This guest post was written by Kristin Owens, Assistant Director of STEM area. Why is math class not the setting for most made-for-TV movies? Frankly, it is often lacking many of the elements we find most entertaining: suspense, drama, edge-of-your-seat action. TV audiences are not particularly engaged by lectures, note-taking, and example problems. And neither are students. An approach called productive struggle could change that! What is productive struggle? Imagine a group of students hunched around a worksheet containing a set of block figures. Each figure has the same shape, but the number of blocks in each increases consistently from the first figure to the last. The students must formulate an equation to calculate the number of blocks in each figure. And that is the extent of their instructions. While you may not be on the edge of your seat, the opening scene has set the stage for an exercise in productive struggle. Watch what happens next! The process of productive struggle Now that the teacher has assigned the worksheet, this is how the process of productive struggle [...]
Take Small Bites and Chew Slowly: The Benefits of Microcredentials Have you heard about microcredentials? It’s a new approach to professional development in a smaller, focused format. ______________________________________________________________ How does microcredentials work? Professionals complete a discrete, competency-based task. The organization offering microcredentials can then issue badges, continuing education credits, or other verification of completion. What might this process look like in practice? Let’s say a K12 school district typically offers face-to-face courses for teachers’ professional development. Teachers sign on and attend a number of hours of training and are then awarded continuing professional development, or CPD, credit for participating in those workshop trainings. If that same K12 school district redesigned the learning using the microcredentialing approach, several components would change, including: ● The time unit would be smaller. It’s easier for busy educators to fit a 15- or 30-minute professional development session into their busy schedules. ● The learning experience is skill based and related to on-the-job tasks. Putting literacy groups into action! ● Teachers participate in a round-robin of 15-minute classroom observations watching a [...]
The Thanksgiving holiday offers a unique opportunity for teaching students about actual historical events, and also various factors that affect perception of those events in the popular imagination.