What does “Deep Learning” mean? One researcher looks for concrete examples…

Summary: Educational scholar Dr. Monica R. Martinez researched eight public schools to discover the most successful methods and theories for promoting deep learning in the classroom (Martinez, 2015). Building on the principle of interpersonal connection, Martinez argues that students need to have practice supporting their peers’ successes. In addition Martinez claims that making learning meaningful to students’ lives involves bridging the gulf between the classroom and the community. Educators and librarians can do this by connecting students with outside communities, professionals, and relevant learning spaces outside the walls of the school like non-profit organizations and civic institutions. 

Opinion: Martinez’s approach in visiting and recording what is going on in public schools is admirable! It is so easy to overlook the small successes and the meaningful learning experiences that are happening out there. Her article gives educators hope about effective learning taking place across the country. By focusing on the positive, Martinez is collecting pearls of wisdom from contemporary educators in the trenches. While none of the insights here are particularly “new” or “novel,” by focusing on concrete and real experiences of public education, Martinez is grounding important concepts in the dynamic of lived experience. After reading her article, I am even more excited to read her book.

Martinez. M.R. (2019). 6 Powerful Strategies for deeper learning in your classroom. (Teacher Thought). Retrieved from: https://www.teachthought.com/learning/6-powerful-strategies-deeper-learning-classroom/

Universal Design and the Arts

Ward-Sell, Krista

Topic, Collaboration

Glass, D., Meyer, A., & Rose, D. (2013). Universal Design for Learning and the arts. Harvard Educational Review, 83(1), 98-119
https://search-proquest-com.libaccess.sjlibrary.org/docview/1326778711?accountid=10361&rfr_id=info%3Axri%2Fsid%3Aprimo

Summary:

Glass, Meyer and Rose make an argument in this article that the arts should be integrated into classrooms. The overarching framework is the idea of Universal Design for Learning, which is a transitional framework, hoping to move student engagement in new directions that take into account different learning styles, offer a methodology for teachers to follow to deliver multiple modalities to reach a wider student audience and encourage engagement with the material. UDL focuses on the why, what and how of teaching and learning. 

The authors assert that not every student can be engaged in the same way, being unique, changeable individuals.  Ultimately, to reach more students, one must have a flexible approach to teaching. Specifically they present the case that co-teaching the arts in the classroom presents a unique and highly exploitable opportunity to engage students in new ways. Given that the Arts are becoming increasingly marginalized in our school systems, Co-teaching opportunities with arts teachers, who may, it is argued by the authors, have more experience in engaging students of all different learning styles and abilities should not be missed. 

Evaluation:

I was particularly inspired by the author’s acknowledgement that while variability in ability and cognitive style results in frustratingly different student populations, this matrix of difference is roughly predictable, and when understood properly, can be planned for. I was often the outlier, as a child, this philosophy would have helped me immeasurably, especially in math. Visuals would have been helpful, but the teaching materials from the mid 1980’s were still heavily focused on rote memorization. How wonderful it would have been to have music incorporated in a math lesson, or painting, photography, or sculpture, origami?  While UDL is so much more than this specific example, anyone looking for a method to engage a student that is constantly daydream-drawing in her notebook and not paying attention, this is an article for you.

A Prime Co-Teaching Opportunity

Taylor, Diana

CO

Jones, T. N. (2016, March 5). A Prime Co-Teaching Opportunity. Retrieved from https://www.slj.com/?detailStory=a-prime-co-teaching-opportunity

Summary: In this article, Jones discusses what it means for librarians to collaborate alongside of teachers and provides various co-teaching structures that can work. When just starting out, she recommends strategies for how to find likely partners of collaboration, how to find what research projects are planned, what to do next, and how to incorporate technology. She provides an overview the seven models of co-teaching. She also provides an overview of her “team teaching” model experience working with another teacher.

Evaluation: This article is particularly useful to new individuals going into the teacher librarian profession. It gave very specific strategies on how to support classroom instruction, so it was very real world applicable in terms of take away points.

Collaborative Learning Tips & Strategies

Kumar, Amy

Collaboration

TeachThought.20 Collaborative Learning Tips And Strategies For Teachers.June 28, 2018. Retrieved from https://www.teachthought.com/pedagogy/20-collaborative-learning-tips-and-strategies.

Summary: This article from the team at the TeachThought online journal features a numbered list of twenty learning strategies for collaboration among teachers as well as the research supporting those efforts.

Analysis: While the website itself is rife with ads, set aside those distractions and you will find a great article on collaborative teaching and the science behind why it works. According to the authors, research “suggests that students who worked collaboratively on math computational problems earned significantly higher scores than those who worked alone.” While teacher librarians are often convincing teachers to co-teach alongside them, it is this kind of data that may help our case.

Piloting the Learning Commons

DeLuca, Allison

CO

Murray, E. (2015). Piloting the Learning Commons. Teacher Librarian, 43(1), 18–24. Retrieved from http://libaccess.sjlibrary.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ehh&AN=110469425&site=ehost-live&scope=site

 

This article discusses using learning commons in the process of co teaching and collaboration between classroom teachers and teacher librarians. The article is told by a classroom teacher who works with the media specialist in her school in order to introduce her students to the learning commons and use it as a productive space for learning. The teacher realized the excitement that the children had when introduced to the learning commons and saw the potential for her students. The article emphasizes the importance of putting aside time for collaboration and the success that comes from collaborating with a media specialist in the school. The author gives details on her personal collaboration process with the librarian in order to give an idea on how to successfully collaborate in order to benefit students.

 

I feel as though this article is helpful for encouraging schools to transform library spaces into learning commons as well as encouraging classroom teachers to work towards collaboration with school librarians or media specialists. Collaboration is a key to success when it comes to the achievement of students. Also, the highlighting of the learning commons space was also a significant part of this article. Learning commons allow for students to be more creative and have more freedom when it comes to inquiry and learning. Current library spaces in schools have the potential to be transformed into learning commons in order to not only encourage student use, but to encourage collaboration between staff.

Co Teaching Models: Strategies and Planning

Walker, Machelle

CO

Teachings in Education (2016, August 26). Co Teaching Models: Strategies and Planning.  Retrieved September 07, 2018, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BDTrcG4NuZ8

Summary:

This short video reviews the five models of co teaching. It describes each model in detail along with the roles each teacher undertakes.  It also describes in what situation each model it can be used for the most benefit to both teachers and students.  Narrator points out what kind of student grouping is normal to each model of co teaching: including station, parallel, one teacher one support, alternative teaching, and straight on team teaching.

Evaluation:

This was quick but helpful video that reviews the multiple models of co-teaching.  It expands far past typical teacher and assistant co-teaching which is seen in most classrooms.  I found it help in it analysis of each model ad how it can be utilized to benefit students along with in which situation each model is best used.

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.