towards them (calm voice): quot;Gentlemen. Did I not make myself clear? The DN [Do Now] = on the board. & I know you each have opinions on this topic. Begin. Without talking.quot; S: quot;Sorry, miss.quot; (smirks at other 2 after T turns her back, but starts work) T circulates around rm as S's work, row by row; crouches by desk of S, speaks quietly: quot;Interesting. Why did u write sensitive under F traits?quot; S. shrugs. T waits. S: quot;B/c men = so insens. sometimes, they don't listen to what we say.quot; T: quot;OK, so you're thinking of an opp. char. trait to put under your M list.quot; S nods, writes it. T: quot;I'm still wondering why sens. for the F trait. Sens. can mean many things. What are u thinking here?quot; S: quot;B/c we listen better (etc.)...but we can be all emotional sometimes.quot; T: quot;So maybe that's 2 sep. traits you want to list, 1 for list. attentively and 1 for being emot.quot; T. cont. to rotate room, stops at other desks, crouching, talking low T, from across room: quot;Turn around, Tanaisha. Thank u.quot; T: quot;1 min. left. U should be working on your last 2 traits.quot; T (to whole class): quot;OK. I saw some interesting things on your lists. Let's hear what u've got.quot; Ineffective Running Record Date: May 10, 2007, 9:45-10:30 a.m. Class: 9th Grade English T. tells S's to begin Do Now S's mostly start; 3 S's don't; T tells hem to start; they do T walks around room, talking to S's one-on-one T: quot;1 min. left.quot; T begins to go over Do Now. 10 | P a g e
  11. 11. Exercise 3: Reflection Questions ASSIGNMENT #4: Write Reflections (Approx. 2-3 hours) Respond to five written reflection questions in Assignment #4 based on the School Visit exercise. Below is an overview of the both the structure of the reflections questions, as well as how to use the background notes provided for each question and the Guidebook. Structure of the Questions The specific intention of these questions is for you to begin to draw a connection between teacher actions and student learning. You will notice that each question posits a general inquiry, and several follow-up items that ask for supporting evidence of specific teacher behaviors. This structure is designed to help you break up your general observations into specific, concrete components. Background Notes and Guidebook References The Teaching for Student Achievement Guidebook is a substantial text on the instructional and classroom management methods that will be covered during your training. The Guidebook covers two main strands of material: Instructional Design and Delivery (IDD) and Classroom Management and Culture (CMC). The written reflection questions related to instruction are also divided into these two main strands. Instructional Design and Delivery refers to the competencies that drive instruction, from setting goals to creating a lesson plan to teaching the lesson to assessing your student’s level of mastery. The CMC competencies explore how teachers can create a positive, productive classroom environment. Topics covered include setting clear rules and expectations, enforcing those rules with effective consequences, responding to student misbehavior, and using diversity to promote student achievement. We will expect that that you will have read the Guidebook prior to the first day of the Institute as noted in Exercise #1. You may choose to skim it ahead of time for the purposes of this assignment, so that you can be sure to complete the School Visit before the school year is over. 11 | P a g e
  12. 12. Exercise 3: Reflection Questions  ASSIGNMENT #4:  School Visit Reflection Questions INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGN & DELIVERY QUESTIONS 1. Instructional Delivery/Assessment Question (one page) How well did the students understand the lesson instruction? How could you tell? In your response, please use evidence about how the teacher responded to students during lesson instruction, including:  What the teacher did and said to address student questions  How the teacher assessed student understanding (i.e., questioning techniques, reading student body language) during instruction, student work, and at the end of the lesson  If and how the teacher adjusted his/her teaching strategies and techniques in response to student reactions  What the teacher said to students on an individual level to aid in their understanding Background Note: Skilled teachers are constantly observing and responding to overt and veiled student cues that indicate their level of understanding. Assessment – the process of gauging students’ level of understanding and mastery of given skills and concepts – is ongoing in effective classrooms. This question asks about the teacher’s ability to perform the most informal kind of assessment – that of gauging student understanding while conducting the lesson. Guidebook References: Chapter 2 (or Chapter 7 in the Special Ed text), Assessment: Beginning with the End in Mind.   2. Lesson Structure Questions (one page) How prepared was the teacher for the lesson you observed? In your response, please use evidence including:  Whether the lesson had a clear beginning, middle, and end  How the teacher communicated (verbally and/or visually) the objective to the students; if the students seemed to know what the objective was  How transitions flowed within the lesson (i.e., from teacher instruction to student practice) and whether any time was wasted during these transitions  Materials the teacher used during the lesson; materials students used during the lesson; materials that the teacher prepared (or should have) beforehand  Was there clear evidence of the state standard to which the lesson was aligned? Background Note: Effective teachers prepare for lessons on many levels. They write clear, engaging lesson plans. They also consider elements such as materials needed, physical movement around the room, transitions from one part of the lesson to the next, and anticipated difficulties in student understanding. A well-prepared teacher has planned for all of these elements, and creates a sense of directed purpose. Guidebook References: Chapter 3 (or Chapter 8 in the Special Ed text), Standards-Based Instructional Planning, pp. 87-122. 12 | P a g e
  13. 13. Exercise 3: School Visit Reflection Questions, Continued  CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT & CULTURE 3. Behavior Management/Classroom Culture Question (one page) Did the students understand and respond to the behavior expectations in the classroom? In your response, please use evidence about how the teacher managed the behavior of the students, including:  Whether there were rules and consequences posted in the room and if there was evidence that those rules were observed and consequences enforced  A description of a specific instance of what the teacher did and said to address a minor misbehavior (i.e., speaking out of turn, getting out of seat without permission, mild profanity)  What the teacher did and said to manage transitions (movement from one activity/location to another)  The teacher’s movement around the classroom  The tone of voice the teacher used when addressing the students (and any changes in tone)  How invested the students seemed; if there were factors contributing to their investment or lack thereof Background Note: Creating an orderly, productive, positive classroom environment is no accident. Effective teachers deliberately model and enforce rules, encourage desired student behavior, and discourage disruptive behavior. Teachers implement both systems (e.g., established series of consequences for misbehavior) and techniques (e.g., using a calm, low voice to speak to an agitated student) to manage student behavior and shape classroom culture. Guidebook References: Chapter 7 (or Chapter 12 in the Special Ed text), Rules and Consequences. 4. Procedures/Physical Management Question (1/2 page) Do you feel that the teacher was effective in starting (or ending) the lesson? Focus your answer on the first or last five minutes of the lesson you observed. In your response, please use evidence including:  What the teacher said and did to indicate to students that s/he was ready to start the lesson; OR what the teacher said and did to provide closure to the lesson  How students responded to these signals  Any evidence that a start of lesson/period (OR end of lesson/period) procedure was in place  The tones of voice the teacher and students used in these five minutes Background Note: Minimizing wasted time is a crucial skill for effective teachers. Procedures— everyday classroom processes such as taking attendance and collecting homework—need to be taught early and enforced throughout the year in order for the flow of the day or period to run smoothly. Transitions are a particular concern for teachers, as the process of stopping one activity and beginning another has the potential to cause a major loss of time, focus, and classroom order. By the end of the year, in well-managed classrooms, you will be observing smooth, time-efficient transitions; in less efficient classrooms, you will observe chaotic, time-consuming transitions. Guidebook References: Chapter 8 (or Chapter 13 in the Special Ed text), Procedures. 5. School Interview Question (1 page) Teachers have reported that early principal interviews are extremely challenging given that most have not yet had previous classroom experience. Although it may seem a bit daunting at this
  14. 14. point in the process, use what you have observed in the classroom as food for thought for what you envision your future classroom will look like. Based on your classroom observation and your reading of the Guidebook, choose 3 of the following common principal interview questions and indicate how you would respond to a principal if you were asked these questions during an interview for a teaching position. Please back up your responses with examples and supporting evidence.  What is your classroom management system going to be? (Guidebook, Chapters 6- 9, SPED Chapters 11-14)  How will you handle a disruptive student? (Guidebook, Chapters 7 & 9, SPED Chapters 12 & 14)  Describe how you will set up your classroom.(Guidebook, Chapter 6, SPED Chapter 11)  How do you provide for individual differences within your classroom? (Guidebook, Chapter 4, SPED Chapter 9)  What do you think can and should be done to improve communication between teachers and students? (Guidebook, Chapters 6 & 11, SPED Chapters 11 & 16) Background Note: It is never too early to start envisioning what you would like your classroom to look like as a part of preparing for the district hiring season. Use your classroom observation and Guidebook reading as a springboard to begin thinking about how you would approach classroom-specific questions that principals may ask you throughout the district hiring season. Hiring References: Job Search Guide and Interviewing Guide (available on the MyTNX status viewer) ASSIGNMENT #5: Article Reflections (1-2 hours) Provide a one page written response for each of the following articles. Please be sure to address the reflection questions. 1) Helping All Students Achieve: Closing the Achievement Gap by Kati Haycock - What was your general reaction upon finishing the article? - What particular piece of data did you find most shocking? Why? - Which of the four lessons presented by Haycock resonated with you as being the most important? Why? - How might you demonstrate the high standards/expectations you have for your students? 2) White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh The Guidebook chapter – Promoting Student Achievement through Diversity covers a plethora of diversity related issues that new teachers will encounter. Particular focus is given to the “knowledge of self” - a willingness to recognize how one’s own experiences and background will influence one’s teaching. Being aware of personal biases and societal advantages will require careful self-reflection. Choose a dominant aspect of your own identity and compose a minimum of 10 privileges. You may unpack the privilege of ONE of the following (or choose something of your own)  being legal resident of the United States  being a man  being a Christian
  15. 15.  being heterosexual  being a college graduate After writing your privileges reflect on the thought process and write a minimum 3 paragraph reflection touching on the following questions. - What might your colleagues see as the privileges you have enjoyed? - How might a student’s identity impact their academic performance? - How might you use this exercise to think critically about how you view your students and their communities? - How did this exercise make you feel? Note: Are you interested in learning more about the Achievement Gap in the United States? There are many recent articles available online from mainstream news sources that you may find through use of a general search engine. You may also be interested in reading Schools Slow in Closing Gaps Between Races, by Sam Dillon of the New York Times, for a 2006 review of progress made since the inception of No Child Left Behind: Exercise 4: (Optional) Building a Toolkit of Best Practices and Resources ASSIGNMENT #6: Classroom Best Practices We anticipate that during your Guidebook reading and school visit you will hear and see ideas that you want to remember for your own classroom. Consider taking notes on those ideas that appeal to you. You will then add this resource list to your Fieldbook (a resource binder that you will receive at the Institute) so that you can continue adding to it throughout your training experience. How to take attendance Lateness Bathroom policy Lining up
  16. 16. Setting up grade book Pencil sharpening policy Students walking in the hallway Students raising hands Turning in homework Collecting papers Getting out of their seats Passing out materials Arrangement of desks Overall room set up Addressing a disrespectful student Addressing state/district standards Tracking student behavior
  17. 17. Classroom rules & consequences Rewards/incentive systems Displaying student work Other: Other: ASSIGNMENT #7: Create an Optional Resource Binder Below is a list of resources on the internet that will help you to prepare for both your School Visit and your future entry into the classroom as a teacher.* This collection has been compiled based on suggestions from teachers. Please note that TeacherNex does not specifically endorse any of the content on these websites or any products advertised on the site.   Try to visit many or all of the websites listed on the following page. It may be helpful to visit these sites after reading the corresponding sections of the Guidebook. The purpose of this assignment is to begin to build a toolkit that you can use when you begin teaching this fall. In the past, Teachers have found it useful to create a notebook in which they place collected resources they obtain from their own research and the many resources received during the Institute. If you decide to create a notebook to collect these resources simply divide the three- ringer binder and use the Framework Components as partition pages. The way you organize the notebook, if you choose to have one at all, is up to you. VIDEO TRAINING AND CLASSROOM CLIPS  Annenberg Media Annenberg Media provides a collection of online videos that range from expert discussions of learning theory to classroom visits and discussions with teachers. Click on “View Programs” then complete the free registration, and search or browse the teacher resources. INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGN AND DELIVERY  Lesson Plan Resources The Lesson Plans Page offers 2,000 lesson plans (and occasional unit plans), searchable by subject area and grade level.
  18. 18. - also has a searchable database of lesson plans. Fewer in number than the Lesson Plans Page, but more consistent in quality of content and clarity of format. Differentiated Instruction Resources - This site provides an overview of differentiated instruction. Differentiated Instruction is an approach to teaching which recognizes that teachers rarely teach in which all students perform on grade level. Rather, classrooms typically contain a range of student performance levels. Effective teachers are able to meet the needs of those below, on, and above grade level, despite their readiness, interest levels or learning profiles. Assessment Resources - The use of rubrics and scoring guides in assessing student learning is excellent teacher practice. Visit Kathy Schrock’s guide to assessment. CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT AND CULTURE  Routines/Procedures/Physical Classroom Management Resources - This helpful website offers a list of common classroom routines and procedures. It will be a valuable resource for your Classroom Management Blueprint. - A listserv for middle school teachers that offers practical advice and resource links directly from teachers. Behavior Management Resources - This site contains practical advice from rookies and veterans alike on discipline issues. - This site offers descriptions of and tips on negotiating the different stages of self-discipline your students will display. Classroom Culture Resources - This website gives a broad overview of creating a positive classroom climate. Integrate the suggestions in this website with those in the Guidebook you will receive this summer. *All sites listed were active and non-password protected as of print date.
  19. 19. Appendix Helping All Students Achieve: Closing the Achievement Gap Reprinted with permission by copyright holder, 2005 By Kati Haycock, 2001 For state and national data on student achievement, visit the Education Trust Web site at To increase the achievement levels of minority and click the data icon. and low-income students, we need to focus on what really matters: high standards, a Understanding Achievement Patterns challenging curriculum, and good teachers. The performance of African American and Latino youngsters improved dramatically during the There’s been a lot of talk lately about the 1970s and 1980s. The 1990s, however, were achievement gap that separates low-income and another matter. In some subjects and at some minority youngsters from other young grade levels, the gaps started growing; in others, Americans. For more than a generation, we they were stagnant (National Center for focused on improving the education of poor and Education Statistics, minority students. Not surprisingly, we made real 2001). gains. Between 1970 and 1988, the achievement gap between African American and white • Reading achievement among 17-year-old students was cut in half, and the gap separating African Americans and Latinos climbed Latinos and whites declined by one-third. That substantially through the 1970s and 1980s, but progress came to a halt around 1988, however, gaps separating them from other students and since that time, the gaps have widened. widened somewhat during the 1990s. Although everybody wanted to take credit for • The patterns in mathematics achievement look narrowing the gap, nobody wanted to take similar for 13-year-olds, with the African responsibility for widening it. So, for a while, American and white gap reaching its narrowest there was mostly silence. in 1990 and the Latino and white gap narrowing until 1992, and the gaps widening thereafter. But that is changing. Good. Because if we don’t In 1999, by the end of high school get the numbers out on the table and talk about them, we’re never going to close the gap once and • Only 1 in 50 Latinos and 1 in 100 African for all. I worry, though, about how many people American 17-year-olds can read and gain head into discussions without accurate data. And information from specialized text—such as the I worry even more about how many education science section in the newspaper (compared to leaders have antiquated—and downright about 1 in 12 whites), and wrong—notions about the whys beneath the achievement gap. • Fewer than one-quarter of Latinos and one-fifth of African Americans can read the complicated I want to respond to both these worries by putting but less specialized text that more than half of some crucial data on the table and by sharing white students can read. what both research and experience teach us about how schools can close the gaps between groups of The same patterns hold in math. students. Most of the data are from standard national sources, including the National Center • About 1 in 30 Latinos and 1 in 100 African for Education Statistics (NCES) and the National Americans can comfortably do multistep problem Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), as solving and elementary algebra, compared to well as from states and local school districts that about 1 in 10 white students. have been unusually successful at educating poor and minority students.1 • Only 3 in 10 African American and 4 in 10
  20. 20. Latino 17-year-olds have mastered the usage and When we speak with adults, no matter where we computation of fractions, commonly used are in the country, they make the same comments. percents, and averages, compared to 7 in 10 white “They’re too poor.” “Their parents don’t care.” students. “They come to school without an adequate breakfast.” “They don’t have enough books in the By the end of high school, in fact, African home.” “Indeed, there aren’t enough parents in American and Latino students have skills in both the home.” Their reasons, in other words, are reading and mathematics that are the same as always about the children and their families. those of white students in 8th grade. Significant differences also persist in the rates at which Young people, however, have different answers. different groups of students complete high school They talk about teachers who often do not know and in their postsecondary education experiences. the subjects that they are teaching. They talk about counselors who consistently underestimate • In the 18- to 24-year-old group, about 90 percent their potential and place them in lower-level of whites and 94 percent of Asians have either courses. They talk about principals who dismiss completed high school or earned a GED. Among their concerns. And they talk about a curriculum African Americans, the rate drops to 81 percent; and a set of expectations that feel so miserably among Latinos, 63 percent. low-level that they literally bore the students right out the school door. • Approximately 76 percent of white graduates and 86 percent of Asian graduates go directly to When we ask, “What about the things that the college, compared to 71 percent of African adults are always talking about—neighborhood American and 71 percent of Latino graduates. violence, single-parent homes, and so on?”—the young people’s responses are fascinating. “Sure, • Young African Americans are only about half as those things matter,” they say. “But what hurts us likely as white students to earn a bachelor’s more is that you teach us less.” degree by age 29; young Latinos are only one third as likely as whites to earn a college degree The truth is that the data bear out what the young (see fig. 1). people are saying. It’s not that issues like poverty and parental education don’t matter. Clearly they Figure 1. Highest Educational Attainment for do. But we take the students who have less to Every 100 Kindergartners begin with and then systematically give them less in school. In fact, we give these students less of (Ages 15 to 29) African Asians Latinos Whites Americans everything that we believe makes a difference. We Graduate from 88 90 63 88 do this in hundreds of different ways. high school Complete at least 50 74 33 59 Let me be clear. It would help if changes were some college Obtain at least a 16 51 10 28 made outside of schools, too: if parents spent bachelor’s degree more time with their children, if poverty didn’t crush so many spirits, and if the broader culture didn’t bombard young people with so many Source: U.S. Census Bureau. (1998). Educational destructive messages. But because both research Attainment Detailed Tables, October CPS and experience show that what schools do matters greatly, I’ll concentrate on what works in What’s Going On? education. Over the past five years, staff members at the Education Trust have shared these and related Lesson 1: Standards Are Key data on the achievement gap with hundreds of Historically, we have not agreed on what U.S. audiences all over the United States. During that students should learn at each grade level—or on time, we’ve learned a lot about what people think what kind of work is good enough. These is going on. decisions have been left to individual schools and teachers. The result is a system that, by and large, doesn’t ask much of most of its students. And we
  21. 21. don’t have to go far to find that out: Ask the Standards won’t make much of a difference, nearest teenager. In survey after survey, young though, if they are not accompanied by a rigorous people tell us that they are not challenged in curriculum that is aligned with those standards. school. Yet in too many schools, some students are taught a high-level curriculum, whereas other students The situation is worse in high-poverty and high continue to be taught a low-level curriculum that minority schools. For the past six years, our staff is aligned with jobs that no longer exist. at the Education Trust has worked with teachers Current patterns are clearest in high schools, who are trying to improve the achievement levels where students who take more-rigorous of their students. But while we’ve been observing coursework learn more and perform better on these high-poverty classrooms, we’ve also looked tests. Indeed, the more-rigorous courses they take, carefully at what happens there—what kinds of the better they do. assignments teachers give, for example— compared to what happens in other classrooms. • In mathematics, students who complete the full college preparatory sequence perform much We have come away stunned. Stunned, first, by higher on the National Assessment of how little is expected of students in high-poverty Educational Progress (NAEP) than those who schools—how few assignments they get in a given complete only one or two courses. school week or month. Stunned, second, by the low level of the few assignments that they do get. • The reverse is true of watered-down, traditional In high-poverty urban middle schools, for “vocational” courses. The more vocational example, we see a lot of coloring assignments, education courses students take, the lower their rather than writing or mathematics assignments. performance on the NAEP. Even at the high school level, we found coloring assignments. “Read To Kill a Mockingbird,” says • Although some of these differences are clearly the 11th grade English teacher, “and when you’re attributable to the fact that higher-scoring finished, color a poster about it.” Indeed, national students are often assigned to tougher classes, data make it clear that we expect so little of careful research shows the positive impact of students in high-poverty schools that we give more rigorous coursework even on formerly low them As for work that would earn a C or D achieving students. anywhere else. Clear and public standards for what students should learn at benchmark grade • Since 1983, we’ve made progress in increasing levels are a crucial part of solving the problem. the number of students who take a rigorous, They are a guide—for teachers, administrators, college- preparatory curriculum. But the pace is parents, and students themselves—to what not fast enough. knowledge and skills students must master. • Almost three-quarters of high school graduates Kentucky was the first state to embrace standards go on to higher education, but only about half of based reform. Ten years ago, the Kentucky them complete even a mid-level college- legislature put out an ambitious set of learning preparatory curriculum (four years of English and goals and had the audacity to declare that all of its three years each of math, science, and social children— even the poorest—would meet those studies). goals. Leaders in Kentucky are the first to acknowledge that they are not there yet. But their If we also include two years of a foreign language progress is clear and compelling. And poor and a semester of computer science, the numbers children are, in fact, learning in all subjects. For drop to about 12 percent. The numbers are worse example, in reading, 7 of the 20 top-performing for African Americans, Latinos, and low-income elementary schools are high-poverty; in math, 8 of students. the top 20 are high-poverty; in writing, 13 of the top 20 are high-poverty. These patterns are disturbing because the quality and intensity of high school coursework are the Lesson 2: All Students Must Have a most important determinants of success in Challenging Curriculum college— more important than class rank or scores on college admissions tests (Adelman,
  22. 22. 1998). Curriculum rigor is also important for instructional time devoted to literacy and work-bound students (Bottoms, 1998). mathematics for low-performing students and by training all of its teachers. A few years ago, the chancellor of the New York City schools required all 9th graders to take the Lesson 4: Teachers Matter a Lot Regents math and science exams. Though many If students are going to be held to high standards, people were worried that failure rates would be they need teachers who know the subjects and astronomical, in one year the number of Latinos in know how to teach the subjects. Yet large New York City who passed the Regents science numbers of students, especially those who are exam tripled, and the number of African poor or are members of minority groups, are Americans who passed doubled. Other groups taught by teachers who do not have strong also had gains in science and mathematics. Did backgrounds in the subjects they teach. they all pass? No, they didn’t. But as a principal friend of mine used to say, “At least they failed • In every subject area, students in high-poverty something worthwhile.” And remember, these schools are more likely than other students to be youngsters previously would never even have taught by teachers without even a minor in the been given a chance to learn higher-order content. subjects they teach Lesson 3: Students Need Extra Help • The differences are often greater in Ample evidence shows that almost all students predominantly minority high schools. In math can achieve at high levels if they are taught at and science, for example, only about half the high levels. But equally clear is that some students teachers in schools with 90 percent or greater require more time and more instruction. It won’t minority enrollments meet even their states’ do, in other words, just to throw students into a minimum requirements to teach those subjects— high level course if they can’t even read the far fewer than in predominantly white schools. textbook. • The patterns are similar regardless of the One of the most frequent questions we are asked measure of teacher qualifications—experience, by stressed-out middle and high school teachers is certification, academic preparation, or “How am I supposed to get my students ready to performance on licensure tests. We take the pass the (fill-in-the-blank) grade test when they students who most depend on their teachers for enter with 3rd grade reading skills and I have subject-matter learning and assign them teachers only my 35-minute period each day?” with the weakest academic foundations. The answer, of course, is “You can’t.” Especially • A decade ago, we might have said that we when students are behind in foundational skills didn’t know how much this mattered. We like reading and mathematics, we need to double believed that what students learned was largely a or even triple the amount and quality of factor of their family income or parental instruction that they get. education, not of what schools did. But recent research has turned these assumptions upside Around the United States, states and communities down. What schools do matters enormously. And are wrestling with how best to provide those what matters most is good teaching. extras. Kentucky gives high-poverty schools extra funds every year to extend instruction in • Results from a recent Boston study of the effects whatever way works best for their community: teachers have on learning are fairly typical before school, after school, weekends, or (Boston Public Schools, 1998). In just one summers. academic year, the top third of teachers produced as much as six times the learning growth as the Maryland provides a wide range of assistance to bottom third of teachers. In fact, 10th graders students who are not on track to pass its new high taught by the least effective teachers made nearly school graduation test. And San Diego created no gains in reading and even lost ground in math. more time, mostly within the regular school day, by doubling—even tripling—the amount of • Groundbreaking research in Tennessee and
  23. 23. Texas shows that these effects are cumulative and The results are clear: no more low performing hold up regardless of race, class, or prior schools and increased achievement for all groups achievement levels. Some of the classrooms of students, with bigger increases among the showing the greatest gains are filled with low groups that have historically been behind. income students, some with well-to-do students. And the same is true with the small-gain An Academic Core classrooms. It’s not the kids after all: Something El Paso and the other successful communities and very different is going on with the teaching states have a lot to teach us about how to raise (Sanders & Rivers, 1996). overall achievement and close gaps. Each community, of course, does things a little bit Findings like these make us wonder what would differently. What we learn is the value of a happen if, instead of getting far fewer than their relentless focus on the academic core. Clear and fair share of good teachers, underachieving high standards. Assessments aligned with those students actually got more. In a study of Texas standards. Accountability systems that demand school districts, Harvard economist Ronald results for all kinds of students. Intensive efforts Ferguson (1998) found a handful of districts that to assist teachers in improving their practice. And reversed the normal pattern: Districts with extra instruction for students who need it. initially high performing (presumably relatively affluent) 1st graders hired from the bottom of the References teacher pool, and districts with initially low- Adelman, C. (1998). Answers in the toolbox. performing (presumably low-income) 1st graders Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education. hired from the upper tiers of the teacher pool. By the time their students reached high school, these Boston Public Schools. (1998, March 9). High districts swapped places in student achievement. school restructuring. Boston: Author. El Paso, Texas, is a community that has taken such research seriously. Eight years ago, despite Bottoms, G. (1998). High schools that work. Atlanta, the extraordinarily high poverty of their city, local GA: Southern Regional Education Board. education leaders set some very high standards for what their students should know and be able Ferguson, R. (1998). Can schools narrow the black to do. Unlike other communities, though, they white test score gap? In C. Jencks & M. Phillips didn’t stop there. At the University of Texas, El (Eds.), The black-white test score gap (pp. 318–374). Paso, the faculty revamped how it prepared Washington, DC: The Brookings Institute. teachers. New elementary teachers, for example, take more than twice as much math and science as National Center for Education Statistics. (2001). their predecessors. More to the point, though, the NAEP summary data tables [Online]. Washington, teachers of these courses are math and science DC: U.S. Department of Education. Available: professors who themselves participated in the standard-setting process and who know, at a much deeper level, what kinds of mathematical Sanders, W., & Rivers, J. (1996). Cumulative and understanding the teachers need. residual effects of teachers on future student academic achievement. Knoxville, TN: University of The community also organized a structure—the El Tennessee Value-Added Research and Paso Collaborative—to provide support to Assessment Center. existing teachers and to help them teach to the new standards. The collaborative sponsored intensive summer workshops, monthly meetings for teachers within content areas, and work sessions in schools to analyze student Kati Haycock is Director, The Education Trust, assignments against the standards. The three 1725 K St. NW, Ste. 200, Washington, DC 20006 school districts also released 60 teachers to coach their peers.
  24. 24. Sample Principal Letter TeacherNex 744 Broad Street 16th Floor Newark, NJ 07102 Date Dear Principal and/or Classroom Teacher, TeacherNex is staffing service that recruits and develops talented professionals and graduates to teach in hard-to-staff Newark schools. The program aggressively recruits high quality, nontraditional candidates, prepares them through an intensive pre-service training, and works with school principals to find a candidate that is an ideal fit for their school. Classroom observation is an essential first step on a Teacher Candidate’s road to becoming an effective teacher. As part of TeacherNex’s pre-service training, they will have the opportunity to observe and participate in a summer school classroom. However, as you know, some aspects of summer school differ significantly from regular school-year classrooms, and it is also valuable for Teacher Candidates to spend some time in a regular classroom prior to the start of the training period. For this reason, we have asked the 2009 Teaching Candidates to complete classroom observations during the months of April, May, and June. In doing the classroom observations, Teachers will spend time in classrooms and complete written exercises to help them reflect on their observations. The observations are non-evaluative and confidential. They will serve as a foundation upon which Teachers will build their knowledge about teaching and learning during the rest of the summer and beyond. We hope that you will welcome the new TeacherNex Teachers into your school. We appreciate your time and willingness to help these new teachers be as prepared as possible when school starts in September. Sincerely, Catherine A. Sylvester Site Manager, TeacherNex