Thursday, September 12, 2013

Teaching to the (New) Tests: The Benefits of Discussion — Whole Child Education

The Whole Child Blog — Whole Child Education:


Philip Yenawine

Teaching to the (New) Tests: The Benefits of Discussion

It's no secret that many teachers are wondering how to ensure all students "read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently" by the end of high school. Similarly they are unsure of how to help all "read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text." Ditto to "integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words." And they have similar concerns for how to promote acceptance of diverse viewpoints, broadly useful oral communication skills, or the ability to listen and interact with others productively. At this point, many teachers cope with students unable to solve rote math problems and articulate how they did it, let alone find more than one solution. Yet all of these abilities (and more) are required to achieve Common Core anchor standards.
Steven Weber

Supporting College and Career Readiness

As we begin a new school year, it is an exciting time for educators. We understand that our influence will have a positive or negative impact on students. The main goal of education is student achievement. However, some educators place such a heavy emphasis on student achievement that they end up forgetting their purpose. In today's K–12 setting, the purpose of K–12 schools has been defined as preparing each student to graduate high school ready for college and a career.
Tina Byland

A Commitment to Educating the Whole Child: Inservice Roundup

Here at ASCD, the Whole Child Initiative drives our daily work—regardless of what our job descriptions entail. As a former teacher, I am particularly devoted to supporting the whole child and ensuring the safety and health of every student I encounter. Keeping the whole child in mind, I post content for ASCD's Inservice blog that consistently reflects our commitment to fostering a healthy, safe, engaging, supportive, and challenging environment for students.
Kevin Parr

Approaching Student Achievement Like a Forest Fire

It has been another active fire season here out West and once again firefighters have been attacking the fires systematically and efficiently. As a teacher it is interesting to look at the way these fires are attacked. The contrast to the way problems are attacked in education is staggering.
In wildland firefighting when the problem (the fire) becomes big enough, a two-pronged attack is launched. Firefighters coordinate their efforts to fight the fire from both the ground and air. In contrast, when the problem in education (student achievement, mainly) gets big, the most common response is to narrow the range of approaches. By and large this usually means demanding more time strictly devoted to teaching the critical academic subjects (math and reading) at the expense of everything else.
ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Resilience, Addressing Problems, and Promoting Healthy Development

Post written by Howard Adelman and Linda Taylor, codirectors of the Center for Mental Health in Schools at UCLA, a whole child partner organization.
Anyone working with children and youth these days is familiar with words like strengths, assets, and resilience. This reflects the progress made in moving beyond a deficit or problem-focused bias to incorporate approaches that build on motivation and promote resilience.
Kristen Pekarek

September Is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity now affects 17 percent of all children and adolescents in the United States. Research shows that childhood obesity puts kids at greater risk for health problems—including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease—and, once a child enters school, can undermine classroom and overall lifetime success. Encouraging new research indicates we are making some progress to reverse this epidemic: a new report on childhood obesity shows obesity among low-income preschoolers has declined slightly in 19 states and territories, and a new report on school health shows there have been improvements in the way we teach nutrition and physical activity in schools. But there is still a lot of work to be done.