Podcast 27 – Enthusiastically wrapping our brains around the News and Reeves’ Research!

“The Mom” song, sung to the William Tell Overture, by Anita Renfroe What a mom says in 24 hours, condensed into 2 minutes and 55 seconds! Check this out for a good chuckle.

Middle School News & Information:

1.  Ning news:  Works nice, but watch out for the Google ads.  Some may not be suitable depending on the site topics.  Add content to the site to draw Google ads that are appropriate, otherwise, pay the bucks to loose the ads.
2.  U.S. Department of Education website:  Doing What Works – The USDE has a new website for best practices (k-12).  Currently the site has content for helping with ELL students but is planning on best practices across the school improvement spectrum.
3.  School Web Locker:  Is your IT “person” grousing about server space and teacher file space?  School Web Locker may be a solution to the problem.  The San Diego based company provides 100 mbs of space for each student and 1 gb of space for each teacher to use on their servers.  Teachers can create a homework assignment and automatically drop it into each student’s locker.  Students can turn in assignments by dropping it into the teacher’s locker.  There is a file size limit, something to consider in moving to a paperless classroom.
4a.  3 Skills needed to be globally competitive (Alan November)
1. The key to using technology in the classroom, November said, is not to train teachers to use it, but to train them on how to incorporate that technology creatively into lessons in engaging and stimulating ways.
2. The second essential skill requires every classroom to become a global communication center with a more globalized curriculum.
3. The third skill today’s students need is self-direction.
4b.  The Editor Reflects:  “Technology and Young Adolescents: Chance for a Better Future and Source of Anguish”
1.  Did folks recognize the importance and forsee the change of Gutenberg’s printing press?
2.  10 years ago could we see what impact the iPhone, iPod, and Blu Ray technologies would have on education?
3.  Are we teaching to current technology or teaching skills to assimilate new technology and apply it to our needs?
5.  Middle Level Essentials Conference in Minnesota:  April 4-5 is sold out!
6.  Innovative Practices Across the Curriculum    Lakeville, Minnesota    June 24, 2008
7.  Institute for Middle Level Leadership   Colorado Springs, Colorado  July 13-16, 2008 and Charleston, South Carolina  July 20-23, 2008
8.  Best Practices for Student Success  Baltimore, Maryland  July 28, 2008 and Fargo, North Dakota August 6, 2008
First Annual Schools to Watch Conference—Celebrating Excellence in Middle Level Education
WHEN:       Wednesday, May 7, 2008 8:15 AM – 2:45 PM
                    Eastern Time Zone
WHERE:     Bovee University Center
                    103 East Preston St.
                    Mt. Pleasant, MI 48859
FEE:     Individual Registrant   Michigan Schools to Watch Conference $125.00
10. Software Industry Promotes Goals for School Technology from Education Week. (Education Week now includes free articles).

Reversing the Downward Slide of Enthusiasm:
Why do students lose enthusiasm?
Audience responses:

  • Peer pressure
  • Newness wearing off
  • Tired of being wrong  (Nothing breeds success like success?)
  • Lack of home support
  • Lower assessement pressure
  • Lack of Teacher enthusiasm

Presenter Response

  • No encouragement
  • Boring
  • Family issues (student becomes surrogate parent to younger siblings)
  • Long day
  • Too different from elementary
  • Rules
  • Other students
  • Teacher strictness/interest/enthusiasm
  • Too much teacher talk
  • Hard work

Academic Life History (Graph this) then ask them why?
Could the student complete a graph of their interest?

Attitude survey
Students do not come to school to be frustrated and unhappy with their assignments.
Ask students why they are here. Have them process that and write it out.

Core Values:

  • Take Risks
  • Question
  • be curious
  • Respect ideas
  • Team work
  • Problem solve
  • Frustration is OK
  • Challege ideas
  • Explore
  • Think diversely

Have the students create the aims (core value) and then sign the poster.

I am the creator of the system but the students are the experts in the system.

When you give students more power, it doesn’t mean that teachers lose theirs. It is not a zero-sum gain.

Simple T-chart
Students complete with what I learned and what could’ve been done better.  (Reflection piece for the teacher.)  (What if the teacher had a “locker” on their bulletin board where the students did this on a sticky note and the posted it on the “locker” image on the board where the teacher then can get a quick assessment of the day’s lesson.)

Reeves Research:
Core Research:
1.Defeating the “failure of hypothesis”
2.The 90  90  90 schools
3.The collaborative imperative
4.Impact of nonfiction writing
5.From the bell curve to the mountain
6.The Pygmalion Effect for adults (expectations)
7.The futility of format
8.Critical mass of implementation
9.Neworks beat hierarchies
10.Accountability is more than test scores

Stephen White – Pygmalion effect is 3 times more effective in terms of student achievement.
Belief system has a huge impact on teacher effectiveness
Critical mass: unless the majority of teachers are implementing the work, it won’t truly make a difference.

Collegue to collegue is most impactful than anything else.

Rich kids get interventions and extras.

Keys to Monitoring

  • Monitor adult actions, not just test scores
  • Monitor frequently – once a month is an absolute minumum.
  • Monitor constructively – it’s a treasure hunt, not a witch hunt. Find out what the teachers are doing right. Don’t focus on the negative. Focus on the positive.

Laughter is the common thread throughout effective teams video taped by Reeves.

Long-Term Memory:
From Dr. Robert Greenleaf:
Check out his web site for more information:

Defined: Short, intermittent pauses in the instructional flow designed to provide time for learners to recall, think,process, discuss, and organize current knowledge and ideas with prior understandings and information.
Researchers: Mary Budd Rowe (1987) ~ First Wait-Time; Robert J. Stahl (1990) ~ “Think-time”; Kenneth Tobin &
Capie  (1987),  William W. Wilen (1987) ~ Question Techniques
Research The average teacher pause after a query is 0.7 to 1.4 seconds, before comment, redirect, prompt, continuation, or redirect.

Strategy 1st WAIT TIME (after a teacher question)

  • Method ~ Allow 3-5 seconds of uninterrupted silence after a prompt to allow students to consider/recall responses.
  • Caution ~ Too much time after imprecise questions can increase confusion. More often this is a period for “recall” requiring less processing. Strategy 2nd WAIT TIME (after a student response)
  • Method ~ Provide uninterrupted silence after a prompt to allow students to consider/recall responses. Allows other students to consider whether to add to the response or offer a response of their own. This provides an opportunity for the brain to process, search, connect, organize. Strategy REFLECTIVE “PAUSE” TIME (before, after, or within commentary)
  • Method ~ Deliberately pause for 3-5 seconds after a student question, before  responding or in the middle of a statement… allowing students to consolidate thinking – requesting no input from them. This provides time to consider information in a smaller “chunk” rather than in mass.
  • Method ~ Extend the pause time to 1-2 minutes, asking students to think an idea carefully through or to write ideas down. Reflection is vital to long term memory and understanding. Strategy WORK-WAIT TIME (brief think/do task)
  • Method ~ Individuals or pairs to remain on task to complete a 30 second to 2 minute activity (silently or quietly in pairs). For Example: pairs interactions ask learners to apply skill, concept, or knowledge immediately after explanation or discussion.