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The Effective Educator
Don't forget to check out the December/January issue of Educational Leadership that focuses on honing the teaching practices that most affect student learning, whether you're a new teacher or a seasoned veteran.
Try the "You Are Here" Conference Planning Tool
Plan your ASCD Annual Conference experience in San Francisco in March using ASCD's new interactive program You Are Here.
What Do Teachers Need from Curriculum Guides?
Less may be more. Educators sound off about the challenges and benefits of using curriculum guides.
Oakridge Fourth Grade Blog
Using a classroom blog can help teachers engage students in learning, collaboration, and assessment in creative and thoughtful ways. This 4th grade class blog gets each student involved in thinking, writing, and discussing through a variety of multimedia tools.
In an age in which computers and handheld screens are everywhere, what tools and approaches can teachers use to effectively reach digital learners? Can teachers capitalize on students' penchant for collaboration and social networking? How are classrooms incorporating learning that is visual, informal, interdisciplinary, and multimodal? How can schools promote media literacy and online safety?
Madeline Hunter Was Right!
Although a new generation of educators might hear about Madeline Cheek Hunter (1916–1994) in a survey of influential educators, her groundbreaking efforts to help teachers structure effective lessons are sometimes considered a relic of the 20th century.
Hunter's lesson planning model was once wildly successful at inservice workshops, then widely adopted by districts in the 1970s and 1980s. But its popularity sometimes led to its reduction to a checklist version that Hunter never intended. Nonetheless, Hunter's work gave the education field the shared vocabulary and practical tools for teachers to improve their teaching and student learning.
Now in his latest book, Focus: Elevating the Essentials to Radically Improve Student Learning, respected education researcher Mike Schmoker says that Hunter's "basic model is the key to ensuring all students learn the most worthy content and intellectual skills." That along with other essential education practices can close the achievement gap—in five years, or even less, he contends. Schmoker's basics include a coherent curriculum, sound lessons, and substantial reading and writing for each discipline.
In the new call for a focus on the essentials of effective teaching, educators will have another chance to mine the riches of past and present education research. One lesson to learn from Hunter is that although the essentials of effective lessons may be simple, using them well demands hard thinking about content and students' real needs.
Mike Schmoker: Get Back to Basics
Making effective lessons depends on these essentials: clear objectives; teaching, modeling, and demonstrating; guided practice; and checks for understanding. The best educators, even in schools with large at-risk populations, use these elements to maximize students' learning, says researcher Mike Schmoker.
Neuroscience Reaffirms Madeline Hunter's Model
As a young teacher, brain expert Patricia Wolfe received professional development from Hunter. What Wolfe learned then has only been further validated by neuroscience, she says.
Things I Learned Today:
Using a Journal for Closure
A "Things I Learned Today" journal gives students a chance to reflect on and highlight major learning while making conceptual connections in their own minds.
Instructional Practices That Get Results
Strategies for Checking for Understanding:
It's crucial for teachers to check for student understanding, otherwise they don't really know if students are "getting it." Dialogue with students, for example, can help them make their own connections to learning.
Watch the video
Tips for New Teachers:
Quiet Signals Key to Classroom Management
Properly using quiet signals calms the class and provides more time to learn, says Mike Anderson.
My Back Pages:
What's Wrong With Madeline Hunter? (1985)
Madeline Hunter herself counters the myths and misunderstandings about her teaching method.
Theory into Practice Gives Versatile Tools for Education Career
Putting theory into practice, Madeline Hunter's overriding goal, gave Leela George the vocabulary, framework, and confidence to see teaching as both science and art.
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