Using Inquiry Groups to Meet the NGSS

Kolling, Kathleen

Inquiry and Design Thinking

Citation

Dole, Laurie. (2013). Using inquiry groups to meet the next generation science standards. LMC, 32(2), 34-36.

Summary

The NGSS standards are almost mirrors of the steps of the inquiry model. Students ask questions and define problems, develop and use models, plan and carry out investigations, analyze and interpret data, use math and computational thinking, construct explanations and design solutions: engaging in argument from evidence, and obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information. These steps and goals are very similar to other inquiry models that have a goal for students to be engaged in active wonder and questioning.

Evaluation

I love that all of the inquiry models we studied in class this semester can also be applied to NGSS topics. It’s often difficult for me to think of ways to connect to curriculum, other than language arts and social studies, but it can be done. Taking students all the way through a complete inquiry project also reinforces the scientific process, and creates a generation of people who will know how to delve deeply into exploring a topic.

Using TRAILS to Assess Student Learning

Kolling, Kathleen

Curriculum and Assessment

Citation

Owen, P.L. (2010). Using TRAILS to assess student learning: A step-by-step guide. LMC, 28(6), 36-38.

Summary

TRAILS-9 is a knowledge test made up of multiple choice questions for grades 3,6,9, and 12 that assesses students’ knowledge of five information literacy areas: develop topic; identify potential resources; develop, use and revise search strategies; evaluate sources ad information; and recognize how to use information responsibly. It is great for teachers and librarians to use to capture a large amount of information quickly, to collaborate with classroom teachers, assess student learning, revise our instruction, and show evidence of our library’s impact on student learning. 

Evaluation

Using state test scores and TRAILS-9 scores, librarians can build standards-based lessons to bring to teachers, justifying their collaboration with data analyses. I was pleased to see that formative assessments are out there for librarians to use, specifically related to our instruction, and that they’re free! The four age levels available (Grades 3,6,9, and 12), are perfect check-in points for both teachers and librarians to see well students are receiving/understanding information literacy knowledge- midway through elementary school, the beginning of middle school, and the beginning and end of high school. I will definitely present this to my staff this school year.

Creating the Flipped Classroom

Kolling, Kathleen

Educational Theory & Practice

Citation

Bergmann, J., & Sams, A. (2012). Chapter 1. Our Story: Creating The Flipped Classroom. Retrieved August 1, 2018, from http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/112060/chapters/Our-Story@-Creating-The-Flipped-Classroom.aspx

Summary

FLIP teaching stems from the idea that students don’t need to just hear teachers give content all day; they can get content on their own. Students need teachers the most when they get stuck and need the teacher’s individual help. A teacher can record themselves giving a lecture, assign the video for homework, then spend class time helping students with the concepts they don’t understand. This is a great tool for students who have missed class, and students who want to review concepts. This leaves class time open for students to explore personalized learning through inquiry projects.

Evaluation

I loved hearing what Bergmann and Sams did at their school. Filming their lessons became a great way to get the most use out of class time, give lessons to students who had missed class, allow students a chance to review lessons if needed, and let them focus their school days on differentiated inquiry. Saving these videos from year to year would also allow teachers to reuse the videos, and focus their lessons, instead, on the needs of their new group of students each year.

Collaboration: Finding the Teacher, Finding the Topic, Finding the Time

Kolling, Kathleen

Collaboration and Coteaching

Citation

Gess, A. (2009). Collaboration: Finding the teacher, finding the topic, finding the time. LMC, 27(4), 24-25.

Summary

Many classroom teachers view the library as either a waste of time or chance for them to have planning time. Good collaboration between the classroom teacher and library media specialist can help increase language arts test scores, as shown in studies done in Colorado and Oregon, where they have strong collaborative library media teachers. The first step is to find the right teacher who values your work and is excited and willing to work together. The second step is to choose a topic that meets the AASL standards and utilizes technology, such as webquests . The third step is deciding if it should go as an introduction to a unit, in the middle, or as a conclusion/review. It’s always important to make it accessible to students with different learning and language needs. Always finish a unit by evaluating the success of it with the classroom teacher. Through successful collaboration, teachers will stop viewing library time as a break or waste.

Evaluation

At my library placement last year in a middle school, teachers hardly ever brought their classes to the library, so I found myself doing a lot of collection weeding and other tasks that didn’t involve working with students. I met with the Language Arts department every week and always offered to collaborate with whoever wanted to, but no one ever took me up on it. In my experience, most teachers don’t want to collaborate because they think that there may be extra planning and preparation. I’m at an elementary school this year, and most of the teachers drop their kids off at the library so they can do planning, which makes it difficult for collaboration. Recently, the administrators started requiring all the teachers meet in the library for grade level planning, so I’ve been able to join in the conversations they are already having about their current units of study. I work on tying that into my read-aloud with the younger grades, and with the older grades, I’ve been showing them primary sources that connect to their units. Ideally, teachers would stay during library time to support learning goals, but at my school, teachers are not required to stay, so I think my more successful units will happen with the teachers who do stay.

Best Practices Collaborative Teams

Sue, Jason

CO

APA Citation

Fairfax Network – Fairfax County Public Schools. (2013, December 11). Best practices: Collaborative teams. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-_Ep4z5RkQ

Summary

Larger education institutions should consider developing professional learning communities (PLC) organized by either shared a common subject and/or grade level to share knowledge and expertise. PLCs not only improve the instruction but also improve the instructors through the sharing of unique ideas and testimony. PLCs should have regular short meetings to identify areas in the curriculum that could be improved or identify students who need a bit of extra attention. PLCs work best when they adopt a measurable, attainable goal and work towards accomplishing said measurable, attainable goal. Pre-assessments and post-assessments are key in measuring whether a “smart goal” has been achieved.

Evaluation

This YouTube Video, Best Practices: Collaborative Teams, showcases a fantastic example of the benefits of teacher collaboration and provides on how teachers can start their own professional learning communities (PLC) within their own school.

Educators, Parents Debate the Common Core

Sue, Jason

CA

APA Citation

CBS Sunday Morning. (2014, September 14). Educators, parents debate the Common Core. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xpptv5bSIi0

Summary

Despite being a federal initiative, Common Core was started as nationwide collaboration from the state level to develop nationwide standards. 45 states and D.C. initially adopted Common Core and were offered grant money in return for participation. One of the benefits of Common Core was that it raised the standards of states like Tennessee and allowed more accurate comparisons of the academic achievements rates of various states. Despite these benefits, implementation of the Common Core has not been without pushback.

Many conservatives felt that the federal government should not be dictating curriculum even if it was the states who had the power to accept or reject Common Core. Opposition to Common Core was also strong in Progressives states. One of the criticisms of progressives was that the standards that Common Core set were unrealistic; and to support their argument, they singled out have specific test questions as being too difficult for certain grade levels. Education can be condensed into a series of increased standards. While Common Core may be flawed, it was a step in the right direction.

Evaluation

This is an outstanding synopsis of the controversy surrounding Common Core.

 

The Difference Between IEPs and 504 Plans

Sue, Jason

Z

APA Citation

The Understood Team. (n.d.) The difference between IEPs and 504 plans. Retrieved from https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/special-services/504-plan/the-difference-between-ieps-and-504-plans

Summary

Individual Education Programs (IEPs) and 504 plans, both serve similar purposes in provided tailored education for students with special needs at no cost to the parent, but one of the differences is that Section 504 has a much broader definition to disability than the  Individual Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The means that if a child may not qualify for an IEP then he or she may qualify for a 504 plan. The team that creates an Individualized Education Program (IEP) is narrowly defined and must include a child’s parent, at least one of the child’s general educations teachers, a psychologist, and a school district special education specialist. In comparison, the regulation on the requirements of a 504 planning team is much less specific. A typical 504 planning team may include a child’s guardian, a general education teacher, and the school principal.

Evaluation

The Difference Between IEPs and 504 Plans is a good overview on the differences between Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) and 504 Plans. It doesn’t go into detail on either but is an outstanding resource for someone who is curious about the differences between these two programs.