A Curriculum Worth Learning

March 23, 2019

This week I share blog posts, articles, and resources on curriculum development for the 21st century.

  1. In this post, I explored the concept of what students should know and be able to do. It’s a complex question in the digital age.

  2. One book I referenced in my post is 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari. I’ve only read the chapter on education; it’s on my to-read pile.

  3. Reading widely should be an integrated practice in our curriculums. I highlight this approach plus four others in my post How I Read as a Literacy Leader.

  4. The concept of “lifeworthy learning” is introduced in the excellent resource Future Wise: Educating Our Children for a Changing World by David N. Perkins.

  5. I’ve found the most effective curriculum work is developed with students in mind, a topic I addressed in Choice Literacy’s Big Fresh earlier this month.

  6. This week I wrote about how standards can influence instruction in unhealthy ways, such as how they can become the focus vs. student work and process.

  7. Related, Phi Delta Kappan has an excellent issue out right now, “Rethinking the Curriculum”. I referenced this article that describes the history of standards.

  8. If you or another educator you know teaches history, check out this PDK article questioning the “expanding horizons” curriculum development approach.

  9. Equity is an important topic right now and relates to curriculum work. A short article in Educational Leadership, “Reimagining the Null Curriculum”, is a helpful resource for understanding why our curriculum should be relevant for all kids.

  10. During last summer’s book study for Literacy Essentials, Carrie Kreider wrote about reducing the need for intervention.

I am currently reviewing resources to read for this summer’s book study on the blog. What book would you recommend that relates to literacy and leadership?

Creating a Literacy Culture

March 2, 2019

This week’s content finds a common thread in creating a culture of literacy.

  1. In this post, I write about the importance of building trust through examining beliefs and creating commitments as a faculty.

  2. A related, recommended resource for literacy leaders is Schools That Work: Where All Children Read and Write by Richard Allington and Patricia Cunningham.

  3. Allington and Cunningham define school culture as “a group of people with a shared belief system and common rituals, practices, and customs” (p. 300).

  4. The authors also define effective schools as a “collection of good teachers”. Would you agree with this statement? I addressed this question here in 2015.

  5. Other recommended resources on school culture include Shaping School Culture by Terrence Deal and Kent Peterson, Transforming School Culture by Anthony Muhammad, and Leading School Change by Todd Whitaker.

  6. I wrote about the gift of time when it comes to the challenges during the process of writing (here). This post was the main body for my staff newsletter yesterday.

  7. Regie Routman offers ten strategies for getting past writing roadblocks in this article for Middleweb.

  8. Also, check out Regie’s Literacy Essentials appendices for assessing your school’s literacy culture.

  9. To get myself out of a writing funk, I have been reading a chapter here and there from Write Smart, Write Happy by Cheryl St. John.

  10. When my wife was a classroom teacher, I wrote a blog post about how she had created a more connected classroom that fostered successful readers and writers.

Lead Reader

February 16, 2019

This week I share about my reading history and how it influences my personal and professional life.

  1. What books shaped you as a reader? I highlight three titles in this post from my K-12 education experience.

  2. I’ve shared this already, but worth repeating: a book that persuaded me to pursue the principalship is Improving Schools From Within by Roland Barth.

  3. Ever wondered what school leadership truly entails? You might appreciate reading the vignettes from Repositioning Educational Leadership: Practitioners Leading From an Inquiry Stance.

  4. I attended the Wisconsin State Reading Association Convention last week. In this post, I describe author Matt de la Peña’s session and how he “writes from the outside”.

  5. A book I believe should be in every K-12 classroom is Matt de la Peña’s award-winning picture book, Last Stop on Market Street.

  6. Other worthy titles by the author include Love and Carmela Full of Wishes. These books could be read aloud at the beginning of a staff meeting or professional development session before discussing topics such as equity and diversity.

  7. This morning I shared about the importance of teaching literacy from the middle in this post. The example I describe is a lesson on debate and persuasive writing.

  8. A recommended professional resource for teachers looking to embed speaking and listening plus persuasive techniques into their instruction is Good Thinking by Erik Palmer.

  9. Related, check out Deep Discourse by Sandy Novak and Cara Slattery. One of our teachers is exploring it right now and is finding it helpful.

  10. Recent read alouds with my kids include Black and Blue Magic by Zilpha Keatley Snyder (my son) and Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend (my daughter).

What books have shaped you as a person and a professional? What are you reading right now? Please share in the comments.

Leading with Inquiry

February 2, 2019

This week we examine how curiosity can improve our capacities as school leaders.

  1. In this post, I share my current theory of practice on how to build a literacy culture with other school leaders.

  2. It speaks to the power of reflective writing that the previous post was a response to a blog post I published six months ago: Choices, Priorities, and the Power of “What if…”.

  3. Often the barriers to our work as leaders are the ones we create for ourselves, something I wrote about in this post.

  4. How do we rethink our routines and be more mindful of our habits in school? Connect with other administrators next week Thursday, February 7 at 8 P.M. CST for an #AWSAConnect Twitter chat.

  5. I wrote a short reader response to a new principal’s resource, Repositioning Educational Leadership. I think it would serve well as a textbook for a graduate level research course.

  6. The book that piqued my interest in the principalship was Improving Schools From Within by Roland Barth. It’s a classic!

  7. Once every month or two, I write a column for our local newspaper, The Democrat Tribune. They don’t have an online version, so I posted my article “Screen Time and Kids” on my website.

  8. This New York Times article by Benedict Carey provides a nice summary of the current research on screen time and potential effects on children.

  9. How do we measure school culture in order to celebrate and grow? Check out my response to the main characteristics of a healthy school culture in this post.

  10. These characteristics are described in more detail in Regie Routman’s newest book, Literacy Essentials: Engagement, Excellence, and Equity for All Students.

The Literacy Experience

January 19, 2019

This week we explore the literacy experiences we bring to our classrooms and schools.

  1. In the first post of 2019, I try to put into perspective what a new year really brings to our lives professionally and personally.

  2. A book that I referenced (and I believe should be required reading for all leaders) is Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t by Jim Collins.

  3. We - students, teachers - tend to remember our experiences more than any resource we might bring to the classroom. This post examines that idea.

  4. I thought the article Buy Experiences, Not Stuff by James Hamblin for The Atlantic offered a nice take on the previous post’s topic.

  5. Can our instruction be too targeted toward expected outcomes and not allow for deeper thinking? This post from Lustre Education shares that concern, citing evidence from recent studies.

  6. One of the researchers referenced in the previous post is Dr. John Hattie, author of Visible Learning for Teachers: Maximizing Impact on Learning and other resources that offer meta-analyses on the effects of instruction on learning.

  7. What are your thoughts on commercial literacy products? I shared a recent experience in this post when boxes of these resources showed up at our school.

  8. The quote at the beginning of the previous post comes from the business book Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson.

  9. It’s hard to lead a literacy initiative if we don’t know reading or writing instruction. In this post, I relate this idea to a recent visit to a kindergarten classroom studying penguins.

  10. The quote at the beginning of the previous post comes from Read, Write, Lead: Breakthrough Strategies for Schoolwide Literacy Success by Regie Routman. Another necessary resource for school leaders!

Are you exploring implementing digital portfolios in your classroom, or looking for support to deepen this promising assessment approach within your instruction? Join me at CESA 3 in Fennimore, WI on March 12 for a one-day workshop on this topic. Click here to register (scroll down to March 12).

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