Category Archives: Education Policy

Mindset and Understanding How The Brain Does What it Does

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In A Mindset for Learning, authors Kristine Mraz and Christine Hertz show teachers how, through explicit instruction, they can their turn classroom thinking from that of a fixed mindset to one of a growth mindset, and how together students and teachers can create classrooms of risk and resilience. In the following excerpt, the authors talk about the power that our brain's established neural pathways have over our interpretation of information, and how we have the power to change. 

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PLC Series: Focus on the Strengths of Your ELs

Welcome back to the Heinemann Professional Development Professional Learning Community (PLC) series. We are excited to present a new format for the 2017-2018 year! 

Each month, we'll share 2 posts designed to provoke thinking and discussion, through a simple framework, incorporating mini-collections of linked content into your professional development time. 

This month, our posts will challenge us to examine literacy practices so we can be more inclusive of students who speak varieties of English as well those learning English.

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After discovering a pattern of deficit thinking about her child’s reading struggles, Cohort 1 Heinemann Fellow Lisa Birno embarked on action research to investigate instructional strategies that would “increase equity and engagement through the use of purposeful talk”.

In this post on the Heinemann blog, Lisa tells the story of how she began critically examine patterns of deficit language we sometimes use to describe learners. She writes, “In order to make sense of why the child isn’t learning the way we expect, our deficit language kicks in and it damns every child we use it on.”

Take a few moments to read her post and think about a time you recall defaulting to deficit-thinking, whether it be with a student, a family member, or yourself. What phrases of deficit language dominate this memory?

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Supporting LGBTQ Students and Teachers

Heinemann Podcast_H-podcast-logo-bluerules2400x2400_WToday on The Heinemann Podcast, how can teachers improve their practice around LGBTQ needs in the classroom? It’s October 11th, National Coming Out Day. A day for those who identify as LGBTQ to be visible. A day to say you matter, you’re not alone. How can educators make their classrooms a safer place for LGBTQ students and why is it important for both LGBTQ teachers and students to see schools as a safe place? Heinemann author Kate Roberts and Heinemann Fellow Jess Lifshitz talk more about the importance for our classrooms to be safe places. 

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Who Are Struggling Learners?

Who Are Struggling Learners?

The following is adapted from the introduction to Supporting Struggling Learners: 50 Instructional Moves for the Classroom Teacher by Patricia Vitale-Reilly

I have been thinking of writing about struggling learners for many years and for many reasons. I’m sure a tiny seed was planted even when I was a young child, and that seed began to grow as soon as I started working with children and young adults. We will (unfortunately) always have students in our classrooms who struggle. They struggle in many different ways—different in both the reasons why and the ways in which they struggle. Since each and every classroom will have struggling learners, it is helpful to define the kinds of struggling learners we might encounter in our classrooms and then plan moves to support them.

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PLC Series: Decentering Our Perceptions of Language

Welcome back to the Heinemann Professional Development Professional Learning Community (PLC) series. We are excited to present a new format for the 2017-2018 year! 

Each month, we'll share 2 posts designed to provoke thinking and discussion, through a simple framework, incorporating mini-collections of linked content into your professional development time. 

This month, our posts will challenge us to examine literacy practices so we can be more inclusive of students who speak varieties of English as well those learning English.

PLC OCT #1

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When we pause to consider our use of English in different contexts— words, phrases, hashtags, colloquialisms—some of us might be surprised to discover the choices we make and why.

Make a list of places you have lived, learned, and worked, as well as spaces you frequent (both physical and online), and groups of people with whom you interact. Jot some examples of things you might say in the context of each of your list items.

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Turning the Tables on Teacher Evaluation

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The following is an excerpt from the introduction to Take Charge of Your Teaching Evaluation by Jennifer Ansbach


Tell Your Story

In 2005, I attended a summer teaching institute for the humanities. Over the course of the week, the twenty-five participants grew to learn more not only about the subject matter we were studying but also about the teaching contexts that vary so widely in our state. At the time, I was teaching in one of my state’s neediest districts, and I saw my attendance at the institute as a way to be certain I was doing right by my students. At the end of the week, as we were sharing ways we could use what we had learned to create new units for our students, a woman who was a supervisor at a nearby district said to me, “Wow. I didn’t know your district had teachers like you. I would have hired you.”

This comment stunned me. First, I realized that she assumed I was teaching in my district because I had been turned down by other districts. But I had applied only to the district I was teaching in: I had been looking for a change and a challenge. Second, in that moment I understood how the larger world saw my colleagues and me—because we taught in what was labeled a failing school district, we were failures, also.

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